Early History of Iceland
First Settlers of Iceland : Iceland is a geologically very young island, it was formed only 17 million years ago. But it is also one of the most recently populated countries. Due to the local climate, these were difficult beginnings for the settlers. The first to appear were probably Irish monks who used the isolation of the island for hermit life. They had already settled in the Faroe Islands, from where they sailed to Iceland.
Other arrivals were Vikings from Sweden and Norway, who were forced by the climatic or political conditions in their country to search for a new home. They probably discovered a remote island in the northwest first by accident when they wanted to get to the Faroe Islands and were carried here by the wind. The first to appear here around 850 was the Swedish pirate Naddoddur, who named the island Snæland (Snow Land), but returned home.
About ten years later, the Norwegian Flóki Vilgerdarson also tried to colonize the new country, but even he did not succeed very well, in the winter all his cattle died and he was forced to return to the European mainland. Vilgerdarson renamed the country Island (Ice Island) when he saw ice floes swimming in the fjord. History Of Iceland.
The History of Iceland Timeline
A Concise History Of Iceland: Iceland is a Nordic Country. Iceland was a largely uninhabited island in the North Atlantic Ocean, where norsemen settled around 870. The country was at first a ‘free state’, but became a Norwegian province in the years 1262/64. In 1380, Iceland came under the Danish-Norwegian krone as a Norwegian biland and from 1660 became effectively a Danish biland.
During the 1800s, the Icelanders sought a liberation from Denmark, and gradually the country achieved greater independence. In 1843, the Althing was restored as a consultative National Assembly, and in 1874 the country was given a constitutional law that gave the Althing its own legislative power. Home rule was introduced in 1904, and in 1918 Iceland became an independent and sovereign state in personal union with Denmark. History Of Iceland.
Among other things, the Union established the Danish-Icelandic royal community and that Denmark handled Iceland’s foreign affairs. The personal union between Denmark and Iceland was terminated from the Icelandic side after a referendum in Iceland in May 1944. Among the votes cast, more than 98% were in favour of the abolition of the Union, and on 17 June 1944 Iceland was declared an independent republic. History Of Iceland.
History of Vikings in Iceland
Viking Age settlements: The period of permanent Viking settlement dates back to between 870 and 930. The first real Icelander was Norwegian Ingólfur Arnarson. He arrived in Iceland in 871, and as pagan tradition required of the noble Viking, he threw the posts from the chief’s chair into the sea and settled where they went ashore. This practice was common at the time, and sometimes it took years for settlers to explore the coast and find the posts.
After exploring the southern coast, Ingólfur settled in a bay in 874, which he named the Smoking – after the rising smoke from the local springs. This is how Reykjavik was founded. In the following years, colonization proceeded incredibly successfully and quickly, so that by 930 60 thousand people were already living on the island. In order to get pastures and timber, they cut down virtually all the forests on the island (mainly birch and willow trees grew here). History Of Iceland.
The discovery of Iceland should be understood in the context of the general expansion of the Viking Age and settlements in new undeveloped lands in the north. Iceland was settled by Norsemen who came either directly from Norway or via the British Isles. The medieval sources say that Iceland at that time was uninhabited, however, there were probably a few Irish monks in the country. According to the oldest Icelandic history work, Ari fróði’s (1067-1148) Íslendingabók from c. 1130, the monks fled when the country was built up by people from western Norway at the end of the 9th century. History Of Iceland.
About the early history of the country there are a number of accounts, and they, together with archaeological evidence, provide a rich knowledge. The Sagas of Icelanders or ‘family sagas’, written in the 1200-1400s, are the best known of the written sources. They deal mainly with the 900s and were formed in a meeting between an oral narrative tradition about the country’s first settlement and the Christian scripture culture, which flourished in Iceland during the time of writing. History Of Iceland.
