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iceland background information

Eyjafjallajökull volcano, beneath an extension of Mýrdalsjökull (Mýrdals Glacier), erupted in March 2010 for the first time since 1821. 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. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Omissions? 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). Iceland, island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Denmark's hold on Iceland was significantly reduced in 1874 when a constitution was drafted granting Iceland permission to handle domestic affairs. 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.Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by Norway and Denmark. Iceland. During this time, the eruption of Mt. It’s an island isolated from the other parts of Europe, famous from the amazing nature, awesome landscapes and (since recently) a place where the Game of Thrones was filmed. New Icelandic terms are introduced in each discipline and foreign influence on the vocabulary is actively resisted. 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. 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 … Despite physical isolation, Iceland has maintained its place in European civilization. Hiking in Iceland Activity. 258 Iceland HD Wallpapers and Background Images. Households require two or more incomes, with most women working outside the home and many men holding two jobs. 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. Alkaline hot springs are found in some 250 areas throughout the country. Geologically, Iceland is a very young country and the process of its formation is still in progress. This is its story. However, the United States, which has assumed responsibility for Iceland's defense, maintains a naval air station at the Keflavik International Airport. Although Irish monks were the first people to inhabit Iceland in the eighth century, it was not until the period extending from 870 to 930 A.D. that Iceland was systematically settled by both Norsemen from Scandanavia and Celts from the British Isles. The bishop is elected by pastors and members of the theological faculty at the University of Iceland; and the one diocese is divided into districts, which are further subdivided into parishes. Its average elevation is 1,640 feet (500 metres) above sea level, but one-fourth of the country lies below 650 feet (198 metres). More than 13% is covered by snowfields and glaciers, and most of the people live in the 7% … Iceland has a long history of farm wor… 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. Since then, Iceland has flourished into a thriving community but its population has remained one of the smallest in Europe. Iceland’s U-shaped valleys are largely the result of glacial erosion. 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). see more. Since WWII Iceland has maintained a high standard of living that is comparable to other Nordic countries. The glaciers are a reminder of Iceland’s proximity to the Arctic Circle, which nearly touches its northernmost peninsula. The centre of the country is uninhabited. All Regions. Instead Iceland gained an Icelandic minister responsible to the Althing. The enlightened period of peace, or the "Golden Age," lasted 200 years until internal feuds resulting in civil war led to submission to the king of Norway and a new monarchical code in 1271. Iceland does not maintain armed forces. A PDF of the background information for the 2012/2013 and 2014/2015 datasets is available. The southern lowland comprises the main farming region. Iceland, an island about the size of Kentucky, lies in the north Atlantic Ocean east of Greenland and just touches the Arctic Circle. It lies about 4,200 kilometers (2,600 mi.) Iceland, island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean. 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). Iceland was founded more than 1,000 years ago during the Viking age of exploration and settled by a mixed Norse and Celtic population. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. It is northwest of the United Kingdom and has a strategic location between Greenland and Europe. Visitors to Iceland typically find the people to be courteous and friendly, are surprised by the cold yet temperate climate (mild winters and cool summers), and are struck by the breathtaking natural beauty of the country. Destination Iceland, an island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean, between Europe and North America. This article relates to Burial Rites. Silfra in Þingvellir National Park. from Scotland. A major eruption took place in 1973, when a volcano on Heima Island (Heimaey) spilled lava into the town of Vestmannaeyjar, an important fishing centre. Manuscript illumination, woodcarving, and folk music have been associated with periods of heightened interest. Lying on the constantly active geologic border between North America and Europe, Iceland is a land of vivid contrasts of climate, geography, and culture. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). 1. Iceland's present day parliament, Althing, is the oldest existing national assembly in the world. Iceland was settled in 874 AD. If that's not enough, click over to our collection of world maps and flags. With a population of approximately 272,000 people, Iceland is one of the smaller nations in the world, yet it is the least densely populated of all European nations. In the post WWII era, Iceland has based its foreign policy on peaceful international cooperation and has participated in Western defense efforts. The total power output of the Torfajökull (Torfa Glacier) area, the largest of the 19 high-temperature solfatara regions, is estimated to equal about 1,000 megawatts. The middle west is divided between fishing and farming and has many places of great natural beauty. The Icelandic sagas, most of which recount heroic episodes that took place at the time the island was settled, are regarded as among the finest literary achievements of the Middle Ages, reflecting a European outlook while commemorating the history and customs of a people far removed from continental centres of commerce and culture. This quiz is based on Britannica’s list of the world’s populations, so review that before you start. Quiz. Information about Iceland and COVID-19. 