The second largest island in the world (after the island continent of Australia), is the story of survival under extreme conditions in the Arctic climate: a layer of ice covers 84% of the area of the island, restricting human activity to the coasts. Greenland was unknown in Europe until the tenth century, when it was discovered by Norwegian Vikings origin newly settled in Iceland. Before the "discovery" Greenland was inhabited for centuries by Arctic peoples and in the north and west of the island the people of the Dorset culture at the time of the Viking arrival lived. The direct ancestors of modern Inuit did not reach the island until 1200. The Inuit were the only people who inhabited the island for centuries, but, in memory of the Viking settlement, Denmark claimed the territory and colonized from century XVIII, obtaining several privileges, such as trade monopoly.
During World War II, Greenland was separated in fact, both socially and economically, from Denmark, closer to the United States and Canada. After the war, control of the island returned to Denmark, getting their colonial status, and although Greenland remains part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is autonomous since 1979. The island is the only province that has been separated from the European Union if well has the status of associated state.