Greenland is an Ice Age area. It
is difficult to distinguish between the sea ice and the land ice from
the air. In the year 900,
the explorer Gunnbjorn Ulfsson sighted land where it is called
Gunnbjarnarsker. About 30
years later, other Icelanders attempted in vain to settle there.
Icelandic annals inform us about the East Greenland ice and
ships, which were lost at sea. No
sources tell us about a successful settlement.
Frobisher, Richardson, Hudson, Carolus and a few other
explorers spotted land from a great distance in the 16th and 17th
centuries, but no one landed there until 1884.
In the early 19th century, the Danes living in South
Greenland received news about Inuit settlements far north.
Many exploring voyages were made, but they found no signs of
human life. The famines of
The Little Ice Age, 1600-1900, had reduced the number of the Inuits on
the East Coast greatly. Eventually
a Danish expedition, led by Gustaf Holm, managed to find 416 Inuits
living in Stone Age conditions on the Angmagssalik Bay.
They were the survivors of a tribe that had lived all along the
East Coast, from Pearyland in the north to the southernmost point of the
country. Ten years later,
The Royal Danish Trading Company established itself on the Angmagssalik
Bay. At that time the
number of inhabitants was 352. Those
people were the ancestors of the present 3500-4000 inhabitants of the
East Coast. They live in
two large and nine small settlements.
Their main basis of livelihood is hunting and fishing.
Their only reliable means of transportation are airplanes and
almost rides the Arctic Circle. Despite
that, the climate probably is the best in the whole country.
The summers are warm and sunny, and the winters are relatively
mild. Spring is very short
and bright. The sudden
changes between winter and summer are remarkable to watch.
Each season has its meteorological characteristics.
The weather can be mild and good or extremely harsh.
Weather changes sometimes are very abrupt.
Therefore it is highly recommended to be ready for all kinds of
weather upon a visit there, even during summer.