The first European settler in Greenland was Icelander, Eric the Red, in 986 AD after he had been exiled for 3 years from Iceland. 
He settled near Qagssiarsuk, across Erik's Fjord from Narsarsuaq and named his farm Brattahlid. This was 200 years before the Inuit people entered Greenland from the north west. From Greenland the Vikings sailed across to North America and landed in Canada (Newfoundland) nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic.

The Vikings survived in Greenland for about 500 years - by 1500 they had all vanished.
Recent research seems to support the theory that climate change and an inability to adapt resulted in starvation and the end of the settlements in Greenland.

There was a prolonged cold period 1343-1362 which may have precipitated the end of the Western settlement with the Eastern settlement lasting up to 100 years longer.

The ruins of Eric the Red's settlement and of numerous other Norse settlements in Greenland are still visible today.

Greenland's population is near 60,000, with the capital Nuuk having about 15,000 people. 

Until at least 1993 the number of tourists visiting Greenland was relatively small, perhaps as low as 20,000 pa.
Some people go there for cross country walking, others do day tours as I did.
It is expensive to get there, but definitely worth the effort.

The pictures on this page were all taken in August 1993.


Aerial view on approaching southern Greenland from Iceland

Norse settlement ruins (stable) at Igaliko.

Ruins at Brattahlid

Flowers near the glacier Kiagtūt sermiat, 
near Narsarsuaq

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This page was created on 09 June 1997 and last updated on 26 November 2003. © 2003 Robert D Blair.



View from Narsaq across Narsaq Sund

In Erics Fjord at the junction with Qōroq


Ruins at the site of Eric the Red's settlement,
Brattahlid, with Narsarsuaq in the distance across the water.

Ruins of the first church at Brattahlid, built for Thjodhilde, wife of Eric the Red.
Narsarsuaq is over the fjord from Brattahlid.

Near the glacier
Kiagtūt sermiat, near Narsarsuaq


More pictures of Greenland
For pictures of glaciers and ice, including some aerial views.

More information and pictures of Greenland can be found at:

Greenland Guide or read the travel guide published by Lonely Planet.