Greenlandic independence is a political ambition of some political parties, advocacy groups, and individuals of Greenland, an autonomous country within the Danish Realm, to become an independent sovereign state.
Norse colonization and early Scandinavian rule of Greenland
Scholars believe that the earliest known Norse settlements in Greenland originated from Iceland. Scholars believe that Erik the Red founded an early colony in 985. Icelandic control of Greenland is estimated to have lasted until 1261. The Kingdom of Norway later claimed and controlled Greenland singularly from roughly 1261–1319.
Unification of Norwegian and Danish rule was established in Greenland under one kingdom from 1380–1814, first under the Kalmar Union and then under Denmark–Norway. This ended on 14 January 1814 after Norway was ceded from Denmark as a result of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. As a result of the Treaty of Kiel, Denmark gained full colonial control of Greenland soon after. From 1814–1953, Greenland was a colony, not independent and not part of Denmark, but directly controlled by the Danish government.
During the Second World War, Denmark was occupied and controlled by Nazi Germany between 1940 and 1945. As a result, the Danish and US governments signed an agreement to hand over defense and control of Greenland to the United States on 9 April 1941. The first troops arrived in Greenland on 7 July 1941. Greenland was effectively independent during these years, and allowed the United States to build bases on its territory. After the war the pre-war situation was restored, the US bases remained and Denmark, with Greenland as a part of it, joined NATO.
In 1953, Greenland gained representation in the Danish Parliament and was recognized as a Danish province. Following this, in 1979, Greenland was granted home rule by the Danish government. Denmark remained in control of foreign relations and defense in Greenland after this.
In 2008 Greenland's citizens approved the Greenlandic self-government referendum with a 75% vote in favor of independence. Greenland took control of law enforcement, the coast guard, and the legal system. The official language changed from Danish to Greenlandic on 21 June 2009, Greenland national day.
Greenland's former prime minister, Kuupik Kleist, has repeatedly expressed the need to diversify Greenland's economy, which mainly relies on fishery, tourism and a substantial annual block grant from the Danish state. Economic stability is seen as a basis for full political independence from Denmark.
Some campaigners have touted the year 2021 (the 300th anniversary of Danish colonial rule) as a date for potential independence.