The Oldest Parliament In The World
History of Iceland Parliament: Disputes between the inhabitants were initially resolved by wars or at local councils. In 930, on the basis of the need of a unified government, a landtag was created, where all the inhabitants met every year for two weeks and decided by voting. This very unusual and very progressive form of government for its time lasted for a long time, perhaps because northerners had bad experiences with authoritarian rulers from their native lands.
The rift separating the European and American lithospheric plates – Þingvellir (Thingvellir), which means “House Plan”, was chosen as the most suitable venue for the National Assembly (AlÞing). Speakers could speak from the foot of a high rock wall, and the President also sat on an elevated spot. Votes were held on matters of importance to the whole island, laws were passed, sentences were handed down and executions were carried out.
Only men were allowed to vote at the Assembly, but everyone could participate, so marriages were arranged, business negotiations were held, and tournaments were held. Dramatic was the negotiations in the year 1000, when the representatives were irreconcilably divided into supporters of Christianity, which the Norwegian king tried to promote here, and pagan religion. The civil war was prevented by a legislator who persuaded both sides to submit to his decision. By decree, Christianity was adopted as the state religion.
The Free State period 930-1264 and the Norwegian period 1264-1380
According to Íslendingabók, the country was given a common assembly in the form of a nationwide thing, Alþingi Íslands (Althingi), in 930. The Althing has been designated as the world’s oldest parliament. It had a legislative and judicial, but no executive power. The thing was based on a federation of 36 chiefdoms (good judges). In this society, which was without a king and without central executive power, the legislative and judicial powers lay in reality with the goods.
This chieftaincy, which has been given the designation Free State (930-1264), was strongly shaped by Christianity, which was introduced as an official religion around the year 1000, when the Althing publicly adopted the Christian faith without any particular opposition. In the year 1097 tithes were introduced, which partly fell to the churches, and in 1056 a bishop came in the south and in 1106 also in the north of Iceland.
After major internal strife among the most influential families in Iceland in the 13th century, Iceland became a Norwegian tax country in 1262/64. The Icelanders became taxable to the Norwegian king, the old chieftaincy was abolished, and part of the Icelandic upper class took its place. It is in this Norwegian time that the bulk of the Icelandic saga literature is written.
Iceland Under Danish Norwegian Rule From 1380
Political history of Iceland: The political development in Iceland followed the general trends in the Nordic countries. In 1380, Denmark and Norway were united under one king, bringing Iceland under Danish control. Iceland then came into royal communion with Denmark. This meant that after the Reformation, Iceland became Protestant like the rest of Denmark-Norway. The church became Evangelical Lutheran in 1551, and the introduction of Lutheranism strengthened the authority of the Danish kings in Iceland as in the other parts of the Danish monarchy. The confiscation of church estates in connection with the Reformation led to the king becoming the largest landowner in Iceland.
In 1602, Denmark introduced a trade monopoly in Iceland, which lasted until 1786, when the monopoly was relaxed, as Danish subjects were generally allowed to trade in Iceland. In 1855, the Danish trade monopoly in Iceland was abolished altogether.
In 1660, absolute monarchy was introduced in Denmark–Norway and two years later also in Iceland. In the coming centuries, Iceland was administered as a len directly from Copenhagen. However, the Althing maintained a certain independent authority in relation to the Danish government, partly because of Iceland’s remoteness. In 1800, as a result of the introduction of Danish jurisprudence, the Althingi was abolished, and instead a High Court was established in Reykjavík.
The population fell drastically during the 1400s, when difficult times and, among other things, two plague epidemics almost laid waste to Iceland. At the same time, the ecological system gradually collapsed in the 15th and 16th centuries due to a colder climate and overexploitation of vegetation. The settlement was for centuries scattered throughout the country, and the population fed up with agriculture and fishing. In the 1700s, the population declined again, caused by smallpox epidemics, volcanic eruptions and harsh climate. However, with the greater importance of fishing in the 19th century, growth again came, and more coastal towns emerged.
