The Great Man (to 1262)
The oldest written sources, from the 1100s, state that colonization began in 874 when Ingólfur Arnarson must have settled in the latter Reykjavík. The time for the middle of the 9th century is called settlement age, colonization time. The Icelanders’ stories tell vividly and in detail about Iceland’s early history, but they are written far later (the 13th and 13th centuries), and therefore their information cannot be taken too credibly. It is clear, however, that in the 900s there was an organized society in Iceland. Leading were the approximately 40 goods, holders of hereditary offices, good words. Every farmer had to submit to a good word. The gods led the local things and also had power over everything, the thing for the whole island, which at midsummer time every year gathered at Thingvellir (according to a late tradition established in 930). Everything was led by the team agent, who could be the law by the outside. The years 1117-18 were signed for the first time (Grágás collection).
Christianity was adopted in about 1000. The two bishops were given a position similar to the goods. With the law of tithing to the church in 1096, church institutions received large incomes. A battle over the rich churches between worldly great men and bishops waged and waged throughout the Middle Ages.
The Icelanders lived on livestock management and housing needs fishing. A modest grain cultivation occurred during the Middle Ages, but imports were also needed. Exports consisted mainly of wad templates. Originally, the Icelanders themselves owned seagoing ships and made trade trips. Later, however, shipping increasingly came into Norwegian hands. About 990, Greenland and the American continent were discovered (“Vinland”, according to the story found by Leif Eriksson). Greenland was colonized, while a settlement on Newfoundland became short-lived.
The goodies came to concentrate on a few families who fought for power. During the age of the sturlungs (about 1220-62) succeeded sturlungaätten nearly put the whole Island for himself. After the death of its leader Snorre Sturlasson in 1241, his coach Gissur Thorvaldsson of Haukadalingaätten became the leader, but without being able to defeat all his enemies. At the same time, the Norwegian influence grew, as a result of both the stabilization of the king’s power and the emergence of Bergen as a hub for the North Atlantic trade; Churchly, Iceland also belonged to the 1152 established Archdiocese of Nidaros (Trondheim). The Norwegian king joined Icelandic great men as guardians.
Norwegian and English times (1262-1550)
The end of the Sturlunge’s battles was that everything in 1262 submitted to the King of Norway. This was confirmed on local matters 1263–64. In the old covenant(old treaty) the king promised that Iceland would keep its own laws and that a certain trade would be maintained, against the fact that the Icelanders paid the king tax. Trade dependency was certainly part of the explanation for the agreement, as was a desire to avoid the constant fighting between the big men. The immediate changes were small, and the Icelanders continued to manage their own affairs. The old generals now ruled as king’s men. The law clerk was replaced by two team members. The king’s supreme governor was the shepherd, who had chieftains among them. In 1281 the law book Jónsbók was adopted, which contains elements of Norwegian law. Iceland followed in 1380 with Norway in union with Denmark.
By the middle of the 1300s, dried fish replaced wadding flour as the most important export commodity. Merchants from Bergen gained a monopoly on the Icelandic trade and sold the fish on to the Hanseatic merchants. The church and the chiefs acquired property along the coasts to take advantage of the good fishing conditions. During the 15th century, Dutch, Germans and, above all, Englishmen sailed directly to Iceland to fish and buy fish. The connection with Bergen weakened, and during the so-called English erathe king’s authority was low. Englishmen kidnapped one ruler in 1425 and killed another in 1467. During the 1400s, constant conflicts between Denmark and England prevailed over fishing in Iceland, but because the English also had great interest in the trade through the Sound, which the Danes mastered, the Danish kings managed to keep Iceland. With German help, the English were eventually expelled from mainland Iceland about 1530, but their fishing would continue for centuries.
During the 16th century, the royal power was strengthened in Denmark and Norway. The Reformation during the 1530s politically meant that the church’s resources were placed under the crown. In Iceland, the reformation was forced in the Diocese of Skálholt in 1541, but Bishop Jón Arason of Hólar resisted. In 1550, however, he was captured and beheaded; The following year, Danish warships lay at Iceland.
