Context of Iceland

 

Iceland (Icelandic: Ísland, pronounced [ˈistlant] (listen)) is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean and in the Arctic Ocean. Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Iceland's capital and largest city is Reykjavík, which is home to about 36% of the population. Iceland is the largest part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that rises above sea level, and its central volcanic plateau is erupting almost constantly. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, and most of its islands have a polar climate.

According to the ancient ma...Read more

 

Iceland (Icelandic: Ísland, pronounced [ˈistlant] (listen)) is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean and in the Arctic Ocean. Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Iceland's capital and largest city is Reykjavík, which is home to about 36% of the population. Iceland is the largest part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that rises above sea level, and its central volcanic plateau is erupting almost constantly. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, and most of its islands have a polar climate.

According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabókcode: isl promoted to code: is , the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island. In the following centuries, Norwegians, and to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, immigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls (i.e., slaves or serfs) of Gaelic origin.

The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the native parliament, the Althing, one of the world's oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Following a period of civil strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century. The establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Iceland thus followed Norway's integration into that union, coming under Danish rule after Sweden seceded from the union in 1523. The Danish kingdom forcefully introduced Lutheranism to Iceland in 1550.

Influenced by ideals of nationalism after the French Revolution, Iceland's struggle for independence took form and culminated in the Danish–Icelandic Act of Union in 1918, with the establishment of the Kingdom of Iceland, sharing through a personal union the incumbent monarch of Denmark. During the occupation of Denmark in World War II, Iceland voted overwhelmingly to become a republic in 1944, thus ending the remaining formal ties with Denmark. Although the Althing was suspended from 1799 to 1845, the island republic has nevertheless been credited with sustaining the world's oldest and longest-running parliament.

Until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture. Industrialization of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity, and Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. It became a part of the European Economic Area in 1994; this further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance, biotechnology, and manufacturing.

Iceland has a market economy with relatively low taxes, compared to other OECD countries, as well as the highest trade union membership in the world. It maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. Iceland ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, government transparency, and economic freedom.

Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation's Scandinavian heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Norse and Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old West Norse and is closely related to Faroese. The country's cultural heritage includes traditional Icelandic cuisine, Icelandic literature, and medieval sagas. Iceland has the smallest population of any NATO member and is the only one with no standing army, with a lightly armed coast guard.

More about Iceland

Basic information
  • Currency Icelandic króna
  • Calling code +354
  • Internet domain .is
  • Speed limit 90
  • Mains voltage 230V/50Hz
  • Democracy index 9.37
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 376248
  • Area 103004
  • Driving side right
History
  •  
    874–1262: Settlement and Commonwealth
     
     
    Ingólfr Arnarson (modern Icelandic: Ingólfur Arnarson), the first permanent Scandinavian settler

    According to both Landnámabók and Íslendingabók, monks known as the Papar...Read more

     
    874–1262: Settlement and Commonwealth
     
     
    Ingólfr Arnarson (modern Icelandic: Ingólfur Arnarson), the first permanent Scandinavian settler

    According to both Landnámabók and Íslendingabók, monks known as the Papar lived in Iceland before Scandinavian settlers arrived, possibly members of a Hiberno-Scottish mission. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed the ruins of a cabin in Hafnir on the Reykjanes peninsula. Carbon dating indicates that it was abandoned sometime between 770 and 880.[1] In 2016, archaeologists uncovered a longhouse in Stöðvarfjörður that has been dated to as early as 800.[2]

    Swedish Viking explorer Garðar Svavarsson was the first to circumnavigate Iceland in 870 and establish that it was an island.[3] He stayed during the winter and built a house in Húsavík. Garðar departed the following summer, but one of his men, Náttfari, decided to stay behind with two slaves. Náttfari settled in what is now known as Náttfaravík, and he and his slaves became the first permanent residents of Iceland to be documented.[4][5]

    The Norwegian-Norse chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson built his homestead in present-day Reykjavík in 874. Ingólfr was followed by many other emigrant settlers, largely Scandinavians and their thralls, many of whom were Irish or Scottish.[6] By 930, most arable land on the island had been claimed; the Althing, a legislative and judicial assembly was initiated to regulate the Icelandic Commonwealth. The lack of arable land also served as an impetus to the settlement of Greenland starting in 986.[7] The period of these early settlements coincided with the Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures were similar to those of the early 20th century.[8] At this time about 25% of Iceland was covered with forest, compared to 1% in the present day.[9] Christianity was adopted by consensus around 999–1000, although Norse paganism persisted among segments of the population for some years afterward.[10]

