Greenland (Kalaallisut: Kalaallit Nunaat) is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe (specifically Norway and later Denmark) for more than a millennium. In 2008, the people of Greenland supported a referendum on greater autonomy by 75%. Greenland is, by area, the world's largest island. With a population of 56,749 (2012 estimate), it is the least densely populated dependency or country in the world.
Greenland has been inhabited, though not continuously, by Arctic peoples via Canada for 4,500 to 5,000 years. In the 10th century, Norsemen settled on the uninhabited southern part of Greenland. In the 13th century, the Inuit arrived, and in the late 15th century, the Norse colonies disappeared. In the early 18th century, contact between Scandinavia and Greenland was re-established and Denmark established rule over Greenland.
Greenland became a Danish colony in 1814 after being under the rule of Denmark-Norway for centuries. With the Constitution of Denmark of 1953, Greenland became part of the Danish Realm in a relationship known in Danish as Rigsfællesskabet (Commonwealth of the Realm). In 1979, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, and in 2008, Greenland voted to transfer more power from the Danish royal government to the local Greenlandic government. This became effective the following year on June 21, 2009, with the Danish royal government in charge of foreign affairs, security (defence-police-justice), and financial policy, and providing a subsidy of DKK 3.4 billion. This subsidy will gradually diminish over time as Greenland's own economy is expected to become stronger due to income from resource extraction.