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Hans Poulsen Egede (ā’ gu dĕ) was born this date, 1/31/1686, at Hinnøya in Harstad, Norway, hundreds of miles north of the Artice Circle.  After being educated by his Lutheran uncle and at the University of Copenhagen (earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theology) he returned home.  In April 1707 he was ordained and in the same year married Gertrud Rask (maybe Rasch) 13 years older than him, to whom were born two sons and two daughters. 

 

In 1721 he sought permission from Frederick IV of Denmark to search for a colony in Greenland and establish a mission there.  He departed from Bergen on 5/12/1721 reaching Greenland July 3rd.  Egede found the Inuit people, started mission among them and studied their language.  In translating the Lord’s Prayer (since they had no word for bread) he saw the equivalent as “Give us this day our daily harbor seal.”

 

Hans Egede left his son Paul in Greenland and traveled on August 9, 1736 with his other children to Denmark, to become principal of a Copenhagen seminary that trained missionaries for service to Greenland.

 

Of interest are at least two more facts:

He founded Godthåb Nuuk in today’s world which became the capital of Greenland.

And he gave one of the oldest descriptions of a sea serpent.

 

Egede died 11/5/1758 at Falster, Denmark.

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