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. There were eruptions in the Vatnajökull area in 1983 and 1996. The monks are believed to have left shortly after the arrival of the pagan Norsemen. Iceland is an island, a European country, located midway between North America and mainland Europe. Because the ruling class was Nordic, both the language and the culture have been predominantly Scandinavian from the beginning. 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. 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. Aurora borealis over the Snaefellsnes peninsula, western Iceland, March 2013. Immigration from other parts of the world has been minimal since the time of the first settlement. View data tables. Earthquakes are frequent in Iceland but rarely result in serious damage. 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. 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. Download for free on all your devices - Computer, Smartphone, or Tablet. These first schools were devoted primarily to educating men for the priesthood, but many others who were prominent in secular affairs were taught as well. In the 20th century ties with Denmark were loosened. In 1904 Iceland was granted home rule. The history of Iceland is one of survival and prosperity. 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. Widely known as “The Land of Fire and Ice” Iceland is home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe, and some of the world’s most active volcanoes. Hekla brought physical destruction, widespread epidemics, and death. All Icelandic youth are expected to work as soon as possible, particularly during the summer months when school is out of session. The largest, Deildartunguhver, emits nearly 50 gallons (190 litres) of boiling water per second. This country updated its background information for the 2016/2017 dataset. 1970 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. Central Intelligence Agency - The World Factbook - Iceland, Iceland - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Iceland - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). In 1971 and 1972 two holes were sunk some three miles north of the town Grindavik, near Svartsengi. Over 25 airlines maintain scheduled flights to Iceland. Located west of Scandinavia and just south of the Arctic Circle, the first confirmed settlement of Iceland was in the 9th and 10th centuries by Norsemen from Scandinavia and Scotland. Infoplease has everything you need to know about Iceland. The settlements are limited to a narrow coastal belt, valleys, and lowland plains in the south and southwest. 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. Unemployment is nearly non-existent in contemporary Iceland. Casual conversations over a meal frequently involve discussions about work. The process starts now and Iceland is challenging itself to complete it within the … The glaciers range in size from those in small mountain recesses to the enormous glacial caps topping extensive mountain ranges. Over the course of the twentieth century, Iceland, which is situated on major shipping and air lanes of the North Atlantic Ocean, has effectively transformed itself from a subsistence economy to an exchange economy. Iceland is a land overflowing with water: … and its Licensors A Short History of Iceland. There are numerous theater companies in Iceland, and Reykjavik is home to a symphony orchestra, an opera house, and a ballet company. Time-lapse video of the southern coast of Iceland. Background Iceland is one of the world’s oldest democracies. The next three centuries were troubled by Danish profiteering, international pirates, a series of natural disasters, and famines. Which Country Is Larger By Population? Iceland is an island nation located in Northern Europe between the Greenland Sea and the Northern Atlantic Ocean. It is estimated that since the year 1500 about one-third of the Earth’s total lava flow has poured out of the volcanoes 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). Iceland is one of the best places to experience the Northern Lights. Although the state provides financial support to the church, it extends considerable freedom. Iceland is a volcanic island in the North Atlantic Ocean east of Greenland and immediately south of the Arctic Circle. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Looking for facts about Iceland? 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. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The area covered by Vatnajökull (Vatna Glacier), the country’s largest, is equal to the combined total area covered by all the glaciers on the continent of Europe. Painting in particular has thrived since the end of the nineteenth century. Check out our country profile, full of essential information about Iceland's geography, history, government, economy, population, culture, religion and languages. Nearly every district has its own museum reflecting the local cultural history, while magnificent galleries and museums grace the capitol. Literature has always played a prominent role in Icelandic culture. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. This quiz will show you two countries. More than 60 percent of the country's population resides in or near the capital city of Reykjavik ("Bay of Smokes" named for the geo-thermal stream), situated in the southwestern region of the island. Traditionally, Iceland has been divided according to the four points of the compass. 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. Greenland was colonizedby p… Terms of Use, Iceland - Constitutional Legal Foundations, Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.com, Iceland - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education. The Evangelical Lutheran Church is the official state church, but freedom of religion exists for all other congregations. The western fjords have numerous well-sheltered harbours and good fishing grounds but little lowland suitable for agriculture. The country is in very good economic standing with a very low unemployment rate. The principal employers are fishing, industry, agriculture, and health services. The cost of living is very high because so many purchases from cars to paper are imported. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Although increasingly integrated into the European mainstream, Icelanders take care to preserve their traditions, customs, and language. Iceland is considered one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world. Most of the more than 5,000 residents had to be evacuated, and—although the harbour remained intact—about one-third of the town was destroyed. On June 17, 1944, the Republic of Iceland was formally declared at Thing-vellir. In this post, we have gathered interesting Iceland facts to give you some insights about this amazing country. 