Lanarkshire Philatelic Society

 

"Greenland"

 

George Graham

 

On Thursday, 22nd November, the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society travelled northwards to the "Largest island in the world" – to Greenland.  Unfortunately, owing to ill-health, George Graham was unable to be present, but his display was very ably presented by Bill Jardine.

 

George’s display reflected all aspects of the island’s life – geographical, historical, climatic, cultural – all shown on postage stamps issued by the country. Snow and ice featured large as the 81% of the island is ice-capped with ice fields in places reaching a depth of 2 miles! This makes travel difficult so dogs and dogsleds are an important means of transport as were amply illustrated throughout the years on stamps.

 

Greenland’s history goes back to the dim of pre-history when Inuit people – possibly crossing from Canada – settled in the North West part of the island – and their descendants are still there.  Various stamps reflected this as well as showing the later Viking invaders. One Viking, Erik the Red, is credited with giving Greenland its name.

 

Queen Margaret II of Denmark is often illustrated on stamps as she is Chief of State of Greenland. Self-Government was granted in 1979 after a rather chequered history of being governed by Norway, by Denmark/Norway together, then by Denmark – and by Germany during the 2nd World War!

 

The country is dependent on fishing and the export of fish product – so fish, fishing and shipping feature on many stamps. One ship illustrated is that of the "SS Hans Egede" – the first ship in service – and which is named after Hans Egede who started a missionary colony in Greenland in 1722.

 

Animals, seals, birds, flowers of the island all are beautifully shown on stamps. Although there are no roads between the towns on Greenland there are various vehicular means of travel available – although the dog sleds remain the important method.  Mail generally arrives via Denmark to Iceland, then by helicopter to Nuuk, the capital town of Greenland. 

 

Sheila Sinclair, in her Vote of Thanks, said how much she had learnt from the display of this country which had never been displayed in the Club before.  In giving thanks to Bill Jardine, she asked that he express the Club’s thanks to George Graham for arranging such an excellent and informative Display.