In 874, a Norwegian became the first Nordic
to settle in Iceland. He was followed by more and by 930
everything began to hold annual meetings. In 1262,
Iceland joined Norway, and in 1380 Norway and Iceland
were linked to Denmark. Iceland became almost a Danish
colony. In 1918, Iceland was recognized as an
independent state in personnel union with Denmark.
In the 8th century, a few Christian men, believed to
have been Irish monks, lived as hermits in Iceland.
However, they should have given up when the Asa-believing
Scandinavians started to immigrate.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Iceland, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
In 874, the Norwegian Ingólfur Arnarson became the
first Nordic to settle in Iceland. He built a farm at
Reykjavík (Rökviken). Thus, the so-called land-name
period began, when the land was taken over by
Norwegians. Because coastal Norway at this time was
united into a kingdom under Harald Hĺrfagre, many
Norwegian great men chose to emigrate to Iceland.
Iceland joins Norway
The land name period is counted up to 930, when the
Icelanders adopted a common law according to the
Norwegian model. From this year on, a common thing,
everything, was held every summer at Ţingvellir east of
Reykjavík. Everything was legislative and judgmental,
while the executive power lay with the local chiefs, the
good people. In the year 1000, everything decided that
Icelanders would adopt Christianity as an official
religion, even if they were allowed to practice their
old asatro in silence. In this way, they succeeded in
preventing newly baptized kings in the other Nordic
countries started crusades against Iceland to save souls
and collect taxes.
Iceland was a sanctuary until 1262, when everything
was decided to join the country to Norway. The island
had then gone through a civil war between the most
powerful great men, the country was plagued by epidemics
and misery, and the lands were overgrazed. Fishing
replaced agriculture as the most important industry, but
Icelanders depended on Norwegian vessels for fishing
exports and other trade.
Iceland maintained a high degree of self-government
during the union with Norway. During this time the
church was given a strong position of power.
Personnel union with Denmark
In 1380, Norway and thus Iceland was joined to
Denmark in a personnel union, the future Kalmar Union,
which later also included Sweden. When the Union was
finally dissolved, Iceland and Norway became the Danish
sound kingdom from 1536.
When the Danes began to enforce the reformation in
Iceland, they encountered hard resistance. Catholicism
was first defeated since the Danish king Kristian III in
1550 executed the powerful bishop of Hólar, Jón Arason
and two of his sons. Large lands belonging to the church
were placed under the Danish crown.
After the Reformation, Iceland became almost a colony
to Denmark. Everything was gradually reduced to a
malfunctioning court. In 1602, King Kristian IV banned
all trade with Iceland except for certain merchants who
paid for licenses from the Danish krone. The monopoly
became devastating for the Icelandic economy with its
strong dependence on fish exports. To this came a
climate deterioration, "little ice age". During the 18th
century, the population declined as a result of
emergency years and epidemics. The trade monopoly was
first abolished in 1854.
Iceland is moving towards independence
In the 19th century, a nationalist movement emerged
among intellectual Icelanders living in Denmark. A
leading figure among these was Jón Sigurđsson. In 1843
the nationalists succeeded in getting everything
restored as an advisory body (it had been closed down
After hard negotiations under Jón Sigurđsson's
leadership, the Icelanders in the 1870s gained their own
constitution, and everything was given legislative
powers. In 1915, universal suffrage was introduced for
both men and women (five years later, a woman was
elected to everything). In 1916, the first political
parties, the Social Democratic Party and the Progress
Party, were formed.
In 1918, Iceland was recognized as an independent
state in personnel union with Denmark. The Danish king
remained as Icelandic head of state, and it was also the
duty of Denmark to defend Iceland against external
attacks. New negotiations for the future of the Union
would have been held in 1940, but they did not come
about because of the Second World War.
Very low unemployment
The lowest unemployment rate in almost two decades is noted, only 0.8
Iceland ceases commercial whaling. The reason is that the election hunt is no
Ont to cod
The stock of cod in the waters around Iceland has reached a historically low
level according to the Institute of Marine Research, which recommends sharply
reduced catch quotas.
Conservative and Social Democrats form government
The Independence Party forms government together with the Alliance.
Independence party Geir Haarde continues as prime minister.
Conservatives become whalers
The ruling Conservative Independence Party wins the general election with 37
percent of the vote. However, the other government party, the Progress Party,
backs strongly. The opposition Social Democratic Alliance gets 27 percent, and
the Socialist Left-The Greens advance.