|Republic of Iceland [aa]
Lýðveldið Ísland [ab]
(and largest city)
|Ethnic groups||93% Icelandic,
|-||President||Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson|
|-||Prime Minister||Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir|
|-||Speaker of the Alþingi||Ásta Ragnheiður Jóhannesdóttir|
|Establishment — Independence|
|-||Union with Norway||1262–1814|
|-||Constitution||5 January 1874|
|-||Kingdom of Iceland||1 December 1918|
|-||Republic||17 June 1944|
|-||Total||103,001 km2 (108th)
39,770 sq mi
|-||1 January 2011 estimate||318,452[b] (175th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2010 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2010 estimate|
|Gini (2010)||25.0[c] (low) (1st)|
|HDI (2011)||0.898 (very high) (14th)|
|Currency||Icelandic króna (
|Time zone||GMT (UTC+0)|
|-||Summer (DST)||not observed (UTC)|
|Drives on the||right|
|aa. ^ Although many sources—including the CIA World Factbook, Encyclopædia Britannica, and the United Nations—give "Republic of Iceland" (or "Lýðveldið Ísland" in Icelandic) as the official name, this conventional long name is actually not the official name of the country. The official (formal) name of the country in English (as translated from Icelandic) is "Iceland". The term republic as in the "Republic of Iceland" is only a description to the form of government of the country, but not by all means being the part of official name of the country.
ab. ^ The native description to the form of government of the country is "Lýðveldið Ísland".
Iceland (Icelandic: Ísland) is an island country in the North Atlantic, between Greenland and Norway, formerly a possession of Denmark. It is culturally considered to be part of Europe. Iceland is 300 kilometres east of Greenland and 1000 kilometres west of Norway. There are about 320,000 people who live in Iceland. Iceland has an area of 103,000 km².
In the 9th century, Norsemen went to live in Iceland. The first Norseman who lived in Iceland was Flóki Vilgerðarson. He was also the one who gave Iceland its name. Ingólfur Arnarson, a chieftain from Norway went to live in South West Iceland. He founded the city of Reykjavík.
In 985, Erik the Red was sent away from the island because he had killed someone. He sailed to the west and discovered Greenland. Eric's son Leif Ericson discovered America in the year 1000. He called it Vinland. The voyages of Eric, Leif and others were written down in the sagas (long stories).
In 1262, Iceland became part of Norway. This lasted for 400 years. In 1662, it became part of Denmark. In the 19th century, many Icelanders wanted to be independent from Denmark. In 1918, Iceland got many powers of its own, but the king of Denmark was still king of Iceland.
When Germany took over Denmark on April 9 1940, the Althing decided that Icelanders should rule the country themselves, but they did not declare independence yet. British and later American soldiers occupied Iceland to prevent it from being attacked by the Germans. In 1944, Iceland finally became fully independent.
After World War II, Iceland became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), but not of the European Union. Between 1958 and 1976, there were three debates between Iceland and the United Kingdom about the rights to catch codfish. They were called the Cod Wars.
The people in Iceland are mostly of Scandinavian origin. The language they speak is Icelandic. The language has not changed much in 1,000 years, so Icelanders are still able to read the sagas about the Vikings without many problems.
There are no real surnames on Iceland. Children get the first name of their father (sometimes mother) with -s+son if it's a boy, and -s+dóttir if it's a girl. For example, a man named Jón Stefánsson has a son named Fjalar. Fjalar's last name will not be Stefánsson like his father's, it will become Fjalar Jónsson. The same goes for women. Jón Stefánsson's daughter Kata would not have the last name Stefánsson, she would have the name Jónsdóttir. In most countries people use to call other people by their surname, but in Iceland people call other people by their first name. So when people talk about Halldór Ásgrímsson they do not call him Ásgrímsson, but Halldór.
Towns and cities [change]
Iceland is very geologically active and combined with large amounts of rain and snow caused by the warm waters of the gulf stream current which flow toward it, many interesting and unusual geographic features have developed which make it different from any other island so close to the Arctic Circle.
Some of these features are Iceland's numerous mountains, volcanoes, hot springs, rivers, small lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, and geysers. The word geyser is, in fact, derived from Geysir, the name of a particularly famous geyser on the southern side of the island. Glaciers cover approximately 11% of the island and the largest, Vatnajökull, is up to 1 km thick and, by far, the largest glacier in Europe.
Iceland, though considered to be a European country, sits partly in North America since it straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which marks the boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. The ridge runs directly through the populated Reykjavik and Thingvellir historic areas, and the tectonic activity of these plates separating is the source of the abundant geothermal energy in the region.
- "Iceland". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2011/01/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2008&ey=2011&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=176&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=64&pr.y=5. Retrieved 2011-04-21.
- "Human Development Report 2010". United Nations. 2010. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2010_EN_Table1.pdf. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- "Iceland". The World Factbook. CIA. 20 January 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ic.html. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
- "Iceland". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/281235/Iceland. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
- "UNGEGN List of Country Names" (PDF). United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names. August 2009. p. 48. http://unstats.un.org/unsd/geoinfo/UNGEGN-Working-Groups/UNGEGN%20WG%20Country%20Names%20Document%20-%20August%202009.pdf. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
- "What is the formal name of our country?" (in English, translated from Icelandic by Google Translate). Vísindavefurinn. http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=id&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=is&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.visindavefur.is%2Fsvar.php%3Fid%3D54970&act=url. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
|The Simple English Wiktionary has a definition for: Iceland.|