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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Iceland

HISTORY

Missionaries recruited by Olaf II of Norway (995-1030) preached the Christian message with some success in Iceland. However, civil war broke out between those who accepted and those who opposed Christianity. The matter was referred to a wise old man for decision and after much thought he pronounced the new religion to be good.



Iceland's Laki craters began an eight-month eruption on June 8, 1783, triggering major famine and massive fluorine poisoning.

In 1908, a referendum in Iceland banned the import of alcohol. It was overturned in another referendum in 1933.

Iceland's flag dates from 1915, when a red cross was inserted into the white cross of the original flag. This cross represents Christianity. It was adopted and became the national flag when Iceland gained independence from Denmark in 1918.


The Kingdom of Iceland becomes a sovereign state on December 1, 1918, yet remained a part of the Danish kingdom until 1944 when it declared its independence and became a republic.

June 17th was chosen as independence day as it was the birthday of Jon Sigurosson, the 19th century leader of the Iceland Independence Movement.

The festival procession in Reykjavik on 17 June, the National Day of Iceland, 2007. By I, Akigka, Wikipedia Commons

Beer only became legal in Iceland in 1989 after decades of prohibition.

With a population of only 331,000, Iceland became the smallest nation ever to qualify for a major international football competition when it took part in the 2016 UEFA European Championships.

POLITICS

When Vigdis Finnbogadottir was elected president of Iceland on August 1, 1980, she became the world's first female democratically elected president. With a presidency of exactly sixteen years, she also remains the longest-serving, elected female head of state of any country to date.

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir By Rob C. Croes / Anefo - Nationaal Archief (cropped) Wikipedia Commons

Iceland was the first country in the world to have a political party formed and led entirely by women. Known as the Women's List or Women's Alliance (Kvennalistinn), it was founded in 1983 to advance the political, economic, and social needs of women.

DEMOGRAPHICS AND LANGUAGE

Icelanders are listed alphabetically by their first names in the telephone directory because they don't have family surnames.

Under Icelandic law, people's first names must be selected from a register that lists 1,712 male and 1,853 female officially approved names that fit Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules.

The Icelandic government committee that prevents parents from giving babies names it deems too weird is called Mannanafnanefnd.

The Icelandic alphabet has 32 letters but does not include the letter 'c'. Icelanders call Iceland “Islands”.

Icelandic is similar to the old Norse dialect spoken by the Vikings.

The population of Iceland was 325,671 as of 2014; That year there were three times as many tourists as residents, with 997,556 foreign visitors.

Iceland's population is so small that an Icelandic company has created an app to prevent Icelanders from dating their relatives.

GEOGRAPHY

80% of Iceland is uninhabited.

                                                         
There are approximately 130 active and in active volcanoes. The most recent notable eruption was in 2010, when  Eyjafallajokull's ash cloud caused chaos in European airspace.

There is 24 hour daylight between June and July in Iceland.

Apollo astronauts trained in Iceland because it was felt that the terrain would most resemble the surface of the moon.

FUN FACTS

Svið, a traditional Icelandic dish, consists of a sheep's head that has been cut in half, singed and boiled with the brain removed.

Another delicacy is Hákarl, which is putrefied shark meat that has been buried for up to six months to ensure proper decomposition.

Full strength beer was banned in Iceland until 1989.

There are no reptiles or amphibians or poisonous animals living in the wild in Iceland.

Iceland is the first country to have an electricity supply that comes entirely from renewable sources.

The women of Iceland earn two-thirds of their nation's university degrees.

In Iceland, the word "Sólarfrí" literally means "sun holiday." On a sunny day, workers there might get unexpected time off to enjoy it.

Iceland has one of the largest gun ownership rates in the world and yet has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

Source Daily Express

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