History On Iceland Independence
History of Iceland freedom: Due to a growing Icelandic nationalism, the Althing was revived in 1843 with a consultative assembly of the Estates. In the summer of 1845, the popularly elected Althing met for the first time in Reykjavík, and for the next decades the Althing was held for a few weeks every two years with representatives from all over Iceland. Initially, the Althing had no legislative power, but was advisory to the king in Icelandic financial and legal matters. History Of Iceland.
It can be seen as a result of the incipient demands for national sovereignty and independence of the 1830s and coincided with the fact that Icelandic students also in Copenhagen expressed wishes for Iceland to have a more independent status in relation to Denmark. This desire was reinforced at the end of the absolute monarchy in 1849. However, in 1851 the Althing rejected a proposal from the Danish state for an Icelandic constitution. History Of Iceland.
The Icelandic nationalist movement was led by Jón Sigurðsson (1811-1879). He came to Copenhagen in 1833 to study and stayed there all his life. In addition to his political work, he was associated with the Arnamagnæan Collection at the University of Copenhagen to investigate and publish Icelandic manuscripts. The memory of his importance in the struggle for independence is strong, and the Icelandic National Day is celebrated every year on his birthday on June 17. History Of Iceland.
In 1871, the Danish Parliament passed a new law on Iceland’s state law. With the law, the Danish government gave Iceland its own constitution with effect from August 1, 1874. This gave Iceland increased autonomy, but the executive power was still in Danish hands. The Constitutional Act of 1874 continues to form an essential part of the basis of the current Icelandic Constitution.
In Icelandic history, 1874 was an important year in which 1000 years of Nordic settlement in the country were celebrated. On this occasion, Christian 9. (born 1818, regent 1863-1906) visited the country, as the first Danish king. He was well received when he sailed to Reykjavík on the frigate Jutland, but despite the royal visit, the demand for increased independence was still relevant. The Althing had been given limited legislative power, but the executive power still lay with the Danish government in Copenhagen. In 1874 a Ministry of Iceland was established, headed by the Danish Minister of Justice.
In Iceland, a Danish governor sat as the highest royal authority in the country. It was changed in 1904 when the desire for more independence was met. Iceland was given a home rule regime based in Reykjavík, and an Icelander was appointed Minister of Iceland.
Icelandic Society And Home Rule 1904-1918
Socially, Iceland experienced major changes during the 19th century. Due to a large population growth, the social system partially collapsed, and the country could barely feed the population via traditional agriculture and fishing. Particularly significant were the changes in the second half of the 19th century, when population pressures led to many emigrating to North America, at the same time as towns and settlements along the coast began to grow. History Of Iceland.
In the new century, engines began to appear in the fishing boats, and the new technology quickly replaced the old open rowing boats. In its wake came increased prosperity, urbanization took off at full speed, and a great need arose to reorganize the political system based on a more modern society. History Of Iceland.
Both women and workers were granted full civil rights in the first decades of the 20th century, and in 1904 Iceland was changed from being part of Denmark to having home rule. However, the political power struggle was not over. The country was still considered an integral part of the Danish kingdom, and the next years were marked by a strong nationalism. The year 1908, the Icelandic electorate rejected an agreement regarding the status of the country. History Of Iceland.
It was concluded between the Althing and the Danish Parliament, but Icelandic and Danish parliamentarians managed to solve the crisis at the end of World War I. In November 1918, a Danish-Icelandic federal law was passed in both parliaments, and the law came into force on December 1, 1918. Thus, Iceland had become a free and sovereign state in personal union with Denmark.
History of Iceland Flag
The tricolour Icelandic flag, introduced by royal resolution on June 19, 1915. Up until the 1910s, very few used the traditional Icelandic flag, which bore a white cross on a blue background; instead they flagged with the Dannebrog. However, after Danish sports leaders at the Olympic Games in 1912 banned Icelandic athletes from participating under their own flag, and a man in 1913 was arrested for sailing with the blue-and-white flag in the bow, the flag became more and more popular. In 1915, the tricolour cross flag was introduced, as the traditional flag was too reminiscent of the Greek one. History Of Iceland.
