Category. 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. Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceIceland - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education, Copyright © 2021 Web Solutions LLC. There were eruptions in the Vatnajökull area in 1983 and 1996. The population rose (despite emigration to Canada) and in 1911 Reykjavik University was founded. Iceland is the oldest democracy in the world. Use this timeline to learn more about the history of Iceland. Illiteracy is unknown in the small island country. Over 25 airlines maintain scheduled flights to Iceland. A Short History of Iceland. Icelandic nightlife is famous for its vibrancy, with night clubs, cafes, and cinemas in all major towns. Volcanic activity has been particularly frequent since the 1970s. Iceland is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) but has no standing military of its own. Unemployment is nearly non-existent in contemporary Iceland. Time-lapse video of the southern coast of Iceland. History & Background Iceland, one of the world's first independent, democratic nations, is the second largest island in Europe (39,769 square miles). In 1000 A.D., Christianity was peacefully adopted at the Althing, which met for two weeks each summer and attracted a significant portion of the population. 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. Because the ruling class was Nordic, both the language and the culture have been predominantly Scandinavian from the beginning. 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. The country is situated on a strategic location between North America and Europe, about 840 km north west of the United Kingdom and about 460 km south east of Greenland 's coast. Iceland does not maintain armed forces. Alkaline hot springs are found in some 250 areas throughout the country. Roughly 90-94 percent of Icelanders are Protestants (73 percent Evangelical Lutheran) and 1 percent are Catholic. The powers of the president are similar to those of other heads of state in western European democracies. 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. English, Danish, and German are also widely spoken and understood. In 1904 Iceland was granted home rule. Iceland, one of the world's first independent, democratic nations, is the second largest island in Europe (39,769 square miles). 258 Iceland HD Wallpapers and Background Images. It is one of the most volcanic regions in the world. Nearly every district has its own museum reflecting the local cultural history, while magnificent galleries and museums grace the capitol. Hekla brought physical destruction, widespread epidemics, and death. Iceland has more hot springs and solfataras—volcanic vents that emit hot gases and vapours—than any other country. All Icelandic youth are expected to work as soon as possible, particularly during the summer months when school is out of session. At the end of the fourteenth century, Iceland was brought under Danish rule and conflicts between church and state culminated in the Reformation of 1550 with Lutheranism declared the country's official religion. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? Despite physical isolation, Iceland has maintained its place in European civilization. Aurora borealis over the Snaefellsnes peninsula, western Iceland, March 2013. It is a relatively young nation since it was first inhabited by Vikings from Norway in the late 800s. Scandinavian sailors discovered Iceland in the mid-ninth century, and the first settler recognized in the literary-historical tradition, Ingólfur Arnason, arrived in 874. The settlements are limited to a narrow coastal belt, valleys, and lowland plains in the south and southwest. 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. 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. Continuous eruptions took place in the Krafla area in the northeast in 1975–84, damaging a geothermal generating project in the area. The next three centuries were troubled by Danish profiteering, international pirates, a series of natural disasters, and famines. 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. Eyjafjallajökull volcano, beneath an extension of Mýrdalsjökull (Mýrdals Glacier), erupted in March 2010 for the first time since 1821. 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. Independent Guðni Jóhannesson, a historian, was elected in 2016 to the largely ceremonial presidency. It is northwest of the United Kingdom and has a strategic location between Greenland and Europe. Updates? 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). The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to th… 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. Background Iceland is one of the world’s oldest democracies. 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. Iceland joined the United Nations in 1946 and it is a charter member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Located midway between North America and mainland Europe (), Iceland is the same distance from New York as New York is to Los Angeles.The island is the same size as the state of Ohio, with 11% of its surface covered in glaciers. from Scotland. Traditionally, Iceland has been divided according to the four points of the compass. The largest, Deildartunguhver, emits nearly 50 gallons (190 litres) of boiling water per second. The middle west is divided between fishing and farming and has many places of great natural beauty. 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 … There are numerous theater companies in Iceland, and Reykjavik is home to a symphony orchestra, an opera house, and a ballet company. Lying on the constantly active geologic border between North America and Europe, Iceland is a land of vivid contrasts of climate, geography, and culture. 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. 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. Denmark's hold on Iceland was significantly reduced in 1874 when a constitution was drafted granting Iceland permission to handle domestic affairs. In 1915 Icelandic women were allowed to vote. Iceland is largely a classless society composed of the descendents of farmers and warriors who fled the tyranny of Scandinavia many centuries ago. Iceland, island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Identify the one with the larger population. Omissions? During this time, the eruption of Mt. Although increasingly integrated into the European mainstream, Icelanders take care to preserve their traditions, customs, and language. 