Erik the Red's Land

Erik the Red's Land (Norwegian: Eirik Raudes Land) was the name given by Norwegians to an area on East Greenland coast occupied by Norway in the early 1930s. It was named after Erik the Red, a viking conqueror and founder of the first Norse settlements in Greenland in the 10th century. The Permanent Court of International Justice ruled against Norway in 1933 and they subsequently abandoned their claims.

History

Main article: History of Greenland


The first discovery of Greenland by Europeans was about the year 900 A.D., and the island was colonized about a century later by Norse settlers, being in fact the first European colonisation of the Americas in history. The best known and probably among the first was Eric the Red, who was an inhabitant of Iceland of Norwegian origin. The Norse settlements were Eystribygð at the south and Vestribygð at the south-west coast of Greenland. At its peak Vestribygð is believed to have less than 1000 inhabitants, whereas the greater Eystribygð had a population of about 4000. Independently the Inuit people came via the now Canadian Arctic Archipelago during this period and founded settlements along the western coast of the island.

After being an autonomous region for more than two centuries, the Greenlanders accepted the overlordship of Haakon IV of Norway in 1261. Greenland followed Norway (together with Iceland, Faroes, Shetland and Orkneys) into the union with Denmark in 1380 and Sweden in 1397 (Kalmar Union), which later became the Union with Denmark in 1536. After initially thriving, the Norse settlements declined in the 14th century. The Western Settlement was abandoned around 1350. After 1408, when a marriage was recorded, no written records mention the settlers. It is probable that the Eastern Settlement was defunct by the late 15th century although no exact date has been established. Being more adapted to the climate, the Inuit people managed to sustain their settlements.

For more than three centuries, there are no records of contact between Greenland and Norwegians, but the Danish-Norwegian king continued to claim lordship over the island. In 1721 a joint merchant-clerical expedition led by Norwegian missionary Hans Egede was sent to Greenland, which was the beginning of a recolonization by Denmark-Norway. When, after the Napoleonic wars, the Kingdom of Norway was transferred to the King of Sweden with the Treaty of Kiel, the possessions of Greenland, Faroes and Iceland were explicitly excluded.

The Norwegian annexation

Enlarge picture
The early Norwegian hunting and telegraphstation in Myggebugten, Eirik Raudes Land
According to the royal Norwegian proclamation of July 10, 1931, Norway took possession of which "is officially confirmed" and which is "placed under Norwegian sovereignty" is "situated between Carlsberg Fjord on the South and Bessel Fjord on the North, in Eastern Greenland" and extends from latitude 71°30' to 75°40'N. Although not explicitly stated by the proclamation itself, it is assumed that the occupied land was limited to the eastern coast of Greenland so that the Inland Ice constituted the western limit of the area. The Inland Ice covers five sixths of Greenland's total area, so that only a narrow strip of varying width along the coast is free of permanent ice.

Norway occupied and claimed parts of (still) uninhabited Eastern Greenland in the 1920s, claiming that it constituted Terra nullius. It was for the most part used by Norwegian whalers and trappers. The area was annexed by Norway in 1932. Norway and Denmark agreed to settle the matter at the Permanent Court of International Justice in 1933, where Norway lost. The Norwegian claim was abandoned after this ruling.

The Court verdict

The International Court at the Hague awarded the disputed territory to Denmark. The decision was accepted by both countries.

Governor of Erik the Red's Land

External links

Norwegian}}} 
Official status
Official language of:  Norway
Nordic Council
Regulated by: Norwegian Language Council
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ISO 639-1: no — Norwegian
nb — Bokml
nn — Nynorsk
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Nordmenn; a term used by Scandinavians to denote ethnic Norwegians and Norwegian citizens. It translates as "Norsemen". (Singular: Nordmann)
  • Northmen; old term used by other European peoples to denote the peoples originating in the northern regions of Europe

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  • Tunu/Østgrønland (East Greenland) is one of the three counties (amt) of Greenland. The county seat is at the main settlement, Tasiilaq. Population in 2005 was around 3,800.
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    Viking, also called Norseman or Northman, refers to a member of the Scandinavian seafaring traders, warriors and pirates who raided and colonized wide areas of Europe from the 8th to the 11th century[1]
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    Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who speak one of the North Germanic languages as their native language. ("Norse", in particular, refers to the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Danish,
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    Eastern Settlement (Old Norse: Eystribygð, Icelandic: Eystribyggð) was the larger of the two areas of Greenland settled in approximately 984 AD by Norse farmers from Iceland (the other settlement
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    As a means of recording the passage of time, the 10th century was that century which lasted from 901 to 1000.

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    The tenth century is usually regarded as a low point in European history. In China it was also a period of political upheaval.
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    The Permanent Court of International Justice, sometimes called the World Court, was the international court of the League of Nations, established in 1922. Between 1922 and 1940 the Court dealt with 29 contentious cases between States and delivered 27 advisory opinions.
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    history of Greenland, the world's largest island, is the history of life under extreme Arctic conditions: an ice cap covers about 95 percent of the island, largely restricting human activity to the coasts.
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    Eastern Settlement (Old Norse: Eystribygð, Icelandic: Eystribyggð) was the larger of the two areas of Greenland settled in approximately 984 AD by Norse farmers from Iceland (the other settlement
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    Western Settlement (Old Norse: Vestribygð) was the smaller of the two areas of Greenland settled in around 1000 AD by Norse farmers from Iceland (the other settlement being the Eastern Settlement).
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