10 Facts You Should Know About Iceland
Here’s a list of 10 significant facts you should know about Iceland.
10. Iceland is a Nordic island located in the North Atlantic Ocean. The closest inhabited territories to Iceland are Greenland and the Faroe Islands. It has a total area of 102,775 square kilometres (ranked 108th worldwide) and a population of 329,100 (ranked 182nd worldwide).
The capital city, Reykjavík, accounts for as much as 64% of the total population of Iceland, with a metropolitan area comprising roughly 200,000 permanent residents. Ethnically, the population can be divided as follows: Icelanders (the major ethnic group which account for 93% of the total population), Polish (modern immigrants which make up to 3.1% of the population) and others (other immigrants from various countries; approximately 4%).
9. Only the coastlines are favorable for living and human activities, since the interior of Iceland consists of lava fields, mountains, glaciers or glacial rivers.
8. The second largest city in Iceland is Kópavogur, with a total population of 33,205 permanent residents. It is located in the southwestern part of the island.
7. Iceland was discovered by Norwegian Vikings during the end of the 9th century (although Irish monks inhabited it firstly, most likely being part of a Hiberno-Scottish mission). Later on, the same Norsemen gradually settled the island and from there they’ve discovered both Greenland and Newfoundland in Canada. The development of the Norse settlements in Iceland over the 9th and 10th centuries is documented in the Icelandic medieval saga entitled ‘Landnámabók’.
6. The Icelandic Parliament Althing was founded in 930, making it the oldest parliament in the world.
4. After being a Commonwealth from the 10th to the 13th centuries, Iceland united with the Kingdom of Norway from 1262 to 1814, but following the Treaty of Kiel, it became part of the Kingdom of Denmark until 1944. Subsequently, the country gained independent status from Denmark on June 17, 1944. The flag of the country was adopted in the very same year. The flag was designed by Matthías Þórðarson.
3. Icelandic is a North Germanic language considered as the most conservative and closest in relation to Old Norse (from which it was derived), on par with Faroese and the western Norwegian dialects. This stems from the geographic isolation of the language that made it possible to preserve many archaic linguistic elements from Old Norse that are either inexistent or very rare in other North Germanic languages.
2. Until the round of the 20th century, economically, Iceland relied solely on fishing and agriculture. After the end of World War II however, thanks to the implementation of the Marshall plan and the beginning of industrialisation of the fisheries, Iceland gradually turned into one of the most wealthiest states in the world.
1. As of 2015, Iceland is the most peaceful nation in the world. Additionally, the literacy rate is 99% among all Icelanders and the incarceration rate is 47 prisoners per 100,000 people.