The first people known to have inhabited Iceland were Irish monks who settled there in the eight century. They left with the arrival of the pagan Norsemen, who systematically settled Iceland in the period 870-930 AD. Iceland was thus the last European country to be settled.
In the year 930, at the end of the Settlement period, a constitutional law code was accepted and the Althingi established. The judicial power of the Althingi was distributed between 4 local courts and a Supreme Court of sorts was conducted annually at the national assembly at Thingvellir.
In the year 1000 Christianity was peacefully adopted by the Icelanders at the Althingi, which met for two weeks every summer, attracting a large proportion of the population. The first bishopric was established at Skalholt in South Iceland in 1056, and a second at Holar in the north in 1106. Both became the country's main centers of learning.
The main source of information about the settlement period in Iceland is the Landnamabok (Book of Settlements), written in the 12th century, which gives a detailed account of the first settlers. According to this book Ingolfur Arnarson was the first settler. He was a chieftain from Norway, arriving in Iceland with his family and dependents in 874. He built his farm in Reykjavik, the site of the present capital. During the next 60 years or so Viking settlers from Scandinavia, bringing some Celtic people with them, spread their homesteads over the habitable areas.
In the late 10th century Greenland was discovered and colonized by the Icelanders under the leadership of Erik the Red, and around the year 1000 the Icelanders were the first Europeans to set foot on the American continent, 500 years before Columbus, although their attempts to settle in the New World failed.
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In 1262-1264 internal feuds, amounting to a civil war, led to submission to the king of Norway and a new monarchical code in 1271. When Norway and Denmark formed the Kalmar Union in 1397, Iceland fell under the sovereignty of the King of Denmark.
The Danish kings brought about the Reformation of the Church in 1551, which resulted in Danish control over the Church, and confiscation of its great wealth. They replaced the Hansa and English trade with an oppressive Danish trade monopoly, and established absolute monarchy in 1662, thus transferring all governing power to Copenhagen. While this arrangement was very profitable for the Danish Crown, these changes were disastrous for the Icelandic economy. The volitile Icelandic nature and the limited merchant sailings to Iceland, resulted in a shortage of food and supplies. The 16th and 17th centuries in Iceland, are characterized by extreme conditions, causing the population of people and stock to fall drasticly.
The eighteenth century marked the most tragic age in Iceland's history. In 1703, when the first complete census was taken, the population was approximately 50,000, of whom about 20% were poor and deprived people. From 1707 to 1709 the population sank to about 35,000 because of a devastating smallpox epidemic. Twice again the population declined below 40,000, both during the years 1752-57 and 1783-85, owing to a series of famines and natural disasters.Greek guide greece rhodes rhodos kos holidays vacation guides rhodos cos hotels rhodes hotel holiday vacations hotels holidays vacation greece greek guide rhodes
At the end of the 18th century the Althingi had been dissolved and the old diocese replaced by one bishop residing in Reykjavik. As a consequence of the plight of the populace the trade monopoly was modified in 1783 and all subjects of the Danish king given the right to trade in Iceland. In 1843 the Althingi was reestablished as a consultative assembly. In 1854 foreign trade was given entirely free. In 1874, when Iceland celebrated the millennium of the first settlement, it received a constitution from the Danish king and control of its own finances.
In 1904 Iceland got home rule and finally in 1918 independence. Finally, on 17 June 1944, the Republic of Iceland was formally proclaimed at Thingvellir.
Iceland is a country of northwestern Europe, comprising the island of Iceland and its outlying islets in the North Atlantic Ocean between Greenland, Norway, Ireland, Scotland and the Faroe Islands.As of April 2007, it had a population of 309,699. Its capital and largest city is Reykjavík.The northernmost capital in the world, marked by cheerful pastel rooftops and an exuberant night scene, is often referred to as an "overgrown village." Reykjavik's compact size, however, belies its worldly status. It is in every way a world capital, albeit a small one.
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Here is where you'll find all of Iceland's national glory, its theaters, nightlife, and much of its history.
As Ísafjördur boasts all that a town its size can be expected to offer, tourism here is a growing industry. It has superb facilities for outdoor activities, offering many interesting routes for the hiker. The sheltered Tungudalur valley is the town’s main area for outdoor activities. Tourist agencies offer a variety of sightseeing excursions around Ísafjördur and surrounding areas.
Akureyri sits at the Eyjafjordur Fjord, one of the most breathtaking fjords in all of Iceland. Rising up immediately behind the city are azure farmlands that slope gently up to Granite Mountains. The mountains are capped by snow year round, and in the winter they offer the best skiing in the country. Greek guide greece rhodes rhodos kos holidays vacation guides rhodos cos hotels rhodes hotel holiday vacations
This busy town owes it development mainly to its fishing and other industries and also to the growth of Keflavík International Airport.
The municipality of Hornafjordur is one of the largest in Iceland, from Skeidara in the West to Lón in the East. The area is dominated by Europe’s biggest glacier, Vatnajökull.It is a major centre of fishing & fish processing, although in recent years tourism has played an increasingly important role in the local economy. The town's hotels and restaurants are among the best in Iceland.
Selfoss has much to offer, it is the communications centre of the South and far enough away from the stresses of city life. The city is an ideal touring centre for visitors in the South, as many of the attractions of South Iceland are in easy reach of the town. Popular tourist attractions such as Þingvellir, the ancient site of the Icelandic parliament, Geysir hot spring area, the massive Gullfoss waterfall & Mount Hekla are all in the vicinity.
Hveragerði town is known for its greenhouse cultivation of flowers and vegetables using the natural resources of geothermal energy, hence its nickname the "flower town". Greek guide greece rhodes rhodos kos holidays vacation guides rhodos cos hotels rhodes hotel holiday vacations hotels holidays greece greek guide.