Canada’s Big Neighbour…

… to the north west is Greenland. We moan about how folks in the U.S. know precious little about Canada, even though we’re camped right on their doorstep (well, I do, certainly). But what do we know about Greenland, with whom we share a long boundary? Do we even know that it goes by the name of Kalaallit Nunaat (i.e. land of the Kalaallit, who are the people of Western Greenland)? Or that yesterday its citizens elected the left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit (Community of the People, IA) over the Social Democratic Siumut Party that governed Greenland Kalaallit Nunaat for three decades?

Here’s a map of the boundary between us. Click on it to see a larger, more legible version.

We’ll be paying closer attention over the next few years, I imagine, as the circumpolar nations scrap over international boundaries and the hydrocarbon riches that are said to lie beneath the seabed. You may remember that we had a dispute of sorts with Denmark, which manages foreign affairs for Kalaallit Nunaat, over the nationality of Hans Island (properly, Tartupaluk), a tiny, uninhabited piece of rock in the Kennedy Channel of the Nares Strait off Ellesmere Island. (The Google Earth image, seen to the right, shows nothing but a blur, even at highest magnification. Click on it to enlarge it.) The Canadian Geographic website has a nice few pages on the dispute, and Wikipedia is particularly good on the matter. It would seem that Canada’s current position is that the boundary runs through the middle of the island, giving us another land border with a neighbour.

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