It might be expected that there should be a decrease in the Greenland seal fisheries, caused by the European and American sealers catching larger quantities every year, especially along the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, and so actually diminishing the number of the animals in the Greenland seas.
They subsequently became known to sealers and traders in sandalwood, who, however, established no friendly relations with the natives.
After him came other navigators, French, Spanish, Russian and American; and, as the 8th century neared its end, came sealers, whalers and trading-schooners in quest of flax and timber.
The island is not permanently inhabited, but has been frequently visited by explorers, sealers and whalers; and an Austrian station for scientific observations was maintained here for a year in 1882-1883.
Whalers, sealers and traders followed in the wake of explorers, the traders dealing chiefly in copra, trepang, pearls, tortoiseshell, &c. The first actual settlers in the islands were largely men of bad character - deserting sailors, escapers from the penal settlements in Australia and others.