Björk Guðmundsdóttir is an Icelandic singer, composer, record producer, DJ. Over her four-decade career, she has developed an eclectic musical style that draws on a range of influences and genres spanning electronic, experimental, trip hop, IDM, avant-garde music. Born and raised in Reykjavík, she began her music career at age 11 and first gained international recognition as the lead singer of the alternative rock band the Sugarcubes, whose 1987 single "Birthday" was a hit on US and UK indie stations and a favourite among music critics. After the band's breakup, Björk embarked on a solo career in 1993, coming to prominence as a solo artist with albums such as Debut and Homogenic, while collaborating with a range of artists and exploring a variety of multimedia projects. Several of Björk's albums have reached the top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart, the most recent being Vulnicura. Björk has had 31 singles reach the top 40 on pop charts around the world, with 22 top 40 hits in the UK, including the top 10 hits "It's Oh So Quiet", "Army of Me", "Hyperballad".
She is reported to have sold between 20 and 40 million records worldwide as of 2015. She has won the 2010 Polar Music Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in recognition of her "deeply personal music and lyrics, her precise arrangements and her unique voice." Björk was included in Time's 2015 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. She was ranked both sixtieth and eighty-first in Rolling Stone's 100 greatest singers and songwriters lists respectively. Björk won five BRIT Awards, has been nominated for 15 Grammy Awards. Outside her music career, Björk starred in the 2000 Lars von Trier film Dancer in the Dark, for which she won the Best Actress Award at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, was nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Song for "I've Seen It All", her 2011 album Biophillia was marketed as an interactive app album with its own education program. Björk has been an advocate for environmental causes in her home country Iceland. A full-scale retrospective exhibition dedicated to Björk was held at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 2015.
Björk was born on 21 November 1965 in Reykjavík. Björk's mother is activist Hildur Rúna Hauksdóttir, who protested against the development of Iceland's Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Plant. Björk's father is a union leader and electrician, they divorced when Björk was born and she moved with her mother to a commune. Her stepfather is a former guitarist in a band called Pops. At six, Björk enrolled at Reykjavík school Barnamúsíkskóli, where she studied classical piano and flute. After a school recital in which Björk sang Tina Charles' 1976 hit "I Love to Love", her teachers sent a recording of her singing the song to the RÚV radio station – Iceland's only radio station; the recording was nationally broadcast and, after hearing it, a representative of the Fálkinn record label offered Björk a recording contract. Her self-titled début, Björk, was recorded and released in Iceland in December 1977 when she was 11 years old. During her teens, after the diffusion of punk rock music in Iceland, she formed the all-girl punk band Spit and Snot.
A year in 1980, she formed a jazz fusion group called Exodus and collaborated in another group called JAM80. During the same year she graduated from music school. In 1982, she and bassist Jakob Magnússon formed another group, Tappi Tíkarrass, released EP Bitið fast í vitið, in August 1982, their album Miranda was released in December 1983. The group was featured in the documentary Rokk í Reykjavík, with Björk being featured on the cover of the VHS release. Around this time, Björk met guitarist Þór Eldon and surrealist group Medusa, which included poet Sjón, with whom she started a lifelong collaboration and formed a small group called Rokka Rokka Drum. Björk appeared as a featured artist on "Afi", a track from the Björgvin Gíslason 1983 record Örugglega. Due to the imminent discontinuance of radio show Áfangar, two radio personalities, Ásmundur Jónsson and Guðni Rúnar, called out to musicians to play on a last live radio show. Björk joined with Einar Melax, Einar Örn Benediktsson, Guðlaugur Kristinn Óttarsson and Sigtryggur Baldursson, Birgir Mogensen to perform on the concert.
The group developed a gothic rock sound. During this experience, Björk began to develop her vocalisation -- punctuated by shrieks; the project performed as Gott kvöld during the concert but decided to keep playing together as a group and they used the name Kukl. Björk's acquaintance gave the group their studio to record in and released their first single in 1983, their first big performance was at a festival in Iceland, headlined by English anarchist punk band Crass, whose record label, Crass Records offered the band a record deal. The Eye was released in 1984 and was followed by a two-month tour in Europe, which included a performance at Roskilde Festival in Denmark, making Kukl the first Icelandic band to play at the festival. During this period Björk published a hand-coloured book of poems. Um Úrnat frá Björk was distributed in 1984. In 1985, Björk continued touring with Kukl, their second album, called Holidays in Europe, came out in 1986. The band split up due to personal conflict, with Björk keeping a collaboration with Óttarsson, named The Elgar Sisters.
