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Settled by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930. Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by Norway and Denmark. Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter century, 20% of the island's population emigrated, mostly to Canada and the US. Limited home rule from Denmark was granted in 1874 and complete independence attained in 1944. Literacy, longevity, income, and social cohesion are first-rate by world standards.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 301,931 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Icelander(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Icelandic

Official Language(s): Icelandic

Major Languages Spoken: Danish, English, German, Icelandic

Map of Iceland

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Republic of Iceland

Country Name (short form): Iceland

Country Name (local long form): Lydveldid Island

Country Name (local short form): Island

Name of Capital: Reykjavik

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Iceland: Faroe Islands, Greenland

Land Area: 100250 sq km

Water Area: 2750 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly smaller than Kentucky

Coastline: 4,970 km

National Holiday: Independence Day, 17 June (1944)

International Phone Code: 354

Currency Code: Icelandic krona (ISK)

Internet Country Code: .is

US Embassy Location: Laufasvegur 21, 101 Reykjavik

US Embassy Mailing Address: US Department of State, 5640 Reykjavik Place, Washington, D.C. 20521-5640


Iceland flag

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