The World at War

GREENLAND 1721 - 1953


1721Hans Egede, "The Apostle of Greenland", forms the Bergen Company intending to locate the island's lost Norse colonists who he assumes have lapsed into paganism after three centuries of isolation and restoring them to Christendom. The venture is launched with $9,000 capital, an annual stipend of $300 from the Danish Missionary Fund and a $200 gift from King Frederic IV of Denmark.
May 3 Hans Egede, his wife Gertrud Rask, their 4 children and 40 other colonists sail for Greenland from Bergen aboard the Haabet (Hope) and 2 smaller ships.
July 3 Hans Egede lands on the west coast of Greenland and establishes the mission of Godthaab. Egede learns to his dismay that the Norse have been entirely superseded by the Inuit in whom he has no particular interest and whose language he will be able to master, if at all, only after years of study.
1723Hans Egede asks the Inuit at Ujaragssuit, near Godthaab, if they destroyed the church he found there in ruins. They tell him that the Norse did it themselves when they left.
1729The first extensive description of Greenland, Hans Egede's 1722 report to the Bergen Company, is published as Det gamle Grønlands nye perlustration. Egede begins with a brief narrative of the Norse colony's history, describes Greenland's flora and fauna and provides an account of Inuit culture, commerce and religion. The book is so popular that it is translated into German, English, Dutch and French.
1731The Danish Government withdraws support for the Greenland Colony and orders it to disband. Hans Egede and a few companions remain but most of the colonists return to Denmark.
Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a second cousin to Queen Sofie Magdalen of Denmark visits Copenhagen on the occasion of King Christian VI's coronation. Zinzendorf, a pious member of the Moravian Brethren, agrees to provide an annual grant of $2,000 to the Greenland mission.
1733The Danish Crown replaces the Bergen Company as the chief sponsor of trade and missionary work in Greenland.
January 19 Moravian Brethern Christian David, Matthew and Christian Stach leave Denmark to carry the Gospel to the Inuit of Greenland.
1734A smallpox epidemic devastates the population. Gertrud Rask dies while laboring to aid the victims.
A trading station is established at Christianshaab on Disko Bay.
1736Hans Egede returns to Denmark in poor health carrying the remains of his late wife, Gertrud Rask.
1751Lars Dalager, manager of the Frederikshaab trading post, attempts to explore the ice cap.
1773The Colony of Godhavn is established enforce Danish whaling rights in Disko Bay where Dutch, German and English whalers have nearly exhausted the population.
1774The Royal Greenland Trade Department (Kongelige Gronlandske Handel) is established to administer all commerce with the colony as a Crown monopoly.
1782The Royal Greenland Trade Department issues a decree regulating relations between the missionaries and traders and establishing rules for proper behavior towards the Inuit.
The Danish colony on the west coast of Greenland is divided into northern and southern inspectorates.
The Northern Inspectorate
Royal Inspector Bendt Olrik
67° to 72° North latitude
The districts of Upernavik, Omenak, Jakobshavn, Chistianshaab, Egedesminde and Godhavn.
The Southern Inspectorate
Royal Inspector Johan Friedrich Schwabe
south of 67° North latitude
The Districts of Holsteinborg, Sukkertoppen, Godthaab, Fiskernasset, Frederikshaab and Julianshaab.
1801The Disko Bay trade revives; 247 barrels of whale blubber, 78 barrels of seal blubber, 30 barrels of shark liver and 14,000 baleens are shipped from Godhavn.
1806May 31 Minerologist Karl Ludwig Giesecke lands at Friederichshaab after a stormy six week voyage from Copenhagen. Giesecke plans to explore the island for a year or two but the Napoleonic Wars leave him stranded for seven years.
September 9 Karl Giesecke discovers the world's largest deposit of cyrolite, a rare aluminum bearing mineral, at Ivigtut.
1814January 14 The Treaty of Kiel ends Danish participation in the Napoleonic Wars. Denmark cedes Norway to Sweden but retains possession of the ancient Norwegian dependencies of Greenland, Iceland and the Faeroe Islands.
1818May British explorer Sir John Ross encounters 45 whaling vessels struggling in the icepack at Waygatt Strait, between Disko Island and Greenland. Ross, assisted by his interpreter, Greenlander John Sacheuse, makes contact with several Inuit groups along the northwest coast who he calls, “Arctic Highlanders”. Ross also discovers the source of iron used for tool making by the Inuit of Cape York, meteorites.
1822William Scoresby explores the east coast and produces the first accurate map of the 400 mile shore between 69°30’ and Cape Lister at 72°30’ North latitude. Scoresby's findings are published as a, "Journal of a Voyage to the Northern Whale Fishery, including Researches and Discoveries on the Eastern Coast of West Greenland, made in the summer of 1822, in the Ship 'Baffin, 'of Liverpool".
1823The British Board of Longitude dispatches Captain Douglas Clavering and Sir Edward Sabine on a voyage to Greenland aboard the Griper to continue Sabine’s pendulum observations to the most northerly latitude possible. The Griper fails to penetrate the icepack at 77°North then sails south eventually making landfall at about 74° North latitude. August 13
Sir Edward Sabine establishes an observatory on Sabine Island 74°35’ North latitude and successfully completes his pendulum experiments.
August 16 – 24 Douglas Clavering encounters a group of 12 stone age Inuit living in tents on the island that now bears his name.
1830Wilhelm August Graah explores the east coast between Cape Farewell and 65°18’ North latitude.
1833July 29 Jules de Blosseville, commander of the French brigantine La Lilloise, sights the east coast of Greenland then returns police the fishing fleet off Iceland.
August 5 La Lilloise sets sail for a return trip to Greenland then vanishes without a trace. The east coast between 68°and 69°30’ North latitude is later named the Blosseville Coast. 1847
Norwegian sealers make their first appearance in the Greenland Sea and within a few years attained a dominance over the trade which at its height will see 40 ships take 400,000 seals in a single year.
1848Danish naturalist Hinrich Johannes Rink begins a 20 year career in Greenland. He works as a geologist, cartographer, trade manager and administrator but will be best remembered for his photographs and drawings and for collecting and publishing Greenlandic mythology.
1852The British Franklin Search Expedition led by Commander Edward A. Inglefield stops in Greenland to obtain dogs then sails into Smith and Jones Sounds. Inglefield returns to England with the false story that Franklin had been murdered by Greenlanders.
Commander Edward A. Inglefield is awarded the Royal Geographical Society Patron's Medal: "for his enterprising Survey of the coasts of Baffin Bay, Smith Sound and Lancaster Sound".
Danish industrial chemist Julian Thomsen prefects a process by which cryolite (sodium aluminum fluoride) can be converted into soda, aluminum and other products.
1853Hinrich Johannes Rink is appointed manager of the Julianehaab colony.
May 31 The Second U.S. Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin under the command of Elisha Kent Kane sails from New York aboard the brigantine Advance.
July Elisha Kent Kane stops in Greenland where Hans Hendrick, a 19 year old Inuit, and Carl Petersen, a 38-year old Dane who has mastered the Inuit language, agree to join the expedition.
August 7 The Kane Expedition completes its journey through Smith Sound after dragging the Advance over 30 miles of ice into what is now Kane Basin.
26 August The Advance drops anchor at Rensselaer Bay 78° 38’ North latitude, the northernmost point on the west coast of Greenland reached by mariners up to this date. The Kane Expedition will remain trapped here for 21 months during which it conducts geographical surveys as far as Kennedy Channel 80° 58’ North, charts previously unexplored reaches of the coast and records details of the Humboldt Glacier. 1854
British mining engineer J. W. Tayler opens the first mine at in Ivigtut to extract the argentiferous galena, silver bearing lead, found in the contact between the cryolite body and the surrounding granite. The mine closes after six months of operation when Tayler realizes that the amount of galena is too low to sustain economical extraction.
March A party of Inuit from Etah on Smith Sound 80 miles south of Rensselaer Bay make contact with the Kane Expedition. Kane forms a fragile friendship that is instrumental in the survival of the expedition. The Inuit provide the expedition much needed food.
July Kane and a crewman start south in a small whaleboat hoping to obtain help from the Franklin searchers that Kane knows are in Lancaster Sound but are forced to return to the Advance by the icepack.
August 28 Nine of the 17 surviving members of the Kane Expedition abandon the Advance and attempt to reach Upernavik on foot. Kane and 7 others decide to remain with the ship until spring.
December 12 The party which abandoned the Advance returns to the ship having been forced back by -50°fahrenheit temperatures after a march of 350 miles.
1855Hinrich Johannes Rink is appointed manager of the Godthaab colony.
May 20 Elisha Kent Kane and the surviving members of his expedition abandon the Advance and begin their march to Upernavik.
June 17 The Kane party reaches open sea with three boats they have drug through the pack ice.
August 5 The Kane Expedition reaches Upernavik completing an 84 day, 800 mile journey from Rensselaer Bay.
August A relief party dispatched by order of President Franklin Pierce, having unsuccessfully searched the area south of Etah, finally meets Kane and his party just as they are about to leave Godhavn for the Shetland Islands aboard a Danish ship.
1856The Royal Geographical Society's Founder's Medal is awarded to Elisha Kent Kane: "for services and discoveries in the Polar Regions during the American Expeditions in search of Sir John Franklin".
1857Hinrich Johannes Rink is appointed Royal Inspector for South Greenland.
Parsissaet (local councils) are organized in each district. Parsissoks (delegates) are sent from every station. They aid the Danish councilors in distributing the surplus profit apportioned to each district and advise them on the welfare of their constituents. The Parsissaets meet semi-annually, debate in Greenlandic and control 20% of the annual profits made on produce purchased within their district. They are also empowered to investigate crimes and punish misdemeanors, settle litigations and divide inheritances.
Hinrich Johannes Rink starts the first publishing house in Greenland with the help of Rasmus Berthelsen. Rink strives to preserve Inuit culture through the publication of collected myths and legends printed in Greenlandic as well as Danish. The Inuit have an opportunity to read literature written in their own language for the first time.
1859Danish refiners begin extracting aluminum from cryolite mined at Ivigtut. Initially, the quarried mineral is hand-sorted because the ore shipped has to contain more than 85% cryolite.
1860August 6 Issac Hayes’ expedition in search of the, “Open Polar Sea” thought to lay between the Kane Basin and the North Pole stops at Proven to buy dogs and sleds and hire drivers. Few dogs are left for sale as a result of the previous year's rabies epidemic. Hayes orders his schooner, the United States, to head for Upernavik.
August 12 The Hayes Expedition reaches Upernavik where the United States is met in the harbor by the Royal Greenland Trade Department's ship Tjalfe.
August 13 Hayes buys 3 dog teams and hires 3 Inuit sled-drivers. Danish hunter Peter Jensen who is about to return to Denmark aboard the Tjalfe decides to join the expedition as a dog-driver and interpreter and two members of the Tjalfe's crew also agree to join the expedition.
August 25 The Hayes Expedition arrives at Cape York.
September The United States becomes trapped in the ice at Port Foulke on a small fjord immediately north of Cape Alexander and about 20 miles south of Rensselaer Bay.
December August Sonntag dies on the sea-ice during a journey to Cape York where he hoped to obtain replacements for the Hayes Expedition’s dogs which had die of rabies.
1861Hinrich Johannes Rink establishes Greenland’s first newspaper, Atuagagdliutt, which reports on world events as well as hunting conditions and official decrees.
March The Hayes Expedition, having obtained additional dogs from the Inuit at Cape York, explores the Humboldt Glacier and crosses over Smith Sound to Grinnell Land.
