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World of Greenland - Arctic Circle


Sisimiut over 5,000 years
People have lived in the Sisimiut area for 4,500 years. The first 2,000 years, the people of the Saqqaq culture occupied the area. Approx. 2,500 years ago, new people brought the Dorset culture to the Sisimiut area. They lived here for 1,500 years and were followed by the people of the Thule culture - the ancestors of the current population. All these cultures came from Canada. The people primarily lived on fish, birds and mammals such as whales, seals and reindeer.
The Europeans
In the 17th century, the first European whalers came to the locality of Sisimiut. Their contact to the Greenland population was only sporadic. Only after Missionary Hans Egede's colonization of Greenland in 1721, a regular contact between Inuit and the Europeans was established. Between 1726 and 1732, they tried to establish a whaler station at Nipisat, which lies 20km south of Sisimiut. Dutch whalers burnt down the buildings twice.
The colony of Sisimiut
Finally in 1756, a colony was established. It was named Holsteinsborg after Count Johan Ludvig Holstein. The first 8 years, the colony was situated by Ukiivik, 40km north of Sisimiut. In 1764, the trading station was moved to Sisimiut's present situation. In 1759, the mission settled by Asummiut where the airport is situated today. The mission did not move over to the trade until 1767.

Sisimiut's old part of town consists of houses from the first hundred years of the colony. The oldest house stems from 1756. One of the noticeable buildings is the blue church which was inaugurated in 1775. The church was ordered and paid for in 1771 by the local Greenlandic parish.

The basis of occupation in the Arctic cultures and during the first part of the colony period was bag and catch. Gradually, paid work became part of the occupation basis. In the beginning of the 20th century, the industrialisation started - based on the fishing industry. In 1924, the town - and Greenland - got its first fish factory and in 1931 the first shipyard in Greenland was built in Sisimiut.
Sisimiut today
After the Second World War, development gathered speed and today Sisimiut is an important town as regards industry and education. In 1946, Greenland's first technical school was established in Sisimiut. Knud Rasmussens Højskole (youth hostel) started in 1962 and a technical upper secondary school at the Bygge- og anlægsskolen (the School for Building and Construction) was recently established in the year 2000.

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