1970 The eastern fjords resemble the western fjords but have, in addition, an inner lowland. Although the state provides financial support to the church, it extends considerable freedom. Much of Iceland is underlain by basalt, a dark rock of igneous origin. A study by Weingand conducted in 1989 revealed that 86 percent of well-educated Icelanders, 71 percent of the general population, and 53 percent of students reported recalling oral reading of sagas and folk-tales in the home during childhood. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active with hot springs, geysers, and icefields. Silfra in Þingvellir National Park. Iceland Foods is a unique British food retailer with over 900 stores throughout the UK, a further 40 owned or franchised stores across Europe, and a global export business. In 1971 and 1972 two holes were sunk some three miles north of the town Grindavik, near Svartsengi. 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. View data tables. The north is divided into several smaller districts, each of which has relatively good farmland. 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 … 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’s rugged coastline, of more than 3,000 miles (4,800 km), meets the Greenland Sea on the north, the Norwegian Sea on the east, the Atlantic Ocean on the south and west, and the Denmark Strait—which separates it from Greenland by about 200 miles (320 km)—on the northwest. The history of Iceland is one of survival and prosperity. Iceland was under Danish rule until the late 19th century, when they created their own constitution. In 1700, less than half of the population of Iceland could read. Iceland has a long history of farm wor… Glacier ice and cooled lava each cover approximately one-tenth of the country’s total area. The southeast, locked between the glaciers and the sea, has a landscape of rugged splendour. An elected church congress serves as an advisory board to the church. Central Intelligence Agency - The World Factbook - Iceland, Iceland - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Iceland - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. The glaciers are a reminder of Iceland’s proximity to the Arctic Circle, which nearly touches its northernmost peninsula. Iceland background information Iceland background information. The strength of the people, mirrored by the powerful landscape, is evident in the thriving independent culture. Iceland, an island about the size of Kentucky, lies in the north Atlantic Ocean east of Greenland and just touches the Arctic Circle. Iceland’s U-shaped valleys are largely the result of glacial erosion. 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. The glaciers range in size from those in small mountain recesses to the enormous glacial caps topping extensive mountain ranges. The capital, Reykjavík (“Bay of Smokes”), is the site of the island’s first farmstead and is a thriving city, handsome in aspect and cosmopolitan in outlook. Northern Lights Activity. 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. The country is in very good economic standing with a very low unemployment rate. Iceland has a rich literary tradition and unusually high standards of education, with 15 percent of the national budget devoted to education. The capital is Reykjavik. In 1918 Iceland became an independent state under the Danish king. Iceland, the UK’s leading frozen food specialist, is committing to become the first major retailer globally to eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own brand products by the end of 2023. Manuscript illumination, woodcarving, and folk music have been associated with periods of heightened interest. Iceland is an island, a European country, located midway between North America and mainland Europe. 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. 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. Since then, Iceland has flourished into a thriving community but its population has remained one of the smallest in Europe. 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). With an excellent health care system available to all citizens at no cost, the life expectancy in Iceland is among the highest in the world (76.5 years for males and 81.5 years for females) and infant mortality is among the lowest in the world (5.5 per 1,000 live births). Destination Iceland, an island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean, between Europe and North America. Literature has always played a prominent role in Icelandic culture. Download for free on all your devices - Computer, Smartphone, or Tablet. It lies just below the Arctic Circle between 64 and 66 degrees north. Which Country Is Larger By Population? The basalt sheets tend to tilt somewhat toward the centre of the country. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. However, the United States, which has assumed responsibility for Iceland's defense, maintains a naval air station at the Keflavik International Airport. Iceland is a land overflowing with water: … Iceland is largely a tableland broken up by structural faults. 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. Iceland is a country of extreme geological contrasts. The depressed zones between the basalt areas have extensive plateaus above which rise single volcanoes, table mountains, or other mountain masses with steep sides. crofts standing at the foot of the mountains or sheltering on the southern slope of a ridge, each with a little brook running through the home-field, marshy land beyond, and a river flowing smoothly through the marsh. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Iceland, island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Iceland began to prosper once again. Because of its extensive lava fields and heaths, the southwest has little farmland. Households require two or more incomes, with most women working outside the home and many men holding two jobs. In the post WWII era, Iceland has based its foreign policy on peaceful international cooperation and has participated in Western defense efforts. Immigration from other parts of the world has been minimal since the time of the first settlement. Iceland is home to a wide variety of private and public galleries, many of which can be found in small towns and villages throughout the countryside. This quiz will show you two countries. All Rights Reserved Today, Icelanders stand at the precipice of a new, exciting and divisive chapter in their young country’s history. It lies about 4,200 kilometers (2,600 mi.) Icelandic, the national language, has changed very little from the original tongue of the Norse settlers. 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