May 15 The Royal Greenland Trade Department’s ship Mariane under Captain Knudsen departs Copenhagen with supplies for Godhavn, Umanak and Upernavik.
June 30 The Royal Greenland Trade Department’s ship Tjalfe captained by G. M. Brockdorff, sails from Copenhagen with cargo for Egedesminde, Umanak, Upernavik and Proven.
July 12 The pack ice frees its grip on the United States allowing the Hayes Expedition to depart Port Foulke. After a short investigation of Whale Sound, the ship enters Melville Bay and sets course for Upernavik.
August 15 The Hayes Expedition returns to Upernavik where an elderly Dane informs them of the outbreak of civil war in the United States. The expedition then stops at Godhavn and Halifax, Nova Scotia, before reaching Boston in the fall.
ca.1861 The Inuit Great Shaman Qillarsuaq leads 40 followers on the last migration from Baffin Island to the Cape York region where they settle among the Inughuit. The Baffinlanders reintroduce the kayak, fish spears, and the bow and arrow which had been lost to the Inughuit for lack of materials, principally wood. Narwhal tusks are used for harpoons, dog sleds made of whalebone and knives of bone.
1862The Royal Inspector for South Greenland Hinrich Johannes Rink initiates the first democratic entities, Forstanderskaberne, local councils to advise the administrators.
1864Kriolit Mine og Handels Selskabet of Denmark is granted a monopoly on cryolite mining at Ivigtut.
1865German geographer August Petermann puts forth the theory of a gigantic isthmus spanning the Arctic from Greenland across the North Pole to the East Siberian Sea.
1867The Royal Geographical Society’s Patron's Medal is awarded to Doctor Isaac Hayes: "for his expedition towards the open Polar Sea".
1868Ill health forces Hinrich Johannes Rink to resign as Royal Inspector for South Greenland and return to Denmark.
A reconnaissance mission for geographer August Petermann’s proposed attempt to reach the North Pole via the coast of Greenland is stymied when Captain Carl Koldewey’s steamer Gronland is unable to penetrate the east coast pack ice. 1869
June 15 The Second German North Polar Expedition under Carl Christian Koldewey sails from Bremen aboard the steamer Germania and the schooner Hansa.
June The Germania makes landfall on the east coast and anchors through the winter at Germania Havn in the Pendulum Islands at 74°32’ North latitude.
June The Hansa is crushed in the pack ice at latitude 70° North before making landfall. The crew abandons ship and takes refuge on an icefloe.
1870Adolf E. Nordenskiold discovers native iron at Ovifak on Disko Island. The heaviest nodule weighs over 20 tons and is brought back to Sweden where it is mistakenly displayed as a meteorite.
March Carl Koldewey leads a 10 man party from the Germania on a 100 mile sledge trek to a point just beyond latitude 77° North at which point lack of provisions forces a return to the ship.
June 4 The crew of the Hansa arrives safely at the Moravian mission at Fredriksdaal after drifting over 1,100 miles on an icefloe.
July 19 Swedish professors Adolf E. Nordenskiold and Doctor Berggren accompanied by two Greenlanders undertake an exploration of the ice cap. They advance 30 miles inland from the head of Auleitsivik Fjord climbing the glaciers to an elevation of 2,200 feet.
September 11 The Second German North Polar Expedition returns to Bremen. The expedition failed to reach the North Pole or demonstrate a practical route it but made important geographical and scientific observations of the East Greenland coast. The party’s detailed maps add about 125 new place names to the region between Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord 73° and Cape Bismarck 77°. It is the first expedition to report the presence of muskoxen in East Greenland.
1871Hinrich Johannes Rink becomes director of the Royal Greenland Trade Department.
1875The British Parliament at the instance of the Swedish government passes the Seal Fisheries Act to establish a closed season for the seal hunt in the seas adjacent to the east coast of Greenland.
July Norwegian geologist Amund Helland discovers the Ijeiland phenomena, rapid movement of the Greenland glaciers (up to 4 feet in 24 hours) towards the sea.
1876Lieutenant Lewis A. Beaumont RN of the British Arctic Expedition explores the coast northeast of Robeson Channel to 82°20’ North latitude.
1878Danish captain Jens Arnold Dietrich Jensen reaches the 5,400 foot Jensen Nunataks about 45 miles from the western margin of the ice cap at 62° 50' North latitude.
1879The Danish schooner Ingolf captained by L. A. Mourier makes a series of hydrographic surveys in the Denmark Strait between 65° and 69°North latitude.
1882J. B. Lockwood and D. L. Brainard of the U.S. Lady Franklin Bay Expedition explore the northwest coast to a promontory at 83°24’ North latitude from which they sight Cape Washington at 83°38’ North latitude, the most northerly point of land till then observed.
1883Adolf E. Nordenskiold penetrates the ice cap for about 70 miles inland at 68°20’ North latitude. Two Inuits in his party go still farther on skis to a point nearly 6,600 feet in elevation.
July 4 Adolf E. Nordenskiold undertakes another journey over the inland ice. Starting from Auleitsivikfjord, his party penetrates 84 miles eastward reaching an altitude of 5,000 feet. The Inuit of the party are sent farther on snow-shoes, traveling to a height of 7,000 feet.
1884A Danish expedition led by Gustav Holm penetrates the ice pack by umiak to enter Angmagssalik Fjord. Holm finds an isolated Inuit population of 413 in the surrounding settlements. These people believe they are the ‘last people on earth’ as their Inuit contacts to the north and south of Angmagssalik fjord have all died out.
1885A Danish expedition led by Gustav Holm and Thomas V. Garde completes a detailed map of the east coast between Cape Farewell and Angmagssalik.
1886The Hall-Heroult Process through which aluminum metal is obtained by electrolysis of alumina from solution in molten cryolite, is perfected. Cryolite mining at Ivigtut accelerates.
July Robert Peary and Christian Maigaard explore the ice cap east of Disko Bay reaching a height of 7,500 feet about 100 miles inland of the coast before returning.
August 13 - 14 Carl Ryder measures the velocity of the Upernavik Glacier at 125 feet in 24 hours. The highest recorded velocity measured in a Greenland glaciers.
1888August 18 – September 26
Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup and five companions make the first crossing of the ice cap working from the east coast at approximately 64°25’ North to the west at the head of Ameralik Fjord 64°12’ North and reaching a height of 8,922 feet.
1889Norwegian Captain Ragnvald Knudsen of the sealer Hekla cruises the east coast between 73°30’ and 75°30’ North latitude in search of game. The Hekla returns to Norway with a catch of over 2,700 seal, 267 walrus, 9 bear and 24 muskoxen.
1891The Royal Geographical Society's Patron's Medal is awarded to Dr. Fridtjof Nansen: "for having been first to cross the inland ice of Greenland ... as well as for his qualities as a scientific geographer".
July 31 The Danish East Greenland Expedition under Carl Ryder reaches Scoresby Sound aboard the Norwegian sealer Hekla. The party visits Cape Stewart, planned site of its wintering station, but the location proves unsuitable. A small sheltered harbor later named Hekla Havn is discovered further west in a previously unexplored region of the Sound and becomes the party’s winter anchorage.
1892May Robert E. Peary, Langdon Gibson, Eivind Astrup, Frederick Cook and Matthew Henson leave Etah on a journey across the inland ice. They hope to determine the northern extent of the island before reaching the east coast. A frozen heel forces Henson to turnback. The others go for another 130 miles before Peary chooses Astrup to complete the trek with him.
Spring The Ryder Expedition travels from Hekla Havn by sledge and motor boat exploring and charting the inner reaches of the Scoresby Sound fjord system and the coast of Jameson Land. The expedition makes significant botanical, zoological and geological observations and nearly 50 new place names are recorded.
June Peary and Astrup reach the northern edge of the icecap at Academy Glacier where observation of the geographic formations suggests the existence of a channel separating Greenland from Peary Land. The existence of the “Peary Channel” and the determination of Greenland’s northern boundary becomes the subject of a protracted dispute at the centre of an effort to manifest Danish sovereignty over the region.
July 4 Robert E. Peary and Eivind Astrup, crossing by land from Inglefield Gulf on Smith Sound discover Independence Bay on the northeast coast at 81°37’ North latitude.
August 4 Peary and Astrup return to Etah completing a round trip journey of 1300 miles across the ice cap.
August The Ryder party leaves Hekla Havn, stops at Cape Stewart to construct a depot, then sails to Angmagssalik where they find that the native population has fallen to 294 as a result of famine and internecine strife.
1893Danish Navy Lieutenants Thomas Vilhelm Garde and Carl Moltke along with Inuit interpreter Johan Peterson explore the ice cap in the Julienhaab District of the west coast between 61° and 62° North latitude reaching a height of 7,080 feet.
1894The Danish trade and mission station of Angmagssalik is established on King Oscar's Havn Bay. Carl Ruttel, Pastor of Julianehaab, gives up that post and moves to Angmagssalik to be the first missionary to live with the east coast Inuit.
Robert E. Peary is led to Saviksoah Island off Cape York by Inuit guides where they discover two meteor fragments, a 2½ ton specimen called Woman and a ½ ton specimen called Dog.
August 9 The steamer Miranda, carrying a party of tourists led by Frederick Cook, is severely damaged when it hits a sunken reef after departing Sukkertoppen where it had undergone repairs for damage caused by an earlier encounter with an iceberg. Cook, several volunteers, and several Inuit row 140 miles to Holsteinborg where the captain of the American fishing schooner Rigel agrees to transport the Miranda's passengers and crew back to the United States for the sum of $4,000.
1895Robert E. Peary discovers the largest of the Cape York meteor fragments, the 31 ton Ahnighito. Peary’s men move the two fragments, Woman and Dog, discovered the preceding year by sled to the shore where they are then float to his ship on ice blocks.
1896August Robert E. Peary fails in an attempt to recover the Ahnighito meteor fragment. Inuit laborers manage to move the nodule to shore but its weight make loading it aboard the 370 ton steamer Hope impossible.
1897Robert E. Peary returns to Cape York to recover the Ahnighito meteor fragment. The 31 ton stone is transferred from the pier to the steamer Hope over a timber truss bridge mounted with steel railroad track.
September 30 The steamer Hope carrying Robert E. Peary, his crew, six Cape York Inuit and the 31 ton Ahnighito meteor fragment docks at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
1898The Royal Geographical Society's Patron's Medal is awarded to Lieutenant R. E. Peary, USN: "for explorations in Northern Greenland, and especially for discovering the northern termination of the Greenland ice".
Danish geologist J. K. V. Steenstrup discovers the warmest spring known in Greenland, having a temperature of 66° Fahrenheit, on Disko Island.
Norwegian hunting parties traveling to East Greenland aboard the Aspo return with a substantial catch including 66 polar bears.
1899Norwegian hunting parties traveling to East Greenland aboard the Sostrene and Spidsbergen take 148 muskoxen and return with 2 live muskoxen calves. Norwegian ships will make the capture of live muskoxen for sale to European zoos a specialty.
The Carlsberg Foundation Expedition under Lieutenant Georg Carl Amdrup completes a two year exploration of the east coast from Angmagssalik to 67°22’ North latitude.
April 17 The first Angmagssalik Inuit are baptized by Danish missionary Carl Ruttel.
May The Swedish East Greenland Expedition led by paleobotanist Alfred G. Nathorst sails from Stockholm aboard the steamer Antarctic. The expedition's primary aim is to locate the remains of Swedish aeronauts Saloman Andrée, Knut Fraenkel and Nils Strindberg who went missing during a planned balloon flight from Danes Island, Spitzbergen to the North Pole in July, 1897. No sign of the missing men is found and the remainder of the voyage is spent exploring the coast between Franz Josef Fjord and Scoresby Sound. Nathorst discovers the King Oscar Fjord linking Davis Sound with Franz Josef Fjord.
