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THE INUIT of the Arctic Regions Of Canada, Greenland, Russia & Alaska

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Author Topic: THE INUIT of the Arctic Regions Of Canada, Greenland, Russia & Alaska  (Read 7589 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2009, 04:44:20 pm »










The division of labour in traditional society had a strong gender component, but it was not absolute.

The men were traditionally hunters and fishermen. The women took care of the children, cleaned huts, sewed, processed food, and cooked.

However, there are numerous examples of women who hunted out of necessity or as a personal choice. At the same time, men who could be away from camp for several days would be expected to know how to sew and cook.

The marital customs among the Inuit were not strictly monogamous: many Inuit relationships were implicitly or explicitly sexual. Open marriages, polygamy, divorce, and remarriage were fairly common.

Among some Inuit groups divorce required the approval of the community, if there were children, and particularly the agreement of the elders. Marriages were often arranged, sometimes in infancy, and occasionally forced on the couple by the community. Marriage was common for men when they became productive hunters, and for women at puberty.

Family structure was flexible: a household might consist of a man and his wife or wives and children;
it might include his parents or his wife's parents as well as adopted children; or it might be a larger formation of several siblings with their parents, wives and children; or even more than one family
sharing dwellings and resources. Every household had its head, an elder or a particularly respected
man.

There was also a larger notion of community, generally several families who shared a place where
they wintered. Goods were shared within a household, and also to a significant extent within a
whole community.

The Inuit were hunter-gatherers, and have been referred to as nomadic.

It is mistakenly believed that they had no government, and had no conception of either private pro-
perty or ownership of land. In fact they had very sophisticated concepts of private property and of
land ownership that, as with their form of governance, was so drastically different than the Western concepts understood by European observers that the existence of such went entirely undocumented until well into the 20th century.
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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2009, 04:47:01 pm »










Virtually all Inuit cultures have oral traditions of raids by other indigenous peoples such as the Bloody Falls Massacre, even including fellow Inuit, and of taking vengeance on them in return. Western observers often regarded these tales as generally not entirely accurate historical accounts, but more
as self-serving myths. But evidence shows that Inuit cultures had very accurate methods of teaching historical accounts to each new generation.

The historic account of violence against outsiders does make clear that there was a history of hostile contact within the Inuit cultures and with other cultures.

It also makes it very clear that Inuit nations existed, and at times confederations of those nations too. The known confederations were usually formed for defensive purposes, generally to defend against a very prosperous, and thus very strong, nation. Alternately, people who lived in less productive geographical areas tended to be less warlike, having to spend more time producing food.

Justice with Inuit cultures was moderated by the form of governance that gave significant power to
the elders in such decisions. But even then, as in most cultures around the world, it could be harsh
and often included capital punishment for serious crimes against the community or even against an individual.

It is also noted that during raids the Inuit, like their non-Inuit neighbours, tended to be merciless.
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« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2009, 04:54:07 pm »









"A pervasive European myth about Inuit is that they killed elderly and unproductive people."

This is not generally true.

In a culture with an oral history, elders are the keepers of communal knowledge, effectively the community library, and there are cultural taboos against sacrificing elders because they are of
extreme value as the repository of knowledge.

Knud Rasmussen found that the death of elders by suicide was a commonplace among the Iglulik Inuit.He heard of many old men and women who had hanged themselves. By ensuring they died a
violent death, Inuit elders purified the soul for its journey to the afterworld.

According to Franz Boas suicide was not of rare occurrence and was generally accomplished through hanging.

Writing of the Labrador Inuit, Hawkes (1916) was considerable more explicit on the subject suicide
and the burden of the elderly:

"Aged people who have outlived their usefulness and whose life is a burden both to themselves and
their relatives are put to death by stabbing or strangulation. This is customarily done at the request
of the individual concerned, but not always so. Aged people who are a hindrance on the trail are abandoned."