Iceland Personal Union 1918-1944
On 30 November 1918, the Reichstag passed the Bundestag, whereby Denmark recognized Iceland as an independent, sovereign state in personal union with Denmark. The main feature of the union was the royal community, as well as the fact that Denmark handled Iceland’s foreign affairs and the coast guard. Section 18 of the Federal Act contained a provision that after the end of 1940 both parties could demand a negotiation on the revision of the Act. If the negotiations did not result in a new agreement within three years, both parties had the right, in accordance with detailed rules, to unilaterally terminate the Union. History Of Iceland.
In 1940, Denmark was occupied by the Germans, and Britain occupied Iceland. The following year, American soldiers replaced the English in agreement with the Icelandic Home Rule. At the German occupation of Denmark in 1940, Denmark was prevented from fulfilling its obligations under the Federal Act of 1918, which is why the Althing decided that the Icelandic government should for the time being exercise the king’s authority and take over foreign affairs. In 1944, Iceland wanted the question of its state law position and the desire for full independence settled, but due to the war conditions, the negotiations with Denmark could not be carried out.
The Danish side would like to see the union continue, but not against the Icelandic wish. From the Icelandic side, the personal union was never perceived as anything other than a temporary arrangement that was to last for only 25 years. The Althing decided on 16 June 1944 to repeal the Federal Law of 1918, and the following day the Constitution of the Icelandic Republic was proclaimed.
Iceland did not participate directly in World War II, but the war nevertheless had a great impact on the country’s population and political conditions. A defense agreement was concluded with the United States, and American forces undertook to defend the country. However, the British forces remained until after the war, but this agreement gained great importance in the following decades. The American sphere of influence also included Iceland. History Of Iceland.
Republic of Iceland
On June 17, 1944, the Republic of Iceland was proclaimed in Þingvellir, in southwest Iceland, and its creation was accepted almost unanimously in a referendum in which participation had been 98% of those eligible. Of all those who voted, 99.5% were in favour of separation and 95.04% voted in favour of the founding of a republic. Sveinn Björnsson (1881-1952) was elected as the first president, and he declared Iceland independent. This ushered in a new epoch in Icelandic history. Iceland’s unilateral repeal of the Federal Act was formally not recognized until Denmark – after negotiations with Iceland on the two countries’ mutual relations – repealed the law in 1950.
At the same time as the negotiations after the war, a request was made by the Icelandic side for the return of Icelandic manuscripts from the Arnamagnæan Collection and the Collections of the Royal Library. The reason for the demand for the handing over of Icelandic manuscripts was that the Icelander Árni Magnússon for the University of Copenhagen in the 1700s collected and bought old included Icelandic manuscripts that lay around the Icelandic farms and churches. History Of Iceland.
This collection formed the basis of the Arnamagnæan Collection at the University of Copenhagen. With a commission report as a starting point, and after lengthy and difficult discussions, they managed to reach a solution that the Danish Parliament adopted by law in 1965. The act stipulated that the manuscripts and records from the collections in question, which might be considered to be Icelandic cultural property, were to be returned to Iceland. The last manuscripts to be returned under the partition agreement were handed over in June 1997. History Of Iceland.
Iceland has gained economic prosperity in the post-war period as a result of the development of modern sea fishing and the construction of power plants that harness geological energy and hydropower. The country became a member of the United Nations in 1946, 1948 of the OECD, in 1949 NATO and in 1952 of the Nordic Council. In 1951, the United States established the Keflavík military base near Reykjavík.
The post-war period led to serious conflicts between Iceland and Great Britain. The close Western European cooperation did not prevent Iceland from having confrontations with Britain over fishing borders with Iceland in the years 1958-1976. These so-called Cod Wars were due to the expansion of Iceland’s fishing borders, but the British government had to give in and accept the Icelandic demands in 1976 for the 200 nautical mile limit around Iceland. History Of Iceland.
