A not Norwegian country.
A NOTT Norwegian country.
by A April 28, 2004
Iceland is, as has been well documented, a small island in the North Atlantic. It was settled in the 9th century, mainly by Norwegians and other Scandinavians, but also by a few Celts from Scotland and Ireland. There is a theory that the Norwegians in particular left for Iceland to escape the growing tyranny and expanding power of the Scandinavian Kings, especially King Harald Fair-hair of Norway. The first settler was Ingolfur Arnarson, arriving in 870 AD, and he built a farm on the site of modern day Reykjavik, the capital. Iceland was the first republic and developed a system of proto-democracy with a national Parliament called the Althing established in 930 AD, and a very sophistocated system of law developed. This was surprisingly liberal; women had practically equal rights to men. For instance, they could take part in legal proceedings and declare themselves divorced whenever they wished, whilst retaining all property rights. Considering women only got equal property rights in Britain in the 19th century, this is impressive I feel.
The term 'Viking' as an ethnic term is wrong; to the Scandinavians it meant specifically a raider, so not all, or even most, Icelanders were Vikings. Practically all were simple farmers. No towns existed in medieval Iceland, and farms were self-sufficient units.
An Icelander was the first to land on Greenland, which was settled by Eirik the Red after he had been outlawed from Iceland, who called it this to make it more attractive to other settlers. It was his son, Leifur, nicknamed Leif the Lucky, who was the first European to set foot on the continent of North America (not Christopher Columbus) around 1000 AD, the year in which Iceland became Christian by democratic vote. Leif christened the area Vinland, after the wild grapes he found there. Nobody has been able to prove the exact location of Vinland.
Geographically, Iceland is mostly volcanic, and large areas of it are covered in lava fields. It has geysers, hot springs and sulphorous jets of steam coming from the ground, as well as active Volcanoes. The amount of geothermal energy at her disposal means that Iceland is a very environmentally green country. However, it also means that all the washing water smells slightly of egg. Iceland also has Europe's most powerful waterfall (Dettafoss) and Europe's largest glacier (Vatnajokull), which did feature in the James Bond film 'Die Another Day'.
Iceland is famous for its medieval literature, which ranks as amongst the finest in the world. These are mostly sagas, the most famous being Egil's Saga, Njal's Saga, Laxdaela Saga and Volsunga Saga, the last of which was a major inspiration for Tolkein and Wagner. However, Iceland also produced histories such as The Book of Icelanders and The Book of Settlements by Ari the Learned, and the most important source on Norse mythology, Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson.
Icelandic has changed relatively little since then, and the system of patrynomics, and sometimes matrymonics is still used. For example if a man called Njal Eiriksson had a son and a daughter, they might be called Ingolfur Njalsson and Gudrun Njalssdottir; they would not have the surname Eiriksson.
In 1262, Iceland came under the control of Norway, and Denmark in 1380, but regained Home Rule in 1874 and became fully independent in 1944. Today, Iceland is most commonly known for musicians Bjork and Sigur Ros, being the most expensive country in Europe, puffins and reindeer, the Northern Lights, and being cold. However, this does not even come close to doing justice to this beautiful, sometimes bleak, truly unique landscape and its rich and fascinating history and mythology.
Iceland is my favourite European country apart from my own. I wish I was Icelandic.
by A. C. Cooper June 15, 2006
The best country in the world (per capita).
John: Hey, did you know Icelanders drink the most Coca-Cola in the world per capita?

Hawley: Ísland, bezt í heimi!
by Hinrik September 03, 2005
the "coolest" country in the world....no pun intended
Bro Iceland is awesome
by Anonymous March 04, 2003
Iceland is a country where the weather gets very cold and all the people are incredibly attractive and talented.
"Oh my god that guy's so hot!"
"Well, yeah, he's from Iceland."
by Fly Wingless November 20, 2006
an volcanic, harsh but beutiful and indepentend island north of Britain.
It was settled last of the contries in Europe but has enjoyed an republic leadership for the longest of any contries in the world
We are not Norwiegian
On iceland youl know the menaning of beuty
by Ingimar February 06, 2004
An island in the Atlantic Ocean north of England. Known for it's volcanos, beautiful nature and of course the Blue Lagoon. Low crime rate and a pretty cool country to live in. Sigur Rós is from Iceland.
Ever been to Iceland?
by sotacky November 08, 2005

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