I is for Iceland

There were two things that particularly fascinated me about Iceland, one as a child, the other as an adult. The childhood recollection is that the explorers named Greenland and Iceland as they did to throw others off about the beauty of Iceland. Apparently, this was not true. Still, despite its latitude, Iceland is relatively moderate in temperature because of the Gulf Stream.

The other is that the population is so relatively homogenous that scientists believe Iceland’s population, a mixture of descendants of Norwegians and Celts, should make it a good place to investigate the genetics factors involved in human disease, although the project was not without controversy.

Here’s what the US State Department has to say about the country:

Iceland was settled in the late 9th and early 10th centuries… In 930 A.D., the ruling chiefs established a republican constitution and an assembly called the Althingi (Alþingi), the oldest parliament in the world. Iceland remained independent until 1262, when it entered into a treaty establishing a union with the Norwegian monarchy. Iceland was then passed to Denmark in the late 14th century when Norway and Denmark were united under the Danish crown.

… In 1874, Denmark granted Iceland limited home rule, which was expanded in scope in 1904. The constitution, written in 1874, was revised in 1903. The Act of Union, a 1918 agreement with Denmark, recognized Iceland as a fully sovereign state united with Denmark under a common king. Iceland established its own flag, but Denmark continued to represent Icelandic foreign affairs and defense interests.

The area of Iceland is 103,000 sq. km. (39,600 sq. mi.); “about the size of Virginia or slightly larger than Ireland.” Population (January 1, 2011) was 318,452, less than half of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY, metropolitan area.

I also associate Iceland with:

*In chess, Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spaasky in Reykjavik in 1972; see this video
* The Reykjavik summit meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev on October 11-12, 1986 over nuclear weapons.
*The fact that Reykjavik is the northernmost capital of a sovereign state.
*The abundant amount of volcanic activity. The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull – easy for YOU to say – closed airports in Europe, hundreds of miles away.

Read Inside the Reykjavik Art Museum

ABC Wednesday – Round 11

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27 thoughts on “I is for Iceland

  1. Great post. I also always laugh at the naming of Iceland which is so verdant and Greenland which is…not! I’d love to visit Iceland at some point, but that will have to wait. Have a great week.

  2. Reykjavik population: 117,721 Greater Reykjavík area population: 195,970 Population and Language Population: 312,872 (1st Dec.. 2007). Population density per square kilometre: 2.8. Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe (seventh in the world). Most of the people are of Norwegian descent, with some admixture of Celtic blood from those who came from Ireland and the Scottish islands from the time of settlement.

  3. What no Bjork on your list! I remember her doing a stunning music video of Iceland, unfortunately I can’t find it on the net, only Joga, which I must admit is pretty good. Amazing place.

  4. Very good article, Roger. My best friends daughter’s Mother and Father in Law are in Iceland. They have visited and loved the country.

    BTW, the Ice that I buy in the Beverage Ice Packs, doesn’t stick together!! It’s great, just shake my little container, and they are ready for the glass.

  5. September 12th, 2012
    Hi Roger,
    Excellent post about Iceland. I lived there for about four or five months many years ago.
    I haven’t had time to play ABC-Wednesday, but happened to see the Icelandic flag. Your posts are always worth reading!
    Best wishes,
    Anna
    P.S.
    Maybe I’ll play next week!

  6. Greetings Roger! Iceland would be a fascinating place to visit one day. Though I’m not sure I’d feel quite safe living there on such a small island with so much volcanic activity…

  7. I had never heard the theory that Iceland/Greenland were named with ulterior motives, but I think I shall choose to believe it now; it’s a more interesting naming convention than the apparent truth.

    There are lots of places I’d like to visit some day, including this one. So many places, so little money.

  8. I think Iceland would be a wonderful place to visit and I’d love to see all the volcanic activity. I might even like to live there except for their dark winter nights. The long summer evenings would be nice but I’m not sure I could endure so many hours of darkness.For a start, trying to draw and paint in artificial light is very difficult and that’s what I’d want to do to while away the hours.

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