PHOTO GALLERY: GREENLAND! Is it really so Green?

boat sailing past icebergs
Photo by Holger J. Bub on

Why Greenland’s name says “green,” and Iceland “ice,” when it’s the opposite?

This is always an interesting story, and we will be doing our next PHOTO GALLERY of ICELAND.

Well, one internet theory claims that this was indeed intentional―the Vikings who settled in Iceland considered the island habitable, so they named it Iceland, hoping that the name would be enough to discourage other European peoples attempting to make their own settlements. They named Greenland to achieve quite the opposite, as they didn’t care if anyone was willing to colonize the iceberg in the freezing ocean. However, this theory is highly unlikely.

Photo by Visit Greenland on Unsplash

First of all, the Viking’s toponyms are quite simple; the newly discovered territory would most likely be named by combining the word “land” with the first thing that was noticed upon arrival. For example, Leif Eriksson named the Canadian east coast Vinland, as he saw wild grapes growing near the shore.

As for Iceland, according to the Sagas of Icelanders, which chronicles the country’s history from the 9th to 11th century, the Norse explorer called Naddador was the first to reach the island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. What he saw there was snow, so he named the place Snæland or “snow land.”

Photo by Visit Greenland on Unsplash

Naddador was followed by the Viking colonizer Garðar Svavarosson, who was more into naming the country after himself, probably making a precedent in the established tradition. So, Garðarshólmur (“Garðar’s Isle”) became the next name under which today’s Iceland was known.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

But the reason why Iceland bears such a grim name today is related to the island’s next colonizer, Flóki Vilgerðarson. Flóki’s trip from the mainland was marked by the loss of his daughter, who fell from the boat and drowned in the open sea. Soon upon arrival, the livestock he brought with him died.

According to the sagas, this string of unfortunate events was crowned when Flóki Vilgerðarson climbed a nearby mountaintop from which he observed a fjord, laced with icebergs. Depressed and enraged, he christened the country Iceland―a name which stuck to this day.

Photo by Dylan Shaw on Unsplash
Photo by Dylan Shaw on Unsplash
Photo by Visit Greenland on Unsplash

Greenland, on the other hand, was discovered in 982 A.D., when Erik the Red, the father of Leif Eriksson, landed on the southeastern part of the island. Today we can determine through the analysis of ice cores and mollusk shell data that in the period between 800 and 1300 A.D., the average temperature in Greenland was significantly higher than it is today.

Photo by Alex Rose on Unsplash
Photo by Aningaaq Rosing Carlsen on Unsplash

Erik embarked on his journey as a consequence of exile from Iceland after he killed three people during a feud. The Icelandic old law demanded death or exile, so he chose the life of an adventurer on the open seas.

Sailing westwards, he embarked for the shores of a huge island he deemed suitable for a settlement. A saga which chronicled the travels and discoveries of this almost mythical figure in the Norse tradition referred to the anecdote which led to the naming of the newly discovered land: GREENLAND!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

“In the summer, Erik left to settle in the country he had found, which he called Greenland, as he said people would be attracted there if it had a favorable name.”

Photo by Visit Greenland on Unsplash
Image by Siggy Nowak from Pixabay

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Image by Thomas Ritter from Pixabay

Greenland is actually the world’s biggest island – by area – that is not a continent. The total area of Greenland is 2.16 million square kilometres (836,330 square miles), including other offshore islands. Almost 80 percent of the land mass is covered by an ice cap. The ice-free area may be a minority, but it’s still around the size of Sweden. With a population of 56,480 (2017 estimate), it is one of the least densely populated countries in the world.

Image by Jean-Christophe ANDRE from Pixabay
Image by Bernd Hildebrandt from Pixabay

Despite having a land size of 2.16 million square kilometres, there are no roads or railway system that connect settlements to one another. There are roads within the towns, but they end at the outskirts. All travel between towns is done by plane, boat, helicopter, snowmobile or dogsled. Boats are by far the most popular mode of transportation and you’ll often see locals out cruising the fjords every summer.

Image by highflyer100 from Pixabay

Every year, the sun does not set from May 25th to July 25th, and it stays visible throughout the entire day and night. The midnight sun, as it is called, is a pretty cool natural phenomenon that everyone needs to experience at least once in their lifetime. June 21, the longest day of the year, is the summer solstice and a national holiday in Greenland. You’ll find locals out basking in the sun or enjoying a barbecue out in nature.

Image by Jimmi from Pixabay – Capital city of NUUK
Image by Jónas Thor Björnsson from Pixabay – The bluebells of Greenland
Image by Taken from Pixabay


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The true story of Greeenland and Iceland was courtesy of: THE VINTAGE NEWS. CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE: Why Greenland’s name says “green,” and Iceland “ice,” when it’s the opposite (

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