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Chapter Notes: The Land of Snow: Greenland - Notes | Study Social Studies for Class 5 - Class 5

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Greenland in the Arctic regionGreenland in the Arctic regionGreenland is situated in the Frigid Zone. This zone is in between 66.5° N and 0° N, i.e. North Pole. There are some other countries whose Northern parts lie in this zone. Upper half of Alaska (USA), Northern parts of Canada, Norway, Sweden and northern strip of Russia, known as Tundra, also are in the Frigid Zone.  There is a Frigid Zone between 66.5° S and 0° S i.e. South Pole as well. OnlyAntarctica is in that Frigid Zone which has no permanent human habitation except for the scientists who visit it.
Greenland provides us very interesting study of the adaptation of human being according to the geographical location and the climatic conditions. The sun’s rays are very slant on this region which hardly provide any warmth. Summers are totally absent there. Winters cannot be compared with any season as the temperature range is –23° C to 10° C. You can imagine these temperatures as water freezes at 0° C. The northern part of the country is covered with ice sheets all round the year and ice sheets are as thick as 3 km at some places. The Jakobshavn glacier, often moving 30m a day, is among the world’s fastest glaciers.
The ice-free land area occupies the country’s coastal areas and consists largely of highlands; mountain chains parallel to the island’s east and west coasts. The country does not have day and night as we have in our country. The days may be as long as eighteen weeks in the northern part of the country. Same is true for nights as well. The sun does not travel from east to west as it does in our country. Rather, it hangs above the horizon and then sets in the same place. The vegetation is characterized as Tundra and consists of cotton grass, and lichen. Ice free area is almost without trees.
EskimoEskimoPolar bears, musk-oxen,reindeer, arctic foxes, snow hares and lemmings are found on the island. Seals and whales are found in surrounding waters. Other fish from the ocean are cod, salmon, etc. The population of Greenland is widely dispersed, mostly in very small coastal settlements.

Living of The People Effected By The Climate Conditions

Agriculture is possible on about 1 % of Greenland’s total area, in the southern ice-free region. Hay and garden vegetables are the only crops raised. Most of the ice-free land is pasture for sheep and reindeers, which are raised for meat, wool and milk. Hunting is still important in the northern regions, where seals, foxes, and polar bears are caught for their meat and pelts. However the hunting of these animals has come down drastically for ecological reasons.
Making an  Igloo from blocks of iceMaking an  Igloo from blocks of ice

The economy is based on the fishing of cods, prawns and other marine life, their smoking and canning. Zinc and lead are the principle ores mined. Dresses have to be extra warm and protective against high speed cold winds. Therefore, it is natural that dress has to be made of animal fur. Men and women wear similar dresses. Shoes are long and even children must wear them.
Eskimo HunteEskimo Hunte

Homes are now made of wood with specially designed provisions of warming them. Earlier people used to live in tents made of reindeer hide or in Igloos made of ice blocks. Even now some times people make igloos on temporary basis. These have special entrance of tunnel shape to keep winds out and minimize heat loss. Hunting equipments are now modern rifles and guns. Harpoons and Kayaks are mostly of historical importance. However some form of harpoons is still used to drag out larger fish from water. Transportation had been sledges driven by Husky dogs and reindeers. In some cases, huskies and reindeers are still used but generally these have been replaced by motorized sledges. Population is mainly made up of native Greenlanders, and about sixteen percent are settlers. The Greenlanders are Inuit or Eskimo. Their language is Inupiaq and its various dialects. Roadways in Greenland are limited to short stretches of ice-free coastal areas, and sleds are used inland. Shipping and air service are the principle transport. It has very efficient telecommunication network.
Greenland’s Capital, NuukGreenland’s Capital, NuukGreenland is with Holland but it has been granted home rule. But Dutch support has been very helpful in establishing educational efforts, health facilities other social welfare schemes. The capital city is Nuuk (Godthab)

Things to Remember

  • Frigid Zone is in between 66.5° N and 0° N, i.e. North Pole.
  • There is a Frigid Zone between 66.5° S and 0° S i.e. South Pole as well.
  • There are some other countries whose Northern parts lie in this zone. Upper half of Alaska (USA), Northern parts of Canada, Norway, Sweden and northern strip of Russia, known as Tundra, also are in the Frigid Zone.
  • The Jakobshavn glacier, often moving 30m a day, is among the world’s fastest glaciers.
  • The ice- free land area occupies the country’s coastal areas and consists largely of highlands; mountain chains parallel to the island’s east and west coast. It is about 1% of the total land area of Greenland.
  • Hay and garden vegetables are the only crops raised. Most of the ice-free land is pasture for sheep and reindeers, which are raised for meat, wool and milk. Hunting is still important in the northern regions, where seals, foxes, and polar bears are caught for their meat and pelts. However the hunting of these animals has come down drastically for ecological reasons.
  • The economy is based on the fishing of cods, prawns and other marine life, their smoking and canning.
  • Zinc and lead are the principle ores mined.
  • Population is mainly made up of native Greenlanders, and about sixteen percent are settlers. The Greenlanders are Inuit or Eskimo. There language is Inupiaq and its various dialects.
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