Iceland History

Iceland History: Origin of Iceland (Maps, Population, Flag)

Iceland has a relatively short yet rich history. The island was discovered by Naddodd the Viking in 861 and inhabited in 870 by Norse and Celtic populations. Before this timeframe, Iceland was one of the largest uninhabited islands in Europe. The island itself had formed over 70 million years ago when the magma pocket beneath its surfaces triggered underwater eruptions. The landforms of iceland were sculpted under those forces over the years resulting in Iceland’s unique landscape. Today, Iceland has a population of 366.425 people. 

What is Iceland’s History?

Iceland’s history starts over 1000 years ago during the Viking age of exploration. The island was discovered by Naddodd the Viking in 861 and settled by a mixed population of Norse and Celtic people. However, there is some evidence about the island being inhabited before the early Norse settlers by Irish monks known as “The Papar.” They are also popularly called “wandering Christians” and are believed to have inhabited Iceland before the official Settlement Age. From 1918 to 1944, Iceland was established as a Kingdom. Today, with the national referendum from June 17, 1944, Iceland is a Republic. 

Where did Iceland originate?

Iceland originated in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Rift around 70 million years ago. The catalyst that initiated the formation of Iceland is believed to have been the large magma pocket that still sits beneath the island. The magma pocket is called Iceland Plume and sits around 2000 meters inside Earth’s mantle. Iceland was slowly sculpted by the natural forces caused by strong underwater eruptions of the Iceland Plume. 

Who explored Iceland?

Iceland was discovered and first explored by Norwegian Vikings. According to the Landnámabók, Iceland was located by Naddodd the Viking. Naddodd was blown off course in 861 while sailing from Norway to the Faroe Islands. Naddodd named the island Snowland and told people about it upon returning to Norway. Then, six years later, Floki Vilgerdarson set out on an expedition to intentionally search for Iceland, and upon finding it, he named it Iceland. A few years later, in 870, Iceland was first inhabited. 

What are the historical eras of Iceland?

Based on the historic text Íslandssaga (A History of Iceland) from 1915 by Jón J. Aðils, the history of Iceland can be divided into ten eras. Here is a list of the historical eras of Iceland:

  • Landnámsöld: Landnámsöld is the first era also known as the Settlement Age which lasted from 870 to 930.
  • Söguöld: Söguöld or the Saga Age lasted from 930 to 1030.
  • Íslenska kirkjan í elstu tíð: Íslenska kirkjan í elstu tíð or The early Icelandic church era lasted from 1030 to 1152.
  • Sturlungaöld: Sturlungaöld or Sturlung Age lasted from 1152 to 1262.
  • Ísland undir stjórn Noregskonunga og uppgangur kennimanna: the Norwegian Rule of Norwegian royal rule and the rise of the clergy lasted from 1262 to 1400.
  • Kirkjuvald: The Kirkjuvald era or Ecclesiastical power lasted from 1400 to 1550.
  • Konungsvald: Konungsvald or the Royal authority lasted from 1550 to 1683.
  • Einveldi og einokun: The Einveldi og einokun era of Absolutism and monopoly trading lasted from 1683 to 1800.
  • Viðreisnarbarátta: Viðreisnarbarátta or the Campaign for restoration of past glories lasted from 1801 to 1874.
  • Framsókn: The Framsókn or Progress era lasted from 1875 to 1915. 

What are Icelandic Cultures?

Iceland is a Nordic country, which implies that it has significant Viking links. Icelanders are proud of their past and the various rituals that come with it, especially in the language, which has strong roots in the Old Norse language used by early Viking settlers.

Here you can see the cultures of Iceland.

  1. Iceland Food Culture: certain foods are part of the Icelandic food culture. Popular examples include Icelandic yogurt (skyr), fermented shark (hákarl), dried fish jerky (harðfiskur), sheep’s head (svið), and hot dog (pylsur).
  2. Iceland Music Culture: Icelandic folk music is versatile and includes various styles. Prominent performance styles are syngja (to sing), kveða (poetry), and sagnadansar (story dancing).  
  3. Iceland Architecture Culture: typical Icelandic architecture consists of low-rise buildings. Wood frames, pronounced pitched roofs, and traditional bright colors are the main hallmarks of Icelandic architecture.  
  4. Iceland Film Culture: the Icelandic cinema industry is notable with both movies and actors receiving sparkling international attention. The country has its own national file award named Edda Awards. 

Which language is spoken in Iceland?

The Icelandic language is the official and national language of Iceland. However, Icelandic people talk other languages as well. Other than Icelandic, the top three most commonly spoken languages in Iceland include Polish, Lithuanian, and English. Other popular languages in Iceland are German, Danish, Spanish, and French. 

What are the historical maps of Iceland?

The historical maps of Iceland are an objective indicator of how the country looked throughout its history and during different periods. There are many different maps showing different aspects, from geopolitical features to proximity to neighboring countries to popular ship routes. 

What are the neighboring islands to Iceland?

The neighbor islands to Iceland are:

  • Greenland: the coordinates of Greenland are 71.7069° N, 42.6043° W
  • Faroe Islands: the coordinates of the Faroe Islands are 61.8926° N, 6.9118° W
  • Jan Mayen: the coordinates of Jan Mayen are 71.0318° N, 8.2920° W


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