ABOUT Iceland

Country Briefs: Iceland as the name suggests is the abode of ice but on the same hand it is the hottest tourist destination in Europe today.

Iceland's first lure is its scenic splendor, its natural features such as glaciers, hot springs, geysers, active volcanoes, portentous peaks and big lava deserts.

In the second place Iceland is also famous for its expansive landscape, folklore tradition and a rich history.

Iceland is a borderless country. It is basically a volcanic island in the northern Atlantic Ocean between Greenland, Norway, Ireland, Scotland and The Faroe Islands. Iceland is ranked 107th in the world on the basis of area.

Iceland covers an area of around 103,000 square kilometers and its population is not more than 3.5 lakhs. The capital of Iceland is its largest city Reykjavik.

On looking back we find that Iceland before 9th and 12th centuries Iceland was uninhabited and undiscovered. The immigrants from Scandinavia and from Ireland and Scotland were the first to discover Iceland.

According to the Libellus Islandorum, the Norwegian Ingolfur Arnarson was the first man to settle in the Iceland in 870. In 950, Erik the Red, the founder of the first Nordic settlement in Greenland was exiled from Iceland in 980. He was charged for manslaughter and so was made to sail for the west, to explore the lands to the west.

In 930 the Alpingi was formed. Alpingi is the national parliament of Iceland. This event inaugurated the Icelandic Commonwealth. The formation of the Icelandic Legislature followed the Icelandic Commonwealth.

Before 1262 Iceland was an independent state without the dominion of any king but after 1262 Iceland became a part of the Norwegian Kingdom. From 1387 Denmark ruled over Iceland and this led to the coming together of two big kingdoms of the world.

In 1814 the Treaty of Kiel was signed. The treaty marked the settlement between Sweden and Denmark- Norway. Due to the treaty the Danish king, a loser in the Napoleonic wars had to cede Norway to the king of Sweden, in return for the Swedish holdings in Pomerania. As a result Iceland became a Danish dependency.

In 1904 the Danish government granted a Home Rule to Iceland. Iceland was declared independent in 1918. However the Second World War resulted in the occupation of Denmark by the Germany in 1940. The Allies occupied later Iceland. The Danish king remained the de jure sovereign of the nation till 1944. In 1918 there was a republic formed Iceland.

The republic that was formed became a member of NATO in 1949. In order to take care of its defense Iceland signed a treaty with United States in 1951. As a result today US ahs its military base in Keflavik while Iceland has no armed forces of its own.

At present Iceland has agreed to the European Economic Area agreement and is a member of the Common market of the European Union. It is a flourishing nation that has done reasonably well in many areas.

Iceland Regions
Region HASC ISO Rds Population Area(km.²) Capital Icelandic
Capital IS.HO 1 * 4 178,000 1,062 Reykjavík Höfuðborgarsvæði
Eastland IS.AL 7 9 11,798 22,721 Egilsstaðir Austurland
Northland East IS.NE 6 8 26,618 21,968 Akureyri Norðurland eystra
Northland West IS.NV 5 7 9,310 12,737 Sauðárkrókur Norðurland vestra
Southern Peninsula IS.SU 2 4 16,727 829 Keflavík Suðurnes
Southland IS.SL 8 2,3 21,326 24,526 Selfoss Suðurland
Western Fjords IS.VF 4 6 8,014 9,409 Ísafjörður Vestfirðir
Westland IS.VL 3 5 14,457 9,554 Borgarnes Vesturland
8 regions 286,250 102,928    
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Region codes from ISO 3166-2. These are the same as the Statistics Iceland region codes. For full identification in a global context, prefix "IS-" to the code (ex: IS-7 represents Eastland). * Note: Reykjavík, although it is part of Capital region, has the ISO code IS-0.
  • Rds: The first digit of a highway number identifies the region in which the road is located. Highway number 1 is the ring road which encircles the whole island.
  • Population: 2001-12-01 (compiled annually from population registers).
  • Area: Figures provided by Karem Abdalla.
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