Lyðveldið Ísland (Republic of Iceland)
  • Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


Scandinavia’s North Atlantic outpost was first settled by Irish monks in the early 9th century but migrants from Scandinavia and Norse settlements in the British Isles drove them out in 874. A ruling class of chieftains, known as the godar, established the first ever democratic national assembly, the Alþingi (Althing), in 930. Primarily an adjudicating body, it also served as a legislature and a fair. In 1000 it adopted Christianity by majority decision as Iceland’s official religion. Bishoprics were established at Skálholt in 1056 and at Hólar in 1106. In the mid-13th century the godar were persuaded to swear allegiance to the king of Norway, bringing Iceland under Norwegian rule but leaving it with relative autonomy. When Norway was joined with Denmark in 1380, Iceland retained the Althing and its own code of law.


Disablement Pension Saving Bank Fishing Vessel Sickness Benefit Environmental Sustainability Index 
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Further Reading

  1. Statistics Iceland, Landshagir (Statistical Yearbook of Iceland).—Hagtíðindi (Monthly Statistics)Google Scholar
  2. Central Bank of Iceland. Economic Statistics Quarterly.—The Economy of Iceland. May 1994Google Scholar
  3. Byock, Jesse, Viking Age Iceland. Penguin, London, 2001Google Scholar
  4. Hastrup, K., A Place Apart: An Anthropological Study of the Icelandic World. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1998Google Scholar
  5. Karlsson, G., The History of Iceland. Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2000Google Scholar
  6. Lacy, T., Ring of Seasons: Iceland—Its culture and history. University of Michigan Press, 1998CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. McBride F. R., Iceland. [Bibliography] 2nd ed. ABC-Clio, Oxford and Santa Barbara (CA), 1996Google Scholar
  8. Smiley, Jane, (ed.) The Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection. Penguin, London, 2002Google Scholar
  9. Turner, Barry, (ed.) Scandinavia Profiled. Macmillan, London, 2000Google Scholar
  10. National statistical office: Statistics Iceland, Bogartúni 21a, IS-150 Reykjavík.Google Scholar
  11. National library: Landsbókasafn Islands.—Háskólabókasafn, Reykjavík, Librarian: Sigrún Klara Hannesdóttir.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

There are no affiliations available

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