    The Middle Ages

    The Icelandic Commonwealth lasted until the 13th century when the political system devised by the original settlers proved unable to cope with the increasing power of Icelandic chieftains.[11] The internal struggles and civil strife of the Age of the Sturlungs led to the signing of the Old Covenant in 1262, which ended the Commonwealth and brought Iceland under the Norwegian crown. Possession of Iceland passed from the Kingdom of Norway (872–1397) to the Kalmar Union in 1415, when the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden were united. After the break-up of the union in 1523, it remained a Norwegian dependency, as a part of Denmark–Norway.

    Infertile soil, volcanic eruptions, deforestation, and an unforgiving climate made for harsh life in a society where subsistence depended almost entirely on agriculture. The Black Death swept Iceland twice, first in 1402–1404 and again in 1494–1495.[12] The former outbreak killed 50% to 60% of the population, and the latter 30% to 50%.[13]

    Reformation and the Early Modern period
     
     
    Ósvör, a replica of an old fishing outpost outside Bolungarvík

    Around the middle of the 16th century, as part of the Protestant Reformation, King Christian III of Denmark began to impose Lutheranism on all his subjects. Jón Arason, the last Catholic bishop of Hólar, was beheaded in 1550 along with two of his sons. The country subsequently became officially Lutheran, and Lutheranism has since remained the dominant religion.

     
     
    A map of Iceland published in the early 17th century by Gerardus Mercator

    In the 17th and 18th centuries, Denmark imposed harsh trade restrictions on Iceland. Natural disasters, including volcanic eruptions and disease, contributed to a decreasing population. In the summer of 1627, Barbary Pirates committed the events known locally as the Turkish Abductions, in which hundreds of residents were taken into slavery in North Africa and dozens killed; this was the only invasion in Icelandic history to have casualties.[14][15] The 1707–08 Iceland smallpox epidemic is estimated to have killed a quarter to a third of the population.[16][17] In 1783 the Laki volcano erupted, with devastating effects.[18] In the years following the eruption, known as the Mist Hardships (Icelandic: Móðuharðindin), over half of all livestock in the country died. Around a quarter of the population starved to death in the ensuing famine.[19]

    1814–1918: Independence movement

    In 1814, following the Napoleonic Wars, Denmark-Norway was broken up into two separate kingdoms via the Treaty of Kiel but Iceland remained a Danish dependency. Throughout the 19th century, the country's climate continued to grow colder, resulting in mass emigration to the New World, particularly to the region of Gimli, Manitoba in Canada, which was sometimes referred to as New Iceland. About 15,000 people emigrated, out of a total population of 70,000.[20]

    A national consciousness arose in the first half of the 19th century, inspired by romantic and nationalist ideas from mainland Europe. An Icelandic independence movement took shape in the 1850s under the leadership of Jón Sigurðsson, based on the burgeoning Icelandic nationalism inspired by the Fjölnismenn and other Danish-educated Icelandic intellectuals. In 1874, Denmark granted Iceland a constitution and limited home rule. This was expanded in 1904, and Hannes Hafstein served as the first Minister for Iceland in the Danish cabinet.

    1918–1944: Independence and the Kingdom of Iceland
     
     
    HMS Berwick led the British invasion of Iceland.

    The Danish–Icelandic Act of Union, an agreement with Denmark signed on 1 December 1918 and valid for 25 years, recognised Iceland as a fully sovereign and independent state in a personal union with Denmark. The Government of Iceland established an embassy in Copenhagen and requested that Denmark carry out on its behalf certain defence and foreign affairs matters, subject to consultation with the Althing. Danish embassies around the world displayed two coats of arms and two flags: those of the Kingdom of Denmark and those of the Kingdom of Iceland. Iceland's legal position became comparable to those of countries belonging to the Commonwealth of Nations, such as Canada, whose sovereign is King Charles III.

