Unless you have been living under a rock over the past few days, you no doubt have heard that Trump has eyes on Greenland. According to a scoop in the Washington Street Journal (WSJ), the President of the United States wants to buy the Arctic nation off Denmark and has discussed the issue with "varying degrees of seriousness".
But the Danish government has hit back at the news with an intriguing counteroffer. Re-affirming the fact that Greenland is not for sale, a government spokesperson told reporters on Friday: "We have noted, however, that during the Trump regime pretty much everything in the United States, including its government, has most definitely been for sale."
"Denmark would be interested in purchasing the United States in its entirety, with the exception of its government," he added, The New Yorker reports. Russia and North Korea have been named as two possible countries for the relocation of the President.
Greenland's Prime Minister Kim Kielsen apparently concurs, reminding local reporters that a Viking – Leif Erikson – discovered North America before Columbus and co. Erikson's father, Eric the Red, was the one to settle Greenland.
"Therefore, it is only natural for us to get the United States back," he said.
So, does Greenland have a legitimate claim to the United States? Let's take a quick look at the history books.
Before Columbus landed in the Americas, the continent was subject to several waves of immigration – not least populations of people from what we now call China and Siberia, starting 16,000 years ago. And while Columbus himself never actually stepped foot in North America, there was a European who did approximately 500 years before the Santa Maria (or La Gallega) left the Spanish port. That was Norseman Leif Erikson. (There are also rumors of Irish monks crossing the Atlantic to the New World, but this is yet to be proved by any hard archaeological evidence.)
Erikson's journey, however, is accepted by most historical scholars. In 1960, archaeologists discovered the remains of an ancient Norse settlement that dates back to the 10th century, confirming tales told in Icelandic sagas of a place called "Vinland" in what is now Canada. Though it appears they settled there, the new "American" community was short-lived.
Poor relations with nearby Native American tribes, who did not appreciate the intruders (particularly after they killed 10 Native Americans sleeping under overturned canoes), encouraged the Vikings to cut their losses and return to Scandinavia. They did later return to North America, albeit strictly for trading purposes.
So, does this mean Greenland has a strong claim to the US? Probably not, but arguably the later Europeans' tactic of invade and conquer is equally dubious. However, if the US does decide to take Denmark up on their offer, the government has promised wide-sweeping reform of the education and health systems.
"We believe that, by giving the U.S. an educational system and national health care, it could be transformed from a vast land mass into a great nation," the Danish spokesperson added.