Greenland takes step toward independence from Denmark

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The Arctic territory of Greenland has begun a new era of self-rule after 300 years under Danish authority, moving closer to independence with a potential oil bonanza below its icecap.

The new status took effect as Greenland celebrated its national day, six months after 75 per cent of voters approved a referendum to hand more power to the local government and take control of the island's vast natural resources.

Festivities began with a flag-raising ceremony, while Denmark's Queen Margrethe and its prime minister, Lars Loekke Rasmussen, attended the event.

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