It is believed that the first inhabitants of Iceland were Irish monks who came in the 8th century. However, they were driven out of the area by Vikings in the 9th century. A Viking named Naddodd discovered Iceland in 861, and the island was inhabited in 870 by Norse and Celtic populations. Viking explorers came to Iceland, bringing enslaved people from the east, particularly Norway and the British Isles. In 930, local rulers established a constitution and the oldest parliament in the world, called Althingi. In 1262, Iceland united with Norway and became a part of the Danish crown. Later, after Norway gained independence, Iceland remained united with Denmark. In 1875, the Askja volcano erupted. As a result, Iceland experienced widespread famine and economic devastation. In 1918, Iceland became a sovereign state with ties to Denmark. During WWI, Iceland’s defense was taken over by the United States. In 1944, Iceland became an independent republic.
The national flag of Iceland was adopted on 17 June 1944, when the country gained independence from Denmark. It was designed by Matthias Thordarson. It consists of a blue field with a white-bordered red cross.
Iceland is located directly below the arctic circle, in the Middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a unique landscape, characterized by mountain peaks, ice fields, glaciers, fjords, waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes, black sand beaches, and lava fields.
World Land Mass Ranking: 108th
Highest Mountain: Hvannadalshnúkur 2,110 m (6,920 ft)
Longest River: Þjórsá 230 km (140 mi)
Guyana Population: 347,000 (as of 2023)
Capital City: Reykjavik
Capital City Population: 138,000 (as of 2023)
Iceland has a subpolar oceanic climate, with mild winters and cool summers. It is cold, windy, and cloudy for most of the year. Iceland does not have a rainy season, but precipitation peaks from October to February.
Due to a lack of farmable lands in the past, Icelandic people didn’t grow vegetables and fruit for a long time. Staples of the Icelandic diet are fish, lamb, and Icelandic skyr (a type of yogurt). The most common types of fish in Iceland are cod and haddock, which are often enjoyed with a side of potatoes and rye bread. The national dish of Iceland is Hákarl, which is fermented shark. Iceland is also known for a traditional twisted donut called kleinur.
Sports are very popular in Iceland. The official national sport of Iceland is body wrestling, but the most popular sport is handball. Other popular sports include football, basketball, golf, volleyball, skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, swimming, rock climbing, and mountain climbing. Chess is also very popular in Iceland, and many chess grandmasters are Icelandic.
Iceland has a rich culture, rooted in its Norse history. Traditional arts including weaving, silversmithing, and wood carving are important in Iceland. Literature, folk dancing, painting, music, and sculpture are also valuable elements of Icelandic culture. The architecture of Iceland is inspired by Scandinavia. Due to the lack of native trees on the island, Icelandic people designed grass and turf-covered houses. The primary religion among Norsemen who settled in Iceland was Norse Paganism. Christianity came to the island around 1000 AD. Currently, the most common religion in Iceland is Lutheran.
10 facts about Iceland
1. The Icelandic króna is the national currency of Iceland.
2. The only native mammal in Iceland is the arctic fox.
3. Iceland is ranked as the safest country in the world.
4. About 11% of Iceland is covered in glaciers.
5. The northern lights can be seen in Iceland September-March.
6. The Icelandic horse is the only horse breed in Iceland.
7. Iceland was the last place on earth to be settled by humans.
8. The gyrfalcon is Iceland’s national animal.
9. The gyrfalcon is Iceland’s national animal.
10.Iceland has no army.