People seeking assistance in their suicide made three consecutive requests to relatives for help.
Family members would attempt to dissuade the individual at each suggestion, but the third request became obligatory.

In some cases, a suicide was a publicly acknowledged and attended event.

Once the suicide had been agreed to, the victim would dress him or herself as the dead are clothed,
in this case with clothing turned inside out. The death occurred at a specific place, where the material possessions of deceased people were brought to be destroyed.

When food is not sufficient there is little doubt that the elderly are the least likely to survive. In an extreme case of famine the Inuit fully understood that a hunter was necessarily the one to feed on whatever food was left if there was to be any hope of obtaining more food.

However, a common response to desperate conditions and the threat of starvation was infanticide, which did sometimes entail abandoning an infant in hopes that someone less desperate might find and adopt the child before the cold or the wildlife killed the child.

The belief that the Inuit regularly resorted to infanticide may be due in part to studies done by Asen Balikci, Milton Freeman and David Riches among the Netsilik.

It was long presumed by anthropologists that Inuit cultures routinely killed children born with physical defects.

Between 1982 and 1994, a storm with high winds caused ocean waves to erode part of the bluffs near Barrow, Alaska, and a body was discovered to have been washed out of the mud. Unfortunately the storm claimed the body, which was not recovered. But examination of the eroded bank indicated that
an ancient house, perhaps with other remains, was likely to be claimed by the next storm.

The site (known as the "Ukkuqsi archaeological site") was excavated.

Several frozen bodies (now known as the "frozen family") were recovered, autopsies were performed, and they were interred as the first burials in the then new Imaiqsaun Cemetery south of Barrow.

Years later another body washed out of the bluff - that of a female child, approximately 9 years old, who had clearly been born with a congenital birth defect.  This child had never been able to walk, but must have been cared for by family throughout her life.

During the 19th century, the Western Arctic suffered a population decline of close to 90% of their population resulting from foreign diseases including tuberculosis, measles, influenza, and smallpox. Autopsies near Greenland reveal that, more commonly pneumonia, kidney diseases, trichinosis, malnutrition, and degenerative disorders may have contributed to mass deaths among different
Inuit tribes.

The Inuit believed that the cause of the disease came from a spiritual origin.
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« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2009, 04:55:33 pm »

aurora borealis
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« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2009, 04:57:46 pm »










The Inuit people lived in an environment that heavily influenced a mythology filled with adventure tales of whale and walrus hunts.

Long winter months of waiting for caribou herds or sitting near breathing holes hunting seals gave birth to stories of mysterious and sudden appearance of ghosts and fantastic creatures.

Some Inuit looked into the aurora borealis, or northern lights, to find images of their family and friends dancing in the next life, and they relied upon the angakkuq (shaman), while the nearest thing to a central deity was the Old Woman (Sedna), who lived beneath the sea. The waters, a central food source, were believed to contain great gods.

The Inuit practised a form of shamanism based on animist principles. They believed that all things had
a form of spirit, just like humans, and that to some extent these spirits could be influenced by a pantheon of supernatural entities that could be appeased when one required some animal or inanimate thing to act in a certain way. The angakkuq of a community of Inuit was not the leader, but rather a sort of healer and psychotherapist, who tended wounds and offered advice, as well as invoking the spirits to assist people in their lives. His or her role was to see, interpret and exhort the subtle and unseen. Angakkuqs were not trained, they were held to be born with the ability.

Inuit religion was closely tied to a system of rituals that were integrated into the daily life of the people. These rituals were simple but held to be necessary. According to a customary Inuit saying, "The great peril of our existence lies in the fact that our diet consists entirely of souls." By believing that all things, including animals, have souls like those of humans, any hunt that failed to show appropriate respect and customary supplication would only give the liberated spirits cause to avenge themselves.

The harshness and randomness of life in the Arctic ensured that Inuit lived with concern for the uncontrollable, where a streak of bad luck could destroy an entire community. To offend a spirit was to risk its interference with an already marginal existence.

