What Is Thule Air Force Base Named After?

What Is Thule Air Force Base Named After?

Thule Air Base in Greenland takes its name from Thule, a nearby village. The village's founder, anthropologist Knud Rasmussen, chose the name Thule in reference to the Latin phrase "ultima Thule," which refers to a location past the borders of the known world.

During the classical and medieval eras, European literature and cartography commonly referred to "Thule," a mythical far-north island. In the first century B.C., the poet Virgil used ultima Thule as a symbolic reference to a far-off land, even further than the legendary Thule itself. The origin of Thule Air Base's name is appropriate, as it is the U.S. Air Force's northernmost base, located less than 1,000 miles from the North Pole.