During the Cold War, Iceland took a strong side with the United States and its Western allies, but the presence of American troops in Iceland from 1951 was, however, for decades a much-debated political issue in the country. A possible membership of the European Union also provoked strong opposition in Iceland, although for years the country has had full cooperation with its neighbours in the Nordic Council and with EFTA, as well as participating in the 1992 European Economic Co-operation Agreement.
Icelandic Society From The 1990s
In 1999, the Constitution of June 1944 was amended when the Parliament Althing became a unicameral parliament. The legislative power lies with the Althing and the President jointly. The Althing has 63 members, who are elected for a four-year term. The head of government is the Prime Minister of Iceland, who represents a majority in the Althingi and is appointed by the President, who is the head of state and is elected every four years. From 1980 to 1996, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir (born 1930) was the world’s first democratically elected female president. History Of Iceland.
The fifth president of Iceland was Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (born 1943), who was elected on 29 June 1996, he remained in office until the current president Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson (born 1968) was elected in 2016.
The Republic of Iceland in 2008 had a population over 300,000, and the country’s economy and welfare system developed explosively in the next few years. Following significant economic problems in the early 1990s, including as a result of the reduction of cod quotas, Iceland experienced annual growth rates of between four and five percent from 1996. In 2007-2008, an economic downturn began, which, among other things, led to the devaluation of the Icelandic crown. History Of Iceland.
A major banking crisis hit the country during 2008 with the consequence that the largest Icelandic banks were taken over by the state. Iceland had to ask for international loan assistance, and growth was set back significantly. After the economic collapse, the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens took over the government with Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (born 1942) as Iceland’s first female prime minister. History Of Iceland.
Tough austerity reforms were introduced and unemployment began to fall. In the 2013 elections, the government lost power, the victors instead became the two bourgeois parties the Independence Party and the Progress Party, which were in power until 2017, when the Left-Greens made a coalition across the middle together with the Independence Party and the Progress Party. Leader of the Left-Greens Katrín Jakobsdóttir (born 1976) became Prime Minister on 30 November 2017. History Of Iceland.
History Of Modern Iceland
A Short history of Iceland: After the war, the Allied troops left the country, but the question of iceland’s defense remained unresolved. Under pressure from western powers and despite the resistance of a large part of the population, Iceland became a founding member of NATO in 1949. When the Korean War broke out, the Icelandic government agreed to create a U.S. military base in Keflavik.
The Cold War was then in full swing, the Americans remained at the base, and Iceland served as a base for monitoring the Soviet Union. The U.S. military presence was never very popular, but the Keflavik base was not closed until 2006.
Another post-war problem turned out to be disputes between Iceland and (especially) Britain over the extent of the territorial waters around the island’s coast, which even grew into marauding and war actions (especially the so-called First Cod War in 1958). It was, of course, all about the right to fish in these waters – fishing is the main pillar of the Icelandic economy. The final solution was brought by an international treaty from 1985, which granted all countries of the world a 200-mile zone of coastal waters.
Once very poor Iceland became very rich in the second half of the 20th century. Most of the population moved from the countryside to the cities, primarily to Reykjavik. Infrastructure improved, and in 1974 the Ring Road – the road around the island – was completed. Icelanders began to use water and geothermal energy with the help of modern technologies.
Iceland Volcano history
History of Iceland volcanic eruptions : A notorious event is the awakening of the volcano under the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, which in 2010 caused problems not only for Icelanders, but for the whole of Europe, because the ash from the volcano stopped air traffic for several days practically over the whole of Europe. History Of Iceland.
History of Iceland (danmarkshistorien.dk) History Of Iceland.
History of Iceland – a brief history of the country | Travel agency Mundo History Of Iceland.
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