The Inuit understand that they work in harmony with supernatural powers to provide the necessities of day-to-day survival.
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« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2009, 06:34:23 pm »










                                                   Since the arrival of Europeans






                                                                Canada



Early contact with Europeans

The lives of Paleo-Eskimos of the far north were largely unaffected by the arrival of visiting Norsemen except for mutual trade.  Labrador Eskimo have had the longest continuous contact with Europeans. After the disappearance of the Norse colonies in Greenland, the Inuit had no contact with Europeans for at least a century. By the mid 16th century, Basque fishermen were already working the Labrador coast and had established whaling stations on land, such as been excavated at Red Bay. The Inuit appear not to have interfered with their operations, but they raided the stations in winter for tools, and particularly worked iron, which they adapted to native needs.

Martin Frobisher's 1576 search for the Northwest Passage was the first well-documented post-Columbian contact between Europeans and Inuit. Frobisher's expedition landed in Frobisher Bay, Baffin Island, not far from the town now called Iqaluit, but long known as Frobisher Bay. This first contact went poorly. Martin Frobisher, attempting to find the Northwest Passage, encountered Inuit on Resolution Island. Five sailors jumped ship and became part of Inuit mythology. The homesick sailors, tired of their adventure, attempted to leave in a small vessel and vanished. Frobisher brought an unwilling Inuk to England, doubtless the first Inuk ever to visit Europe. The Inuit oral tradition, in contrast, recounts the natives helping Frobisher's crewmen, whom they believed had been abandoned.

The semi-nomadic eco-centred Inuit were fishers and hunters harvesting lakes, seas, ice platforms and tundra. While there are some allegations that Inuit were hostile to early French and English explorers, fishers and whalers, more recent research suggests that the early relations with whaling stations along the Labrador coast and later James Bay were based on a mutual interest in trade.

In the final years of the 18th century, the Moravian Church began missionary activities in Labrador, supported by the British who were tired of the raids on their whaling stations. The Moravian missionaries could easily provide the Inuit with the iron and basic materials they had been stealing from whaling outposts, materials whose real cost to Europeans was almost nothing, but whose value to the Inuit was enormous and from then on contacts in Labrador were far more peaceful.

 
The European arrival tremendously damaged the Inuit way of life, causing mass death through new diseases introduced by whalers and explorers, and enormous social disruptions caused by the distorting effect of Europeans' material wealth.

Nonetheless, Inuit society in the higher latitudes had largely persisted in isolation in the 19th century.

The Hudson's Bay Company opened trading posts such as Great Whale River (1820), today the site of the twin villages of Whapmagoostui and Kuujjuarapik, where whale products of the commercial whale hunt were processed and furs traded. The British Naval Expedition (1821-3) led by Admiral William Edward Parry, which twice over wintered in Foxe Basin, provided the first informed, sympathetic and well-documented account of the economic, social and religious life of the Inuit. Parry stayed in what is now Igloolik over the second winter. Parry's writings with pen and ink illustrations of Inuit everyday life (1824) and those of George Francis Lyon (1824) were widely read.

Captain George Comer's Inuit wife Shoofly known for her sewing skills and elegant attire was influential in convincing him to acquire more sewing accessories and beads for trade with Inuit.
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« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2009, 06:35:39 pm »

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« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2009, 06:37:56 pm »










A few traders and missionaries circulated among the more accessible bands, and after 1904 they were accompanied by a handful of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

Unlike most Aboriginal peoples in Canada, however, the lands occupied by the Inuit were of little interest to European settlers -- to the southerners, the homeland of the Inuit was a hostile hinterland. Southerners enjoyed lucrative careers as bureaucrats and service providers in the north, but very few southerners chose to retire there.

