Iceland

Iceland, a Nordic island nation, is defined by its dramatic landscape with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields. Massive glaciers are protected in Vatnajökull and Snæfellsjökull national parks. Most of the population lives in the capital, Reykjavik, which runs on geothermal power and is home to the National and Saga museums, tracing Iceland’s Viking history.

Iceland is largely an arctic desert punctuated by mountains, glaciers, geysers, hot springs, volcanoes and waterfalls. Most of the vegetation and agricultural areas are in the lowlands close to the coastline. Iceland’s most distinctive features are the glaciers that cover over 4,600 sq. mi (11,922 sq. km) or 11.

Key Cities

Key cities in Iceland include: Reykjavik, Kopavogur, Hafnarfjordur, Akureyri, Reykjanesbaer,  Gardeabaer, Mosfellsbaer, Arborg, and Akranes.

Historical, Cultural facts & Religion

The recorded history of Iceland began with the settlement by Viking explorers and their slaves from the east, particularly Norway and the British Isles, in the late ninth century. Iceland was still uninhabited long after the rest of Western Europe had been settled

The culture of Iceland is rich and varied as well as being known for its literary heritage which began in the 12th century. Other Icelandic traditional arts include weaving, silversmithing, and wood carving.

Religion: Most Icelanders (80%) are members of the Lutheran State Church. Another 5% are registered in other Christian denominations, including the Free Church of Iceland and the Roman Catholic Church. Almost 5% of people practice ásatrú, the traditional Norse religion.

Brief Country History

The first people to settle in Iceland were probably Irish monks who came in the 8th century. However, in the 9th century, they were driven out by Vikings.

According to tradition the first Viking to discover Iceland was a man named Naddoddur who got lost while on his way to the Faeroe Islands. Following him, a Swede named Gardar Svavarsson circumnavigated Iceland about 860. However, the first Viking attempt to settle was by a Norwegian named Floki Vilgeroarson. He landed in the northwest but a severe winter killed his domestic animals and he sailed back to Norway. However, he gave the land its name. He called it Iceland.

Then from 874 many settlers came to Iceland from Norway and the Viking colonies in the British Isles. A Norwegian named Ingolfur Arnarson led them. He sailed with his family, slaves and animals.

When he sighted Iceland Ingolfur dedicated his wooden posts to his gods then threw them overboard. He vowed to settle at the place where the sea washed them up. He then explored Iceland. When the posts were found in the southwest of Iceland Ingolfur and his household settled there. He called the place Reykjavik, meaning Smokey Bay. Many other Vikings followed him to Iceland.

The land in Iceland was free to whoever wanted it. A man could claim as much land as he could light fires around in one day while a woman could claim as much land as she could lead a heifer round in one day.

There were very good fishing grounds around Iceland and the land was well suited to sheep. Many Vikings brought flocks with them and soon sheep became a major Icelandic industry. The population of Iceland soared. By about 930 there were about 60,000 people living in Iceland.

At first, the Icelanders were ruled by chiefs called Godar but there were some local assemblies. About 930 the Icelanders created an assembly for the whole island called the Althing. The people of Iceland benefit from natural hot water, which is used to heat their homes. It is also used to heat greenhouses. In March 2006 the USA announced it was withdrawing its armed forces from Iceland. Then in 2008, Iceland suffered an economic crisis when its 3 main banks failed. In 2009 demonstrations led to the fall of the government.

Today Iceland still relies on fishing but there are many sheep, cattle, and Icelandic ponies. Iceland suffered badly in the world financial crisis that began in 2008 and unemployment rose to over 9%. However, Iceland soon recovered and unemployment fell. Today Iceland is a prosperous country with a high standard of living. Today the population of Iceland is 339,000.

Language (s) Written & Spoken

Icelandic, the official language of Iceland, is an Indo-European language of the North Germanic languages. The language is closely related to Faroese and Norwegian with minor differences resulting from Celtic influence in the ancient Icelandic literature.

Important Types of Commerce in Iceland

Some of the major industries in Iceland include tourism, fisheries, hydropower generation, agriculture, and manufacturing.

Language Services US and others will provide working with Iceland

The need for Icelandic translation services is rapidly increasing as the Icelandic economy recovers after the 2008 economic unsettlement.  This island nation has been closely related to several countries in the region. For doing business it is highly recommended to hire a professional translator for the Icelandic language. The logic behind this is clear — you can’t buy what you can’t understand. And though in English-speaking countries we often have the assumption that everyone around the world speaks English, this, in fact, is not necessarily the case.

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