Faroes and Greenland want to be called countries

danish-flagOfficials from both the Faroe Islands and Greenland have declared that they are tired of being referred to as territories of the Danish kingdom. Their desire is to be called “countries” by the intergovernmental Nordic region rather than self-governing territories.

Siku News reports that that Greenland and the Faroes have called for current naming conventions to be amended so that “countries and autonomous territories” becomes “states and countries”, “kingdoms and autonomous countries” or “kingdoms and countries”. The requests were formally announced last week at the annual Nordic Council meeting which was held in Stockholm.

According to Josef Motzfeldt, the chair of the West Nordic Council: “The council feels it is a slight to Greenland and the Faroe Islands that the word ‘country’ is used only to refer to sovereign states”.

Both consider themselves countries due to the fact that they can choose to cut their ties to the Danish kingdom at any point, despite historic allegiances. Norse Greenlanders originally submitted to the rule of Norway and subsequently Denmark in the 14th century. Though essentially under the control of the Inuit after Norse settlements died out Denmark reasserted its claims to sovereignty in the 18th century.

In 1933, the Permanent Court for Arbitration declared that Greenland belonged to Denmark in the face of renewed Norwegian claims. Greenland also became a political target of the United States during the Cold War when the US offered USD 100 million for its purchase.

Granted home-rule by the Danish parliament in 1979, Greenland achieved self-rule in 1985. The Faroe Islands have been a Danish autonomous province since 1948.

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