In the early years of the 20th century, Canada, with its more hospitable lands largely settled, began to take a greater interest in its more peripheral territories, especially the fur and mineral rich hinterlands. By the late 1920s, there were no longer any Inuit who had not been contacted by traders, missionaries or government agents. In 1939, the Supreme Court of Canada found in Re Eskimos that the Inuit should be considered Indians and were thus under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Native customs were worn down by the actions of the RCMP, who enforced Canadian criminal law on Inuit who often could not understand what they had done wrong, and by missionaries who preached a moral code very different from the one they were used to. Many of the Inuit were systematically converted to Christianity in the 19th and 20th centuries, through rituals like the Siqqitiq.
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« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2009, 06:44:04 pm »









World War II and the Cold War made Arctic Canada strategically important for the first time and, thanks to the development of modern aircraft, accessible year-round. The construction of air bases and the Distant Early Warning Line in the 1940s and 50s brought more intensive contacts with European society, particularly in the form of public education, which instilled and enforced foreign values disdainful of the traditional structure of Inuit society.

In the 1950s the High Arctic relocation was undertaken by the Government of Canada for several reasons. These reasons were to include protecting Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic, alleviating hunger (as the area currently occupied had been over-hunted), and attempting to solve the "Eskimo problem", meaning the assimilation and end of the Inuit culture. One of the more notable relocations was undertaken in 1953, when 17 families were moved from Port Harrison (now Inukjuak, Quebec) to Resolute and Grise Fiord. They were dropped off in early September when winter had already arrived. The land they were sent to was very different from that in the Inukjuak area; it was barren, with only a couple of months above freezing and several months of polar night. They were told by the RCMP they would be able to return within two years if conditions were not right. However, two years later more families were relocated to the High Arctic and it was to be thirty years before they were able to visit Inukjuak.

By 1953, Canada's prime minister Louis St. Laurent publicly admitted, "Apparently we have administered the vast territories of the north in an almost continuing absence of mind."  The government began to establish about forty permanent administrative centres to provide education, health and economic development services for Inuit.  Inuit from hundreds of smaller camps scattered across the north, began to congregate in these hamlets.

Furthermore, regular visits from doctors and access to modern medical care raised the birth rate and decreased the death rate, causing an enormous natural increase (see Demographic transition). Before long, the Inuit population was beyond what hunting and fishing could support, i.e. the carrying capacity of the ecosystem. By the mid-1960s, encouraged first by missionaries, then by the prospect of paid jobs and government services, and finally forced by hunger and required by police, all Canadian Inuit lived year-round in permanent settlements. The nomadic migrations that were the central feature of Arctic life had for the most part disappeared. The Inuit, a once self-sufficient people in an extremely harsh environment, were in the span of perhaps two generations transformed into a small, impoverished minority lacking skills or resources to sell to the larger economy, but increasingly dependent on it for survival.

Although anthropologists like Diamond Jenness (1964) were quick to predict that Inuit culture was facing extinction, Inuit political activism was already emerging.
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« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2009, 06:47:41 pm »









In the 1960s, the Canadian government funded the establishment of secular, government-operated
high schools in the Northwest Territories (including what is now Nunavut) and Inuit areas in Quebec
and Labrador along with the residential school system. The Inuit population was not large enough to support a full high school in every community, so this meant only a few schools were built, and stu-
dents from across the territories were boarded there. These schools, in Aklavik, Iqaluit, Yellowknife, Inuvik and Kuujjuaq, brought together young Inuit from across the Arctic in one place for the first
time, and exposed them to the rhetoric of civil and human rights that prevailed in Canada in the
1960s.

This was a real wake-up call for Inuit, and it stimulated the emergence of a new generation of
young Inuit activists in the late 1960s who came forward and pushed for respect for the Inuit and
their territories.

The Inuit began to emerge as a political force in the late 1960s and early 1970s, shortly after the
first graduates returned home. They formed new politically active associations in the early 1970s, starting with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami in 1971, and more region specific organizations shortly afterwards, including the Northern Quebec Inuit Association (Makivik Corporation) and the Labrador
Inuit Association.