    During World War II, Iceland joined Denmark in asserting neutrality. After the German occupation of Denmark on 9 April 1940, the Althing replaced the King with a regent and declared that the Icelandic government would take control of its own defence and foreign affairs.[21] A month later, British armed forces conducted Operation Fork, the invasion and occupation of the country, violating Icelandic neutrality.[22] In 1941, the Government of Iceland, friendly to Britain, invited the then-neutral United States to take over its defence so that Britain could use its troops elsewhere.[21]

    1944–present: Republic of Iceland
     
     
    British warship HMS Scylla (right) collides with Icelandic cost guard vessel ICGV Óðinn in the Atlantic Ocean during the Third Cod War

    On 31 December 1943, the Danish–Icelandic Act of Union expired after 25 years. Beginning on 20 May 1944, Icelanders voted in a four-day plebiscite on whether to terminate the personal union with Denmark, abolish the monarchy, and establish a republic. The vote was 97% to end the union, and 95% in favour of the new republican constitution.[23] Iceland formally became a republic on 17 June 1944, with Sveinn Björnsson as its first president.

    In 1946, the US Defence Force Allied left Iceland. The nation formally became a member of NATO on 30 March 1949, amid domestic controversy and riots. On 5 May 1951, a defence agreement was signed with the United States. American troops returned to Iceland as the Iceland Defence Force and remained throughout the Cold War. The US withdrew the last of its forces on 30 September 2006.

    Iceland prospered during the Second World War. The immediate post-war period was followed by substantial economic growth, driven by the industrialisation of the fishing industry and the US Marshall Plan programme, through which Icelanders received the most aid per capita of any European country (at US$209, with the war-ravaged Netherlands a distant second at US$109).[24][25]

    Vigdís Finnbogadóttir assumed Iceland's presidency on 1 August 1980, making her the first elected female head of state in the world.[26]

    The 1970s were marked by the Cod Wars—several disputes with the United Kingdom over Iceland's extension of its fishing limits to 200 nmi (370 km) offshore. Iceland hosted a summit in Reykjavík in 1986 between United States President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, during which they took significant steps towards nuclear disarmament. A few years later, Iceland became the first country to recognise the independence of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as they broke away from the USSR. Throughout the 1990s, the country expanded its international role and developed a foreign policy orientated towards humanitarian and peacekeeping causes. To that end, Iceland provided aid and expertise to various NATO-led interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq.[27]

    Iceland joined the European Economic Area in 1994, after which the economy was greatly diversified and liberalised. International economic relations increased further after 2001 when Iceland's newly deregulated banks began to raise great amounts of external debt, contributing to a 32 percent increase in Iceland's gross national income between 2002 and 2007.[28][29]

    Economic boom and crisis

    In 2003–2007, following the privatisation of the banking sector under the government of Davíð Oddsson, Iceland moved towards having an economy based on international investment banking and financial services.[30] It was quickly becoming one of the most prosperous countries in the world, but was hit hard by a major financial crisis.[30] The crisis resulted in the greatest migration from Iceland since 1887, with a net emigration of 5,000 people in 2009.[31]

    Since 2012

    Iceland's economy stabilised under the government of Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and grew by 1.6% in 2012.[32] The centre-right Independence Party was returned to power in coalition with the Progressive Party in the 2013 election.[33] In the following years, Iceland saw a surge in tourism as the country became a popular holiday destination. In 2016, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson resigned after being implicated in the Panama Papers scandal.[34] Early elections in 2016 resulted in a right-wing coalition government of the Independence Party, the Reform Party and Bright Future.[35] This government fell when Bright Future quit the coalition due to a scandal involving then-Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson's father's letter of support for a convicted child sex offender.[36] Snap elections in October 2017 brought to power a new coalition consisting of the Independence Party, the Progressive Party, and the Left-Green Movement, headed by Katrín Jakobsdóttir.[37]

    After the 2021 parliamentary election, the new government was, just like the previous government, a tri-party coalition of the Independence Party, the Progressive Party, and the Left-Green Movement, headed by Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir.[38]

