Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 358,780 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country being home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. 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, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate.
According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, 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, emigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls (i.e., slaves or serfs) of Gaelic origin. The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under 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's secession from the union in 1523. Although the Danish kingdom introduced Lutheranism forcefully in 1550, Iceland remained a distant semi-colonial territory in which Danish institutions and infrastructures were conspicuous by their absence. In the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Iceland's struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918 and the founding of a republic in 1944. Until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture. Industrialisation 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. In 1994, it became a part of the European Economic Area, which further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance, biotechnology, and manufacturing.
is the capital
, its largest city
, and the world's most northern
being 64°08' N, not far from the Arctic Circle
). It receives only four hours of daylight
per day in the depth of winter
, and during the summer
the nights are almost as bright as the days.
Reykjavík is located in southwest Iceland at the shores of Faxaflói bay. The Reykjavík area coastline is characterized by peninsulas, coves, straits and islands. The population of Reykjavík in 2005 was 114,800, the combined population of the Capital Region being about 190,000.
The first permanent settlement in Iceland by Nordic people is believed to have been established in Reykjavík by Ingólfur Arnarson around AD 870; this is described in Landnámabók, or the Book of Settlement. Ingólfur Arnarson is said to have decided the location of his settlement using a traditional Viking method; by dumping his high seat pillars, Öndvegissúlur, in the ocean when he saw the coastline and then settled where the pillars came to shore. Steam from hot springs in the region is supposed to have inspired Reykjavík's name, as Reykjavík translates to "Bay of Smokes".
Halldór Kiljan Laxness
(born Halldór Guðjónsson
) (April 23, 1902 – February 8, 1998) was a 20th century Icelandic
author of such novels as Salka Valka
, Independent People
, The Atom Station
, Paradise Reclaimed
, Iceland's Bell
, The Fish Can Sing
and World Light
. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature
in 1955. When he was 14 years old, his first article was published in Morgunblaðið
under the name 'H.G.' Not much later he published an article (about an old clock) under his own name in the same paper. During his career he wrote 51 novels, poetry, many newspaper articles, plays, travelogues, short stories and more.
- 29 December 2018: 3 Britons died and 4 Britons are seriously injured after a car crash on a one lane Icelandic bridge.(BBC)
- June 5 2018: The Icelandic national football team qualified for World Cup for the first time.(espn)
- April 12 2018: A Greenlander is sentenced for killing a 20-year old Icelandic woman.(the guardian)
- November 30 2017: A government consisting of parties both to the right and left is formed after instability.(the guardian)
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