It's easy to see how Greenland attained its Inuit name of Kalaallit Nunaat, or White Earth. Seemingly frozen fast in place, the ice is in fact in perpetual motion, constantly being replenished by snowfall and flowing steadily towards the coast, forming huge sinuous glaciers and ultimately disgorging itself as weird and wonderfully-shaped icebergs into the sea. To the east and out to sea the East Greenland Current flows along the entire coast, dragging vast quantities of icebergs and dense Polar ice with it, effectively blocking access to all but the most determined or lucky seafarers, rendering it an unattractive prospect to Western colonizers and delaying their arrival until very recently.

Greenland is a part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Greenland was first colonized with the arrival of the Danish/Norwegian missionary, Hans Egede, in 1721, and it was not until the Danish constitutional amendment of 1953 that Greenland became a more equal partner in the Danish realm. The influence of the Danish state in Greenland has decreased since 1979 when the Home Rule was introduced.

Companies are exploring hydrocarbon and mineral deposits. There have been several offshore licensing rounds since 2002 with a number of successful bids by multinational oil companies in partnership with NUNAOIL the state oil company for blocks. Press reports in early 2007 indicated that two international aluminum companies were considering building smelters in Greenland to take advantage of local hydropower potential.

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