These activist movements began to change the direction of Inuit society in 1975 with the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. This comprehensive land claims settlement for Quebec Inuit, along with a large cash settlement and substantial administrative autonomy in the new region of Nunavik,
set the precedent for the settlements to follow. The Labrador Inuit submitted their land claim in 1977, although they had to wait until 2005 to have a signed land settlement establishing Nunatsiavut.

In 1982, the Tunngavik Federation of Nunavut (TFN) was incorporated, in order to take over negotiations for land claims on behalf of the Northwest Territories Inuit from the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which became a joint association of the Inuit of Quebec, Labrador and the Northwest Territories.
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« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2009, 06:52:37 pm »









The TFN worked for ten years and, in September 1992, came to a final agreement with the government of Canada.

This agreement called for the separation of the Northwest Territories into an eastern territory whose aboriginal population would be predominately Inuit, the future Nunavut, and a rump Northwest Territories in the west.

It was the largest land claims agreement in Canadian history.

In November 1992, the Nunavut Final Agreement was approved by nearly 85 percent of the Inuit of what would become Nunavut.

As the final step in this long process, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement was signed on May 25, 1993 in Iqaluit by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and by Paul Quassa, the president of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, which replaced the TFN with the ratification of the Nunavut Final Agreement. The Canadian Parliament passed the supporting legislation in June of the same year, enabling the 1999 establishment of Nunavut as a territorial entity.

The Inuvialuit are western Canadian Inuit who remained in the Northwest Territories when Nunavut split off. They live primarily in the Mackenzie River delta, on Banks Island, and in parts of Victoria Island in the Northwest Territories. They are officially represented by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and received a comprehensive land claims settlement in 1984, with the signing of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.

With the establishment of Nunatsiavut in 2005, all the traditional Inuit lands in Canada are now covered by some sort of land claims agreement providing for regional autonomy.

Inuit communities in Canada continue to suffer under crushing unemployment, overcrowded housing, substance abuse, crime, violence and suicide. The problems Inuit face in the 21st century should not be underestimated.

However, many Inuit are upbeat about the future. Arguably, their situation is better than it has been since the 14th century.

Inuit arts, carving, print making, textiles and throat singing, are very popular, not only in Canada but globally, and Inuit artists are widely known. Indeed, Canada has, metaphorically, adopted some of the Inuit culture as a sort of national identity, using Inuit symbols like the inukshuk in unlikely places, such as its use as a symbol in the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Respected art galleries display Inuit art, the largest collection of which is at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Some Inuit languages such as Inuktitut, appears to have a more secure future in Quebec and Nunavut. There are a surprising number of Inuit, even those who now live in urban centres such as Ottawa, Montreal and Winnipeg, who have experienced living on the land in the traditional life style. People such as Legislative Assembly of Nunavut member, Levinia Brown and former Commissioner of Nunavut and the NWT, Helen Maksagak were born and lived the early part of their life "on the land".

Inuit culture is alive and vibrant today in spite of the negative impacts of recent history.






Inuit cabinet members



On October 30, 2008,Leona Aglukkaq was appointed as Minister of Health, "[becoming] the first Inuk to hold a senior cabinet position, although she is not the first Inuk to be in cabinet altogether."

Jack Anawak and Nancy Karetak-Lindell were both parliamentary secretaries respectively from 1993-96 and in 2003.
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« Reply #26 on: February 05, 2009, 06:57:28 pm »









                                                        G R E E N L A N D





The 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.

The first humans are thought to have arrived around 2500 BC. This group apparently died out and were succeeded by several other groups migrating from continental North America.

To Europeans, Greenland was unknown until the 10th century, when Icelandic Vikings settled on the southwestern coast. This part of Greenland was apparently unpopulated at the time when the Vikings arrived; the direct ancestors of the modern Inuit Greenlanders are not thought to have arrived until around AD 1200 from the northwest.

