Rare map of Greenland showing the southern part of Greenland, Davis Strait and part of Baffin Island including Cape Dyer, by Hans Poulsen Egede.
Hans Poulsen Egede (January 31, 1686 - November 5, 1758) was a Danish missionary, who described the ancient Norse settlements of Greenland, the plants and animal life, as well as Inuit culture, commerce, language, and religion in his book "Det gamle Grønlands nye Perlustration", which appeared in 1729 and was translated into several languages.
The map shows James Island in upper left and Iceland in lower right. Only the southern part of Greenland is shown. A channel is dividing north and south and running from "Fiord Ollum lengri" on the east coast to "Lisfjorden" in Disko Bay on the west coast. Sound is provided with the text: "Fertur olim Fuisse Fretum pervium jam vero ponte glaciali stratum est" o, "it is said that this has formerly been navigable, but is now covered by an ice bridge".
While Egede was posted at the parish of Lofoten, he heard stories about the old Norse settlements on Greenland, where contact had been lost centuries before. Beginning in 1711, he sought permission from Frederick IV of Denmark to search for the colony and establish a mission there, presuming that it had either remained Catholic after the Danish Reformation or been lost to the Christian faith altogether. Frederick gave consent at least partially, to re-establish a colonial claim to the island.
Egede established the Bergen Greenland Company (Det Bergen Grønlandske Compagnie) with $9,000 in capital from Bergen merchants, $200 from the Danish king, and a $300 annual grant from the Royal Mission College. The company was granted broad powers to govern the peninsula (as it was then considered to be), to raise its own army and navy, to collect taxes, and to administer justice.
The Haabet ("Hope") and two smaller ships departed Bergen on 2 May, 1721, bearing Egede, his wife and four children, and forty other colonists. On July 3, they reached Nuup Kangerlua and established Hope Colony (Haabets Colonie). Searching for months for descendants of the old Norse colonists, he found only the local Inuit people and began studying their language
By the end of the first winter, many of the colonists had been stricken with scurvy and most returned home as soon as they could. Egede and his family remained with a few others and in 1722 welcomed two supply ships the king had funded with the imposition of a new tax. His (now ship-borne) explorations found no Norse survivors along the western shore. Future work was misled by the two mistaken beliefs - both prevalent at the time - that the Eastern Settlement would be located on Greenland's east coast (it was later established it had been among the fjords of the island's extreme southwest) and that a strait existed nearby communicating with the western half of the island.
In 1723, Egede located the churches and ruins of the Eastern Settlement, but he considered them to be those of the Western Settlement. In 1728, a royal expedition under Major Claus Paarss arrived with four supply ships and relocated the Kangeq colony to the mainland opposite, establishing a fort named Godt-Haab ("Good Hope," the future Godthåb). However, by 1730, King Frederick had lost patience with the settlement and temporarily withdrew his support.