1900The Moravian Brethren withdraw their missionaries from Greenland after 167 years. The work of the missions is taken over by the Danish National Church (Lutheran).
Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson sledge from Etah round Cape Bridgman to Cape Morris Jessup, Greenland’s most northern point 83° 50’ north latitude.
June 18 Georg Carl Amdrup’s Carlsberg Foundation Expedition returns to East Greenland for a third year. The party lands at Cape Dalton, 69°25’ North, after cruising along the coast from Lille Pendulum 74°40’ North. Amdrup oversees construction of a supply hut and then departs with a 3 man crew in an 18-foot open boat to explore the Blosseville Coast.
July 31 The Swedish Zoological Expedition under Gustav Kolthoff lands at Mackenzie Head 73°25’ North then sails north along the east coast to Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord. The expedition captures a large collection of birds and animals including two wolves and two muskox during its stay. September 2
Lieutenant Amdrup’s party arrives at Angmagssalik after charting the coast from Cape Dalton to Agga Island 67°22’ North.
Summer A Carlsberg Foundation Expedition party led by Nikolaj Hartz explores the fjords between Cape Dalton and King Oscar Fjord 72°10’ North aboard the steamer Antarctic. The ship then set sail for Angmagssalik by way of Iceland to pickup Amdrup’s party.
1901The population in the 45,000 square mile area of the Danish colony numbers 11,893 including some 300 Europeans.
The Norwegian sealer Spidsbergen harvests 46 walrus on the east coast of Greenland.
1902The Danish Literary Greenland Expedition led by Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen, Jorgen Bronlund and Harald Moltke begins a two year study traveling the west coast of collecting traditional myths and stories. The expedition’s interpreter is a 23 year old Dano-Inuit Greenlander Knud Rasmussen.1904
The Cape York meteorite fragments including the 31 ton Ahnighito are sold to the American Museum of Natural History for $40,000 by Mrs. Robert E. Peary.
The Danish government ignores Knud Rasmussen’s call for colonization of the Cape York region. Rasmussen regards colonization as necessary to fulfill the obligations of civilization to the polar Inuit and through church circles raises funds for a supply ship to be sent north with gifts to the population.
1905A Franco-Belgian expedition led by the Duke of Orleans explores the east coast aboard Adrien de Gerlache’s steamship Belgica. The expedition discovers that Cape Bismarck is in fact an island and Dove Bay a strait. They attain the highest north latitude reached on the East Greenland coast 77° 38' up til this date and discover the Ile de France. William Thalbitzer, professor in Eskimology, called Ilisimatooq, moves to Angmagssalik where he spends a year studying the language and lore of the local Inuit population.
1906June 24 The Danish Expedition to Northeast Greenland led by Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen sails from Copenhagen aboard the Danmark. Mylius-Erichsen plans to explore and survey the large unknown region between Cape Bismarck and Independence Bay in an effort to discredit Robert Peary's contention that Peary Land is an island apart from Greenland. The expedition’s 28 members include 14 scientists, 11 ship’s crew and 3 Inuit guides.
August 13 The Danmark Expedition lands in East Greenland at Koldewey Store 76°30 North latitude. After sailing north to Ile de France, Danmark turns south to Danmark Havn 76°46’ North were the expedition establishes its base for the next two years.
Winter The Danish Expedition makes four depot-laying journeys north of Danmark Havn in preparation for spring sledge explorations.
1907March 28 The Danish Expedition dispatches four parties totaling 10 men and 86 dogs from Danmark Havn. Two of the parties turn back at 80°30’ North latitude and reach the ship again in late April. The other parties, led by Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen and J. P. Koch part company at Nakkehoved. Koch’s party continues to press north along the east coast of Peary Land as far as Cape Bridgman.
May 27 The Koch Party, returning southward, has an unexpected meeting with the Mylius -Erichsen Party.
June 23 The Koch Party returns to the expedition base camp at Danmark Havn.
July 3 Frederick Cook sails for Greenland aboard the John R. Bradley of Gloucester. Cook meets future arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen during a port call then sails on to Annoatok.
August 27 Frederick Cook lands at the Inuit settlement of Annoatok with the intention of providing himself with dogs and sledges for a journey to the North Pole via Buchanan Bay and Ellesmere Island.
Summer Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen, cartographer Niels Peter Hoeg-Hagen and Greenlandic catechist Jorgen Bronlund explore Independence and Danmark Fjords in an attempt to establish the existence of a possible easterly outlet for the Peary Channel. Open water forces the party to spend the season on the west shore of Danmark Fjord 81°North latitude. Poor hunting leaves the men and their dogs in bad condition.
October The Mylius-Erichsen Party begins their return journey to Danmark Havn but Mylius-Erichsen and Hoeg-Hagen die near Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden 79°33’ North latitude. Bronlund reaches the east point of Lambert Land 79°12’ North latitude where he also dies.
Autumn A relief party is dispatched from Danmark Havn to look for the missing Mylius-Erichsen Party.
1908Management of Greenland Affairs is divided. The Ministry of the Interior takes charge of general administration. The Royal Greenland Trade Department which remains in charge of commerce.
February Frederick Cook, accompanied by Rudolph Franke and several Inuit guides, departs Annoatok for the North Pole by dogsled. Franke soon drops out and returns to the base.
March A second relief party led by J. P. Koch finds Jorgen Bronlund’s body along with two sketch maps and some horizon profiles drawn by Hoegh-Hagen. The bodies of Mylius-Erichsen and Hoeg-Hagen are never found.
May 5 Frederick Cook’s Inuit guides, save two Etukishuk and Ahwelah, return to Annoatok.
August 17 The Peary Expedition departs Etah for Ellesmere Island and the North Pole aboard the steamer Roosevelt captained by Bob Bartlett. Peary’s company includes Matthew Henson, Donald B. MacMillan George Borup of Yale University, John W. Goodsell, Ross Marvin of Cornell University and 49 Cape York Inuit, 22 men, 17 women and 10 children of whom four Ootah, Egingwah, Ooqueah and Seegloo made the final march to the Pole.
August The Danish Northeast Greenland Expedition sails back to Denmark. The islands and fjords around Dove Bay south of Danmark Havn were the subject of extensive exploration by sledge, boat or on foot. A weather station set up west of Danmark Havn at Pustervig was manned for a long period. Two journeys were made across the Storstrommen Glacier, one via Saelsoen to Queen Louise Land, and the second via Anneksso to Ymer Nunatak. The Peary Channel question remains unresolved. J.P. Koch’s final map of the area shows nothing of the interior of Independence Bay.
Knud Rasmussen’s call for the establishment of a trading station at Cape York is ignored by the Danish Government once again. A seven man expedition organized by Severin Liavaag and sponsored by Alesund merchant Hans Koppernes reaches East Greenland aboard the Floren. The ship anchors at Germania Havn and two huts are built nearby at Cape Wynn and Cape Borlase Warren. Liavaag’s group will be the first Norwegian hunting party to winter in the region. The hunt is pursued as far north as Shannon Island and as far south as Cape Herschel.
1909April 15 Frederick Cook returns Annoatok where he finds big game hunter Harry Whitney, who came north with Robert E. Peary, occupying his cabin. Cook informs Whitney of his attainment of the Pole. According to Cook, Whitney persuaded him to leave his instruments, North Pole flag, and damaged sled with Whitney for transportation on a later vessel.
May 21 Frederick Cook reaches Upernavik where announces his claim to have reached the North Pole on April 21,1908 to the public.
May Severin Liavaag and another Norwegian hunter fall through the ice and drown during a bear hunt.
July 23 The Reverend Gustav Olsen and catechist Sechman Rosback and their families arrive at Umanaq, Cape York aboard the Godthaab. The missionaries erect two buildings, one to house the missionaries and the other as a storehouse.
August A seven-man expedition organized and led by Ejnar Mikkelsen to recover the lost diaries and journals of Mylius-Erichsen and Hoeg-Hagen, who died during the Danmark Expedition, makes winter harbor at Cape Sussi on the east coast of Shannon Island after a very difficult passage through the pack ice aboard the Alabama.
September Members of the Alabama Expedition travel by sledge to Lambert Land where Jorgen Bronlund’s body had been found in 1908. No significant documents or traces of Mylius-Erichsen and Hoeg-Hagen are found.
September 1 Frederick Cook arrives in the Shetland Islands from Greenland aboard a Danish ship and wires the press with the news of his purported discovery of the North Pole.
September 26 Frederick Cook receives telegram from Harry Whitney informing him that Robert E. Peary will not allow Whitney to transport any of Cook's instruments or evidence.
October 21 The New York Times publishes a letter from Knud Rasmussen declaring that Frederick Cook's Inuit guides Etukishuk and Ahwelah have verified Cook's claim to have reached the North Pole.
December 21 A Danish Commission concludes that the evidence it has received is insufficient to prove that Cook reached North Pole.
The Duc d’Orléans and Adrien de Gerlache return to East Greenland aboard the Belgica. Ice conditions restrict their exploration to the area between Hold with Hope and Shannon Island where they met the surviving members Severin Liavaag’s expedition.A six-man Norwegian hunting expedition led by Vebjorn Landmark builds a hunting station at Cape Mary 74°10’ North latitude and a small hut at Germania Havn. 1910
March A five-man sledge party from the Alabama embarks on a long sledge journey to the north across Dove Bay and onto the Inland Ice via the Storstrommen Glacier. Three men then explore northernmost Queen Louise Land then return to the Alabama. Ejnar Mikkelsen and Iver P. Iversen continue northward along the ice cap to the head of Danmark Fjord where they attempt to retrace Mylius-Erichsen’s steps. A cairn report by Mylius Erichsen containing the sentence, "The Peary Channel does not exist", is recovered.
August 19 Knud Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen land at Cape York where they build a private trading post, Cape York Station. Rasmussen hopes to save northern Greenland for Danish colonization, to equip and be the geographic and economic base for scientific expeditions exploring the Inuit culture and to give the polar Inuit access to goods that had become necessary because of the contact with white men. On the suggestion of Freuchen, Rasmussen names the village, which grows up around the post “Thule” after the furthest-north land of ancient Greek mythology.
August Five members of the Alabama Expedition marooned on Bass Rock after the ship was crushed in the ice and sank are rescued by Vebjorn Landmark’s party and return to Norway on the 7 De Juni.
September 18 Ejnar Mikkelsen and Iver P. Iversen reach Danmark Havn after an arduous trip along the coast of Crown Prince Christian Land. The two men suffered from illness and hunger, and at one point abandoned their equipment and even their diaries.
November 25 Ejnar Mikkelsen and Iver P. Iversen reach Shannon Island after a failed attempt to reach their abandoned equipment. They find that the Alabama had sunk. A house had been built on shore, but there was no sign of their five companions.
1911Harald Olrik proposes the foundation of a settlement in the unpopulated tracts of Scoresby Sound.
Spring Ejnar Mikkelsen and Iver Iversen make a sledge trip northwards to recover their diaries.
1912The Royal Greenland Trade Department looses its autonomy and is placed under supervision of the Interior Minister.
April 14 Knud Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen begin the first Thule Expedition at Neqe 120 miles north of Thule equipped with 35 dogteams. They plan to explore the Peary Channel as far as Independence Bay and search for missing explorer Ejnar Mikkelsen who in turn is searching for the lost diaries and journals of Mylius-Erichsen.
May Knud Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen reach the east coast at Danmark Fjord completing a 600 mile crossing of the ice cap via Clements Markham Glacier.
