Iceland .:. history
Iceland remained uninhabited far longer than most habitable places on the earth. The first people believed to have settled in Iceland were Irish monks who came in the eight century AD. They left, however, when the Vikings from Norway started to seek freedom from Norway´s oppressive king Haraldur Hárfagri and began to settle in Iceland 874, with the arrival of Ingólfur Arnarson who is the man who is known, as the first permanent settler In Iceland, he made is home in Reykjavík (which is the capitol of Iceland). The settlement ends in 930 when the Icelanders founded the Alţingi, the supreme general assembly. (Which is building today on the three authorities: executive power, legislative power judiciary power. But on that time the Icelandic government needed executive power and for three centuries the Icelandic government was weak, no king ruled the country, and no power existed to keep the peace, no army or police to protect the law in the country. In those three centuries there were always some battles between the five major clans in Iceland which were: Haukdćlir, Ásbirningar, Sturlungar, Oddverjar og Svínfellingar. All of them wanted to rule the country.
The year 1217 King Hakon hinn gamli( King Harold the old) got the throne of Norway. His goal was to gain control of all lands around the North Atlantic inhabited by Norse people. After lot of attempts King Harold finally got Iceland under his kingdom with Gissurarsáttmála 1262-1264 and the year 1380 we got under the Danish control which we were stuck in for 560 years.
In 999 or 1000 it was decided on Alţingi that Christianity would be the religion In Iceland. On that time this was a difficult decision to make and the parliament were split up to two groups, heathen (which is the religion of the Vikings) and Christian. So finally they (völdu) Christianity and that religion is still the main religion in Iceland.
Like in so many other Christian nations in Europe we started to read Latin script and used it to write books on vellum in the middle Ages. So we often call the 13th. Century the (blooming) time in Icelandic literature history. On that time jewels like Egilssaga, Njálssaga and Gíslasaga Súrssonar were written. Those books are about Vikings who are heroes fighting against there destinies. Written and prose form, the sagas, employ a narrative technique reminiscent of the modern novel. Events are staged, characters speak in direct speech, and their external behaviour, rarely by direct description. The Sagas of Icelanders are the largest category of sagas, numbering about 40, in addition stories. No author of an Icelandic saga is identified by name, but scholars have attempted to find some of the authors among the chieftains of the 13th century.
It is not until the 13th and 14th century that fish export starts to be a buisness in Iceland. The Icelanders started going in to this buisness because of the demand from the cities on the mainland of Europe. The Icelanders used hand lines, and open rowing boats, often with sails to use in favourable winds. With the ship technique that we have gained by centuries fishing export is still today the export number one in Iceland. And we have fought well for the right over our fishing territory. We have fought most with the British because they have always thought that our territorial waters were open for everybody. But we finally won the battle, 1972 when the United Nations agreed to expand out territorial waters to 200 miles.
In the 15th century it starts to heat up between religious groups in Iceland, Few are killed, for example Jón Arason bishop, he was not ready to accept the new religion which was called Luther religion. After his death Luther became the main religion in Iceland and has been that since than.
The 16th and 17th centuries we are still being kept down with Danish chains. This was a time when the fear of eternal damnation was the churches principal means of ensuring good behaviour. The church was the most powerful institution in Iceland and it used it's powers to get the nation to witch hunt, which led 25 innocent people to be burned at the stake in Iceland. These ages are often called the dark ages. Because it was time of prosperity and fear.
The 18th - 20th century is a very important time in our history because of our quick development. We started to develop our fishing technique, which our economic system is literally based on today. The Icelandic nation began to educate. We started to go abroad to get better education. With this knowledge the school system in Iceland started to grow and people began to think and plan the nation independence. A man called Jón Sigurđsson began a battle with the Danish for our independence, a battle that was fought for many decades until we finally got our freedom in the year 1944.
When we started to think about independence we started to think about democracy and that let to more rights for women in Iceland and union movements began to work. Therefore
Today we are a free country; we have got a population of 282.845 (Dec. 2000). Population density: 2.7 per square kilometre and we are a member of many international organisations as the United Nations and its agencies, European Economic Area, NATO, The Council of Europe, OECD, EFTA, WTO and the Nordic Council. We have a President (Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson) and a parliament running the country we also have a pretty stable economic system. The education system is very good and we have a literature of 99%. Therefore we look at our self as an independent welfare system.