History of Iceland
The history of Iceland is a long and adventurous saga filled with many transitions and discoveries. The settlement of Iceland is generally believed to have begun in the second half of the 9th century, when Norse settlers migrated across the North Atlantic. The reasons for the migration may be traced to a shortage of arable land in Scandinavia, and civil strife brought about by the ambitions of the Norse king Harald the Fair-haired. Unlike Britain and Ireland, Iceland was unsettled land, and could be claimed without warring on the inhabitants.
Historians typically refer to the year 874 as the first year of settlement in Iceland. The Icelandic Age of Settlement is considered to have lasted from 874 to 930, at which point most of the island had been claimed and Alþingi, the assembly of the Icelandic Commonwealth, was founded in Þingvellir. Almost everything known about the first settlers comes from Íslendingabók by Ari Thorgilsson, and Landnámabók, two historical records preserved in skin manuscripts. Landnámabók lists 435 men as the initial settlers, the majority of them settling in the northern and southwestern parts of the island.
Considering the northerly location of Iceland, its climate is much milder than might be expected, especially in winter.
Geologically speaking, Iceland is a very young country; its creation began less than 20 million years ago and is still progressing today. Iceland’s wildlife reflects the youth of the country. There are relatively few insect species and only a handful of wild mammal
Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter century, 20% of the island's population emigrated, mostly to Canada and the US.
The Icelandic history starts eleven hundred years ago when the Vikings settled the island. The Icelandic nation has survived the harsh sub-arctic climate and has today become one of the most modern societies in the world.
Situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland is a hot spot of volcanic and geothermal activity: 30 post-glacial volcanoes have erupted in the past two centuries. Over the past 500 years, Iceland's volcanoes have erupted a third of the total global lava output.
Large parts of Iceland and the oceans around it have remained relatively untouched science the Viking age settlement. The environment is harsh and unforgiving and the struggle to survive is quite hard but there are not many natural predators in Iceland, the largest being the Arctic Fox. This has created the perfect environment for birdlife to thrive in.