An island stretching from within the Arctic Circle south to about 59 degrees N.latitude, being between 20 degrees and 75 degrees W. In shape it more or less resembles a triangle, its apex pointing south, its base facing north, in which direction its extent has not been precisely ascertained.
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It is, however, an established fact that the Eskimos were in Greenland (at least transiently) at the time the Norseman Gunnbjorn set foot on the island and when Eric the Red of Iceland settled there (983). In the "Islendingabok", written about a century later by Are Frothi, it is stated that there were found on the island numerous deserted huts, parts of boats, and various stone implements such as are in use even unto this day in the north-east and the west around Disko Bay and the Umanak Fiord.
Eric named his first settlement (the site is unknown) Brattahild.
In the north the only vegetation consists of lichens and mosses, in the milder regions of the south berries and various dwarfed plants are met with, while the most sheltered localities produce willow, alder, and birch trees, which, however, seldom attain the height of twelve to fifteen feet.
Farming is not to be thought of; even the hardy potato yields only here and there a small return.
It is bounded on the north by the Arctic Ocean; on the west, by Smith Sound, Baffin's Bay and Davis Strait; on the east by the Arctic and the Atlantic Oceans.
Its area has been estimated at about 512 square miles.
A number of the inhabitants residing on the east coast are still pagans.
The creed of the latter shows pantheistic tendencies, and the exercise of their religion consists in certain forms of prayer and curious ceremonies.
On the other hand, some vegetables, especially lettuce and cabbage, thrive comparatively well. Chickens, sheep, goats, and horned cattle are bred only occasionally.