Brookes’ Universal Gazetteer, page 348
Click on the image to view a larger, bitmap (.bmp) image suitable for printing.


Click on the image above for a larger, bitmap image suitable for printing.

Snow, and the intense degree of cold produced by
the east-north-east wind, lead us to suspect that
the most eastern parts of Greenland form a great
archipelago, incumbered with perpetual ice, which
for many centuries, has been piled together by the
winds and currents.

There is some land that admits of cultivation;
and probably barley might be made to grow in the
outhern part of the country. The mountains are
overed with moss to the north, but the parts that
ave a southern exposure produce very good herbs,
gooseberries, and other berries, in abundance, and
a few litlle willows and birch. Not far from Ju-
lianshaat. is a valley covered with birch ; but the
tallest of the trees are only eighteen feet high.
Near the Danish colonies cabbages and turnips are

has two large ivory tusks in the upper jaw which
weigh from 10 to 30 pounds each. They are hunt-

The most remarkable animal of this region is
the White tear, the largest of his tribe. Thesfi
animals are sometimes 12 feet in length and are
distinguished for their tremendous ferocity. Some-

times they are seen on floating ice out at sea, and
are often in this manner conveyed to Iceland. At
sea they prey upon fish, seals, and the carcases of
whales. On land they devour deer and other
animals, yet they often feed upon berries. In
winter they dig themselves dens under the snow
or ice and sleep till the sun appears in spring.
Among the animal kingdom we also meet with
large hares, which are excellent eating, and afford
a good fur; rein-deer of the American variety,
great numbers of foxes, and large dogs, that howl
instead of barking, and are employed by the Green-
landers in drawing their sledges. An immense
number of aquatic birds live near the rivers, which
abound with salmon.

Turbots and small herrings swarm in every di-
rection in the sea. The natives have been suppli-
ed with nets, and now begin to experience their
utility. In north or west Greenland, the Danes
and natives go in companies to the whale-fishing;
but this tumultuous, and, to the natives, far from
* lucrative occupation, spreads vice and misery
through this district. The natives of the south
confine themselves to hunting the seal. The flesh
of this animal is their principal food; its skin fur-
nishes them with dress, and at the same time they
construct their boats of it; thread is made of its
tendons, and its bladder is converted into bottles ;
its fat is sometimes used as a substitute for butter,
and at other times for tallow; and even the blood
itself is considered by the Greenlander as excellent
for making broth ; in fact, he cannot possibly com-
prehend how any one can live without the sea-dog,
which, to him , is like the bread-fruit tree to the
Otaheitan, or wheat to the inhabitants of Europe.

The Wajrus, or Morse, called also the Sea Cow,
is very common in these parts. It is much larger
than the seal and is generally found in company
with that animal. Like the elephant the Walrus

ed for their fat, and are sometimes encountered tu
herds of an hundred. When wounded they be-
come exceedingly furious, and bite the lances of
the hunters in pieces with their teeth. When in
great numbers they will sometimes attack boats
and attempt to overturn them.

The Greenland Company, established at Copen-
hagen, estimate its annual revenue at 104,000 rix-
dollars, (20,000 to 25,000 pounds Sterling;) and
the exportations alone have amounted to 50, or

100,000 rix-dollars, without including the produce
of the whale fishery. The expenses of the com-
pany are estimated at 16,000 pounds Sterling.

The natives are of a very low stature, have long
black hair, small eyes, a flat face, and a yellowish
brown skin, evidently indicating them to be a
branch of the Esquimaux or Samoiedes of America.
This connexion is particularly proved by their lan-
guage, which is also remarkable for the copious-
ness of its grammatical forms.

The Greenlanders have not preserved any posi
tive trace of a communication with the Scandina-
vian colony, whose establishments they invaded
and destroyed. The sun, they consider to be a
deified female, and the moon, a man, conforma-
bly with the belief of the Goths, which differed
from that of the other Scandinavians; but as we
find a God called
Lunus, or Men, among even the
classical nations themselves, this analogy either

Eroves too much or nothing. As to ourselves, we
ave, on the contrary, recognized in the Green-
lander, a crowd of characteristic circumstances,
which demonstrate his connexion with the Esqui
maux, even with those that live at the remotest
distances from them. The fishing implements
employed by the inhabitants of Russian America,
among others, are made exactly like those of the
Greenlanders. Both of these people, too, make
use of the bladder of the sea-dog, distended with
wind, and attached to the javelin with which they
strike the whale, in order that it may thus serve
to prevent the animal, when once he is wounded,
from remaining any length of time plunged under
water. A similar invention observed both at the
eastern and western extremity of North America-
must lead us unavoidably to infer that an habitual
communication is kept up between those distant
tribes. The little boats used by the inhabitants
of Oonalaska, in Prince William’s inlet, (the
Tchougatchian Gulf of the Russians,) by the Es-
quimaux of Labrador and the Greenlanders, are
all precisely of the same construction, and resem-
ble a box formed of slight branches and covered
on every side with the skin of the sea-dog. They
are twelve feet long, but only a foot and a half
wide. In the middle of the upper surface there is
a hole surfounded by a wooden hoop, with a skin
attached to it, which admits of being drawn to-
gether like a purse, by means of a thong. It is in

Public domain image from

Brookes' Universal Gazetteer of the World (1850)


This page was written in HTML using a program
written in Python 3.2