EGEDE, eg'e-de, HANS.

Early Life (§ 1).
Settlements in Greenland (§ 2).
Interest in Mission to Greenland (§ 3).
Success as a Missionary (§ 4).
Royal Support Withdrawn and Restored (§ 5).
Closing Years (§ 6).

Norwegian apostle of Greenland; b. at Tron denas, a village on the island of Senjen (n.w. coast of Norway), Jan. 31, 1686; d. at Stutibekjöbing (58 m. s.w. of Copenhagen) in the island of Falater, Denmark, Nov. b, 1758. After completing his studies at the University of Copenhagen, he took charge, about the age of twenty-one,

z. Early of the Lutheran pariah of Vaagen, one Life. of the Lofoden Islands, and soon afterward married Gertrude Rack. From his brother-in-law, a whaler of Bergen, he learned that the southwestern part of Greenland was inhabited by heathen, and his interest in them was still further increased by reading old Norse chronicles.

During the tenth century pagan Northmen had migrated from Iceland to Greenland, and had driven back the aborigines, who were called Skrallingen; but about the year 1000 Christianity seems to have taken root among the colonists. s. Settle- About 1348, however, the "black menu in death," raging throughout Europe, Greenland. severed communication with the kingdom, and the aborigines seized the opportunity to destroy one settlement after another. For some sixty years the Church survived, but the year 1410 marks the cessation of all authentic reports concerning the colony and Church. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the kings of j Denmark and Norway sent a series of expeditions to regain the province, which failed, but the enthusiasm awakened in Egede'a heart and his hope in a higher goal were destined to win a victory.

Despite the opposition of high and low, se well as of his nearest kin, he became more and more convinced that he was called to go to these poorest of his brethren, but the bishops of Bergen and Trondhjem, before whom he laid his "pro3. Interest poeal for the conversion and enlightin Mission enment of the Greenlanders," recoiled to Green- from the difficulties, and even the

land. missionary college founded at Copen hagen in 1714 gave him faint sympathy. In 1717 he resigned his pastorate, and went, in the autumn of the following year, to Bergen with his wife and four children. There he not only tried to interest friends in his plan of a Greenland mission


in connection with commercial enterprises, but also acquired some mechanical sad technical knowledge. In the spring of 1719, when peace was made on the conclusion of the northern war, Egede went to Copenhagen to see King Frederick in person. The latter acceded to his plan, but his assistance was ineffectual, and Egede perceived that he himself must assume the entire responsibility. After repeated disappointments he found a few friends in Bergen and elsewhere, who formed with him a "Greenland Society" and contributed a fund which enabled them to buy the ship "Hope." Shortly afterward (1721) the missionary college notified him that the king sanctioned the intended expedition and appointed Egede missionary and leader with a salary of 300 ruc-dollars.

On May 3, 1721, the little band of forty-six, including Egede's family, left Bergen; on June 12 they came in eight of Statenhuk, the southern point of Greenland; and on July 3, after much peril, they reached a safe haven and promising site for their colony on the western coast. The natives, who thronged around them, but soon timidly disappeared, turned out to be Eskimos, descendants of those who had destroyed the earlier Icelandic colonists. They were very ignorant, and had few religious ideas, while their unorga,nic language, with no relation to any European tongue, presented a serious obstacle to missionary en;. Success deavor. With the help of his chil-

as a Mis- dren, however, who quickly made sionary. friends with the aborigines, Egede gradually mastered their language, into which he soon translated the catechism of Luther. He was indefatigable in visiting his charges, and amid privation and danger he became a Greenlander to the Greenlanders, winning the hearts of even the unfriendly Angekoka (sorcerers). In his first colony of Godthaab (" Good Hope ") he paid special attention to the children; and although he was, perhaps, too scrupulous with regard to adults and laid too strict conditions upon them, he gladly baptized boys and girls, provided their parents also welcomed the preaching of the Gospel. His chief obstacle was his own country men, who murmured at their hard lot and caused grave scandal to the natives on account of their evil lives, particularly after the government had trans ported a number of outcasts after his arrival. He was cheered, on the other hand, by the con stantly increasing eagerness of the natives to accept Christianity. In 1723 he received the aid of his first colleague, Albert Topp, who had been ap pointed to establish a second colony, and they were soon joined by two others, as well as by his son Paul and, a little later by his younger son Niels, while a few years afterward a native assistant was added.

In 1727 the Bergen-Greenland company was dissolved, since it was a commercial failure, sad after the death of Frederick IV. a second blow befell Egede, when, in 1731, the king commanded that the colony should be entirely abandoned as financially unprofitable. If, however, Egede and others preferred to remain, a year's provisions should be left for them. Egede, who had at last secured a firm footing, willingly yielded to the importunity of the Greenlanders, who would not let him go, and he remained with the few courageous souls who braved privation and danger. At this

g. Royal crisis Count Zinzendorf, who was then Support at Copenhagen, prevailed upon ChriaWithdrawn tiara VI. to renew his support of Egede sad and to give him a public testimony Restored. of acknowledgment in addition to granting him a generous subvention and indoraing his plans for continuing the mission (April 4, 1733). An epidemic of smallpox ravaged the country until June, 1734. The victims numbered 3,000, while in the colony of Godthaab, which contained more than 200 families, all the Greenlanders died with the exception of a boy and a girl. Evede stood as in a desert. His faithful wife succumbed to her almost superhuman efforts and he himself, broken in body and soul determined to entfuat the stricken land to the more robust strength of his son Paul and to promote the work of his life henceforth from a more quiet spot.

In 1736 he returned to Copenhagen; became di rector of a training-school for missionaries to Green land, and in 1740 superintendent of the mission work there. In 1747 he retired to StubbekjtSbing and henceforth had no official connection with mis sion work in Greenland, but his interest continued and his son Paul was a noted Greenland scholar and the translator of the New Testament into its lan guage.

J. Belsheim.

Bibliography: The chief sources are Egede's Omatttndelig

Relation, Copenhagen, 1738, and his Diary (in Danish), ed. E. Sundt, Christiania, 1860; A. G. Rudelbach, Christliche Biographies, pp. 371-434, Leipsic, 1850; J. Olaf, in Sonntaga Bibliotleek, vi. 2, Bielefeld, 1853; E. M. Bliss, Encyclopedia of Missions, i. 332-333, New York, 1891 (2d ed. not so full).


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