- Countryaah: Check to see the location of Iceland on the world map. Also covers major mountains, rivers and lakes in Iceland.
Under the Danish Crown (1550-1848)
For the first time, the royal power now effectively reached the Iceland Hird Governor, often Icelander, was replaced by the chief, usually a Danish admiral, and his Danish bailiff at Bessastaðir. The bishops were appointed by the king, who also withdrew the monastic property of the monastery. Under Bishop Guðbrandur Thorláksson, the spiritual side of the Reformation was purposefully carried out with the help of the printing press at Hólar. with the translation of the Bible in 1584. In this way, Icelandic was preserved as a church and cultural language and was not expelled by the Danish, as was done in the Faroe Islands and in Norway.
The stronger Danish royal power could also assert itself against foreign merchants. Trade in Iceland was made in 1602 into a Danish monopoly (from 1620 bound to Copenhagen). When royal monarchy was introduced in Denmark in 1660, Iceland also submitted to it in 1662. During the 1680s, the old rulers were replaced by a central government official administration as well as in the rest of the state (diocesan, county governor and county magistrate). At the same time, interest in the old Icelandic literature increased, and Árni Magnússon, royal archivist in Copenhagen, collected and saved many manuscripts from oblivion.
The one-world society constituted a community of interest between the krone, merchants and Icelandic landowners. The Danish krone received the fee for the trade monopoly – the only significant income from Iceland – while the merchants in Copenhagen sold the reputable dry fish on to the continent. In Iceland, on the other hand, they were forced to pay less for the fish and more for the agricultural products through the royalty. In doing so, agriculture was subsidized, and labor could be retained in the farms, which supplied their surplus to the land-owning elite. In addition, the large landowners in Iceland often managed the krone’s estate, and they were usually royal officials and took care of the taxes. Of the farmers, 95% were landlords (tenants). In 1703, a census was conducted in Iceland, which was found to have about 50,000 residents. All lived by agriculture,
In the middle of the 18th century, attempts were made to change the stagnant business world. Landsfogde Skúli Magnússon was the driving force of a cooperative company (the “Institutions”) which received state support, among other things. for experiments in fisheries, sulfur extraction and the establishment of a textile manu- facture on the farm Reykjavík (1752). He also wanted to abolish the trade monopoly, but on the contrary, both the merchants and many Icelanders opposed. In 1783, a terrible volcanic eruption occurred; a 25 km long crack, Lakagígar, opened and spewed out lava. The subsequent “dim years of distress” (móðaharðindin), when a toxic fog was over the country, reduced the population by 20%. Admittedly, trade was released for all Danish subjects in 1788, but the air had gone out of reform policy.
Administrative changes concentrated the Board to Reykjavík (city from 1786). Everything, which ceased to participate in legislation at the beginning of the 18th century, was also abolished in 1800 as a court, and a new supreme court was created in Reykjavík. At the same time, Iceland became a diocese with a bishop in Reykjavík, where the diocese also got his residence. During the Napoleonic Wars, Iceland had long been cut from Denmark. A Danish adventurer, Jørgen Jürgensen, proclaimed 1809 Iceland as independent but received no active support and was deposed after two months by British intervention. The episode shows that there was hardly any dissatisfaction with the Danish regime. When Denmark was forced to resign Norway to the Swedish king in 1814, the old Norwegian tax country Iceland was exempted.
Towards Independence (1848-1940)
A national movement began to emerge among Icelandic students in Copenhagen during the 1830s. When the single empire fell in Denmark in 1848, there was a group that could also place radical demands on self-government for Iceland. Undisputed leader was the linguist Jón Sigurðsson, a lifelong activist in Copenhagen but for a long time president of everything and an unremitting inspirer and agitator for liberal reforms in Iceland.
