October 14, 2014
Most people think of ice when they hear the word “Iceland.” Iceland isn’t all ice, it actually is very warm. Located on top of a volcanic hotspot, Iceland is very active with volcanos. When Iceland was found, the settlers wanted it all to themselves. They named it Iceland to draw people away from it when it actually has lots of forest areas. The settlers named the country with all the ice, Greenland, so people would go there thinking it was warm and green. Iceland is a very large country that is not bordered by any other countries. It lies in the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of North America. Iceland is one of the more unique and mysterious countries of the world.
In 850, Iceland was first found by Vikings. They had brought Irish slaves with them. Iceland was actually founded about a hundred years after it was discovered. About fifty years after that, in 1000, Iceland adopted the religion of Christianity. Iceland was “independent for over 300 years” before Norway and Denmark took control and Iceland fell under their rule (nationsonline). Immigrants that moved to Iceland in the late 9th and 10th century were mostly Norwegian and Celtic. In 1875, “20% of the island’s population emigrated mostly to Canada and the United States” because of the eruption of the Askja volcano (Central Intelligence Agency). This event “devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine” throughout most of Iceland (Central Intelligence Agency). Iceland is the 108th largest country in the world. Iceland is mostly “a volcanic island in the North Atlantic ocean, east of Greenland and immediately south of the Arctic Circle” (nationsonline). The total surface area of Iceland is 103,000 square miles. 25.7% of the total surface area is made up of water, while the other 72.5% is the land area. The westernmost country in Europe is Iceland. Iceland has a “strategic location between Greenland and Europe” (Central Intelligence Agency). One of the natural hazards of Iceland is volcanism. Since Iceland is located on top of a “hotspot, it experiences severe volcanic activity” (Central Intelligence Agency). The lowest place in Iceland is the Atlantic Ocean which sits at 0 m above sea level, while the highest point, Hvannadalshnukur sits at 6,922 feet above sea level. The topography of Iceland is “largely artic desert punctuated by mountains, glaciers, geysers, hot springs, volcanoes, and waterfalls” (Iceland Map). Iceland consists of “fourteen independent towns” (Iceland Map). For the most part, Iceland has a fairly moderate climate. Iceland has a very mild climate that “stems from the Gulf Stream and the warm ocean currents from the Gulf of Mexico” (Central Intelligence Agency). The North Atlantic Current causes mild, but windy winters and damp cool summers. The weather in Iceland is monitored by the Icelandic Meteorological Office. The population of Iceland is approximately 320,000 people. The people who are members of the Icelandic community are referred to as “Icelanders” (nationsonline). Many of the residents of Iceland have descended from the Norse and Celt culture. Others are from Sweden or other European countries. The capital of Iceland is Reykjavik. Some other major cities of Iceland are Kopavagur, Hafnarfjordur, and Akureyri. Iceland has a very intricate government system. They have a “civil law system influenced by the Danish model” (Central Intelligence Agency). The type of government that Iceland has is semi presidential and they have a system of parliament. Iceland had acquired many different cultures “after the country joined the European economic area in 1944” (Central Intelligence Agency). Iceland uses a type of currency called the Iceland Krona. After the bank failed in 2008, “Iceland owes British and Dutch authorities approximately 5.5 billion for compensating British and Dutch citizens who lost deposits” (Central Intelligence Agency). Iceland makes most of its money from