It is located much closer to the American continent than to Europe. But due to the geographical nature of the soil and its history it belongs to Europe; in fact it is united, through a continental base, to Scotland, with which in ancient times it formed a single land.
It was discovered in the late 8th century by Irish monks who retired to the island living as anchorites. See Countryaah for population and country facts about Iceland.
The population consists almost entirely of Icelanders of Scandinavian descent. Over 92% belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Icelandic national church, which is also a state church. Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Over half the population lives in and around the capital Reykjavík. Around four fifths of the country are uninhabited today.
The first colonization took place around 874 by Norwegian refugees, led by Naddod, then by Gardar, and then again by Ingolfo Floki Rafna, who founded a republic there. Each settler arrived with his own ships, bringing with him the family and numerous slaves. He chose a territory, at the center of which he had a temple built which became the symbol of the community. They were Protestants.
The various family groups, instead of joining together in one organism, remained divided and soon began to fight each other. The king of Norway took advantage of this state of affairs and imposed his sovereignty on the island in 1241.
In 1262 Iceland was united with Norway and with it then with Denmark in 1380. The Icelandic territory, which became suitable only to be exploited, fell into misery. And so it remained until the nineteenth century when intense movements of independence developed, parallel to the birth of industries and more frequent contacts with the various European states.
In 1874 Iceland had its first parliament; in 1903 it had an autonomous government and in 1906 a telegraph cable was built that united it to Scotland. Then, with a treaty of 1918, its independence was recognized as a sovereign state, but always under the kingdom of Denmark, united in the person of the king.
In 1940 with the invasion of Norway by the Germans, Iceland was occupied by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and granted air bases to the United States of America.
On 17 June 1946 she had complete independence and the personal bond that united her to the king of Denmark was also abolished. The Republic was proclaimed, governed by a president, the duration of which was immediately established in 4 years.
The economic conditions of the island improved with the development of industries, especially those of the manufacture of oil and fishmeal, those of gloves and footwear, favored by the great abundance of skins, for the highly developed breeding of fur animals.
In 1947, American troops were still present in the state at Keflavik airport. This caused considerable discontent in Moscow, which did not see this presence at all. Therefore the Soviet Union offered a very advantageous economic contract for the island, under which Iceland undertook to sell to Russia only the goods of its production with prices increased by 50%.
Meanwhile in 1946 the elections were followed by a coalition government chaired by J. Stefansson.
In Keflavik itself in 1952 Iceland leased the territory for a military base to the United States. From these he also received serious financial aid, which was around 11 million dollars. And despite this, after a first tangible improvement, there were economic difficulties. This gave rise to disagreements with Great Britain, which contested Iceland’s right to fish in Icelandic territorial waters, and serious crises and accidents arose in this regard.
The country acceded to the Atlantic Pact and to NATO, not without having had to appease the contrary opinions of part of the citizens.