June 4 Knud Rasmussen finds the summer camp of Mylius-Erichsen but uncovers no clues as to the fates of Mylius-Erichsen or Mikkelsen.
June 5 Knud Rasmussen discovers the site of a prehistoric Inuit settlement in Independence Fjord.
June 17 Knud Rasmussen reaches the foot of Independence Fjord whereupon he climbs a hill and discovers a land bridge between Navy Cliff and Heilprin Land thus confirming Mylius-Erichsen’s discovery of Peary Channel’s non-existence.
June 29 – July 12 The Rasmussen Expedition hunts muskoxen at Adam Bierings Land.
July 23 The Danish Expedition to Queen Louise Land, a four-man expedition organized by Johan Koch and Alfred Wegener to study weather and glacial conditions on the ice cap, arrives at Danmark Havn aboard from the Royal Greenland Trade Department supply ship Godthaab. The party’s equipment includes a motorboat, 16 Icelandic ponies, 20 tons of pony food and a prefabricated hut.
July Knud Rasmussen discovers a cairn in which Robert E. Peary deposited a note reporting his discovery of Independence Fjord in 1892.
September 15 Knud Rasmussen’s 1st Thule Expedition returns to Cape York after re-crossing the icecap in rain and wet snow at an average speed of 25 miles a day.Summer
The Norwegian sealer Sjoblomsten rescues Ejnar Mikkelsen and Iver P. Iversen from Bass Rock.
1913July 4 The Danish Expedition to Queen Louise Land reaches the west coast of Greenland northeast of Proven completing its traverse of the ice cap. Five of the 16 Icelandic ponies that started the trip survive.
Summer Knud Rasmussen spends the season in Denmark where he buys the schooner Kap York to supply the Cape York Station.
The first of three archeological excavations begins at Commers Midden north of Mount Dundas in the Cape York District. The digs yield more than 10,000 artifacts dating back to the 10th century including Norse relics.
The findings of the Danish expeditions are used to attack Robert E. Peary in the United States Congress. Peary is accused of perpetrating a cartographic swindle and all official American maps showing the Peary Channel are withdrawn.
1916Ice delays Knud Rasmussen’s return to Thule forcing him to postpone a planned crossing of the icecap to explore the peninsula between Independence Fjord and Nordenskiold Inlet. The first year of the Second Thule Expedition concentrates on geographic, geologic, botanical and ethnologic studies along the coast of Melville Bay between Upernavik and Cape York. Danish geologist and cartographer Lauge Koch joins the expedition.
1917January 25 The United States purchases the Danish West Indies (present day U.S. Virgin Islands) and declares that it has no objection, "to the Danish Government extending their political interest to the whole of Greenland." Great Britain and Sweden also recognize Danish claims to Greenland.
April Knud Rasmussen departs Thule in the company of Lauge Koch, Swedish botanist T. Wulff and four Inuit dogdrivers hoping to conduct a detailed exploration of the Hazen Coast.
May Knud Rasmussen’s Second Thule Expedition reaches the head of Sherard Osborn Fjord where it descends the icecap and follows the western shore of the Hazen Coast surveying the inlets and collecting specimens for scientific study including Silurian and Cambrian fossils before the scarcity of game and fail food supplies forces them to turn back at Long Fjord. Lauge Koch produces the first maps closing off the supposed northern outlet of Peary Channel.
August 24 The Second Thule Expedition returns to the west coast at the south end of Humboldt Glacier shortly after eating the last of their dogs. Rasmussen and the strongest of the surviving Inuit push on Etah leaving the others behind.
September 4 A relief party relieves Lauge Koch and the two Inuit guides left behind by Knud Rasmussen. Doctor Wulff had died shortly after dictating his observations on the arctic flora to Koch was near death himself.
1918The results of the Second Thule Expedition are published in Denmark. Knud Rasmussen concludes from his study of the most northerly ruins on the west coast at Benton Bay 80° north latitude that ruins discovered at 83° north latitude on the east coast were left by migrating Inuit from southeast Greenland. Lauge Koch discovered and unbroken chain of paleocrystic mountains stretching from Robeson Channel to northernmost Greenland. Botanist Wulff recorded 37 species of flora previously unknown north of Humboldt Glacier.
1919February The East Greenland Company (Ostgronlandsk Kompagni), a Danish hunting concern, is founded on the initiative of former members of the Danmark Expedition.
Summer The East Greenland Company’s first group of 10 hunters sails aboard the Dagny to the Danmark Havn aboard the Dagny and establishes stations at Danmark Havn, Hvalrosodden and Germania Havn. The company eventually builds 14 stations and huts between Cape Broer Ruys and Hvalrosodden.
Summer Knud Rasmussen leads the fourth Thule Expedition sailing from Julianehaab aboard the schooner Sgkongen to Angmagssalik for an ethnographic study of the East Greenland Inuit.
1920July 15 Lauge Koch leaves Copenhagen to prepare for the Bicentenary Jubilee Expedition to commemorate Hans Egede's arrival in Greenland.
August Koch establishes a base camp at Robinson Bay on Inglefield Gulf. Koch relies entirely on Inuit subordinates aside from one Danish engineer hired to service the specially constructed tractors used to transport supplies to an advance depot staged at Warming Land south of Sherard Fjord.
August The East Greenland Company’s ship Dagny is crushed in the ice off Shannon Island before it can reach the northern stations. The crew is marooned for the winter and two men die before the rescue ship Teddy arrives in the spring. 52 Norwegian whalers operate in Greenlandic waters. The hunt produces an average of 60,000 kroner per ship.
1921July 2 The Danish Foreign Ministry informs the Norwegian Government that it considers the whole island of Greenland to be a part of its colonial empire by virtue of a 1776 ordinance.
July 9 The 200th anniversary of Hans Egede’s is commemorated with the first visit to Greenland by a Danish monarch. A flotilla of kayaks and umiaks greets King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine as the Royal Yacht Dannebrog enters Godthaab harbor along with a naval escort under the command of Rear Admiral Carl Carstensen.
Summer The Danish National Museum’s Noerlund Expedition discovers Norse graves dating from 885 to 1400 at Ikigait.
September The Fifth Thule Expedition under Knud Rasmussen departs Godthaab aboard the Sea King for the Canadian Arctic where the expedition plans to begin a circumnavigation of the polar region by dog sled living among the Inuit to collect data on their migrations, legends and folklore.
November 5 Norway rejects Danish claims in Greenland which could be interpreted as extending the trade monopoly at the expense of Norwegian enterprises which had here to fore operated without interference.
1923The Royal Geographical Society’s Founder's Medal is presented to Doctor Knud Rasmussen, "for exploration and research in the Arctic regions."
Knud Rasmussen’s Fifth Thule Expedition continues. At this point the party, which includes writer Peter Freuchen, archeologist Therkel Mathiassen, ethnographer Kaj Birket-Smith and cinematographer Leo Hansen, has collected over 200 Inuit legends, studied the cultural changes resulting from contact with American whalers and made the first outside contact with several Inuit groups. Lauge Koch, accompanied by three Inuit, completes a strenuous 200-day sledge journey along the north coast of Greenland, around Peary Land and back across the Inland Ice. Koch discovers a depression which he believes Peary mistook for a channel in 1892. Koch's observations of the interior of Independence Bay lead to the considerable cartographic changes published in the Atlas of North Greenland.
The East Greenland Company ship Teddy is crushed in the ice, but the 21 crew and hunters eventually reached land in the Ammassalik region, and were picked up by the Quest in 1924. Godthaab subsequently rescued the remaining hunters stranded on the coast. After these losses the company suspended operations.
1924March 24 Ejnar Mikkelsen founds the Scoresby Sound Committee to revive Harald Olrik’s proposal to establish a settlement in the region. An appeal to the Danish public is an immediate success thanks to the support of journalist Valdemar Galster and Hans Niels Andersen of the East Greenland Company who purchases a ship, the Gronland, for an exploratory expedition.
July 9 Denmark and Norway sign a treaty giving both countries the right to engage in hunting, fishing and scientific activities including the operation of weather stations on the east coast of Greenland between Lindenow fjord at 60°27' north latitude and 81° north latitude with the exception of the District of Angmagssalik.
July 24 The Gronland arrives at the entrance to Scoresby Sound. The ship is caught in the ice off Fox Point, Cape Tobin and loses its rudder. A nearby site is chosen for the settlement without the planned preliminary reconnaissance. The Gronland’s cargo of building materials and provisions is unloaded at Ferslew Point.
Summer The Gronland returns to Denmark leaving a 7 wintering party including 3 carpenters and 3 scientists at Scoresby Sound. Governor Petersen, accompanied by 6 Danes and 40 west coast Greenlanders, arrives at the new settlement to oversee the construction of the colony. A large house is built for the colony's manager and pastor at Scoresbysund and housing for the Inuit families is constructed at Cape Stewart, Cape Hope and Cape Tobin.
Knud Rasmussen’s Fifth Thule Expedition is brought to an end by the refusal of Soviet authorities to allow the completion of his studies among the Siberian Inuit. The expedition covered some 20,000 miles between Greenland and the Bering Strait.
The East Greenland Company is forced out of business following the loss of two ship to the pack ice, one hunter to a polar bear and a scarcity of game. The total catch of the company’s hunters in six seasons is a mere 679 fox and 117 bear.
1925September 1 The first party of Inuit settlers, about 70 from Angmagssalik and 15 from West Greenland, arrives at Scoresbysund abord the Gustav Holm (the renamed Gronland). Johan Petersen, former manager of Angmagssalik, becomes the colony’s first manager.
French Polar explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot makes the first of his seven visits to the Scoresby Sound region including the new settlement of Scoresbysund and a sidetrip to Jameson Land.
The 10 hunters settled at Scoresbysund catch 12 narwhal, 700–800 seal, 60 walrus, 115 bear and 71 fox.
1926July 12 The Cambridge East Greenland Expedition, an 8 man party led by James M. Wordie, arrives at Lille Pendulum Island aboard the Heimland. The expedition’s aims include surveying, archeology and exploration of a route to the 2971 m high Petermann Bjerg seen from a distance by Karl Koldewey’s expedition in 1870.
July Lauge Koch’s Expedition comprised of 2 geologists and 2 Inuit dogsled drivers travels to Greenland aboard the Gustav Holm to conduct a geological survey of the region north of Scoresby Sound.
July – August Members of the Cambridge East Greenland Expedition repeat Sir Edward Sabine’s Pendulum Experiments of 1823, scout a route from Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord to the Petermann Bjerg and have great success in correctly placing many of the geographic features named by William Scoresby in 1822.
August 25 The Cambridge East Greenland Expedition departs Greenland after a brief port call at Scoresbysund.
August – September Two members of the Koch Expedition, geologists Alfred Rosenkrantz and Tom Harris, work in Jameson Land while Koch oversees construction of a basecamp at Scoresbysund.
Summer A meteorological observatory and physical sciences laboratory is built at Godhavn.
Summer The Noerlund Expedition discovers foundations of a Norse cathedral and bishop’s palace c.1000 at Ivigo.Summer
An expedition led by Greenlander Lauge Koch conducts a geologic survey of the Scoresby Sound region.
Summer Nils Foldvik, Hallvard Devold and Fritz Oien Foldvik, telegraphers at the Tromsoe Geophysical Institute and 3 other hunters travel to Greenland aboard the Ringsel. The Norwegians introduce the practice of building numerous small huts over a wide area around a central base, a hunting technique commonly used in Spitzbergen and Jan Mayen, to the larger terrain of East Greenland.
Summer Ejnar Mikkelsen and Ebbe Munck are welcomed as guests of Jean-Baptiste Charcot during the second visit of explorer’s three-mast barque Pourquoi Pas? To Scoresbysund.