The Norse settlements along the southwestern coast eventually disappeared after about 500 years.

The Inuit thrived in the icy world of the Little Ice Age and were the only inhabitants of the island for several centuries.

Denmark-Norway nonetheless claimed the territory, and, after centuries of no contact between the Norse Greenlanders and their Scandinavian brethren, it was feared that the Greenlanders had lapsed back into paganism; so a missionary expedition was sent out to reinstate Christianity in 1721.

However, since none of the lost Norse Greenlanders were found, Denmark-Norway instead proceeded
to baptize the local Inuit Greenlanders and develop trading colonies along the coast as part of its aspirations as a colonial power. Colonial privileges were retained, such as trade monopoly.

During World War II, Greenland became effectively detached, socially and economically, from Denmark and became more connected to the United States and Canada.

After the war, control was returned to Denmark, and, in 1953, the colonial status was transformed into that of an overseas amt (county).

Although Greenland is still a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, it has enjoyed home rule since 1979.

In 1985, the island became the only territory to leave the European Union, which it had joined as a part of Denmark in 1973.
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« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2009, 07:00:39 pm »









The prehistory of Greenland is a story of repeated waves of Paleo-Eskimo immigration from the islands north of the North American mainland. As one of the furthest outposts of these cultures, life was constantly on the edge and several cultures have come and then died out during the centuries. Of the period before the Norse exploration of Greenland, archaeology can give only approximate times.

The Saqqaq culture is the earliest culture established in the southern and western parts of Greenland.

It arose around 2500 BC and declined around 800 BC. For much of that time Saqqaq culture coexisted with the Independence I culture, which arrived in northern Greenland from Canada.  The earliest culture in the northern and northeastern parts of the island, Independence I arose around 2400 BC and lasted until about 1300 BC.

In around 800 BC the Independence II culture rose in the same area where rose Independence I. Independence II has been called an intermediate phase between the earlier cultures and the Dorset culture, which arrived in Greenland in around 700 BC; recent studies have shown the cultures may be identical within Greenland. For this reason the cultures have been designated "Greenlandic Dorset."
The most recent dates for Independence II artifacts are from the second or first century BC. The Early Dorset culture existed in Greenland until about AD 200, and artifacts have been found as far north as Inglefield Land on the west coast and the Dove Bugt area on the east coast.

There is general consensus that, after the collapse of the Early Dorset culture, the island remained unpopulated for several centuries.

The next to arrive may have been people belonging to the Late Dorset culture, perhaps as early as AD 800.  The Late Dorset culture was limited to the northwest part of the island, and disappeared around AD 1300.

The Norse arrived in AD 980 and began to colonize the island.
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« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2009, 07:04:21 pm »









Islands off Greenland were sighted by Gunnbj÷rn Ulfsson when he was blown off course while sailing
from Norway to Iceland, probably in the early 10th century. During the 980s, explorers from Iceland
and Norway arrived at mainland Greenland and, finding the land unpopulated, settled on the south-
west coast. The name Greenland (GrŠnland in Old Norse and modern Icelandic, Gr°nland in modern Danish and Norwegian) has its roots in this colonization and is attributed to Erik the Red (the modern Inuit call it Kalaallit Nunaat, meaning "Land of the Kalaallit (Greenlanders)").

There are two written sources on the origin of the name, in The Book of Icelanders (═slendingabˇk),
an historical work dealing with early Icelandic history from the 12th century, and in the medieval Icelandic saga, The Saga of Eric the Red (EirÝks saga rau­a), which is about the Norse settlement in Greenland and the story of Erik the Red in particular. Both sources write: "He named the land Green-
land, saying that people would be eager to go there if it had a good name."

At that time, the inner regions of the long fjords where the settlements were located were very different from today. Excavations show that there were considerable birch woods with birch trees up
to 4 to 6 meters high in the area around the inner parts of the Tunuliarfik- and Aniaaq-fjords, the central area of the Eastern settlement, and the hills were grown with grass and willow brushes. This was due to the medieval climate optimum.