An elected, advisory congregation with the name of the old everything had been established in 1845. A National Assembly, convened in 1851 to discuss Iceland’s position, was dissolved by the government’s representative when it made radical demands. A long political struggle followed, where everything demanded increased self-government, which was denied by the Danish Government and the Riksdag, who instead by law in 1871 stated that Iceland was part of the Danish Empire. The Danes also issued a constitution for Iceland in 1874 which gave everything to certain powers but retained great power in Copenhagen. The government’s representative now became a governor of Reykjavík. The self-government struggle towards the end of the century became an increasingly struggle for independence. In national culture and education, national sentiments dominated, which got practical results e.g. with the establishment of the University of Iceland (Háskóli Íslands) in Reykjavík in 1911.
But the transformation had already gained momentum. After 1820, the population grew continuously (except during the 1880s due to emigration to Canada), from 50,000 residents to 78,000 in 1900. After 1850, fishing with covered boats became more common. They could go beyond the old rowing boats and demand more service ashore; permanently inhabited fishing villages arose. In 1900, 25% of Icelanders lived in urban areas, of which 8.5% lived in Reykjavík. Iceland’s industrialization came through mechanized fishing with trawlers around the turn of the century. Attempts to maintain the old financial system had failed; the peasant household was no longer the frame of everyone’s life.
The parliament was given legislative power in 1904, and a parliamentary responsible minister replaced the governor. General voting rights for men and women were introduced in 1915. During the First World War, economic relations with Denmark decreased drastically. Agreement was reached on a union agreement: In 1918 Iceland became an independent kingdom with only king and foreign service in common with Denmark. Until now, parties had formed with different views on the relationship with Denmark. Now the field was free for modern, class-based parties. The Social Democrats and the farmer-dominated Progress Party were formed in 1916, the bourgeois Independence Party in 1929 and the Communist Party in 1931 (1938–56 termed the Socialist Party, since the Folkalliansen).
During the 1920s and 1930s, the Progress Party played a leading role, especially through its ideologue Jónas Jónsson from Hrifla, a peculiar mix of liberal politicians, national romantics and rural advocates. The crisis of the 1930s created a polarized situation in Iceland with many strikes and riots; such as In 1932, the city council’s session hall in Reykjavík was entered by enlightened unemployed people. The political situation stabilized in 1934 with a crisis settlement between the Social Democrats and the Progress Party, the “working class government”. The economic crisis worsened when the Spanish Civil War in 1936 closed the important Spanish salt fish market, and unemployment rose.
A modern industrial state (from 1940)
Since Denmark was occupied by Germany, the British occupied Iceland on May 10, 1940. The government accepted the British protection in protest. In 1941, American troops took over. Iceland became an important hub of Allied traffic across the Atlantic. The foreign troops provided ample jobs for Icelanders in service and civil engineering. Fishing exports to Britain had golden times. Unemployment disappeared, purchasing power increased and inflation galloped. In a number of areas, Iceland was radically transformed during the Second World War. For example, airports and roads came to link the country together like never before.
Economic expansion has continued during the postwar period. Unemployment has normally been unknown. Many women have entered the labor market, and the average working week has been 50-60 hours. The standard of living measured in material terms is one of the highest in the world. Urbanization has continued, and today (2017) lives well over half of Iceland’s 330,000 residents in Greater Reykjavík, while many rural areas have been abandoned. The first half of the 1960s was a period of great catches and good fish prices, which created economic growth around the country. However, the fishing of the Island Sill in 1966-68 presented a difficult crisis for many fishing ports, and the volcanic eruption on Heimaey in 1973, which for a while threatened to destroy the important fishing port of Vestmannaeyjar, also strained the economy. High inflation has long been a problem (1983: 100%),
Politically, World War II meant a total crime with Denmark. In 1944, Iceland was unilaterally declared a republic. Denmark felt that Iceland thus broke the union agreement, which negotiated, but accepted it. Foreign policy tied Iceland to the West through membership in NATO in 1949. Iceland has no military of its own, but left Keflavík’s airfield in 1951–2006 as a base for the United States. Opposition to the base and the western connection was at times strong in Iceland but never reached a political majority and after about 1980 it did not play the same domestic political role as before. In 2006, the United States unilaterally decided to close the Keflavik base to use the troops in its war on international terrorism, but some air surveillance is being carried out by other NATO countries.