October - November Lauge Koch makes a sledge journey from Scoresbysund to Hold with Hope via Hurry Inlet, King Oscar Fjord and Sofia Sound and returns via Ymer Island.
Kudlooktoo, a Cape York Inuit, confesses to the killing of Ross Marvin, a member of the Peary North Pole Expedition reported drowned in 1909. Subsequent investigation by Knud Rasmussen reveals that Kudlooktoo killed Marvin after he threatened to abandon another Inuk, Inukitsoq. The matter is dismissed as a case of self-defense.
1927The Royal Geographical Society’s Patron's Medal is presented to Dr. Lauge Kock: "for his very remarkable six years’ exploration of Northern Greenland."
February - June Lauge Koch makes a sledge journey from Scoresbysund to Danmark Havn. A previously unknown extension of the Dusen Fjord is discovered on the return journey. At the same time Rosenkrantz and Harris had complete their survey of Jameson Land and continue into eastern Milne Land. The geologist discover fossils indicating that Greenland once had a tropical climate.
August A six-man Norwegian hunting expedition led by Jonas Karlsbak builds stations at Cape Herschel, Clavering and Jackson Islands. The Hird, the party’s 49 foot fishing boat sinks at its winter anchorage in the Finsch Islands the same month.
August The Koch Expedition returns to Denmark aboard the Gustav Holm.
The Danish settlement at Scoresbysund is expanded with the addition of a church and 10 houses along with Janus Sorensen's a radio station and seismological observatory.
A Danish weather station at Angmagssalik broadcasts weather reports throughout the year.
The Norwegian weather station at Mybutket (73° 30' N) relays weather reports to a radio transmitter on Jan Mayen Island during the fishing season.
The University of Michigan’s Hobbs Expedition establishes a weather station at the head of Kangendlugsdak Fjord.
1928August American aviators Parker Cramer and Bert Hassell depart Rockford, Illinois on a flight to Stockholm via the polar regions. The aviators hope that the flight will prove that the "Great Circle" route would prove to be the most practical and safest route to Europe. The two pilots run into trouble over Greenland, where, finding themselves off course by 400 miles, they fly on, hoping to rendezvous with a University of Michigan Expedition base on the coast. They land 60 miles short of the base having flown 2,600 miles in 26 hours. After hiking for 15 days they are finally rescued by an Inuit and return to the United States.
Knud Rasmussen calls the Inuit hunters of the Cape York District together and says that, having listened to the wisdom of the old ones, he proposes to establish some tribal laws. As a result the Thule Law is born. The assemblage promises to uphold it and a council formed to enforce it.
U.S. Coast Guard cutter Marion carries out extensive oceanographic and iceberg studies and an expedition from the Danish Hydrographic Office explores the waters of the Davis Strait.
The University of Michigan expedition under Professor William H. Hobbs completes a year long study of meteorological conditions in Greenland and their relation to global weather patterns.
The Romanian Greenland Expedition under Constantin Dumbrava makes a ten month long study of meteorological conditions at a base in Angmassalik.
The Oxford University Greenland Expedition under Dr. Tom Longstaff conducts biological studies.
A six-man Norwegian hunting expedition led by Finn Devold sails to East Greenland aboard the Terningen and takes over from the Foldvik party which returns to Norway with a catch of 287 fox, 18 polar bears and 7 wolves.
1929May The East Greenland Fox Company (Ostgronlandsk Fangstkompagni Nanok A/S) is formed by Danish interests led by J.G. Jennov following several fail attempts to revive the East Greenland Company. In light of the ongoing sovereignty dispute with Norway, the Danes felt it imperative to compete with the Norwegian hunting parties in the region. Nanok is underwritten by several large Danish companies and philanthropic foundations along with the Danish State which agrees to provide free transportation for the venture.
June 7 Knud Rasmussen signs the Thule Law.
July 2 The Second Cambridge East Greenland Expedition under James M. Wordie departs Aberdeen, Scotland aboard the Heimland. The main objectives of the 9 member expedition are an ascent of the Peterman Bjerg and geological exploration.
August 4 The Second Cambridge East Greenland Expedition makes landfall at the Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord following a protracted battle with the icepack.
August 15 Six members of the Cambridge Expedition become the first party to reach the summit of the Petermann Bjerg. The party followed a trail blazed in 1926 by members of the First Cambridge Expedition to East Greenland from the head of Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord via Ridderdal and across the Ptarmigan, Nordenskiöld and Disa Glaciers.
August 25 The expedition Second Cambridge East Greenland Expedition clears the coast after a five day struggle with the ice pack.
Summer Lauge Koch leads a 22 man geological and botanical expedition to the east coast fjords between 72°–74°North latitude. The expedition conducts extensive topographical surveys in Wollaston Foreland, Hudson Land, Clavering and Ymer Islands.
Summer Nanok sends 10 hunters accompanied by J.G. Jennov to Greenland aboard the Birgild but due to poor ice conditions only the southern hunting stations taken over from the East Greenland Company are occupied.
October The fox-hunting company Arktisk Næringsdrift is founded by Hallvard Devold with the support of Adolf Hoel of the Norges Svalbard og Ishavs Undersøkelser (NSIU), a Norwegian scientific research institute. Arktisk Næringsdrift sends 10 hunters to East Greenland while the NSIU initiates a series of modest topographic surveys, oceanographic, botanic, zoological and geologic studies.
The University of Michigan Greenland Expedition completes a series of meteorological studies on the ice cap.
Therkel Mathaissen studies the archeological ruins in the Upernivik District.
Lauge Koch conducts a study of the geological history of the region between Sabine Island and Scoresby Sound.
Alwin Pedersen completes a two year zoological study of the region between Scoresbysund and Cape Dalton. Pedersen discovered new arms of the Nordvestfjord and located numerous polar bear dens.
The Karlsbak hunting party returns to Norway aboard the Veslekari with a catch of 352 fox and 42 polar bears.
1930April The German Greenland Expedition under Alfred Wegener departs for an 18 month study of weather and geological conditions as well as the possibilities of establishing a trans-Arctic air route. The 19 member expedition sets up a base camp at Kamarujuk on Umanak Bay. Wegener reports his propeller driven sledges a success having transported loads of up to 1200 pounds 125 miles inland where the Eismitte Station is established.
July Robert A. Bartlett, accompanied by big game hunter Harry Whitney, visits the east coast aboard his schooner the Effie M. Morrissey. Bartlett takes the Morrissey as far north as Cape Bismarck in search of archaeological and anthropological specimens for the Museum of the American Indian. The expedition’s excavations at Cape David Gray and Eskimonaes uncover the ruins of two groups of Inuit dwellings containing the relics of the extinct tribes. July
A three-man party from the German Greenland Expedition led by Walther Kapp travels to Scoresby Sound in East Greenland aboard Gertrud Rask to carry out further meteorological studies.
July 26 The Royal Geographical Society’s British Arctic Air Route Expedition arrives in Greenland aboard Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Quest to survey a possible air route linking Great Britain and Canada via the ice cap. The 14 member team headed by Henry G. "Gino" Watkins is equipped with airplanes, motor boats and dog teams establishes a base camp on the southeast coast and a weather station on the 8000 foot summit of the ice cap.
Summer Lauge Koch returns to East Greenland aboard the supply ship Godthaab with two geological, a zoological and a botanical survey party. The surveys are impeded by ice conditions but the work is carried out on Clavering Island, Cape Stosch and Moskusoksefjord.
September 1 Danish explorer Lauge Koch returns to Copenhagen with an extensive collection of fossilized fish gathered in Greenland. Koch’s party mapped an extensive section of previously unexplored coast along Scoresby Sound and discovered coal and copper deposits in the region. September
Following initial studies around the town of Scoresbysund, the Kapp party moves on to the Oststation on the western coast of Jameson Land.
November Alfred Wegener dies while attempting to return to the German Greenland Expedition’s base camp at Kamarujuk from the Eismitte station.
December The Danish Committee for the Exploration of Greenland headed by Premier Stauning approves Lauge Koch’s proposal to build base stations for the conduct of scientific studies at King Oscar Fjord and Gael Hawkes Bay.
Danish Prime Minister Thorvald Stauning visits Greenland and tours the Qullissat coal mine.
Arktisk Næringsdrift assumes responsibility for operation of the the Myggbukta radio and weather station in return for a modest subsidy from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.
The More Greenland Expedition a six-man hunting party led by Jonas Karlsbak, travels to Greenland aboard the Veslekari. Three of the hunters open up new terrain on the south side of King Oscar Fjord with main stations at Antarctic Havn and Cape Petersens and build 12 new huts between Canning Land and Alpefjord.
The Devold hunting party returns to Norway aboard the Veslekari with a catch of 346 fox, 11 bear and 8 wolves.
Romanian scientist Constantin Dumbrava, having spent several years in the Angmagssalik region, decides to move on to the Scoresby Sound despite the objections of the Danish authorities. The Norwegian sealer Grande drops Dumbrava on the east side of Hurry Inlet where he builds a house and makes meteorological observations.
1931The Danish government ratifies the Thule Law which remains in effect until 1950. Denmark takes responsibility for administration of the Cape York District and Knud Rasmussen is authorized to represent the Danish state there.
June 29 Hallvard Devold raises the Norwegian flag at Myggbukta and takes possession of Eirik Raudes Land (Erik the Red’s Land) in the name of King Haakon.
June 31 Lauge Koch sails for Greenland with orders to establish Danish sovereignty over the disputed region. Koch is empowered as the Danish police authority in East Greenland pending a verdict by the International Court of Justice.
June The German Greenland Expedition departs Scoresbysund for Europe aboard the Royal Greenland Trade Department ship Gertrud Rask.
July 10 The Norwegian Government issues a formal proclamation annexing the east coast of Greenland between 71°30' and 75°45' north latitude. Norwegian Foreign Minister Graadland describes the annexation as "purely technical" and intended to strengthen its case in the "future proceedings at the Hague". Lawyer and author Helge Ingstad is appointed Governor of Eirik Raudes Land.
July 13 Denmark asks the Permanent Court of International Justice at the Hague to declare Norway’s actions in Greenland null and void.July – August Norwegians Arne Hoygaard and Martin Mehren cross the ice cap from west to east.
July Lauge Koch arrives at the head of the largest expedition ever undertaken to East Greenland. The planned 4 year study of Christian X Land is underwritten by the Carlsberg Foundation and other private donations. The Danish Government provides transportation to and from Greenland aboard the Gustav Holm and Godthaab. The first years party, numbering 65 including 22 scientists, builds two main wintering stations at Eskimonaes and Ella Island and two smaller houses at Nordfjord and Cape Brown for the 10 scientist who winter-over and conducts geological surveys of Clavering, Ymer and Traill islands and Hochstetter Foreland.
August 9 American aviators Parker Cramer and Oliver Paquette cross the Greenland ice cap but are lost at sea while attempting to complete a Great Circle flight from Detroit to Copenhagen.
August 20 The Althing authorizes Iceland’s cabinet to intervene in the Danish - Norwegian dispute to safeguard that country's claims in Greenland.
August 21 A 60 foot high memorial shaft marking the starting point of Robert Peary’s alleged trek to the North Pole dedicated at Cape York by Peary’s daughter Marie.
August Wolfgang von Gronau and 3 companions complete a pioneering flight from Europe to Chicago via the ice cap between Scoresbysund and Sukkertoppen.
September 8 Lauge Koch returns to Copenhagen and reports the discovery of coal deposits in Vochstetter Fjord (occupied by the Norwegians) but no oil.
