Greenland Provincial Council

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The Greenland Provincial Council (Danish: Grønlands Landsråd) was the provincial government of Greenland between 1950, when it was formed from the union of the earlier North and South Greenland Provincial Councils, and 1 May 1979, when it was replaced by the Greenland Home Rule Government and its Parliament (Greenlandic: Kalaallit Nunaanni Inatsisartut; Danish: Grønlands Landsting).

The Provincial Council had thirteen members[1] and was presided over by a royally-appointed Governor (Landshevding), assisted by an interpreter.[2]

Wording[edit]

The translation is inexact and carries some political overtones. There are Greenlanders who prefer to refer to the former Landsråd as the Greenland National Council. It was occasionally referred to during its existence as the Greenland Parliament, although today this would cause confusion with the Home Rule Inatsisartut. Other translations include the Greenland Assembly and the more literal Greenland Land Council.

History[edit]

The Danish colony in Greenland had been divided North and South since the Instruction of 1782 was issued by the Royal Greenland Trading Company, the government-operated corporation which ruled the Danish settlements and monopolized their trade. Each region was directed by a royal inspector in coöperation with a local council.

Following changes in the Greenlandic economy produced by climate change and the American occupation of the island during World War II, the government of Denmark ordered a commission to examine the realm's policies and administration over the island. The Greenlander's chief concerns were (1) an end to the ban on entry into the island which had even led to the isolation of the American bases there from the local population; (2) an end to government monopolies over trade with the island held by the Royal Greenland Trading Department; (3) an end to the separate systems of laws concerning Danes and Inuit.[3]

Men and women older than 23 and resident on the island six months were eligible to vote.[1]

First Council[edit]

The first Provincial Council to be elected by direct suffrage was elected on 29 June 1951 (excepting Upernavik on account of snow and Nanortalik on account of the island's first measles outbreak) and opened on 25 September 1951.[1] It was the first Greenlandic election to permit female suffrage. During the first election season, there were no parties but some cliques formed among economic groups; all told, turnout was about 6,400 from an eligible population of about 8,750.[1]

Constituency Name Occupation
Nanortalik Jacob Nielsen outpost manager
Julianehåb Frederik Nielsen schoolmaster
Frederikshåb Gerhard Egede clergyman
Narssaq Abel Kristiansen catechist
Godthåb Augo Lynge schoolmaster
Sukkertoppen Peter Egede outpost manager
Holsteinsborg Knud Olsen shop assistant
Kangatsiaq Nikolai Rosing outpost manager
Egedesminde Frederik Lynge ex-colony manager
Disko Bugt
(Christianshåb & Jakobshavn)
Marius Sivertsen trade assistant
Disko
(Godhavn & Qutdligssat)
Jens Olsen clergyman
Umanaq Peter Fleischer outpost manager
Upernavik Hendrik Olsen trade assistant

All were native-born Greenlanders and employees of the Greenland Administration. They selected Augo Lynge and Frederik Nielson to represent Greenland in the Danish Parliament and Frederik Lynge to represent it on the board of the Royal Greenland Trading Department.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Christensen, N.O. & al. "Elections in Greenland". Arctic Circular, Vol. 4 (1951), pp. 83–85. Op. cit. "Northern News". Arctic, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Mar 1952), pp. 58–59.
  2. ^ A.J.F. "Greenland Today: Progress and Reforms in the World's Largest Island". The World Today, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Apr 1957), pp. 173–182. Royal Institute of International Affairs.
  3. ^ Nielsen, Finn. "Planned reforms in Greenland". Arctic, Vol. 4, No. 1 (May 1951), pp. 12–17.