Coordinates: 65°N 18°W / 65°N 18°W / 65; -18

Ísland  (Icelandic)
Anthem: Lofsöngur
Island (orthographic projection).svg
and largest city
64°08′N 21°56′W / 64.133°N 21.933°W / 64.133; -21.933
Official language
and national language
Ethnic groups
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
• President
Guðni Th. Jóhannesson
Katrín Jakobsdóttir
9th century
• Commonwealth
Founding of the Althing
• Union with Norway
Signing of the Old Covenant
• Treaty of Kiel
Ceded to Denmark
14 January 1814
• Constitution and limited home rule
Minister for Iceland appointed
5 January 1874
• Extended home rule
1 February 1904
1 December 1918
• Republic
17 June 1944
• Total
102,775[4] km2 (39,682 sq mi) (106th)
• Water (%)
2.07 (as of 2015)[5]
• 2021 estimate
376,248[6] (179th)
• 2011 census
• Density
3.5/km2 (9.1/sq mi) (190th)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
$19.8 billion[8] (142nd)
• Per capita
$54,482[8] (16th)
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
$20.8 billion[8]
• Per capita
$57,189[8] (5th)
Gini (2018)Positive decrease 23.2[9]
low · 2nd
HDI (2021)Increase 0.959[10]
very high · 3rd
CurrencyIcelandic króna (ISK)
Time zoneUTC[c] (GMT/WET)
Driving sideright
Calling code+354
ISO 3166 codeIS

Iceland (Icelandic: Ísland; [ˈistlant] (listen))[d] is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean and the most sparsely populated country in Europe.[13] Iceland's capital and largest city is Reykjavík, which (along with its surrounding areas) is home to over 65% of the population. Iceland is the biggest part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that rises above sea level, and its central volcanic plateau is erupting almost constantly.[14][15] The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, and most of its islands have a polar climate.

According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island.[16] In the following centuries, Norwegians, and to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls (i.e., slaves or serfs) of Gaelic origin.

The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the native parliament, the Althing, one of the world's oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Following a period of civil strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century. The establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Iceland thus followed Norway's integration into that union, coming under Danish rule after Sweden seceded from the union in 1523. The Danish kingdom forcefully introduced Lutheranism to Iceland in 1550.[17]

In the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Iceland's struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918 with the establishment of the Kingdom of Iceland, sharing through a personal union the incumbent monarch of Denmark. During the occupation of Denmark in World War II, Iceland voted overwhelmingly to become a republic in 1944, thus ending the remaining formal ties with Denmark. Although the Althing was suspended from 1799 to 1845, the island republic has been credited with sustaining the world's oldest and longest-running parliament.

Until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture. Industrialization of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity, and Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. It became a part of the European Economic Area in 1994; this further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance, biotechnology, and manufacturing.

Iceland has a market economy with relatively low taxes, compared to other OECD countries,[18] as well as the highest trade union membership in the world.[19] It maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens.[20] Iceland ranks high in democracy and equality indexes, ranking third in the world by median wealth per adult. In 2020, it was ranked as the fourth-most developed country in the world by the United Nations' Human Development Index,[21] and it ranks first on the Global Peace Index. Iceland runs almost completely on renewable energy.

Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation's Scandinavian heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Norse and Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old West Norse and is closely related to Faroese. The country's cultural heritage includes traditional Icelandic cuisine, Icelandic literature, and medieval sagas. Iceland has the smallest population of any NATO member and is the only one with no standing army, with a lightly armed coast guard.[22]

Cite error: There are <ref group=lower-alpha> tags or {{efn}} templates on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=lower-alpha}} template or {{notelist}} template (see the help page).

  1. ^ "Population by country of citizenship, sex and age (2021)". Statistics Iceland. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  2. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Iceland: Article 62, Government of Iceland.
  3. ^ "Populations by religious and life stance organizations 1998-2022".
  4. ^ "Ísland er minna en talið var" (in Icelandic). RÚV. 26 February 2015. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Surface water and surface water change". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Statistics Iceland: Overview". Statistics Iceland. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Census 2011 – Main results". Statistics Iceland. 1 January 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d "Iceland". International Monetary Fund.
  9. ^ "Gini coefficient of equivalised disposable income – EU-SILC survey". Eurostat. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  10. ^ "Human Development Report 2021/2022" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 8 September 2022. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  11. ^ Emilía Dagný Sveinbjörnsdóttir (2008). "Hvenær var hætt að skipta á milli sumar- og vetrartíma á Íslandi?" (in Icelandic). Vísindavefurinn. Archived from the original on 12 November 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Tillaga til þingsályktunar um seinkun klukkunnar og bjartari morgna" (in Icelandic). Althing. 2014. Archived from the original on 7 November 2019. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Statistics Iceland". Government. The National Statistical Institute of Iceland. 14 September 2008. Retrieved 14 September 2008.
  14. ^ Rae, Alison. Earthquakes and Volcanoes. Page 9. 2008. "Iceland is the only part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that rises above sea-level, and its central volcanic plateau is erupting almost constantly."
  15. ^ Philippon, Mélody; Von Hagke, Christoph; E. Reber, Jacqueline. Cutting-Edge Analogue Modeling Techniques Applied to Study Earth Systems. Page 99. 2020. "Iceland is the only place on Earth where a mid-ocean ridge is exposed above sea level, atop the extensional plate boundary separating the North American plate and the Eurasian plate."
  16. ^ Cite error: The named reference tomasson was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  17. ^ Jón R. Hjálmarsson (1993). History of Iceland: From the Settlement to the Present Day. Iceland Review.
  18. ^ "OECD Tax Database". Archived from the original on 25 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  19. ^ "Industrial relations". ILOSTAT. Archived from the original on 13 August 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  20. ^ Ólafsson, Stefán (12 May 2004). "The Icelandic Welfare State and the Conditions of Children". Archived from the original on 18 August 2005. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  21. ^ Human Development Report 2020 The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 15 December 2020. pp. 343–350. ISBN 978-92-1-126442-5. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  22. ^ The Military Balance 2014. The International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS). 2014.

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