Some of the songs they recorded ended up as B-sides to Björk solo singles. I
An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc, audio tape, or another medium. Albums of recorded music were developed in the early 20th century as individual 78-rpm records collected in a bound book resembling a photograph album. Vinyl LPs are still issued, though album sales in the 21st-century have focused on CD and MP3 formats; the audio cassette was a format used alongside vinyl from the 1970s into the first decade of the 2000s. An album may be recorded in a recording studio, in a concert venue, at home, in the field, or a mix of places; the time frame for recording an album varies between a few hours to several years. This process requires several takes with different parts recorded separately, brought or "mixed" together. Recordings that are done in one take without overdubbing are termed "live" when done in a studio. Studios are built to absorb sound, eliminating reverberation, so as to assist in mixing different takes. Recordings, including live, may contain sound effects, voice adjustments, etc..
With modern recording technology, musicians can be recorded in separate rooms or at separate times while listening to the other parts using headphones. Album covers and liner notes are used, sometimes additional information is provided, such as analysis of the recording, lyrics or librettos; the term "album" was applied to a collection of various items housed in a book format. In musical usage the word was used for collections of short pieces of printed music from the early nineteenth century. Collections of related 78rpm records were bundled in book-like albums; when long-playing records were introduced, a collection of pieces on a single record was called an album. An album, in ancient Rome, was a board chalked or painted white, on which decrees and other public notices were inscribed in black, it was from this that in medieval and modern times album came to denote a book of blank pages in which verses, sketches and the like are collected. Which in turn led to the modern meaning of an album as a collection of audio recordings issued as a single item.
In the early nineteenth century "album" was used in the titles of some classical music sets, such as Schumann's Album for the Young Opus 68, a set of 43 short pieces. When 78rpm records came out, the popular 10-inch disc could only hold about three minutes of sound per side, so all popular recordings were limited to around three minutes in length. Classical-music and spoken-word items were released on the longer 12-inch 78s, about 4–5 minutes per side. For example, in 1924, George Gershwin recorded a drastically shortened version of the seventeen-minute Rhapsody in Blue with Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, it ran for 8m 59s. Deutsche Grammophon had produced an album for its complete recording of the opera Carmen in 1908. German record company Odeon released the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky in 1909 on 4 double-sided discs in a specially designed package; this practice of issuing albums does not seem to have been taken up by other record companies for many years. By about 1910, bound collections of empty sleeves with a paperboard or leather cover, similar to a photograph album, were sold as record albums that customers could use to store their records.
These albums came in both 12-inch sizes. The covers of these bound books were wider and taller than the records inside, allowing the record album to be placed on a shelf upright, like a book, suspending the fragile records above the shelf and protecting them. In the 1930s, record companies began issuing collections of 78 rpm records by one performer or of one type of music in specially assembled albums with artwork on the front cover and liner notes on the back or inside cover. Most albums included three or four records, with two sides each, making six or eight compositions per album; the 12-inch LP record, or 33 1⁄3 rpm microgroove vinyl record, is a gramophone record format introduced by Columbia Records in 1948. A single LP record had the same or similar number of tunes as a typical album of 78s, it was adopted by the record industry as a standard format for the "album". Apart from minor refinements and the important addition of stereophonic sound capability, it has remained the standard format for vinyl albums.
