Unemployment is nearly non-existent in contemporary Iceland. In this post, we have gathered interesting Iceland facts to give you some insights about this amazing country. 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. The eastern fjords resemble the western fjords but have, in addition, an inner lowland. The book of settlements ( Landnámabók ), which contains information on four hundred settlers, was compiled in the twelfth century. 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. Then in 1918 Iceland was made a sovereign state sharing a monarchy with Denmark. The strength of the people, mirrored by the powerful landscape, is evident in the thriving independent culture. Select Category. Despite its physical isolation some 500 miles (800 km) from Scotland—its nearest European neighbour—Iceland has remained throughout its history very much a part of European civilization. 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 southeast, locked between the glaciers and the sea, has a landscape of rugged splendour. 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. Check out our country profile, full of essential information about Iceland's geography, history, government, economy, population, culture, religion and languages. A new volcano erupting on the bottom of the sea between November 1963 and June 1967 created the island of Surtsey, off the southwestern coast. The country is in very good economic standing with a very low unemployment rate. Omissions? The centre of the country is uninhabited. Despite physical isolation, Iceland has maintained its place in European civilization. Most of the buildings erected since the mid-20th century have been built of reinforced concrete and designed to withstand severe shocks from earthquakes. 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. 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. New Icelandic terms are introduced in each discipline and foreign influence on the vocabulary is actively resisted. The monks are believed to have left shortly after the arrival of the pagan Norsemen. Immigration from other parts of the world has been minimal since the time of the first settlement. Destination Iceland, an island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean, between Europe and North America. Iceland's interior consists mostly of uninhabited mountains and high plateaus. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The cost of living is very high because so many purchases from cars to paper are imported. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. The capital is where the largest museums and galleries are located and among the most visited are the Culture House, Einar Jonsson Museum , … Infoplease has everything you need to know about Iceland. Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by … There are numerous theater companies in Iceland, and Reykjavik is home to a symphony orchestra, an opera house, and a ballet company. Iceland has a rich literary tradition and unusually high standards of education, with 15 percent of the national budget devoted to education. It lies about 4,200 kilometers (2,600 mi.) 1. It is the northernmost capital in the world and is located exactly halfway between New York and Moscow. Iceland is considered one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world. 3. In 1918 Iceland became an independent state under the Danish king. On June 17, 1944, the Republic of Iceland was formally declared at Thing-vellir. Iceland is one of the best places to experience the Northern Lights. 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. Hiking in Iceland Activity. There were eruptions in the Vatnajökull area in 1983 and 1996. Real power rests with the 63-member parliament, the Althingi (Althing). Quiz. The principal employers are fishing, industry, agriculture, and health services. Instead Iceland gained an Icelandic minister responsible to the Althing. Earthquakes are frequent in Iceland but rarely result in serious damage. In 1904 Iceland was granted home rule. Information about Iceland and COVID-19. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Hekla brought physical destruction, widespread epidemics, and death. Which Country Is Larger By Population? Eyjafjallajökull volcano, beneath an extension of Mýrdalsjökull (Mýrdals Glacier), erupted in March 2010 for the first time since 1821. Lying on the constantly active geologic border between North America and Europe, Iceland is a land of vivid contrasts of … and its Licensors 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. 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. During the late twelfth and the early thirteenth century, dramatic Icelandic tales of early settlement, the colonization of Greenland, romance, disputes, and the development of Iceland were translated into a rich literary tradition dominated by Sagas. 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. After the occupation of Denmark and Iceland's declaration of sovereignty, the island's vulnerability was responded to by British and U.S. troops. Iceland has more hot springs and solfataras—volcanic vents that emit hot gases and vapours—than any other country. Select Type. All Icelandic youth are expected to work as soon as possible, particularly during the summer months when school is out of session. The strong Icelandic economy is based on the use of renewable natural resources and a highly educated and skilled labor force. The highest point is 6,952 feet (2,119 metres), at Hvannadals Peak, the top of Öræfajökull in Vatnajökull. History & Background. Iceland. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. 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. Iceland's present day parliament, Althing, is the oldest existing national assembly in the world. 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. 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 has a long history of farm wor… These holes were 790 and 1300 feet deep. Identify the one with the larger population. 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. Iceland is largely a classless society composed of the descendents of farmers and warriors who fled the tyranny of Scandinavia many centuries ago. 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). 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. Use this timeline to learn more about the history of Iceland. 2. If that's not enough, click over to our collection of world maps and flags. Much of the uninhabited regions, encompassing more than 80 percent of the island, are covered with permanent snow and ice (glaciers) or volcanic surface, preventing many agricultural activities. During this time, the eruption of Mt. Glacier ice and cooled lava each cover approximately one-tenth of the country’s total area. In the southwest several fine natural harbours have directed interest toward the sea, and good fishing grounds lie off the shores of this region. Approximately 82 percent of Icelanders between the ages of 17 and 75 have access to the Internet at home, school, or work. This quiz is based on Britannica’s list of the world’s populations, so review that before you start. The Republic of Iceland, the setting for Hannah Kent's debut novel Burial Rites, has a deep and intriguing history.. It is northwest of the United Kingdom and has a strategic location between Greenland and Europe. Traditionally, Iceland has been divided according to the four points of the compass. 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. 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. Iceland began to prosper once again. Iceland background information Iceland background information. A governmental agency, the Icelandic Language Committee, was established in 1965 and officiates over all language issues. A main reason for this is because of the high regard placed on hard work by the people. from New York and 830 kilometers (520 mi.) Iceland was settled in 874 AD. 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