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The New York Times, May 29, 1898, p. IMS14:

GREENLAND'S ICY MOUNTAINS*

LIFE AND TRAVEL NOT FAR FROM THE NORTH POLE.

    ...Peary has united in one work of two volumes, each profusely illustrated, the record of no less than three trips to Northern Greenland, during which he passed several Winters snow and ice bound in cabins carefully erected for the purpose... Unfortunately, it cannot be said that his labors and sufferings from cold, hunger and hardship were rewarded by any substantial addition to our knowledge of polar geography...
    The food supply is so all important that Peary does not believe in large parties; two, or at most, three men are to his mind the best number. Many in a party means exhaustion of food and starvation for all. His idea of reaching the north pole is to make stations ever farther northward and deposit stores at certain points. Then, from the most northerly station, after men and dogs have rested well and fed high, the weather and other conditions being propitious, a rush might be made northward and the pole reached...
    He went a long distance in the direction resolved upon and made caches of provisions, petroleum, &c., then returned to his quarters by the shore for the rest of the year. But the next Spring he found that the signs left to mark the place of buried provisions had been destroyed by the storms or simply snowed under...

    The description of Greenland's ice cap a little way inward from the coast explains very clearly why the Eskimos of the East knew nothing of those of the west coast until travelers or whalers informed them. A steady wind, sometimes rising to a hurricane, blows constantly down the slope of the ice cap toward the sea, carrying loose snow with it, so that one marches in a current of moving snow particles deeper or shallower, according to the strength of the wind. The snow filters into tent and sleeping bag; stings and freezes the sleeping dogs; levels on occasion the stoutest tent. On the higher levels the air is difficult to breathe under exertion. The snow is absolutely universal. No bird, no beast, no rock, no piece of wood or stone is to be seen. On approaching the sea the rocks are often found denuded, and sledge travel becomes impossible.
    ...The arctic sun is very brilliant and the reflection from the sun is so powerful that no eye can stand it unprotected by goggles and colored glasses... While sleeping ist was necessary to wrap the head up to keep the light from filtering in past the goggles and through the eyelids...

    "Sometimes, though rarely, cloud shadows drift across the white expanse, but usually the cloud phenomena are the heavy prophecies of actualities of furious storms veiling the entire sky, or the dainty transparent cirrus feathers. In clear weather the traveler upon this white waste sees but the snow, the sky, the sun. In cloudy weather, even these disappear. Many a time I have found myself in such weather traveling in gray space, feeling the snow beneath my snowshoes, but unable to see it. No sun, no sky, no snow, no horizon--absolutely nothing that the eye could rest upon. Zenith and nadir alike, all intangible gray nothingness. My feet and snowshoes were sharp and clear as silhouettes, and I was sensible of contact with the snow at every step, yet as far as my eyes gave me evidence to the contrary I was walking on nothing. The space between my snowshoes was as light as the zenith. The opaque light which filled the shere of vision might come from below as well as above... after a time I would be obliged to stop until the passing of the fog, or formation of higher clouds, gave me something to keep the course by."

    Whatever may be his opinion of Nansen's venture, whatever he may think of Andrée's hope to navigate the air, he does not express his opinions in this work. It is more a panorama of photographs of Eskimos and dogs and scenes of his trip, and views of arctic voyages, knit pleasantly together with a liberal use of his diaries. He takes us each time from Philadelphia to St. John's, and thence to his arctic home; shows us walrus hunts, and describes the meeting with Eskimos; explains with diagrams and photographs the building of each Winter castle-cabin, and introduces us to every member of his household... Valuable additions are found in these two volumes to what are already known of the Eskimos from travelers like Rink and the great line of explorers of the Arctic Circle.
    Peary's view of these curious tribes is extremely favorable. Without denying the absence in them of moral and religious ideas such as civilized nations hold, he believes they obtain a high average of happiness and justice. Thus in religion they are not above the stage of spirit worship, and in morals they make and break the marriage contract without scruple, buying and selling their wives as they do their sole beast of burden, the dog. The are neither cleanly nor godly. But he gives them a high character for courage in the chase, for kindliness toward wife, and quick-wittedness in games, improvised songs, and drawing. The book is a mine for the anthropologist, so many are the photographs of individual Eskimos...
CHARLES DE KAY
*NORTHWARD OVER THE "GREAT ICE."
Narrative of Life and Work Upon the Ice Cap of Northern Greenland
.
By Robert E. Peary, United States Navy. 2 vols. New York; Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1898

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    The world's largest island, Greenland is about 81% ice-capped. Vikings reached the island in the 10th century from Iceland; Danish colonization began in the 18th century and Greenland was made an integral part of Denmark in 1953.
    It joined the European Community (now the European Union) with Denmark in 1973 but withdrew in 1985 over a dispute over stringent fishing quotas.
    Greenland was granted self-government in 1979 by the Danish parliament. The law went into effect the following year. Denmark continues to exercise control of Greenland's foreign affairs.
    CIA World Factbook: Greenland


Area of Greenland: 2,166,086 sq km
slightly more than 3x the size of Texas

Population of Greenland: 56,384
July 2004 estimate

Languages of Greenland:
Greenlandic East Inuit
Danish, English

Greenland Capital: Nuuk (Godthab)


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