The term "album" was extended to other recording media such as Compact audio cassette, compact disc, MiniDisc, digital albums, as they were introduced. As part of a trend of shifting sales in the music industry, some observers feel that the early 21st century experienced the death of the album. While an album may contain as many or as few tracks as required, in the United States, The Recording Academy's rules for Grammy Awards state that an album must comprise a minimum total playing time of 15 minutes with at least five distinct tracks or a minimum total playing time of 30 minutes with no minimum track requirement. In the United Kingdom, the criteria for the UK Albums Chart is that a recording counts as an "album" i
Post-punk is a broad type of rock music that emerged from the punk movement of the 1970s, in which artists departed from the simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock to adopt a variety of avant-garde sensibilities and diverse influences. Inspired by punk's energy and DIY ethic but determined to break from rock cliches, artists experimented with sources including electronic music and black styles like dub, free jazz, disco. Communities that produced independent record labels, visual art, multimedia performances and fanzines developed around these pioneering musical scenes, which coalesced in cities such as London, New York, Melbourne and San Francisco; the early post-punk vanguard was represented by groups such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Public Image Ltd, the Pop Group, Cabaret Voltaire, Pere Ubu, Gang of Four, Joy Division, Talking Heads, Throbbing Gristle, the Slits, the Cure, the Fall, Au Pairs. The movement was related to the development of ancillary genres such as gothic rock, neo-psychedelia, no wave, industrial music.
By the mid-1980s, post-punk had dissipated while providing the impetus for the New Pop movement as well much subsequent alternative and independent music. Post-punk is a diverse genre. Called "new musick", the terms were first used by various writers in the late 1970s to describe groups moving beyond punk's garage rock template and into disparate areas. Sounds writer Jon Savage used "post-punk" in early 1978. NME writer Paul Morley stated that he had "possibly" invented the term himself. At the time, there was a feeling of renewed excitement regarding what the word would entail, with Sounds publishing numerous preemptive editorials on new musick. Towards the end of the decade, some journalists used "art punk" as a pejorative for garage rock-derived acts deemed too sophisticated and out of step with punk's dogma. Before the early 1980s, many groups now categorized as "post-punk" were subsumed under the broad umbrella of "new wave", with the terms being deployed interchangeably. "Post-punk" became differentiated from "new wave".
Nicholas Lezard described the term "post-punk" as "so multifarious that only the broadest use... is possible". Subsequent discourse has failed to clarify whether contemporary music journals and fanzines conventionally understood "post-punk" the way that it was discussed in years. Music historian Clinton Heylin places the "true starting-point for English post-punk" somewhere between August 1977 and May 1978, with the arrival of guitarist John McKay in Siouxsie and the Banshees in July 1977, Magazine's first album, Wire's new musical direction in 1978 and the formation of Public Image Ltd. Simon Reynolds' 2005 book Rip It Up and Start Again is referenced as post-punk doctrine, although he has stated that the book only covers aspects of post-punk that he had a personal inclination toward. Wilkinson characterized Reynolds' readings as "apparent revisionism and'rebranding'". Author/musician Alex Ogg criticized: "The problem is not with what Reynolds left out of Rip It Up... but, that too much was left in".
Ogg suggested that post-punk pertains to a set of artistic sensibilities and approaches rather than any unifying style, disputed the accuracy of the term's chronological prefix "post", as various groups labeled "post-punk" predate the punk rock movement. Reynolds defined the post-punk era as occurring between 1978 and 1984, he advocated that post-punk be conceived as "less a genre of music than a space of possibility", suggesting that "what unites all this activity is a set of open-ended imperatives: innovation. AllMusic employs "post-punk" to denote "a more adventurous and arty form of punk". Many post-punk artists were inspired by punk's DIY ethic and energy, but became disillusioned with the style and movement, feeling that it had fallen into a commercial formula, rock convention, self-parody, they repudiated its populist claims to accessibility and raw simplicity, instead of seeing an opportunity to break with musical tradition, subvert commonplaces and challenge audiences. Artists moved beyond punk's focus on the concerns of a white, working-class population and abandoned its continued reliance on established rock and roll tropes, such as three-chord progressions and Chuck Berry-based guitar riffs.
