Since WWII Iceland has maintained a high standard of living that is comparable to other Nordic countries. Located west of Scandinavia and just south of the Arctic Circle, the first confirmed settlement of Iceland was in the 9th and 10th centuries by Norsemen from Scandinavia and Scotland. The first bishopric, or center for learning, was established at Skal-holt in south Iceland in 1056, and a second was developed at Holar in the north in 1106. Terms of Use, Iceland - Constitutional Legal Foundations, Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.com, Iceland - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education. Scandinavian sailors discovered Iceland in the mid-ninth century, and the first settler recognized in the literary-historical tradition, Ingólfur Arnason, arrived in 874. Select Category. The oldest rocks were formed about 16 million years ago. 258 Iceland HD Wallpapers and Background Images. It is one of the most volcanic regions in the world. More than 60 percent of the country's population resides in or near the capital city of Reykjavik ("Bay of Smokes" named for the geo-thermal stream), situated in the southwestern region of the island. Iceland is largely a tableland broken up by structural faults. Instead Iceland gained an Icelandic minister responsible to the Althing. In 1918 Iceland became an independent state under the Danish king. and its Licensors Icelanders as a group are very committed to their work regardless of the specific form. Literacy has been universal in Iceland since the end of the eighteenth century. The process starts now and Iceland is challenging itself to complete it within the … Widely known as “The Land of Fire and Ice” Iceland is home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe, and some of the world’s most active volcanoes. Many of the early settlers of Iceland were small lords and kings from Norway who were fleeing the tyrrany of Harald the Fairhaired who wanted to unify Norway under one king, namely himself. When established in 930 A.D., the power of the Althing was distributed among four local courts and a supreme court. Over the course of the twentieth century, Iceland, which is situated on major shipping and air lanes of the North Atlantic Ocean, has effectively transformed itself from a subsistence economy to an exchange economy. After the occupation of Denmark and Iceland's declaration of sovereignty, the island's vulnerability was responded to by British and U.S. troops. The strong Icelandic economy is based on the use of renewable natural resources and a highly educated and skilled labor force. During the late twelfth and the early thirteenth century, dramatic Icelandic tales of early settlement, the colonization of Greenland, romance, disputes, and the development of Iceland were translated into a rich literary tradition dominated by Sagas. Which Country Is Larger By Population? The bishop is elected by pastors and members of the theological faculty at the University of Iceland; and the one diocese is divided into districts, which are further subdivided into parishes. Iceland is a country of extreme geological contrasts. However, literacy was accomplished in the eighteenth century as children were taught to read by their families or clergy in their homes. However, Denmark did not officially recognize Iceland as its own nation until 1918. Much of the uninhabited regions, encompassing more than 80 percent of the island, are covered with permanent snow and ice (glaciers) or volcanic surface, preventing many agricultural activities. Iceland is the oldest democracy in the world. These fact-based works, which provided the early settlers with a source of entertainment as well as cultural heritage, represent some of the classics of world medieval literature and continue to be widely read and treasured by Icelanders. Painting in particular has thrived since the end of the nineteenth century. Roughly 90-94 percent of Icelanders are Protestants (73 percent Evangelical Lutheran) and 1 percent are Catholic. In the 20th century ties with Denmark were loosened. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). In this post, we have gathered interesting Iceland facts to give you some insights about this amazing country. The powers of the president are similar to those of other heads of state in western European democracies. The volcanoes, reaching deep into the unstable interior of the Earth, are explained by the fact that Iceland is located on top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland. History & Background. Iceland has a long history of farm wor… Use this timeline to learn more about the history of Iceland. Information about Iceland and COVID-19. The early settlement, made up primarily of Norwegian seafarers and adventurers, fostered further excursions to Greenland and the coast of North America (which the Norse called Vinland). Background Iceland is one of the world’s oldest democracies. Type. History & Background Iceland, one of the world's first independent, democratic nations, is the second largest island in Europe (39,769 square miles). Central Intelligence Agency - The World Factbook - Iceland, Iceland - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Iceland - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Iceland was founded more than 1,000 years ago during the Viking age of exploration and settled by a mixed Norse and Celtic population. Hekla brought physical destruction, widespread epidemics, and death. It is a relatively young nation since it was first inhabited by Vikings from Norway in the late 800s. Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by … Independent Guðni Jóhannesson, a historian, was elected in 2016 to the largely ceremonial presidency. The population rose (despite emigration to Canada) and in 1911 Reykjavik University was founded. The National Theater of Iceland celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in the year 2000. Category. A major eruption took place in 1973, when a volcano on Heima Island (Heimaey) spilled lava into the town of Vestmannaeyjar, an important fishing centre. A PDF of the background information for the 2012/2013 and 2014/2015 datasets is available. Much of Iceland is underlain by basalt, a dark rock of igneous origin. Alkaline hot springs are found in some 250 areas throughout the country. Iceland does not maintain armed forces. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? The Icelandic sagas, most of which recount heroic episodes that took place at the time the island was settled, are regarded as among the finest literary achievements of the Middle Ages, reflecting a European outlook while commemorating the history and customs of a people far removed from continental centres of commerce and culture. In 1969 the town council of Grindavik decided to explore the area near Svartsengi for the possibility of geothermal heat, which could be harnessed for domestic heating in Grindavik. Soil and climatic conditions are favourable, and it is close to the country’s largest market, Reykjavík and its environs. Iceland is a volcanic island in the North Atlantic Ocean east of Greenland and immediately south of the Arctic Circle. Iceland, one of the world's first independent, democratic nations, is the second largest island in Europe (39,769 square miles). Located 180 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Iceland's nearest neighbor is Greenland to the west (180 miles), followed by Scotland to the south east (495 miles), and Norway to the east (590 miles). This quiz is based on Britannica’s list of the world’s populations, so review that before you start. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Iceland was under Danish rule until the late 19th century, when they created their own constitution. Greenland was colonizedby p… The eastern fjords resemble the western fjords but have, in addition, an inner lowland. The middle west is divided between fishing and farming and has many places of great natural beauty. Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population. Settled by Norsemen from Scandinavia and Celts from the British isles settled in the 9 th and 10 th centuries, Icelandic history has always been shaped by events on the larger politicla stage of the Nordic Countries. The total power output of the Torfajökull (Torfa Glacier) area, the largest of the 19 high-temperature solfatara regions, is estimated to equal about 1,000 megawatts. It’s an island isolated from the other parts of Europe, famous from the amazing nature, awesome landscapes and (since recently) a place where the Game of Thrones was filmed. Background: Settled by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930. On June 17, 1944, the Republic of Iceland was formally declared at Thing-vellir. Iceland has a rich literary tradition and unusually high standards of education, with 15 percent of the national budget devoted to education. The settlements are limited to a narrow coastal belt, valleys, and lowland plains in the south and southwest. U.S.-ICELAND RELATIONS The United States was the first country to recognize Iceland’s independence in 1944 following Danish rule. Iceland is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) but has no standing military of its own. Infoplease has everything you need to know about Iceland. It erupted again beginning on April 14 and sent wandering ash plumes into the skies that disrupted air traffic for days across northern and central Europe. It is northwest of the United Kingdom and has a strategic location between Greenland and Europe. This is its story. Looking for facts about Iceland? Most of the buildings erected since the mid-20th century have been built of reinforced concrete and designed to withstand severe shocks from earthquakes. Although increasingly integrated into the European mainstream, Icelanders take care to preserve their traditions, customs, and language. The depressed zones between the basalt areas have extensive plateaus above which rise single volcanoes, table mountains, or other mountain masses with steep sides. A new volcano erupting on the bottom of the sea between November 1963 and June 1967 created the island of Surtsey, off the southwestern coast. The western fjords have numerous well-sheltered harbours and good fishing grounds but little lowland suitable for agriculture. The landscape in basaltic areas is one of plateau and fjord, characterized by successive layers of lava visible one above the other on the valley sides. With a population of approximately 272,000 people, Iceland is one of the smaller nations in the world, yet it is the least densely populated of all European nations. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active with hot springs, geysers, and icefields. The cost of living is very high because so many purchases from cars to paper are imported. Because of its extensive lava fields and heaths, the southwest has little farmland. Many Icelanders, for example, still believe in elves, trolls, and other figures in the mythical landscape of the Norse past, while even Icelanders who live in cities harbour a vision of their country as a pastoral land, in the words of Nobel Prize-winning author Halldór Laxness, of. Region. However, the United States, which has assumed responsibility for Iceland's defense, maintains a naval air station at the Keflavik International Airport. Picture by Scuba Iceland. In 1700, less than half of the population of Iceland could read. Sigur Rós (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈsɪːɣʏrous] ()) is an Icelandic post-rock band from Reykjavík, active since 1994.Known for their ethereal sound, frontman Jónsi's falsetto vocals, and their use of bowed guitar, the band's music incorporates classical and minimal aesthetic elements. All Icelandic youth are expected to work as soon as possible, particularly during the summer months when school is out of session. The result of this drilling was very promising and proved among other things, that this was a ‘high temper… Iceland is largely a classless society composed of the descendents of farmers and warriors who fled the tyranny of Scandinavia many centuries ago. Iceland is an island nation located in Northern Europe between the Greenland Sea and the Northern Atlantic Ocean. During this time, the eruption of Mt. Continuous eruptions took place in the Krafla area in the northeast in 1975–84, damaging a geothermal generating project in the area. The history of Iceland is one of survival and prosperity. This article relates to Arctic Chill. An elected church congress serves as an advisory board to the church. It is estimated that since the year 1500 about one-third of the Earth’s total lava flow has poured out of the volcanoes of Iceland. In the southwest several fine natural harbours have directed interest toward the sea, and good fishing grounds lie off the shores of this region. Iceland, one of the world's first independent, democratic nations, is the second largest island in Europe (39,769 square miles). The capital is Reykjavik. Omissions? Nearly every district has its own museum reflecting the local cultural history, while magnificent galleries and museums grace the capitol. Except for a brief interruption from 1799-1844, Iceland’s independent commonwealth has been governed by the Althingi parliament since 930, the world’s oldest extant parliamentary institution. Whether employment involves intellectually challenging desk work, farming, or fishing, for the Icelander there seems to be an intrinsic association between one's work life and both one's personal contentment and the meaning ultimately attached to one's life. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Although Irish monks were the first people to inhabit Iceland in the eighth century, it was not until the period extending from 870 to 930 A.D. that Iceland was systematically settled by both Norsemen from Scandanavia and Celts from the British Isles. The next three centuries were troubled by Danish profiteering, international pirates, a series of natural disasters, and famines. Because the ruling class was Nordic, both the language and the culture have been predominantly Scandinavian from the beginning. It’s a Nordic country, which is also known as the land of fire and ice, thanks to its diverse landscape and nature. Iceland's interior consists mostly of uninhabited mountains and high plateaus. Despite physical isolation, Iceland has maintained its place in European civilization. Unemployment is nearly non-existent in contemporary Iceland. Households require two or more incomes, with most women working outside the home and many men holding two jobs. There are, however, traces of Celtic influence in the literature and in the names of people and places. Icelandic, the national language, has changed very little from the original tongue of the Norse settlers. The health-care system receives 40.5 percent of the national budget and the nation operates one of the most expensive health-care systems in the world. Select Type. Northern Lights Activity. The principal employers are fishing, industry, agriculture, and health services. The settlement of Iceland began in the year 874 AD when a Viking chieftain from Norway, Ingólfr Arnarson, became the island’s first permanent settler.More Norwegians some Scandinavians as well followed through the centuries. This practice of family members frequently teaching children to read continues in present day Iceland. Identify the one with the larger population. Lying on the constantly active geologic border between North America and Europe, Iceland is a land of vivid contrasts of climate, geography, and culture. Iceland is an island, a European country, located midway between North America and mainland Europe. The post of governor was abolished. Approximately 82 percent of Icelanders between the ages of 17 and 75 have access to the Internet at home, school, or work. With artists frequently deriving inspiration from the extraordinary terrain and the ancestral culture, the arts are flourishing in Iceland. The first settler was Ingólfur Arnarson, who settled in Reykjavík. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. It lies just below the Arctic Circle between 64 and 66 degrees north. Traditionally, Iceland has been divided according to the four points of the compass. Although the state provides financial support to the church, it extends considerable freedom. If that's not enough, click over to our collection of world maps and flags. A common custom on farms was for families to sit with handiwork (weaving, tool making, carving, spinning, or knitting) while participating in shared reading, storytelling, and verse making. A governmental agency, the Icelandic Language Committee, was established in 1965 and officiates over all language issues. The new island grew to about 1 square mile (2.5 square km) in area and rose more than 560 feet (170 metres) above sea level, a total of 950 feet (290 metres) from the ocean floor. In 1904 Iceland was granted home rule. Updates? Iceland - Iceland - Government and society: Iceland’s constitution, which was adopted in 1944, established a parliamentary democracy with a directly elected president as head of state. Since then, Iceland has flourished into a thriving community but its population has remained one of the smallest in Europe. Vatnajökull covers an area of more than 3,000 square miles (8,000 square km) and is about 3,000 feet (900 metres) deep at its thickest point. Lying on the constantly active geologic border between North America and Europe, Iceland is a land of vivid contrasts of … 3. Manuscript illumination, woodcarving, and folk music have been associated with periods of heightened interest. The north is divided into several smaller districts, each of which has relatively good farmland. A common belief in Icelandic society is that an individual who is not very busy and actively involved in his or her work is not living life fully. The Evangelical Lutheran Church is the official state church, but freedom of religion exists for all other congregations. This country updated its background information for the 2016/2017 dataset. 1970 There are numerous theater companies in Iceland, and Reykjavik is home to a symphony orchestra, an opera house, and a ballet company. Over 25 airlines maintain scheduled flights to Iceland. Real power rests with the 63-member parliament, the Althingi (Althing). Iceland's present day parliament, Althing, is the oldest existing national assembly in the world. Iceland began to prosper once again. The southeast, locked between the glaciers and the sea, has a landscape of rugged splendour. Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceIceland - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education, Copyright © 2021 Web Solutions LLC. see more. All Regions. Glacier ice and cooled lava each cover approximately one-tenth of the country’s total area. The capital is where the largest museums and galleries are located and among the most visited are the Culture House, Einar Jonsson Museum , … New Icelandic terms are introduced in each discipline and foreign influence on the vocabulary is actively resisted. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The infamous Sturlung Age, which followed the era of peace, was marked by political treachery and violence. Sparkling glaciers, such as Vatna Glacier (Vatnajökull), Europe’s largest, lie across its ruggedly beautiful mountain ranges; abundant hot geysers provide heat for many of the country’s homes and buildings and allow for hothouse agriculture year-round; and the offshore Gulf Stream provides a surprisingly mild climate for what is one of the northernmost inhabited places on the planet. With millions of visitors discovering Iceland each year, an ongoing flow of immigration, and the urban development that goes with both trends, the Iceland of yesteryear is … The monks are believed to have left shortly after the arrival of the pagan Norsemen. Silfra in Þingvellir National Park. Download for free on all your devices - Computer, Smartphone, or Tablet. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Located 180 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Iceland's nearest neighbor is Greenland to the west (180 miles), followed by Scotland to the south east (495 miles), and Norway to the east (590 miles). Welfare services include unemployment insurance, old age and disability pensions, family and childbearing allowances, and sickness benefits. The main island, which lies south of the Arctic Circle, covers an area of 103,000 km, which is roughly the size of the U.S. state of Virginia or slightly bigger than Ireland. This quiz will show you two countries. This article relates to Burial Rites. - Wallpaper Abyss Iceland is considered one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world. It is the northernmost capital in the world and is located exactly halfway between New York and Moscow. Other major population centres are Akureyri, on the north-central coast; Hafnarfjördhur, on the southwestern coast; and Selfoss, in the southern lowlands. from New York and 830 kilometers (520 mi.) The glaciers range in size from those in small mountain recesses to the enormous glacial caps topping extensive mountain ranges. Iceland, an island about the size of Kentucky, lies in the north Atlantic Ocean east of Greenland and just touches the Arctic Circle. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Denmark's hold on Iceland was significantly reduced in 1874 when a constitution was drafted granting Iceland permission to handle domestic affairs. Casual conversations over a meal frequently involve discussions about work. There were eruptions in the Vatnajökull area in 1983 and 1996. The glaciers are a reminder of Iceland’s proximity to the Arctic Circle, which nearly touches its northernmost peninsula. 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