The dependence of the economy on fishing has caused foreign policy difficulties. In order to be able to control its raw materials, Iceland has in 1952–76 expanded its fishing limit from 3 to 200 nautical miles in various stages. This has led to the so-called cod wars with the United Kingdom, where occasional clashes occurred between Icelandic coastguards and British warships. Iceland’s great military strategic importance to NATO – a hub in monitoring the Soviet submarines’ departure in the Atlantic – has made other Western nations inclined to engage in a solution acceptable to Iceland, and Iceland has managed to acquire a monopoly on its fishing banks.
Iceland participated in the formation of the Nordic Council in 1952, and in 1970 followed EFTA membership. Cooperation with the other Nordic countries has become more and more intense over the years. An annoyance point in relation to Denmark disappeared when Denmark handed over Iceland manuscripts Árni Magnússon in the 18th century to Denmark at the University of Copenhagen (the Arnamagnæan collection).
In domestic politics, the post-World War II period was marked by the dominance of the Independence Party. As a rule, the party has been found to be the leader of a government coalition with one or some of the other parties, with prime ministers such as “the political charm” Ólafur Thors (different periods between 1943 and 1963) and Bjarni Benediktsson, who for a long time led the unusually stable coalition with the social democrats. 1959-71. Opposite pole has been the reform socialist Folkalliance, the party that most consistently distanced itself from the Western Alliance.
During the 1980s, the image was complicated by several breakout parties and a women’s party. Coalition governments succeeded. Since 1991, the Independence Party has once again dominated. The opposition agreed to the 1999 election in the Samfylkingin (the “Alliance”), with the participation of the Social Democrats, the Women’s List and the Folk Alliance; The alliance has since become a united Social Democratic Party, but dissatisfaction on the left quickly led to the formation of the new Left Party Vinstri-Grenir (‘Left Green’). The presidential post is mainly symbolic in importance, but received international attention during the period 1980-96, when Vígdis Finnbogadóttir was the world’s first democratically elected female head of state. However, the position of women in public was far weaker than in Scandinavia.
Iceland has never been isolated from the outside world, but contacts have intensified in recent decades. Icelandic whaling has met with international protests. Iceland became involved in the Baltic independence struggle and was the first in 1991 to establish diplomatic relations with free Lithuania. Iceland’s relationship with the EU was updated during the 1990s. Massive public opinion as well as most politicians have long rejected EU membership, not least to protect Icelandic fishing waters, even though Iceland became a member of the EU internal market in 1994 through EEA cooperation.
At the 1996 election, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was appointed president. Unlike his closest representatives, he was a traditional politician, and as president he played an active role in domestic politics by utilizing previously rarely used powers in office. Good economic cycles and a stable government of the Independence Party and the Progress Party marked the years around the turn of the century. Davíð Oddsson, prime minister in 1991–2004, succeeded in his pragmatic policy of sitting longer than any former Icelandic prime minister. Under his leadership major privatizations were made, including of the banking system, and Icelandic banks and financiers carried out a loan-financed expansion abroad.
After the 2008 financial crisis
Foreign economic expansion, útrás (‘outcome’), was a source of national pride, which turned out to be cloudy. The international financial crisis in 2008 hit very hard against the Icelandic economy, the state was forced to take over all major banks and both foreign debt and unemployment grew. This became something of an identity crisis for Icelanders when virtually all foreign investment had to be liquidated and the International Monetary Fund dictated the financial conditions.
Violent demonstrations were directed at politicians and many demanded a constitutional revision and a new political system. Protesters outside the main building drummed on saucepans, hence the name “the household goods revolution”. The result, however, was a regular election in 2009 and a Social Democrat-led government, with Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir as prime minister and the Left Green as a coalition partner, which sought membership in the EU and embarked on a austerity policy.
Iceland was forced to borrow from the International Monetary Fund and comply with its terms in economic policy. However, the operation succeeded and the Icelandic economy recovered relatively quickly, at least at the macroeconomic level. However, many private individuals were affected, forced to sell their homes and were long drawn with large debts.