These artists instead defined punk as "an imperative to constant change", believing that "radical content demands radical form". Though the music varied between regions and artists, the post-punk movement has been characterized by its "conceptual assault" on rock conventions and rejection of aesthetics perceived of as traditionalist, hegemonic or rockist in favor of experimentation with production techniques and non-rock musical styles such as dub, electronic music, noise, free jazz, world music, the avant-garde; some previous musical styles served as touchstones for the movement, including particular brands of krautrock, art rock, art pop and other music from the 1960s. Artists once again approached the studio as an instrument, using new recording methods and pursuing novel sonic territories. Author Matthew Bannister wrote that post-punk artists rejected the high cultural references of 1960s rock artists like the Beatles and Bob Dylan as well as paradigms that defined "rock as progressive, as art, as'sterile' studio perfectionism... by adopting an avant-garde aesth
A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Academics have argued that categorizing music by genre is inaccurate and outdated. Music can be divided into different genres in many different ways; the artistic nature of music means that these classifications are subjective and controversial, some genres may overlap. There are varying academic definitions of the term genre itself. In his book Form in Tonal Music, Douglass M. Green distinguishes between form, he lists madrigal, canzona and dance as examples of genres from the Renaissance period. To further clarify the meaning of genre, Green writes, "Beethoven's Op. 61 and Mendelssohn's Op. 64 are identical in genre – both are violin concertos – but different in form. However, Mozart's Rondo for Piano, K. 511, the Agnus Dei from his Mass, K. 317 are quite different in genre but happen to be similar in form."
Some, like Peter van der Merwe, treat the terms genre and style as the same, saying that genre should be defined as pieces of music that share a certain style or "basic musical language." Others, such as Allan F. Moore, state that genre and style are two separate terms, that secondary characteristics such as subject matter can differentiate between genres. A music genre or subgenre may be defined by the musical techniques, the style, the cultural context, the content and spirit of the themes. Geographical origin is sometimes used to identify a music genre, though a single geographical category will include a wide variety of subgenres. Timothy Laurie argues that since the early 1980s, "genre has graduated from being a subset of popular music studies to being an ubiquitous framework for constituting and evaluating musical research objects". Among the criteria used to classify musical genres are the trichotomy of art and traditional musics. Alternatively, music can be divided on three variables: arousal and depth.
Arousal reflects the energy level of the music. These three variables help explain why many people like similar songs from different traditionally segregated genres. Musicologists have sometimes classified music according to a trichotomic distinction such as Philip Tagg's "axiomatic triangle consisting of'folk','art' and'popular' musics", he explains that each of these three is distinguishable from the others according to certain criteria. The term art music refers to classical traditions, including both contemporary and historical classical music forms. Art music exists in many parts of the world, it emphasizes formal styles that invite technical and detailed deconstruction and criticism, demand focused attention from the listener. In Western practice, art music is considered a written musical tradition, preserved in some form of music notation rather than being transmitted orally, by rote, or in recordings, as popular and traditional music are. Most western art music has been written down using the standard forms of music notation that evolved in Europe, beginning well before the Renaissance and reaching its maturity in the Romantic period.
The identity of a "work" or "piece" of art music is defined by the notated version rather than by a particular performance, is associated with the composer rather than the performer. This is so in the case of western classical music. Art music may include certain forms of jazz, though some feel that jazz is a form of popular music. Sacred Christian music forms an important part of the classical music tradition and repertoire, but can be considered to have an identity of its own; the term popular music refers to any musical style accessible to the general public and disseminated by the mass media. Musicologist and popular music specialist Philip Tagg defined the notion in the light of sociocultural and economical aspects: Popular music, unlike art music, is conceived for mass distribution to large and socioculturally heterogeneous groups of listeners and distributed in non-written form, only possible in an industrial monetary economy where it becomes a commodity and in capitalist societies, subject to the laws of'free' enterprise... it should ideally sell as much as possible.
Popular music is found on most commercial and public service radio stations, in most commercial music retailers and department stores, in movie and television soundtracks. It is noted on the Billboard charts and, in addition to singer-songwriters and composers, it involves music producers more than other genres do; the distinction between classical and popular music has sometimes been blurred in marginal areas such as minimalist music and light classics. Background music for films/movies draws on both traditions. In this respect, music is like fiction, which draws a distinction between literary fiction and popular fiction, not always precise. Country music known as country and western, hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s; the polka is a Czech dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and particular
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
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