Sites & cities that bear the name of Pituffik


Today in : Greenland
First trace of activity : ca. 25th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Thule Air Base

Description : Pituffik is a former settlement in northern Greenland, located at the eastern end of Bylot Sound by a tombolo known as Uummannaq, near the current site of the American Thule Air Base. The former inhabitants were relocated to the present-day town of Qaanaaq. The relocation and the fallout from the 1968 Thule Air Base B-52 crash in the vicinity are a contentious issue in Greenland's relations with Denmark and the United States. Pituffik was a hunting village of the Greenlandic Inuit. The Qaanaaq region of northern Greenland in which it is located was inhabited for several thousand years, first settled 4,500 years ago by the Paleo-Eskimo peoples migrating from the Canadian Arctic. The area was explored by Commander James Saunders of the Royal Navy while wintering on HMS North Star in 1849-50 after being trapped by the ice in the sound. Relocation In 1951 the United States was given permission to build Thule Air Base at the site of the settlement. Between 1952 and May 1953, all residents of Pituffik and nearby Dundas (Uummannaq) were forcibly relocated 130 km (81 mi) north to the new town of Qaanaaq, commonly known at the time as "New Qaanaaq" or "New Thule", where people were forced to live in tents from May 1953 until November of the same year, well into the polar winter, while the 27 new houses were constructed for them. The total cost of the relocation amounted to 8.65 million Danish krone (DKK), or 1.52 million US dollars, with more than half covered by the American side. Plutonium contamination Main article: 1968 Thule Air Base B-52 crash Radioactive plutonium from the 1968 bomber crash contaminated the nearby ancient hunting grounds, affecting the livelihoods of the region's inhabitants. There is evidence of hairless fur seals, and muskoxen with deformed hooves; the pollution remaining a contentious issue between Greenland, Denmark, and the United States.

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