Reykjavík is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It is located on the southern shore of Faxa Bay, its latitude is 64°08' N, making it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state. With a population of around 128,793, it is the heart of Iceland's cultural and governmental activity, is a popular tourist destination. Reykjavík is believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland, according to Ingólfr Arnarson, was established in AD 874; until the 19th century, there was no urban development in the city location. The city was founded in 1786 as an official trading town and grew over the following decades, as it transformed into a regional and national centre of commerce and governmental activities, it is among the cleanest and safest cities in the world. The first permanent settlement in Iceland by Norsemen is believed to have been established at Reykjavík by Ingólfr Arnarson around AD 870. Ingólfur Arnarson is said to have decided the location of his settlement using a traditional Norse method.
The story about the pillars is dubious to many people. He settled near the hot springs to keep warm in the winter and would not have determined it by happenstance. Furthermore the probability of the pillars drifting to that location from where they were said to have been thrown from the boat seems improbable; that is what the Landnamabok says and says furthermore that Ingolf's pillars are still to be found in a house there in town. Steam from hot springs in the region is said to have inspired Reykjavík's name, which loosely translates to Smoke Cove. In the modern language, as in English, the word for'smoke' and the word for fog or steamy vapour are not confused but this is believed to have been the case in the old language; the original name was Reykjarvík with an additional "r" that had vanished around 1800. The Reykjavík area was farmland until the 18th century. In 1752, the King of Denmark, Frederik V, donated the estate of Reykjavík to the Innréttingar Corporation; the leader of this movement was Skúli Magnússon.
In the 1750s, several houses were built to house the wool industry, Reykjavík's most important employer for a few decades and the original reason for its existence. Other industries were undertaken by the Innréttingar, such as fisheries, sulphur mining and shipbuilding; the Danish Crown abolished monopoly trading in 1786 and granted six communities around the country an exclusive trading charter. Reykjavík was the only one to hold on to the charter permanently. 1786 is thus regarded as the date of the city's founding. Trading rights were limited to subjects of the Danish Crown, Danish traders continued to dominate trade in Iceland. Over the following decades, their business in Iceland expanded. After 1880, free trade was expanded to all nationalities, the influence of Icelandic merchants started to grow. Icelandic nationalist sentiment gained influence in the 19th century, the idea of Icelandic independence became widespread. Reykjavík, as Iceland's only city, was central to such ideas. Advocates of an independent Iceland realized that a strong Reykjavík was fundamental to that objective.
All the important events in the history of the independence struggle were important to Reykjavík as well. In 1845 Alþingi, the general assembly formed in 930 AD, was re-established in Reykjavík. At the time it functioned only as an advisory assembly; the location of Alþingi in Reykjavík established the city as the capital of Iceland. In 1874, Iceland was given a constitution; the next step was to move most of the executive power to Iceland: Home Rule was granted in 1904 when the office of Minister For Iceland was established in Reykjavík. The biggest step towards an independent Iceland was taken on 1 December 1918 when Iceland became a sovereign country under the Crown of Denmark, the Kingdom of Iceland. By the 1920s and 1930s most of the growing Icelandic fishing trawler fleet sailed from Reykjavík. On the morning of 10 May 1940, following the German occupation of Denmark and Norway on 9 April 1940, four British warships approached Reykjavík and anchored in the harbour. In a few hours, the allied occupation of Reykjavík was complete.
There was no armed resistance, taxi and truck drivers assisted the invasion force, which had no motor vehicles. The Icelandic government had received many requests from the British government to consent to the occupation, but it always declined on the basis of the Neutrality Policy. For the remaining years of World War II, British and American soldiers occupied camps in Reykjavík, the number of foreign soldiers in Reykjavík became about the same as the local population of the city; the Royal Regiment of Canada formed part of the garrison in Iceland during the early part of the war. The economic effects of the occupation were positive for Reykjavík: the unemployment of the Depression years va
Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 348,580 and an area of 103,000 km2, making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country being home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is geologically active; the interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields and glaciers, many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle, its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate. According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island. In the following centuries, to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls of Gaelic origin.
The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the Althing, one of the world's oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Following a period of civil strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century; the establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway and Sweden. Iceland thus followed Norway's integration into that union, coming under Danish rule after Sweden's secession from the union in 1523. Although the Danish kingdom introduced Lutheranism forcefully in 1550, Iceland remained a distant semi-colonial territory in which Danish institutions and infrastructures were conspicuous by their absence. In the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Iceland's struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918 and the founding of a republic in 1944; until the 20th century, Iceland relied on subsistence fishing and agriculture. Industrialisation of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity and Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world.
In 1994, it became a part of the European Economic Area, which further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance and manufacturing. Iceland has a market economy with low taxes, compared to other OECD countries, it maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. Iceland ranks high in economic, social stability, equality ranking first in the world by median wealth per adult. In 2018, it was ranked as the sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations' Human Development Index, it ranks first on the Global Peace Index. Iceland runs completely on renewable energy. Hit hard by the worldwide financial crisis, the nation's entire banking system systemically failed in October 2008, leading to a severe depression, substantial political unrest, the Icesave dispute, the institution of capital controls; some bankers were jailed. Since the economy has made a significant recovery, in large part due to a surge in tourism.
A law that took effect in 2018 makes it illegal in Iceland for women to be paid less than men. Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation's Scandinavian heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old West Norse and is related to Faroese and West Norwegian dialects; the country's cultural heritage includes traditional Icelandic cuisine, Icelandic literature, medieval sagas. Iceland has the smallest population of any NATO member and is the only one with no standing army, with a armed coast guard; the Sagas of Icelanders say that a Norwegian named Naddodd was the first Norseman to reach Iceland, in the 9th century he named it Snæland or "snow land" because it was snowing. Following Naddodd, the Swede Garðar Svavarsson arrived, so the island was called Garðarshólmur which means "Garðar's Isle". Came a Viking named Flóki Vilgerðarson; the sagas say that the rather despondent Flóki climbed a mountain and saw a fjord full of icebergs, which led him to give the island its new and present name.
The notion that Iceland's Viking settlers chose that name to discourage oversettlement of their verdant isle is a myth. According to both Landnámabók and Íslendingabók, monks known as the Papar lived in Iceland before Scandinavian settlers arrived members of a Hiberno-Scottish mission. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed the ruins of a cabin in Hafnir on the Reykjanes peninsula. Carbon dating indicates that it was abandoned sometime between 770 and 880. In 2016, archeologists uncovered a longhouse in Stöðvarfjörður, dated to as early as 800. Swedish Viking explorer Garðar Svavarsson was the first to circumnavigate Iceland in 870 and establish that it was an island, he built a house in Húsavík. Garðar departed the following summer but one of his men, Náttfari, decided to stay behind with two slaves. Náttfari settled in what is now known as Náttfaravík and he and his slaves became the first permanent residents of Iceland; the Norwegian-Norse chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson built his homestead in present-day Reykjavík in 874.
Ingólfr was followed by many other emigrant settlers Scandinavians and their thralls, many of whom were Irish or Scottish. By 930, most arable land on the island had been claimed. Lack of arable land al