    ^ New View on the Origin of First Settlers in Iceland Archived 5 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Iceland Review Online, 4 June 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011. ^ Hafstad, Vala (15 September 2016). "Major Archeological Find in Iceland". Iceland Review. Archived from the original on 15 September 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016. ^ The History of Viking Iceland Archived 3 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Ancient Worlds, 31 May 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2013. ^ Iceland and the history Archived 10 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine, The Gardarsholm Project, 29 July 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2013. ^ Hvers vegna hefur Náttfara ekki verið hampað sem fyrsta landnámsmanninum?, University of Iceland: The Science Web, 7 July 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2013. ^ Historical Dictionary of the Vikings By Katherine Holman p252 scarecrow press 2003 discusses that both Scottish and Irish slaves were in Iceland ^ Kudeba, N. (19 April 2014). Chapter 5 – Norse Explorers from Erik the Red to Leif Erikson – Canadian Explorers. Retrieved from The History of Canada: "Chapter 5 - Norse Explorers from Erik the Red to Leif Erikson - Canadian Explorers | the History of Canada". Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014. ^ Patterson, W.P.; Dietrich, K.A.; Holmden, C.; Andrews, J.T. (8 March 2010). "Two millennia of North Atlantic seasonality and implications for Norse colonies". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107 (12): 5306–5310. Bibcode:2010PNAS..107.5306P. doi:10.1073/pnas.0902522107. PMC 2851789. PMID 20212157. ^ Magnusson, M. (2003) The Vikings. Tempus. ISBN 0752426990. pp. 188–191 ^ Michael Strmiska. Modern Paganism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives. ABC-CLIO. p. 138. ^ "The History of Iceland (Gunnar Karlsson) – book review". Dannyreviews.com. Retrieved 10 February 2010. ^ Pulsiano, Phillip and Wolf, Kirsten (1993) Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. p. 312. ISBN 0-8240-4787-7 ^ Maddicott, J.R. (2 June 2009). "6th–10th century AD". Findarticles.com. p. 14. Archived from the original on 1 October 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2010. ^ Þorsteinn, Helgason (28 March 2006). "Hvaða heimildir eru til um Tyrkjaránið?" [What are the sources of the Turkish Abductions?] (in Icelandic). University of Iceland. Retrieved 9 March 2021. ^ Davis, Robert C. (2003). Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500–1800. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 7ff. ISBN 978-0-333-71966-4. ^ "Iceland: Milestones in Icelandic History". Iceland.vefur.is. Retrieved 10 February 2010. ^ Crosby, Alfred W. (2004). Ecological imperialism: the biological expansion of Europe, 900–1900. Cambridge University Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-521-54618-4. ^ ""When a killer cloud hit Britain". BBC News. January 2007. ^ "How volcanoes can change the world". CNN. Retrieved 27 October 2014. ^ "For Iceland, an exodus of workers". The New York Times. 5 December 2008. Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2010. ^ a b "Icelandic Roots | Post". Icelandic Roots | Genealogy Ancestry. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2019. ^ "History: British forces occupy Iceland". Iceland Monitor. Archived from the original on 3 December 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019. ^ Allies Study Post-War Security Etc. Universal Newsreel. 1944. Retrieved 21 February 2012. ^ "Hversu há var Marshallaðstoðin sem Ísland fékk eftir seinni heimsstyrjöld?". Vísindavefurinn (in Icelandic). 13 May 2003. Retrieved 27 October 2014. ^ Müller, Margrit; Myllyntaus, Timo (2007). Pathbreakers: Small European Countries Responding to Globalisation and Deglobalisation. Peter Lang. pp. 385–. ISBN 978-3-03911-214-2. ^ "Vigdis Finnbogadottir, the world's first elected female president". France 24. 31 July 2020. ^ Wilcox and Latif, p. 29 ^ Jackson, Robert (15 November 2008). "The Big Chill". Financial Times. ^ "Home – Hagstofa". Hagstofa. ^ a b Lewis, Michael (April 2009). "Wall Street on the Tundra". Vanity Fair. ^ "Iceland lost almost 5000 people in 2009" (PDF). Journal of Nordregio. 10 (1): 18. April 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2011. ^ "Viðskiptablaðið – Hagvöxtur 2012 mun minni en spár gerðu ráð fyrir" (in Icelandic). Vb.is. 8 March 2013. Archived from the original on 28 December 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2013. ^ "Iceland vote: Centre-right opposition wins election". BBC News. 28 April 2013. ^ "Iceland's Prime Minister Steps Down Amid Panama Papers Scandal". The New York Times. April 2016. Archived from the original on 3 January 2022. ^ "Iceland elections leave ruling centre-right party in driving seat". The Guardian. October 2016. ^ "How Iceland's government was brought down by a letter from PM's father demanding paedophile's pardon". The Independent. September 2017. ^ "An Environmentalist Is Iceland's New Prime Minister". The New York Times. November 2017. ^ "New Government of Iceland Takes Office". Iceland Monitor. 29 November 2021.
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Stay safe
  •  
    Stay safe

    Iceland is one of the places in the world with the least criminality, so there is almost no chance of getting robbed or harassed. Isolated incidents have, however, been reported, especially in Reykjavík, so it pays to take the usual precautions. Use common sense when sampling the night life.

