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How green is Greenland?

Is Greenland Green? The question and oft-given answer are cliché--even you've heard it before: that Iceland is really green whereas Greenland is covered with ice and snow.

Well, I'm about to set the record straight, right here, right now, because after spending more than a week in Greenland, I can tell you that Greenland is in fact, very, very GREEN.

Yes, it's true that a Europe-sized piece of mile-thick ice covers a good 85% of the country. However, the peripheral parts of Greenland are quite open and even lush, especially in the long sun of late summer. Imposing mountains and immense sloping valleys bleed with bright green, a stunning color that is made even brighter by the dry air and utter lack of pollution.

Viking explorer and cunning marketer Eric the Red named Grønland ("green land") in 982 AD because it was in fact green but also because he was trying to lull colonists from the warmer shores of Iceland. It worked back then, and a thousand years later, the colorful name of earth's least-known country still provokes a strange wonderment.

The following photo essay shows the true green of Greenland, unedited and unplugged. Whether or not it's intentional, the country shows a constant theme of the color for which it is named.

Filed under: History, Photos, North America

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