Since Australia and Antarctica are both considered continental land masses, Greenland is the largest island in the world. Many people joke about Greenland being mostly covered with snow and ice and Iceland being mostly green, but it’s really no joke.
Many people believe that Greenland is uninhabited, but that’s not true. Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland was founded and incorporated in 1728 and has a current population of 18,000 with several thousand more living in the surrounding metropolitan area. The population of the entire island is nearly 56,000, speaking Greenlandic (the official language), along with Danish and English.
The reason the people of Greenland speak Danish is because Denmark obtained the island nation as a territory in 1775. However, not everyone recognized Denmark’s claim to Greenland until 1931 when Norway challenged Denmark’s claim of ownership of Greenland and the case went to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The court ruled rejected Norway’s challenge and from 1931 till now, Denmark is the undisputed owner of the world’s largest island.
Some on Greenland have been proposing independence since as early as 1940, but as yet, no efforts for independence have been successful.
During World War II, Denmark agreed to allow the United States to establish a military base in Greenland. The base, known today as Thule Air Base was built in 1943 and is America’s northern most military base. It is a very important and strategic military base, giving the US air access to anywhere in northern Europe and Russia.
Since World War II, a number of US presidents have approached Denmark with proposals to purchase the island from them, but to date, all of those proposals have been rejected. In 1946, President Harry Truman offered Denmark $100 million in gold (about $1.28 billion today) for Greenland, but Denmark rejected his offer.
There have been rumors that President Donald Trump has expressed interested in trying to negotiate the purchase of Greenland from Denmark, but after his scheduled visit to Copenhagen was cancelled, many believe the topic has been tabled, at least for now, but has it?
Many believe it folly to try to purchase Greenland, but is it really just a folly? If you recall, in 1867, US Secretary of State William H. Seward purchased Alaska (586,000 square miles) from Russia for $7 million. The purchase was then and still today is known as Seward’s folly, yet has proven to not only be a huge economic win for the US, but also a huge military strategic purchase for the US, due to it’s proximity to Russia.
In 1803, many opposed President Thomas Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana territory (827,000 square miles), which include most of the middle of America today, but it too has proven to be a huge financial and military plus for the United States.
The purchase of Greenland would make it the largest (836,000) and most expensive land purchase in US history. As in the other large land purchases in US history, many oppose the purchase of Greenland, saying it would be a waste of money, but would it?
Various studies indicate that there are large amounts of valuable resources lying underneath Greenland’s mantle of white and that the economic gain would more than pay for the cost of the purchase. Additionally, Greenland holds a tremendous strategic military position in a growing hostile world.
Therefore, I ask you if President Trump should pursue the purchase of Greenland from Denmark? Opinions are strong on both sides of issue and I have mine, but what is yours?