Iceland, officially the Republic of Iceland, is a
sovereign country located in the extreme northwest of Europe, whose
territory encompasses the homonymous island and some small adjacent
islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, between the rest of Europe
and Greenland. It has a population of about 350,000 inhabitants and
an area of 103,000 km², because of its location on the
mid-Atlantic ridge, it is a country with great volcanic and
geological activity, a factor that greatly affects the landscape of
the Icelandic territory. The interior of the country consists of a
plateau characterized by deserts, mountains, glaciers and glacial
rivers that flow into the sea through the lowlands. Thanks to the
effects of the Gulf Stream, it has a temperate climate in relation
to its latitude and provides a habitable environment.
first human settlement in Iceland dates back to the year 874 when,
according to the Landnámabók or "Settlement Book", the Norwegian
leader Ingólfur Arnarson became the island's first permanent
settler.Other navigators, such as the Faroese Viking Naddoddr,
possible discoverer, visited the island around the year 860 to spend
the winter in it. However, they never founded a permanent settlement
there, and over the following centuries, human groups of Nordic and
Gaelic origin settled in Iceland. Until the twentieth century, the
Icelandic population depended on fishing and agriculture, and from
1262 to 1944 it was part of the kingdom of Norway and, later, of
Denmark. In the 20th century it gained its independence and the
Icelandic economy developed rapidly, despite its isolation from the
world due to its geographical location.
Today it has a market
economy, with relatively low taxes compared to other OECD members,
maintaining a welfare state that provides universal health care and
free higher education to its citizens. the most affluent countries,
and in 2009 it was classified by the United Nations as the ninth
most developed country in the world.
In 2008, the Icelandic
financial system suffered a collapse, causing a strong economic
contraction and demonstrations that led to the advance of
parliamentary elections, in which Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir won the
post of prime minister. At the same time, what was known as the
Icelandic Revolution, a series of protests and movements of citizen
organization that, together with the new Government, resulted in the
indictment of the former Prime Minister of Iceland during the
crisis, Geir Haarde, two referendums to decide on the payment of the
external debt of the national banks and a citizen process that led
to changes in the Constitution that culminated in a constitutional
draft on July 29, 2011 to be debated in Parliament.
has a developed and technologically advanced society whose culture
is based on the Nordic heritage. The majority of the population is
of Celtic and Scandinavian origin. The official language is
Icelandic, a northern Germanic language that is closely related to
Faroese and Western dialects of Norwegian. The country's cultural
heritage includes its traditional cuisine, art and literature.
Vatnajkull is located in the South- East part of
Iceland. This national reserve is the largest national park in
Europe covering an area of 12,000 km2.
Iceland was settled in the 9th century as a result
of the unification of Norway under the rule of King Harald I. Many
families who came into conflict with Harald were forced to flee in
search of a new place to live.
As the population settled in
Iceland, a state system was formed. In each area there was a ting
(assembly, analogue of the veche), on which judgment was adjudicated
and disputes resolved; To solve the most important issues,
representatives of the regions gathered at the beginning of summer
for alting under the control of a special person - the law-governing
agent. For the first time, the althing was convened in 930, and it
is from this date that the era of democracy is reckoned.
1262, Iceland was forced to sign the so-called “Old Treaty” with
Norway, according to which it recognized the supreme power of the
Norwegian kings, and those, in turn, were obliged to send to the
Icelanders annually several ships with timber, grain and other
goods. The dynastic migration of power in the Scandinavian countries
accordingly changed the subordination of Iceland.
23, 1551, an uprising broke out in Iceland against Danish rule. The
impetus for the uprising was the execution of the last Icelandic
Catholic bishop, Ion Aranson and his sons. The rebel Icelanders
killed all the Danes on the island, however, the punitive expedition
of the Danish King Christian III was not difficult to restore order
in a small country. In 1567, weapons were taken away from the
Icelandic peasants, and they had to put up with foreign domination
for a long time.
After the dissolution of the
Danish-Norwegian Union in 1814, the island possessions of Norway,
including Iceland, were left as part of Denmark. In 1845, the
parliament was recreated as a legislative body. He received the Old
Icelandic name "alting."
As a result of more than a hundred
years of peaceful struggle for independence, December 1, 1918,
Iceland was declared an independent kingdom in a personal union with
Denmark. During World War II, the German occupation of Denmark on
April 9, 1940, broke Iceland's dependence on Denmark. In May 1940,
Great Britain captured Iceland and in 1941 transferred the right to
occupy the US islands. Since June 17, 1944, Iceland gained full
independence and became a republic.