The Norse soon changed the vegetation by cutting down the trees to use as building material and for heating and by extensive sheep and goat grazing during summer and winter. The climate in Greenland was much warmer during the first centuries of settlement but became increasingly colder in the 14th and 15th centuries with the approaching period of colder weather known as the Little Ice Age.

According to the sagas, Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland for a period of three years, due to a murder.  He sailed to Greenland, where he explored the coastline and claimed certain lands as his own. He then returned to Iceland to bring people to settle on Greenland. The date of establishment of the colony is said, in the Icelandic sagas, to have been AD 985, when 25 ships left with Erik the Red. Only 14 arrived safely in Greenland.

This date has been approximately confirmed by radiocarbon dating of some remains at the first settlement at Brattahlid (now Qassiarsuk), which yielded a date of about 1000. According to the sagas, it was also in the year 1000 that Erik's son, Leif Eirikson, left the settlement to discover Vinland, generally assumed to be located in what is now Newfoundland.

 
The last written records of the Norse Greenlanders are from a 1408 marriage in the church of Hvalsey Ś today the most well-preserved of the Norse ruins.This colony existed as three settlement areas Ś the larger Eastern settlement, the smaller Western settlement, and the still smaller Middle Settlement (which is sometimes considered part of the Eastern). Population estimates vary from highs of only 2000 to as many as 10,000 people. More recent estimates such as that of Dr. Niels Lynnerup in "Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga by Fitzhugh Ww and William W. Fitzhugh", have tended toward the lower figure. Ruins of around 600 farms have been found in the two settlements, 500 in the Eastern settlement, 95 in the Western settlement, and 20 in the Middle. This was a significant colony (the population of modern Greenland is only 56,000) and it carried on trade in ivory from walrus tusks with Europe as well as exporting rope, sheep, seals and cattle hides according to one 13th century account. The colony depended on Europe (Iceland and Norway) for iron tools, wood, especially for boat building, which they also may have obtained from coastal Labrador, supplemental foods, and religious and social contacts. Trade ships from Iceland and Norway (from late 13th century all ships were forced by law to sail directly to Norway) traveled to Greenland every year and would sometimes overwinter in Greenland.

In 1126, a diocese was founded at Gar­ar (now Igaliku). It was subject to the Norwegian archdiocese of Nidaros (now Trondheim); at least five churches in Norse Greenland are known from archeological remains. In 1261, the population accepted the overlordship of the Norwegian King as well, although it continued to have its own law. In 1380 the Norwegian kingdom entered into a personal union with the Kingdom of Denmark. After initially thriving, the Norse settlements declined in the 14th century. The Western Settlement was abandoned around 1350. In 1378, there was no longer a bishop at Gar­ar. After 1408, when a marriage was recorded, not many written records mention the settlers. There are correspondence between the Pope and the Biskop Bertold af Garde from same year. The Danish Cartographer Claudius Clavus seem to have visited Greenland in 1420 from documents written by Nicolas Germanus and Henricus Martellus who had access to original cartographic notes and map by Clavus. Two mathematical manuscripts containing the second chart of the Claudius Clavus map from his travel to Greenland where he himself mapped the area were found during the late 20th Century by the Danish scholar Bj÷nbo and Petersen. (Source: originals in Hofbibliothek at Vienna. A Greenlander in Norway, on visit; it is also mentioned in a Norwegian Diploma from 1426, [Peder Gr°nlendiger] source: Diplomatarium Norwegicum bind 13 nr 91.)

It is probable that the Eastern Settlement was defunct by the middle 15th century although no exact date has been established.
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Bianca
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« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2009, 07:05:36 pm »




           

           The church ruins at Hvalsey, Greenland.

           Photograph by Frederik Carl Peter RŘttel (1859ľ1915).

« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 07:06:45 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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