Sveinn Björnsson

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Sveinn Björnsson (27 January 1881 -25 January 1952) became a member of Reykjavik town council in 1912 and was its president in 1918-20. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, he was a member of the Althing in 1914-1916 and 1920, and following Iceland's independence from Denmark in 1918 he acted as minister to Denmark in 1920-1924 and 1926-1940. The German occupation of Denmark in 1940 resulted in Iceland's autonomy (Denmark had been responsible for Iceland's foreign affairs), and Björnsson was elected Regent of Iceland three times in 1941-1943, assuming the prerogatives previously held by the Danish king. When Iceland became a republic in 1944 he was chosen to be the first president of Iceland by the Althing. He served from 1944 to 1952, being re-elected unopposed in 1945 and 1949. He died in Reykjavik more than one year before his second term of office was due to expire.

Presidents of Iceland

Succeeded by:
Ásgeir Ásgeirsson