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ICELAND

HISTORY

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HISTORIC TIMELINE

600 - 700

Irish monks settle on the uninhabited island

850 - 930

Norwegian and Swedish name the island “Snæland” (snowland), then Garðarshóalmi and finally Iceland. Farms develop all across the island

871

Norwegian viking Ingólfur Arnarson, Iceland’s first permanent inhabitant, sails to the Southwest coast of Iceland and settles in a bay, which he later names Reykjavik

930

Alþing, the world’s oldest parliament is founded in Þingvellir

1000

Iceland converts to Christianity being put under pressure by the Norwegian government. Leifur reaches North America and becomes the first European to set food on America

1000 - 1200

golden age of Icelandic literature and writing of the Old Nordic Sagas

1104

first recorded eruption of the Hekla volcano. The eruption buries the valley of Pjorsardalur with ash, mud and rock

1200

the parliament loses its executive powers after the introduction of new laws and influential families gain power. After several bloody disputes, Iceland slides into anarchy, the parliament is suspended and Ieland is annexed by Norway in 1281

1387

Norway, Sweden and Denmark unite under one crown, bringing Iceland under Danish rule

1402 - 1404

The black death rages in Iceland, killing around 50% of the population

1550

King Christian III institutes Protestantism in Iceland, the Catholic bishop Jón Arason and his two sons are beheaded after battle

1590

a first detailed map of Iceland is published by bishop Guðbrandur Porláksson

1602

Denmark establishes an exclusive trade monopol for Danish and Swedish companies to trade with Iceland, leading to impoverishment in Iceland

1625 - 1685

Period of witch hunts in the Westfjords, resulting in the execution of 21 Icelanders who were said to cultivate a okkult connection

1627

Algerian pirates raid the Eastern coast of Iceland, kidnapping hundreds of inhabitants and killing anybody resisting

1703

Icelands first census counts just over 50.000 inhabitants

1783/84

the eruption of the Laki craters kills a quarter of the Icelandinc population and 50% of all cattle. Effects of the massive eruption are felt across Europe with a massive ash cloud bringing storms and flooding

1786

official founding of Reykjavik with around 200 inhabitants

1855 - 1890

first steps towards independence and re-establishment of free trade and an independent constitution. Many Icelanders immigrate to North America

1904

A minister for Icelandic affairs is appointed to the Danish cabinet

1917/18

Iceland suffers under the “big freeze” with temperatures falling to -38 degrees. All ports are blocked by ice

1918

The Danish-Icelandic Act of Union grants full independence for Iceland within the Danish kingdom

1940/41

British troops occupy neutral Iceland to prevent it falling to the Nazis after they occupied Denmark

1944

The majority of Icelanders votes for full independence from Denmark and the Icelandic Republic is formally announced on June 17

1974

The ring road leading all around Iceland is completed with the opening of the Skeiðarárbrú bridge

1986

Reagan and Gorbatschow meet in Reykjavik

2006

the US military base at Kevlavik is closed after 45 years. Commercial whaling is reintroduced to Iceland

2008

The global recession hits Iceland hard and leads to the collapse of the three biggest Icelandic banks. Iceland sees its biggest migration since the late 19. century

2010

the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano causes major disruption to European air traffic

History Iceland

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