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Iceland

194 photos

Description

Klifatindur (071)
Klifatindur (071)

Iceland is a Nordic island country of Europe located in the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of 332,529 and an area of 103,000 km², making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population.

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Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, while 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 to that union and came under Danish rule, after Sweden’s secession from that 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, and was among the poorest countries in Europe. 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.

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 and West Norwegian dialects.

List of sights

Map

See also

Countries visited35,337 photos

Neuschwanstein Castle (160)
Neuschwanstein CastleGermany

List of countries visited worldwide. [Read more]

Austria …16 photosBelgium …280 photosBhutan …255 photosCambodia …265 photosChina …284 photosFrance …2,650 photosGermany …4,249 photosGreece …1,630 photosIceland …194 photosIndia …3,744 photosItaly …14,222 photosJordan …184 photosKazakhstan …376 photosLaos …1,162 photosMyanmar …308 photosNepal …954 photosNetherlands …1,995 photosNorway …138 photosPeru …1,335 photosRussia …386 photosSuriname …35 photosUnited States …62 photosVatican City136 photosVietnam …251 photosYemen …226 photos