Lynge, Augo

Poet, novelist and politician born in Qeqertarsuatsiaat (Greenland) in 1899 – died in Nuuk (Greenland) in 1959.

Augo Lynge, also called Aggu Lynge, Avgo Lynge, Augustinus Lynge or Augustinus Telef Nis Lynge, was born on October 16th, 1899 in Qeqertarsuatsiaat, a small village located approximately a hundred kilometers south of the capital of Greenland, Nuuk and died on January 30th, 1959.

He is the son of Greenlandic catechist Pavia Benediktus Jakob Lynge (1874-1943) and Bendtea Else Ane Louise Heilmann (1880-?), and the great grandson of Arent Christopher Heilmann (1878-1830), a storekeeper and Royal Inspector of Greenland. Lynge grew up in Lichtenau (today: Alluitsoq) in southern Greenland. He trained as a teacher at the Godthaab Seminarium (Godthaab College of Education) in Godthaab (today: Nuuk) and received his diploma in 1921. He continued his education in Denmark, studying at Jelling's Seminarium and taking special classes in Copenhagen in 1923-1924. He began to teach in public Greenlandic schools in 1924, and then in 1930 transferred to a teaching post at the Seminarium of Godthaab while taking some other courses in Denmark 1933-1934.

The beginning of the 1930's are a turning point in Augo Lynge's life: as he begins teaching at the Seminarium, he also starts his political career and publishes his first book, Ukiut 300-nngornerat (1931), which is the second novel ever published in kalaallisut in Greenland. This book was republished in 1959 and 1973 before being translated into Danish in 1989 under the title Trehundrede år efter and then into French in 2015 (Trois cents ans après. Grønlandshavn en 2021). These years are the start of his intellectual engagement, where he fights against ignorance and has the desire to lead Greenland towards modernity. In 1930, he was elected in the Kommuneraad (local council) in Godthaab from 1930 to 1942, which he chaired (1934-1938) before becoming a member of the Provincial Council of Greenland in 1939. During this time, his position allowed him to create the first sports association in Greenland, Aqissiaq in 1933. He also promoted public debates, critical approaches and the spread of information. For instance, his periodical Taqqisuut, published between 1934 and 1947, offers Greenlanders a place of discussion and his association, Nunavta qitornai (The children of our country), founded in 1941, encouraged youth to seek information. Augo Lynge was also the author of multiple essays and articles about zoology, geography and politics. Although transferred in 1943 to Aasiaat, 600 km from home, by the colonial authorities because of his activism, he was elected to the National Council of Greenland (which was replaced by a national government and parliament in 1979 when the country reached autonomy) between 1951 and 1953. In September of 1952, he defended the idea that Greenland should become a province in the Danish Constitution instead of a colony, in hopes of modernizing his country. On September 22nd, 1953, he became one of the two first Greenlandic deputies elected in Danish Parliament, where he represented the South of Greenland. His political activism was rewarded; he received a Knight of the Dannebrog Order in 1952, and today a street in Nuuk is named after him.

Augo Lynge died tragically in the sinking of MS Hans Hedtoft, between Julianehaab (today: Qaqortoq) and Copenhagen, a victim of the dangers of winter navigation near Cape Farwell (Kap Farvel) that he had reported on two years prior to his death.

This biography is based on the available written material during a collective research carried out during 2018-2021. It is possible that mistakes and facts need to be corrected. If you notice an error, or if you wish to correct something in an author's biography, please write to us at and we will be happy to do so. This is how we will be able to have more precise presentations, and to better promote Inuit culture.

(c) International Laboratory for Research on Images of the North, Winter and the Arctic, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2018-2021, Daniel Chartier and al.