One of the Icelandic banks, through an online bank, Icesave, had large deposits from the UK and the Netherlands. The British and Dutch authorities compensated these savers and then demanded Iceland for money. This led to both a foreign and domestic political crisis, abroad by the British and the Dutch slowing down Iceland’s EU negotiations and domestic by many Icelanders saying that Iceland would not pay.
Repayment agreements were negotiated twice, but both times the president referred the agreements to a referendum, and they fell. The UK and the Netherlands sued Iceland before the EFTA Court, which in 2013 completely acquitted Iceland of all claims. The process strengthened those in Iceland who are skeptical of European integration.
At the 2013 general election, a population tired of austerity and cuts voted away the government and a government under the Progressive Party leader Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, with the Independence Party as a coalition partner, took office. The economy had recovered and the new government stopped member negotiations with the EU.
In April 2016, extensive global tax planning activities were published through the so-called Panama Documents, which showed how the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca helped people hide large sums of money through mailbox companies. The documents depicted Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and his wife, which led to the Prime Minister’s departure. Iceland’s former Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson became new Prime Minister, including he from the Progress Party.
The re-election in autumn 2016 resulted in a complicated party political situation with seven parties in Allting. In the end, the Independence Party leader Bjarni Benediktsson was able to form government together with the two unproven dissatisfaction parties Bright Future and Restoration. Among the programs of the right-to-center government were, among other things, to exploit today’s good economic conditions, which is not least due to a huge increase in foreign tourism in Iceland, to expand healthcare and infrastructure. Tourism, electrochemical industry and fishing now account for about one third of GDP.
Since Bright’s future left the government cooperation, another election was held in October 2017. This time eight parties entered the Parliament and the parliamentary situation seemed very difficult. However, the three established parties prioritized the Independence Party, the Progress Party and the Left Green stability and formed a broad coalition across the political scale.
|The 800s and 900s||Iceland is detected and colonized|
|900s||Everything is established; society is organized under the direction of the goods.|
|about 1000||Christianity is assumed.|
|1000’s||The church is built up and becomes a strong power factor.|
|1220-62||Sturlunga time: battles between the main men’s nights.|
|1262||The Norwegian King is recognized as the head.|
|13th and 1300s||Islänningasagorna.|
|1380||Through Norway’s personnel union with Denmark, Iceland comes under Danish rule.|
|1400s||Strong English influence; fighting for fishing and trade between Englishmen, Germans and Danes.|
|1541-50||Reformation; the church’s property is placed under the king.|
|1602-1787||Danish trade monopoly.|
|1662||The Danish royal monarchy is accepted at Iceland|
|1752||Reykjavík is founded as a manufacturing community.|
|1783-85||Severe emergency years as a result of volcanic eruptions.|
|1800||Everything is abolished.|
|1814||When Norway is relinquished to Sweden, Iceland remains as a Danish biland.|
|1845||An advisory congregation, with the name of the old everything, is set up and begins a fight for increased self-government.|
|1874||Iceland gets own constitution with some internal self-government.|
|The end of the 19th century||Boost for fishing, population growth and urbanization.|
|1904||Increased self-government and parliamentary responsible government.|
|1915||General and equal voting rights for men and women.|
|1918||Iceland independently in staff union with Denmark.|
|the 1930s||Difficult times for fishing exports; social and political concerns.|
|1940||Great Britain Occupy Iceland|
|1940-45||Economic boom during World War II.|
|1944||Iceland declared as a republic.|
|1951||US troops are stationed at the Keflavík base.|
|1952-76||Conflicts with the UK due to I’s fishing border extensions (the “cod war”).|
|1966-68||Economic crisis after the herring’s depletion.|
|1970||Membership in EFTA.|
|1973||Volcanic eruption on Heimaey.|
|1994||Entry into the EEA (EU Common Market).|
|2006||The US troops away from the Keflavik base.|
|2008-09||Financial crisis, violent demonstrations, new elections.|