City (pop., 2000 est.: 13,838), capital of Greenland. Located on the southwestern coast near the mouth of Godthåb Gulf, it is Greenland's main port. The modern city dates from 1721, when a Norwegian missionary founded a colony near the site of Vesterbygden, a 10th-century Norse settlement. It is the seat of the parliament and supreme court and has foreign consulates, a teachers' college, and research stations. Government administration, hunting, fishing, and farming are the main occupations. Most transportation is by boat or helicopter.
Learn more about Nuuk with a free trial on Britannica.com.
The city is commonly known as Godthåb ("Good Hope") in Danish, although since home rule was enacted in 1979, the official name of the city is its Greenlandic name of Nuuk. It is also the seat of government for the municipality of Nuuk, which encompasses about 100,000 km² (39,000 square miles) of Greenland.
In January of 2006, Nuuk joined with four other municipalities and now has a collective area of 635,000 square kilometers, making it one of the largest municipalities in the world by land area. However, its population of just over 15,000 people makes it also one of the smallest capital cities in the world by population.
The site has a long history of different inhabitation: first by the ancient Inuit people known as the Saqqaq culture around 2000 B.C., later by Viking explorers in the 10th century, and shortly thereafter by Inuit peoples. Inuit and Vikings lived together in this area from around 1000 A.D. until around 1500 A.D., when human habitation suddenly stopped, most likely due to change in climate and vegetation.
The city was founded in 1728 by the Norwegian missionary Hans Egede, and given the name Godthåb (Good Hope). However, Hans Egede had arrived at a place he called Colony of Hope close to the already existing Inuit population living in Kangeq. At this time, Greenland was a Norwegian colony under the Dano-Norwegian Crown, but the colony had not had any contact with Norway proper for more than two centuries.
Today, Nuuk, like the rest of Greenland, is populated by Inuit and Danes.
|Nuuk||-4.4||-4.5||-4.8||-0.8||3.5||7.7||10.6||9.9||6.3||1.7||-1.0||-3.3||1.74||Mean Daily High|
|-10.1||-10.6||-10.6||-6.1||-1.5||1.3||3.8||3.8||1.6||-2.5||-5.8||-8.7||-3.89||Mean Daily Low|