Summer Two small parties from the British Arctic Air Route Expedition cross the ice cap from the east to the west coast. Another party explores and maps the region around Mount Forel and ascends to within 500 feet of its 11,500 foot summit (the highest in the arctic).
Summer A Danish expedition led by Knud Rasmussen surveys 2500 miles of coastline between Julianhaab and Angmagssalik.
Summer An expedition led by Robert A. Bartlett and Arthur D. Norcross sails to East Greenland aboard the schooner Effie M. Morrissey to collect specimens for the Smithsonian Institute, the American Museum of Natural History and the New York Botanical Gardens. The Morrissey is trapped in the pack ice for 37 days before making landings at Clavering Island, Cape Stosch and Shannon Island.
Summer American Louise Boyd charters the Norwegian sealer Veslekari to visit East Greenland on a photographic reconnaissance in preparation for a more ambitious expedition two years hence. The Veslekari visits every fjord and sound between latitudes 72°and 74°North latitude. The inner reaches of the Isfjord are explored for the first time and Gerard de Geer Glacier (later renamed Boyd Glacier) is discovered.
Summer Norwegian Adolf Hoel and two students cross the Greenland ice cap by dog sled. The journey begins at Umanak on the east coast and covers a 1000 miles route to the west coast.
Summer Danish authorities divert the Royal Greenland Trade Department ship Godthaab to Scoresby Sound where they arrest and deport Romanian scientist Constantin Dumbrava.
November 20 The German Greenland Expedition returns to Berlin. The party’s studies confirmed Wegener’s theory that the interior of Greenland is a great ice-filled bowl rather than a plateau. Measurements taken at an altitude of 9850 feet found the ice cap to be 8,850 feet thick.
1932July 10 The Scoresbysund Committee’s Second Greenland Expedition led by Ejnar Mikkelsen lands at Cape Dalton following a three week voyage from Denmark aboard the Sokongen. The expedition’s primary objectives; exploration of the relatively unknown coastline south of Scoresby Sound and the construction of huts at suitable locations to facilitate communication between the settlements of Angmagssalik and Scoresbysund, are carried out over the next two months. July 12
Norway annexes and occupies the east coast between 61°30' and 63°45' north latitude. Denmark submits the new dispute to the Permanent Court.
July 15 The main body of the Koch Expedition numbering 95 including 37 scientists and 4 aerial photographers on loan from the Army Flying Corps leaves Copenhagen to resume its activities in Christian X Land. The flagship of Koch’s five ship armada, the Gustav Holm, carries a seaplane loaned by the Danish Navy and another is ferried aboard French explorer Jean Charcot’s Pourquoi Pas? which joins the expedition. The speed and accuracy of the cartographic work in the largely unexplored region between 70°and 77° is greatly increased by the use of aerial photography in conjunction with ground trigonometric surveys. Zoologists and hydrographers based on the Godthaab carryout studies of the fjord system from latitudes 72°to74°North and archaeological digs are made at sites on Clavering and Ella Islands.
August 20 H. G. Watkins, leader of the British Arctic Air Route Expedition, is killed when his canoe overturns during a seal hunt on Lake Fiord. The expedition continues its studies under Watkin’s successor John Rymill.
August 25 Mrs. Edward Stafford, daughter of Admiral Robert Peary, and her two sons dedicate a memorial to the discoverer of the North Pole at Cape York.
Summer An expedition sponsored by the University of Michigan and Pan American Airways studies the feasibility of establishing an air route linking Europe and America over the Greenland ice cap.
Summer Knud Rasmussen leads the 7th and last of his Thule expeditions. Geological, archaeological, botanical and zoological studies are carried out along the southeast coast between Cape Farewell and Kangerlussuaq. An aerial cartographic survey of the southeast coast and fjords between Pikiudtlek and Cape Farewell is completed with the aid of a seaplane loaned by the Danish Royal Navy.
Summer Eynar Mikkelsen of Denmark and 3 British scientists complete a detailed map of the Blosseville Coast.
Summer J.G. Jennov leads an expedition for the East Greenland Fox Company (Nanok) to reoccupy the Danmarkshavn station and construct a radio station at Hvalrosodden.
Summer A six man expedition led by Governor Helge Ingstad arrives in East Greenland aboard the Polarbjorn to establish a Norwegian administration for Eirik Raudes Land. The Ingstad Party builds several huts on the south side of King Oscar Fjord. The Polarbjorn also transports a major NSIU expedition equipped with two airplanes for aerial photography to East Greenland.
Summer The Norwegian paper Dagsposten sends Sigurd Skaun and Harald Welde to investigate columns of smoke reported by A. Hoygaard and M. Mehren on the east side of Waltershausen Glacier. Their three week exploration of the rough terrain in western Hudson Land and Ole Romer Land reveals no evidence of volcanic activity or hot springs.
Summer The Norwegian steamer Isbjorn reaches East Greenland with a six man expedition led by John Giaever and a six member hunting party led by Sigurd Tollofsen. Giaever’s men establish a radio station at Jonsbu, hunting stations at Ottostrand and Olestua on the north shore of the Ardencaple Fjord and build hunting huts at 18 locations between Ardencaple Fjord and Cape Niels. The Tollofsen party constructs a new station at Sigurdsheim along with six new huts.
Summer Peter Freuchen returns to Greenland to research a screenplay for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film Eskimo.
1933January – August The British Arctic Air Route Expedition studies Lake Fjord on the east coast for use as an alternative air base on the Europe – America route.
April 5 Permanent Court of International Justice issues a 12 to 2 verdict in favor of Denmark in the East Greenland sovereignty dispute. Norway withdraws Governor Helge Ingstad and the 5 men sent to administer "Eric the Red’s land". Denmark appoints Ejnar Mikkelsen Inspector for East Greenland. Lauge Koch continues to represent police authority in the region during his expeditions until 1939. June 11
The University of Michigan – Pan American Airways Expedition establishes a camp at the northern summit of the ice cap at 74° 39’ north latitude. Party leader Ralph Belknap remains at the camp alone until August 19th to record weather and other scientific observations.Summer
The Koch Expedition returns to Christian X Land with a 109 member party, half of them scientists. Favorable weather and ice conditions contribute to the completion of ground surveys in the region between 72°and 76°North. Geologic surveys are conducted from Liverpool Land to the Skaefjorden and a mining camp is established on Clavering Island to investigate mineralized outcroppings. The zoologists and hydrographers continue their study of the Scoresby Sound fjord system.
July 13 The American Geographical Society Expedition led by Louise Boyd arrives at Hold with Hope aboard the Veslekari.
August 1 The Cambridge Zoological Expedition arrives at Jameson Land aboard the French ship Pourquoi Pas? to conduct a study of land and freshwater animals of the Hurry Sound region. French scientists on board continue on to Milne Land at the head of Scoresby Sound.
August 4 Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh cross the ice cap from west to east and land at Ella Island in the Lockheed Sirius monoplane Tingmissartoq as part of a six month series of Trans-Atlantic route survey.
August 6 The Lindberghs fly south to Angmagsalik with instructions from Lauge Koch to pay special attention to the high mountains south of Scoresby Sound. They cross the ice cap westwards to Godthaab then turn south following the west coast before returning to Angmagsalik.
August 13 Knud Rasmussen entertains Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh at Angmagsalik on the eve of their departure for Iceland.
August Knud Rasmussen produces a cinematographic record of Greenlandic eskimo life while sailing along the Blosseville Coast aboard the Kivioq. The shore along the cruise route from Angmagssalik to Scoresbysund is named Knud Rasmussen’s Land until 1953 when the term is officially applied to the northernmost region of Greenland.
September 9 The American Geographical Society Expedition departs Mackenzie Bay for Europe having visited nearly all the fjords between 72°30’ and 74°North latitude. The expedition’s accomplishment include discovery, exploration and photogrammetric mapping of the Gregory Valley, its glaciers and surrounding mountains and depth charting the fjords with echo sounding equipment. Expedition leader Louise Boyd continued to pursue her primary interest, making a photographic record of arctic scenery.November
The University of Michigan – Pan American Airways Expedition under Dr. Ralph Belknap returns to the United States via Copenhagen.
December 21 Knud Rasmussen dies in Copenhagen at age 55 while planning his 8th Thule Expedition. Rasmussen's death is attributed to food poisoning brought on by eating fermented dovekies.
Two settlements, Siorapaluk and Sovigsivik, are founded in the Thule district. Each has a trading post so that people, unable to reach Thule owing to bad sea-ice conditions, can secure provisions.
1934The Royal Geographical Society’s Patron's Medal is presented to Captain Ejnar Mikkelsen: "for exploration in the Arctic and his work in Eskimo resettlement in Greenland".
May A British party headed by Martin Lindsay leaves Jakobshavn and crosses the widest part of the ice cap from west to east and explores a previously unexplored 350 mile stretch of the east coast then departs Angmagssalik for Great Britain.
August 22 – 29 A five-man Italian climbing expedition led by Leonardo Bonzi, having failed in an attempt to scale the Watkins Range, explores the peaks above the Volquart Boon Coast on the south side of Scoresby Sound.
September 7 The Bonzi Expedition departs Greenland after being reported separated from their ship and feared dead of starvation near Angmagssalik.
The British Ellesmere Land Expedition sponsored by Oxford University and the Royal Geographical Society and led by Doctor Noel Humphries arrives at Etah to prepare for an exploration of Ellesmere Island, Canada.
Lauge Koch returns to Christian X Land for a final season. The expedition is pared back to 65 member including 31 scientists and requires only one ship, the Gustav Holm, and one sea-plane. The main work of the expedition is a geological survey of the coastal region between Canning Land and Hudson Land. Poor weather and ice conditions prevent the planned relief and transport of supplies to hunters of the Nanok Company. Company founder J.G. Jennov blames the failure on Lauge Koch’s antipathy toward Danish hunters. Alfred Rosenkrantz begins his study of the Jurassic stratigraphy of the Scoresby Sound region.
The NSIU scientific ceases virtually all its scientific studies in East Greenland but continues to cooperate with Arktisk Naeringsdrift in the dispatch of relief ships to serve the Norwegian hunters, as well as supplying the telegraphers for the station at Myggbukta.
The Giaever Expedition shutsdown the Jonsbu radio station and returns to Norway along with the five surviving members of the Tollofsen hunting party aboard the Saelbarden.
1935The Royal Greenland Trade Department supply ship Godthaab fails to reach the east coast. Nanok hunting stations in the region are evacuated by airplane and the Norwegian sealer Busko.
The Danish settlement at Scoresbysund is reinforced by the in-migration of 35 Greenlanders from Angmagssalik.
Summer A.W. Moore and H.W. Stallworthy of the British Ellesmere Land Expedition sledge from Fort Conger across the United States Range into Grant Land at 82° 25’ north latitude. Still further north they sight 10,000 foot mountains which they name the British Empire Range.
August 17 Six members of the Anglo-Danish Expedition to East Greenland led by Augustine Courtauld, Lawrence Wager and Ebbe Munck reach the 12,250 foot summit of the Gunnbjorn Fjeld, the highest peak in the Watkins Range, after a nine day march up the Irminger Fjord via Sorgenfri and Christian IV Glaciers.
August 22 Eight members of the Anglo-Danish Expedition land at Kangerdludsuak to establish a winter camp. The remaining members return to England.
1936July 23 The Gustav Holm arrives at Scoresbysund carrying a 47 man expedition led by Lauge Koch. The expedition’s 5 geological survey teams spend the summer working on Gauss Halvo, Cape Stosch, Ella and Traill Islands and Nathorst Fjord. Fourteen members of the party winter over at the end of the season. Summer
Edward and Charles Bird begin a two year ornithological survey of Myggbukta and Peters Bay sponsored by the Norwegian NSIU and Arktisk Næringsdrift.
