5 issues to find out about Iceland


From its volcanoes and glaciers to its ardour for books, listed here are 5 issues to find out about Iceland, which votes in a presidential election on Saturday.

Land of ice…

An unlimited North Atlantic island of 103,000 sq. kilometres (virtually 40,000 sq. miles) nestled slightly below the Arctic Circle, Iceland is house to simply 365,000 individuals, making it probably the most sparsely populated nation in Western Europe.

Glaciers make up 11% of its floor, offering among the nation’s most dramatic landscapes. However local weather change is posing a menace, and previously decade the three largest glaciers have all receded virtually yearly. In August 2019, Iceland mounted a plaque to honour the passing of Okjokull, the nation’s first glacier misplaced to local weather change. Scientists say 400 others danger the identical destiny by 2200.

…and land of fireside

With the Mid-Atlantic Ridge slicing north-south throughout Iceland, the nation can be a extremely energetic geological zone, house to frequent earthquakes and energetic volcanoes that common one main eruption each 5 years. Probably the most well-known one in current reminiscence is that of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010, which despatched up a cloud of ash and smoke that paralysed air visitors for a month. The newest volcanic eruption dates again to 2014 when Bardarbunga within the south brought on Iceland’s largest lava movement in 200 years. Specialists have predicted the subglacial Grimsvotn volcano, one of many nation’s most energetic, might erupt quickly.

From Vikings to independence

The island was colonised 1,200 years in the past by Vikings and its language is taken into account to be that closest to Outdated Norse. Its parliament, the Althing, was based by a Viking meeting, making it the oldest parliament on the earth. For hundreds of years, Iceland was ruled by the union of Norway and Denmark, after which by Denmark alone as of 1814. Iceland solely gained independence in 1944, when Denmark was occupied by the Nazis. Iceland turned a parliamentary republic, with a largely ceremonial president and a authorities headed by a chief minister.

Fishing, tourism substitute ‘evil bankers’

Iceland has been a land of fishermen for hundreds of years and 6% of its gross home product comes from fisheries. The opposite pillar of its financial system is tourism, accounting for 8% of GDP, with two million vacationers final yr. Among the many world’s richest nations per capita, Iceland’s financial system crashed in the course of the 2008 monetary disaster. Its three largest banks collapsed, spelling the tip of the reign of Iceland’s finance tycoons.

Books and soccer

One in 10 Icelanders publishes a ebook over the course of their lifetime. With 83 libraries, the land of the Sagas — medieval literary masterpieces — is the nation that publishes probably the most new books per capita on the earth behind Britain, in accordance the Worldwide Publishers’ Affiliation.

One other “saga”, in trendy occasions: the nationwide soccer group’s sudden success. After years of losses, Iceland surprised everybody at Euro 2016 after they famously beat England to make it to the quarter-finals, and certified for the nation’s first ever World Cup in 2018.

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