Greenland is an autonomous constituent country that is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Greenland has its own home government and parliament and controls much of its domestic affairs. More responsibility for the Greenlandic government has been granted through the 2008 Self-Government Act, but defense and foreign affairs will be retained by the Danish government.

Norse explorers, lead by Erik the Red, formed settlements near the southwestern tip of the island. The settlements thrived for several centuries until they disappeared around the 15th century, possibly due to the “Little Ice Age” that occurred between the 13th and 19th centuries.

The Thule people migrated to Greenland from what is now known as Alaska around 1300, and after the demise of the Norse settlements the area came under control of the these new settlers. Expeditions sent out by Denmark searched for the Norse settlements and asserted control over Greenland. By the 18th century, a joint Danish and Norwegian colonization effort established a new colony on the southwest coast.

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