Summer The British East Greenland Expedition led by Lawrence R. Wager carries out geological studies from Frederiksborg Glacier to Gronau Peak and the Seward Plateau.
Summer A French expedition led by Jean Charcot takes advantage of unusually ice free seas to explore and research little known areas of the Scoresby Sound region.
Summer Members of the Franco-Swiss Greenland Expediton cross the ice cap from west to east before departing Greenland aboard Jean Charcot’s research vessel Pourquoi Pas?.
Summer Gaston Micard tours the coast of East Greenland aboard Ernest Shackleton’s old ship the Quest.
September 16 Jean Charcot and all but one of 40 people on board is killed when the Pourquoi Pas? Sinks off the west coast of Iceland while enroute from Greenland to France.
Autumn Eight members of the Wagner Expedition, who wintered at Kangerdludsuak, complete their geological and botanical studies and return to England.
Winter Gaston Micard winters at the mouth of Loch Fyne where is he makes use of the Norwegian hunting huts, and builds three new huts, later taken over by Arktisk Næringsdrift.
The Danish state hires Jette Bang to photograph and document all aspects of life in Greenland. Her photo book Greenland makes an important contribution to the Danish understanding of life in the colony.
1937Knud Rasmussen's widow, Dagmar Theresia Andersen, sells her last rights on the Thule trading post to the Danish government.
July 25 – August 25 Louise Boyd’s Arctic Expedition produces a general hydrographic chart of East Greenland between 72°and 74°North, detailed hydrographic surveys of Tyrolerfjord, Kjerulf Fjord and Narhwal Sound and a plane-table survey of the Agassiz Valley. Botanical as well as glacial and quaternary geological studies are also carried out.
Summer The main body of Lauge Koch's expedition returns to Greenland. They intend to build a scientific research station on the Nathorst Fjord but ice conditions prevent the Royal Greenland Trade Department supply ship Gustav Holm from reaching the site. The station is built at Gurreholm instead. The expedition’s 8 geological, one zoological and one botanical research teams carry out their studies at Hold with Hope, the Giesecke Mountains and Jameson Land.
Summer The Gustav Holm is trapped by ice in Scoresby Sound and is unable to relieve the Nanok hunting stations or evacuate members of the Koch Expedition.
Summer The Norwegian supply ship Polarbjorn sails to Greenland carrying archaeologist Soren Richter’s a three-man hunting group bound for the terrain south of King Oscar Fjord, a six-man hunting expedition led by Sigurd Tollofsen which is forced to return to Norway without reaching its destination due to heavy ice and the Hermann Andresen/Lars Vemoy party bound for the Wollaston Foreland hunting terrain.
December 20 Faeringhaven on the southwest coast is opened to international trade until October 31, 1941.
1938A single hunter in the employ of the Norwegian company Arktisk Næringsdrift catches a record 642 fox at Cape Herschell.
February The Greenland Trade Department's annual Copenhagen fur auction nets 750,000 kroner.
May 10 Lauge Koch departs Kings Bay, Spitzbergen for Crown Prince Christian Land aboard the seaplane Perssuak in search of the mythical Fata Morgana Land first reported J. P. Koch of the Danmark Expedition in 1908.
May 15 – 16 Lauge Koch takes the Perssuak on a flight across Peary Land. No trace of the mythical Fata Morgana Land is seen but Koch’s aerial survey finds the Peary Channel to be two fjords and a lake. Koch tells the Danish press, “Our flight has shown that Peary was practically correct...It pleases me personally that we can restore Peary’s name completely. Peary was not right, but he was in good faith.”
June 19 The Morkefjord Expedition led by Eigil Knuth and Ebbe Munck leaves Copenhagen in search of the mythical Fata Morgana Land allegedly sighted by Ivan Papanin the previous year. In addition to the expedition’s leaders, the transport ship Gamma carries a party of six scientist and three Greenlanders along with 70 sled dogs and a De Havilland Tiger Moth. Alwin Pedersen accompanies the expedition as an independent zoologist.
July The Morkefjord Expedition lands on the coast of Northeast Greenland west of Hvalrosodden where a wintering house, Morkefjord Station, is built. The search for Fata Morgana Land is quietly put aside and the expedition concentrates on the exploration of the little known land between latitudes 76° and 82°North.
July 25 Louise Boyd’s last major expedition to East Greenland lands from the Veslekari at Bass Rock and carries out investigations around Clavering Island and in Granta Fjord. August 2
The Veslekari reaches 77°48’ North latitude reached at the northern end of the Ile de France where the Boyd Expedition makes the northernmost landing ever made from a ship on the east coast of Greenland.
August 27 The Boyd Expedition departs Greenland for Spitzbergen after exploring parts of Dove Bay and visiting the inner reaches of the Bessel and Ardencaple Fjords. The principal achievements of the expedition include production of a general hydrographic chart of the coast between 74°and 77°North with detailed profiles in Pustervig and off Soraner Glacier, tidal observations made at Danmarkshavn and geological and botanical surveys of the Orienteringsoer.
Summer The Royal Greenland Trade Department's supply ship Godthaab reaches East Greenland carrying an additional geological survey team to join the Koch Expedition.
Summer Alfred Rosenkrantz organizes the first of the Danish Nugssuaq expeditions to West Greenland. The expedition heralds a new era in the geological investigation in the largely unknown west. The Nugssuaq expeditions presage the establishment of the Geological Survey of Greenland in which Rosenkrantz becomes the driving force.
Summer Gaston Micard and Willy Knutsen’s Franco-Norwegian Polar Expedition, a combined hunting and scientific expedition sails to Greenland aboard Micard’s ship En Avant. A base camp, Micardbu, is established and three huts are built on the east coast of Germania Land and two more huts are erected on islands south of Danmarkshavn.
October 4 American meteorologist Clifford MacGregor returns to New Jersey after studying the formation of polar air masses near Reindeer Point.
October 4 A successful fund-raising campaign permits Nanok to build numerous supply huts. The company eventually has more than 60 huts on the east coast between Cape Broer Ruys and Saelsoen.
Winter Danes Elmar Drastrup and Finn Kristoffersen undertake a 105 day 1500 mile dog-sledge exploration along the coast of East Greenland between Sandodden on Young Inlet and Ingolf Fjord intent on finding a better route to Peary Land and if possible to cross the ice to Northwest Greenland. Unusually heavy snow and open water force the pair to return to the east coast.
Winter Thirteen members of the Franco-Norwegian Polar Expedition spend the season aboard the En Avant at Lille Koldewey. Weather reports are sent to Oslo three times a day. Expedition leader Gaston Micard becomes ill and is flown out on a Stinson seaplane operating from the ship Veslekari.
1939June The Morkefjord Expedition departs for Europe on the Gamma. Eigil Nielsen had reached the northern point of Crown Prince Christian Land after taking his time to explore the interior of Ingolf Fjord. Eigil Knuth traveled as far as Antarctic Bay and explored part of Skaerfjorden and the Norske Islands. Svend Solver explored Jokelbugten and scaled Milepaelen Summit on Moltke Peak. Further south, Alwin Pedersen and Paul Gelting made numerous short journeys around Dove Bay and to Saelso and Annekssoen.
June A Swedish-Norwegian expedition arrives at Clavering Island aboard the Polarbjorn. The party is led by glaciologist Hans W. Ahlmann and physiologist Kaare Rodahl. Ahlmann returns to Sweden after at the end of the summer while Rodahl remains in Greenland for over a year to continue his study of the role played by vitamins in the Arctic diet. Rodahl discovers that poisoning in humans who eat bear liver arises from vitamin A enrichment.
June A three-man Norwegian hunting expedition led by Soren Richter works the terrain on the south side of King Oscar Fjord. The party catches a total of 82 fox near their newly constructed Havna Station near Noret.
October 31 The Royal Greenland Trade Department ship Gertrud Rask docks in Copenhagen. It will be the last ship to arrive in Denmark from Greenland until the end of World War II.
1940April 9 Germany invades Denmark. Trade and communication with Greenland is cutoff.
April 10 The Danish Minister to Washington meets with President Roosevelt. Greenland is declared a part of North America subject to the Monroe Doctrine. Roosevelt proclaims a vital American interest in keeping Greenland free from German control.
May 1 The U.S. State Department announces the establishment of an American consulate at Godthaab.
May 3 Greenland’s local administrative councils meet in Godhavn and vote to assume powers which the Danish Government can no longer exercise. The councilors reaffirm their allegiance to King Christian X and request United States protection. May 10
United States Consul James K. Penfield and Vice-consul George West sail for Greenland aboard the Coast Guard cutter Comanche. The Canadian Government appoints a consul to Greenland.
June U.S. Coast Guard cutters Campbell, Duane and Cayuga take soundings and make preliminary charts of Greenland’s coastal waters (most of the existing charts are held in German occupied Denmark).
July An American Red Cross official sent to investigate Greenland’s food supply reports that the island’s stores will last several months.
July 9 Eske Brun, Governor of Northern Greenland, arrives in New York to negotiate a trade agreement with the United States.
September Governor Brun announces conclusion of an agreement to trade $1,000,000 worth of Greenlandic products for American supplies.
Autumn The Furenak lands a collaborationist expedition wearing Norwegian uniforms and equipped with a radio transmitter and weapons on the south side of Davy Sound. The ship is discovered by the Norwegian warship Fridtjof Nansen and the installations are destroyed.
October 9 The United States suspends tonnage duties on Greenlandic products.
November 1 The Norwegian warship Fridtjof Nansen seizes a the supply ship Veslekari carrying Danish and Norwegian hunters to Greenland along with 50 armed collaborators who plan to seize the weather station at Myggbukta and supply advance forecasts to the Luftwaffe.
1941March The South Greenland Survey Expedition made up of American diplomats, military commanders and a representative of the Royal Canadian Air Force leaves Boston aboard the U.S.Coast Guard cutter Cayuga. The expedition is to locate sites for airfields, weather stations and other military installations and is ordered to avoid contact with Greenlanders. Narsarssuak is reported to the most promising of the thirteen potential sites are identified by the expedition.
March 27-28 German bombers are sighted over Greenland’s east coast. The sightings are interpreted as evidence that weather reports are being transmitted from the island to the Luftwaffe. April 9
An agreement signed by U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull and the Danish Minister to Washington, Hendrik Kauffman, establishes an American protectorate over Greenland for the duration of the European war.
May U.S. Coast Guard cutter Modoc carries the representative of a Pennsylvania cryolite importer to the mine at Ivigtut. The mine is the sole source of cryolite (a mineral used to extract alumina from bauxite ore).
May 18 U.S. Coast Guard cutters Northland and Modoc respond to distress call from a convoy being attacked by U-boats off Cape Farewell. The search for survivors yields floating debris and empty life-rafts.
May 24 U.S. Coast Guard cutter Modoc sights airplanes from HMS Victorious in midst of bombing the German battleship Bismarck. HMS Prince of Wales and the cruisers HMS Suffolk and HMS Norfolk join the attack. The British squadron fires a salvo towards the Modoc before the British realize their mistake.
June The Greenland Patrol is organized under the command of Edward H. "Iceberg" Smith for purposes of supporting the U.S. Army in establishing airfields in Greenland from which planes can be ferried to Great Britain and to defend Greenland and to prevent German operations in northeastern Greenland.
June U.S. Army Engineers begin ferrying troops and equipment from Argentia Naval Base, Newfoundland to the Bluie West 1 airfield site at Narsarssuak, Greenland.