    For severe weather, volcanic eruptions etc., check alerts from Icelandic weather institution. Keep your phone on, as some alerts are sent as SMS to all mobile phones in the affected area.

    Authorities

    The emergency phone number is 112, as in most of Europe. The police are generally polite, professional and honest, and people often comment that they are very helpful and courteous.

    Nature  The Fagradalsfjall eruption was relatively safe to watch at a distance. However, eruptions can be very dangerous.

    Sure, Iceland's beauty may lie in its scenery and weather, but don't let that tempt you too much. Do not walk on glaciers without proper training and equipment, do not approach a glacier front, do not approach waves on the coast, and do not approach a large waterfall. Every year, many tourists get injured and killed by doing all of this. By being more aware of your location, your surroundings, and the dangers of Iceland's harsh nature, you can prevent a fatal incident. Glaciers and waterfalls can be enjoyed with appropriate skills, on a guided tour, or where safe areas are signposted..

    ...Read more
     
    Stay safe

    Iceland is one of the places in the world with the least criminality, so there is almost no chance of getting robbed or harassed. Isolated incidents have, however, been reported, especially in Reykjavík, so it pays to take the usual precautions. Use common sense when sampling the night life.

    For severe weather, volcanic eruptions etc., check alerts from Icelandic weather institution. Keep your phone on, as some alerts are sent as SMS to all mobile phones in the affected area.

    Authorities

    The emergency phone number is 112, as in most of Europe. The police are generally polite, professional and honest, and people often comment that they are very helpful and courteous.

    Nature  The Fagradalsfjall eruption was relatively safe to watch at a distance. However, eruptions can be very dangerous.

    Sure, Iceland's beauty may lie in its scenery and weather, but don't let that tempt you too much. Do not walk on glaciers without proper training and equipment, do not approach a glacier front, do not approach waves on the coast, and do not approach a large waterfall. Every year, many tourists get injured and killed by doing all of this. By being more aware of your location, your surroundings, and the dangers of Iceland's harsh nature, you can prevent a fatal incident. Glaciers and waterfalls can be enjoyed with appropriate skills, on a guided tour, or where safe areas are signposted..

    Be prepared for sudden shifts in the weather. Weather in Iceland is unpredictable and its winters can be frigid. Do not walk out in the open in windy weather in the winter: you will become exhausted very quickly. You should make it a point to keep up to date with the country's weather and road conditions daily.

    Don't go on long hikes even in summer without somebody who knows how to cope with the dangers.

    Natural disasters

    Iceland is a volcanically active country. On average, the country experiences a volcanic eruption every four years. If there is one during your stay, pay attention to local news and government warnings. Sure, it may be tempting to look at a volcanic eruption from a distance, but the eruptions can be explosive and violent. Furthermore, volcanic gas can be toxic and even lethal.

    Since Iceland is situated on two shifting tectonic plates, earthquakes are quite common in Iceland. On average, the country experiences 500 earthquakes per year. Many earthquakes are small and are not that noticeable. Know this one thing: whenever there's a big earthquake, a volcanic eruption will follow.

    Driving  Einbreið brú: Single-lane bridge.

    Driving in Iceland can be a dangerous experience. Wandering livestock, harsh weather conditions, foggy conditions, and a largely unpaved road network can make things challenging.

    About a third of the country's road network is paved and many roads outside the capital are impassible during the winters (October to April) and summers. During the summers, roads can become muddy.

    If you have no experience with driving in isolated areas with harsh weather conditions or knowledge of Icelandic roads, it is strongly recommended that you do not drive outside of Reykjavik. Outside the capital, help is limited, and if you do not know what you're doing, you can easily get lost or stranded.

    If you absolutely must drive outside the capital, a useful resource to check out is Vegagerdin. Also, consider informing a trusted local about your plans.

    Drugs

    The Icelandic Narcotics Police has a very strict policy on drugs; minimum fine for possession of under 1 gram (3/100 of an ounce) of any illegal substance can result in a fine of over kr 70,000.

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Where can you sleep near Iceland ?

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