King Christian IX Land

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King Christian IX Land
Kong Christian IX Land
Region of Greenland
Two glaciers at the K.J.V. Steenstrup Glacier
Two glaciers at the K.J.V. Steenstrup Glacier
Official seal of King Christian IX Land
Location of King Christian IX Land
Country  Greenland
Administrative center Godthåb
 • Governor Hans Ludvig Ambjørn
 • Total 531,900 km2 (205,400 sq mi)
Population (2014)
 • Total 44,214
 • DensityBad rounding here0.083/km2 (Bad rounding here0.22/sq mi)
Official language Danish

King Christian IX Land (Danish: Kong Christian IX Land) is an administrative region in Greenland, extending through the Arctic Circle. It is the home of the capital of Greenland, Godthåb, and is the country's most populous region with 44,214 inhabitants. King Christian IX Land is the main political and economic hub of Greenland.

Like the rest of Greenland the region is characterized by a succession of short fjords, steep mountains and small coastal islands. There is a narrow belt of ice-free land between the shore and the Inland ice cap, interrupted by active glaciers reaching the shore with the ice limit varying seasonally from year to year. King Christian IX Land covers 531,900 square km in the southern portion of the island, and is the site of some of the earliest Norse settlements in Greenland that were established around the year 1000. The Vikings found the area uninhabited by any of the Greenlandic Inuit. The foundations of the modern Greenlandic state emerged in this region, and it later became recolonized by the Norwegians and the Danish, although the Greenlanders were an autonomous country. In the late 19th century they obtained the country's independence. This territory was originally part of South Greenland during the Danish administration, then in 1933 it was split between the regions of East and West Greenland, before the regions were restructured and the current region of King Christian IX Land was created in 1962.

History[edit | edit source]

This area was inhabited by the Inuit people in the past. Numerous coastal islands, including Qulleq, Timmiarmiit, Griffenfeld Island and Skjoldungen, have recent Inuit remains, as well as Paleo-Eskimo or ancient Thule culture sites.

Icelander Gunnbjørn Ulf-Krakason reportedly sighted the eastern coast of Greenland in the 10th century. The inhabitants of the Western Settlement referred to the inhospitable Southeastern Greenland coast as "Ubygder", the unbuilt place. In 1001 Torgils Orrabeinfostre, a legendary Norseman who was shipwrecked in these harsh shores, spent four years trying to reach the Western Settlement.

Geography[edit | edit source]

The region is located in south-central and eastern Greenland, with an area of 531,900 km2 (205,367.7 sq mi). In the south, it is flanked by King Frederick VI Land, with the border running alongside Alanngorsuaq Fjord. The waters flowing around the western coastline of the region are that of Labrador Sea, which to the north narrows down to form Davis Strait separating the island of Greenland from Baffin Island. In the northwest, the region is bordered by the Clarinetania region, and further north by Knud Rasmussen Land. The latter border however run north-south through the center (45° West meridian) of the Greenland ice sheet, and as such is free of traffic. In the north it borders Erik the Red's Land, beyond Cape Biot, at the northern end of Fleming Fjord. In the east, near the settlement of Scoresbysund, the regional shores straddle the Scoresby Sound fjord, which opens to the cold Greenland Sea. The southeastern shores are bordered by the Anorituup Kangerlua fjord of the Irminger Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Economy[edit | edit source]

As the site of the capital, this region is the economic enter of Greenland. Many companies that operate in Greenland have their main offices or headquarters in the country in Godthåb.

Transportation[edit | edit source]

The Godthåb International Airport, the country's busiest international airport (out of three total airports in the country that have long enough runways to service larger jets for international flights), serves the capital and is the main transit hub in Greenland. It is the headquarters of Air Greenland, the national airline, and provides regular international flights to other cities in Europe and North America. It also provides domestic flights to multiple Greenlandic cities, including Søndre Strømfjord, Holsteinsborg, Danmarkshavn, Egedesminde, and Jakobshavn. The Royal Arctic Line provides ferry services to the most of the coastal towns of King Christian IX Land, including the port of Godthåb.

The West Greenland Line, the country's only passenger railway, connects several towns and villages along the western coast, covering King Christian IX Land as well as Clarinetania and Knud Rasmussen Land. There is daily service between Godthåb and Holsteinborg, including the villages between them, and service every three or four days on other parts of the line.

See also[edit | edit source]