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. This practice of family members frequently teaching children to read continues in present day Iceland. 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. The strength of the people, mirrored by the powerful landscape, is evident in the thriving independent culture. However, Denmark did not officially recognize Iceland as its own nation until 1918. 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. The basalt sheets tend to tilt somewhat toward the centre of the country. Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceIceland - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education, Copyright © 2021 Web Solutions LLC. Real power rests with the 63-member parliament, the Althingi (Althing). Identify the one with the larger population. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. 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. Other major population centres are Akureyri, on the north-central coast; Hafnarfjördhur, on the southwestern coast; and Selfoss, in the southern lowlands. 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. Independent Guðni Jóhannesson, a historian, was elected in 2016 to the largely ceremonial presidency. The post of governor was abolished. Select Type. Roughly 90-94 percent of Icelanders are Protestants (73 percent Evangelical Lutheran) and 1 percent are Catholic. In 1915 Icelandic women were allowed to vote. The capital is Reykjavik. Iceland's interior consists mostly of uninhabited mountains and high plateaus. When established in 930 A.D., the power of the Althing was distributed among four local courts and a supreme court. The National Theater of Iceland celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in the year 2000. 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. Welfare services include unemployment insurance, old age and disability pensions, family and childbearing allowances, and sickness benefits. 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. Iceland was under Danish rule until the late 19th century, when they created their own constitution. 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. It is a relatively young nation since it was first inhabited by Vikings from Norway in the late 800s. It’s a Nordic country, which is also known as the land of fire and ice, thanks to its diverse landscape and nature. The powers of the president are similar to those of other heads of state in western European democracies. Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, with a population of 356,991 and an area of 103,000 km (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Iceland is a Scandinavian country, the world’s oldest democracy but modern in nearly every respect. The Republic of Iceland, the setting for Hannah Kent's debut novel Burial Rites, has a deep and intriguing history.. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active with hot springs, geysers, and icefields. The eastern fjords resemble the western fjords but have, in addition, an inner lowland. 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 article relates to Arctic Chill. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to th… Iceland is the oldest democracy in the world. 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. Iceland is largely a classless society composed of the descendents of farmers and warriors who fled the tyranny of Scandinavia many centuries ago. Settled by Norsemen from Scandinavia and Celts from the British isles settled in the 9 th and 10 th centuries, Icelandic history has always been shaped by events on the larger politicla stage of the Nordic Countries. The highest point is 6,952 feet (2,119 metres), at Hvannadals Peak, the top of Öræfajökull in Vatnajökull. Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population. All Rights Reserved 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. The result of this drilling was very promising and proved among other things, that this was a ‘high temper… The first woman was elected to the Althing in … Volcanic activity has been particularly frequent since the 1970s. Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by … With artists frequently deriving inspiration from the extraordinary terrain and the ancestral culture, the arts are flourishing in Iceland. 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. Select Category. Illiteracy is unknown in the small island country. from New York and 830 kilometers (520 mi.) Iceland is a country of extreme geological contrasts. Iceland has a rich literary tradition and unusually high standards of education, with 15 percent of the national budget devoted to education. A strong movement for linguistic purism gained strength in the nineteenth century and has persisted unabated. A governmental agency, the Icelandic Language Committee, was established in 1965 and officiates over all language issues. However, literacy was accomplished in the eighteenth century as children were taught to read by their families or clergy in their homes. There are, however, traces of Celtic influence in the literature and in the names of people and places. It is one of the most volcanic regions in the world. Picture by Scuba Iceland. Today, Icelanders stand at the precipice of a new, exciting and divisive chapter in their young country’s history. The north is divided into several smaller districts, each of which has relatively good farmland. Iceland is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) but has no standing military of its own. It is the northernmost capital in the world and is located exactly halfway between New York and Moscow. The settlement of Iceland began in the year 874 AD when a Viking chieftain from Norway, Ingólfr Arnarson, became the island’s first permanent settler.More Norwegians some Scandinavians as well followed through the centuries. Use this timeline to learn more about the history of Iceland. Category. 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. U.S.-ICELAND RELATIONS The United States was the first country to recognize Iceland’s independence in 1944 following Danish rule. Iceland, one of the world's first independent, democratic nations, is the second largest island in Europe (39,769 square miles). 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