Summer Governor Eske Brun organizes the Northeast Greenland Sledge Patrol to guard the coast between 70° and 77°North and to prevent and report German activity. The first volunteers are recruited among the Danish and Norwegian hunters and weather station personnel stranded in Greenland at the outbreak of war. The patrol initially comprised six Danes, three Norwegians and six Greenlander dog drivers.
September Army Engineers complete 85 buildings and 3 miles of road at Narsarssuak. A civilian contractor begins construction of the Bluie West 1 airfield.
September 4 The destroyer USS Greer is torpedoed in Greenlandic waters while en route to Iceland.
September 12 The Greenland Sledge Patrol reports a landing at the entrance to Franz Joseph Fjord. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Northland stops and boards the trawler Busko which is flying the Norwegian flag. The crew admits dropping off a German landing party and radio transmitter. A 12 man landing party from the Northland captures 3 Germans and their codebook. The prisoners are taken to Boston for internment.
December The Greenland Patrol acquires 10 New England fishing trawlers to operate in shallow waters and support navigational aid stations.
1942August 27 The German ship Sachsen lands a 19 man meteorological expedition at Hansa Bay on the eastern shore of Sabine Island. A weather station, codenamed Holzauge, is established..
September 30 The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Storis, the first of four vessels specially designed to serve as supply ships for the Bluie West airfields, is commissioned.
November 11 Construction of a LORAN (long range aids to navigation) station begins at Fredericksdaal on the southwest coast of Greenland.
November 28 An amphibious plane attached to the Coast Guard cutter Northland rescues 2 crewmen from a B-17 that crashed on the ice pack. The Northland’s patrol plane crashes on a return trip to the crash site forcing the remaining B-17 crew members to wait several weeks for rescue.
December 31 Wooden buildings at the Fredericksdaal construction camp are blown away in a 165 mph gale. The structures are replaced with Quonset huts buried in trenches.
1943February 2 At 12:55 a.m. the American troopship SS Dorchester is sunk by U-233, 150 miles off Greenland . Coast Guard cutters Escanaba and Comanche rescue 299 survivors. 605 of the Dorchester's passengers and crew go down with the ship including the chaplains Rabbi Alexander Goode, Father John Washington, Reverend George Fox and Reverend Clark Poling who gave their lifejackets to others.
March 11 The Fredericksdaal LORAN station becomes operational.
March 13 The Greenland Sledge Patrol discovers the Holzauge weather station at Hansa Bay, Sabine Island. The Germans kill one Dane, Eli Knudsen, and captures two other patrol members in an encounter at Sandodden. The prisoners manage to escape but the Sledge Patrol station at Eskimonaes is burntdown.
May The Greenland Sledge Patrol encounters the Holzauge landing party on east coast. A Dane captures Lieutenant Herman Ritter, the leader of the German party and marches him 300 miles to Scoresbysund where he is placed in American custody. The Coast Guard cutters Northland and North Star carrying a party of 26 American soldiers, 3 Danish guides and 40 sled dogs are sent to locate the Germans base.
May 25 American bombers led by Colonel Bernt Balchen destroy the Holzauge weather station on Sabine Island along with the Sachsen. A landing party captures a surviving German officer. The rest of the crew escapes on dog sleds captured in the skirmish and hides until they are evacuted to Germany a month later.
June 7 - 17 German flying boats evacuate all but one member of the Holzauge weather station expedition still at large.
June 13 The Coast Guard cutter Escanaba is torpedoed by a U-boat while escorting a convoy from Argentia Naval Base, Newfoundland to Bluie West 1. The ship sinks in 3 minutes drowning 101 of the 103 crewmen.
July A shore patrol landed by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Northland captures Rudolf Sensse, a member of the Holzauge weather station party left behind during the German aerial evacuation in June.
August 6 U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Bombing Squadron 6 begins operations from Bluie West 1 with a dozen PBY-5A Catalinas.
August The German ship Coburg is sent to set up a weather station, codenamed Bassgeiger. The ship is unable to land, but works as floating station. Though the general position is known to the US Coast Guard, they are unable to locate the ship.
September U.S. Coast Guard cutters reach the German weather station. The station is deserted but one lost German technician is captured.
October The Coburg is crushed in the ice off Cape Sussi. The 27 men on board abandon ship and move their weather station to shore.
November 11 "Iceberg" Smith is promoted to Rear Admiral. Commodore Earl Rose takes command of the Coast Guard’s Greenland Patrol. December 16
The American freighter SS Nevada is sunk. The Coast Guard cutter Comanche rescues 29 survivors.
1944February 13 A patrol plane from Bluie West 1 locates the British trawler HMS Strathella west of Cape Farewell a month after the ship was disabled by a damaged shaft bearing. The Strathella’s radio transmitter had burned up and the crew is close to starvation when rescued by the Coast Guard cutter Modoc.
April 22 The Greenland Sledge Patrol discovers a German camp at Cape Sussi on the northern tip of Shannon Island. It is weather station Bassgeiger, established by the Coburg. The German commander, Lieutenant Gerhard Zacheris, is killed in a fire fight before the Sledge Patrol retreats.
June 3 The crew of the weather station Bassgeiger is evacuated by airplane.
July U.S. Coast Guard cutters Northland and Storis set out to supply the Sledge Patrol. The Northland arrives at Shannon Island and finds the German base deserted. The remains of the 155 foot German trawler Coburg are found crushed in the ice 4 miles off Cape Sussi.
September 1 The Northland sights the German trawler Kehdingen, with weather station Edelweiss, off Great Koldewey Island. The German trawler is trapped in the ice after a 7 ½ hour chase and scuttled. The crew takes to the lifeboats but 8 officers and 20 enlisted men are captured. The Northland is damaged and icebreakers Eastwind and Southwind and tender Evergreen are sent to tow the crippled cutter back to Boston.
October 1 The German ship Externsteine executes Operation Edelweiss II landing a 12 man meteorological expedition on the east side of Lille Koldewey Island.
October 4 The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Eastwind lands 2 platoons of sailors in response to air patrol reports of suspicious activity on Lille Koldewey Island. The shore party locates and destroys the German weather station Edelweiss II and captures 3 German officers and 9 enlisted men.
October 15 An air patrol sights the German trawler Externsteine 15 miles off Cape Bergen.
October 16 The Coast Guard cutter Eastwind captures the Externsteine and 32 crew members. The Externsteine is the only German surface vessel captured at sea by United States forces during the Second World War.
1945The Northeast Greenland Sledge Patrol is disbanded at the end of World War II.
The East Greenland Fox Company Nanok resumes hunting activities with a subsidy from the Danish Government. The company builds new stations at Loch Fyne and Germaniahavn.
1946Summer A combined Danish-American radio and weather station is established at Pitugfik, the future site of Thule Air Force Base.
Summer Alfred Rosenkrantz leads the Northern team of the Greenland Geological Survey’s first expedition, a job he takes on every summer for the next 22 years. His field of activity is mainly in areas with sedimentary rocks north of Disko Bay. He and his co-workers demonstrate the presence of ores, oil, and coal.
Summer Arktisk Næringsdrift resume hunting operations in East Greenland. The Norwegian Government provides a subsidy towards hire of the annual relief ship and an interest-free loan.
Summer Hermann Andresen organizes the first in a series of hunting expeditions to the Sunnmoring terrain. Andresen receives a subsidy from the Norwegian Government to repair the old huts and build new ones. Cape Herschell is the main station in the north and in the south the stations at Antarctic Havn, Havna and Cape Petersens are used.
August Arktisk Naeringsdrift resumes transmission of weather reports from the Myggbukta station.
1947May Denmark requests renegotiation of the terms of American military presence in Greenland.
The United States Air Force conducts aerial photogrammetric flights over most of the ice free regions of Greenland.
Lauge Koch resumes his expeditions to East Greenland. The 30 member party includes 4 geological survey teams based on the Gustav Holm and active in the region between 72° and 74° North latitude.
Eigil Knuth leads the first in a series of expeditions to Peary Land. Catalina seaplanes are used to ferry stores and personnel to Peary Land from a base at Zachenberg Bay in Young Sound along with the Royal Greenland Trade Department ship Godthaab.
1948The International Civil Aviation Organization weather station Danmarkshavn is established at Danmark Havn.
The Koch Expedition resumes its work in the same area of East Greenland studied the previous year. The party grows to 47 members and 8 geological survey teams. A Norseman seaplane is added to the Gustav Holm for transportation. The expedition discovers lead and zinc deposits near Mestervig.
Arktisk Naeringsdrift builds a replacement for the destroyed Jonsbu radio station and starts a sporadic and unprofitable salmon fishing venture after increasingly poor fox hunts.
Norwegian Hermann Andresen organizes a 5 man summer salmon fishing expedition to the rivers at Brogetdal, Zachenberg, Dusen Fjord and Loch Fyne.
July The Leeds University Expedition led by W.R.B. Battle arrives at Zackenberg Bay aboard the Godthaab. A base camp is established at the head of Tyrolerfjord, where the expedition divided into two parties. One studies the Pasterz Glacier, while the second party makes a general geological survey to Grandjean Fjord.
1949May 25 Colonel Bernt Balchen lands at Thule Airbase after circling the North Pole en route from Fairbanks, Alaska making him the first person to pilot an aircraft over both poles.
The Koch Expedition comprised 97 members including 7 geological survey teams undertakes further studies of the lead mineralization near Mestersvig. The Gustav Holm serves as a summer base for the last time. This is also the last year that Icelandic ponies are used on a Koch expedition.
1950August The sledge patrol which had operated in during the war years is re-established in response to NATO concerns as to whether Denmark is doing enough to uphold its rights of sovereignty over the unoccupied regions of North and East Greenland.
The Koch Expedition uses Catalinas and Norseman aircraft to transport its 120 members including 9 geological survey teams and 86 prospecting and drilling personnel to Mestervig. The ships Gustav Holm, Veslekari and Polarstjerne transport equipment and materials for the prospectors.
French explorer Paul-Émile Victor embarks on a series of expeditions to investigate meteorological, geophysical and glaciological conditions on the ice cap.
1951Operation Blue Jay - The United States Air Force constructs its northernmost base at Thule.
The Danish government ends subsidy payments to the East Greenland Fox Company Nanok. The move follows the establishment of Sledge Patrol as the official Danish presence in East Greenland.
1952The Royal Geographical Society’s Patron's Medal is presented to Paul-Emile Victor: "for contributions to Polar exploration and for his geophysical investigations of the Greenland Icecap".
Nordisk Mineselskab is established to exploit the lead and zinc discovered by the Koch expeditions at Mestervig. The Danish state controls a 27.5% interest in the concern with the balance being held by Danish, Swedish and Canadian interests.
July The Norwegian sealer Tottan ferries equipment to the British North Greenland Expedition’s southern base at Zackenberg Bay in Young Sound after stopping at Ivigtut to pick up dogs.
August Members of the British North Greenland and their equipment are air-lifted to Britannia Station by Sunderland aircraft. The 30 man expedition to Queen Louise Land, a co-operative venture involving all three branches of the British armed forces, the Shell Petroleum Company and civilian scientists is led by C.J.W. Simpson. The objectives of the expedition include providing members of the armed forces with arctic experience and glaciological, meteorological, physiological and geophysical studies.
1953Greenland is made an integral part of the Kingdom of Denmark.
The Royal Geographical Society’s Patron's Medal is presented to Count Eigil Knuth: "for exploration in Northern Greenland and for his contributions to Eskimo archaeology".
Arktisk Naeringsdrift abandons its northern stations at Ottostrand and Ny Jonsbu due to poor hunting and access difficulties.
The East Greenland Fox Company Nanok ceases hunting operations in Greenland.

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