Interesting Facts About Iceland

It was deserted for a long time

It may be impossible to know when Iceland was first discovered, as it has no indigenous population, but the oldest recorded discovery was made in 861 CE by a Viking named Naddod. Instead the coast of Iceland. It did not receive its name until years later, and settlements began to appear in 874 CE. This makes Iceland the second-to-last place on Earth to be inhabited by humans, with New Zealand being the last.

Its name is a bit confusing

Many note the oddity of Iceland's name, given its lush landscape, when it is compared to neighboring Greenland, which is actually very snowy. Some claim that it was either a gimmick to relocate more people to Greenland or to live away from their settlements in Iceland, depending on the story. However, in reality, the actual name of Greenland was Kalalit Nunat, which means "Land of the Peoples." The Vikings simply called it Greenland, because at the time of their first contact in the 980s, it was actually green. It was not until the 14th century that the Little Ice Age affected Europe, with temperatures dropping and forcing the Vikings to move out of their increasingly icy villages on land. As for Iceland, a Viking by the name of Harfna-Floki just saw a bunch of icebergs while climbing the mountain and thought the name was cool enough.

Icelanders don't have family names

Foreigners may be surprised to see entire families in Iceland, who can all have different surnames. This is because, rather than being a family name, Icelanders' last names are a combination of their father's first names and the Icelandic word for "son" or "daughter". For example, a child of a person named John would be given the last name "Johnson" or "Jonesdottir". Of course, with a population of only 366,000 and naming customs that make it easy, losing track of who is related can have dire consequences, which is why Icelanders avoid accidentally dating their cousins. Apps have been developed specifically to help you.

Most Icelanders Live in a City

Iceland is known for its natural beauty, but most of the population favors city life. An estimated 66% of Icelanders live in the capital city of Reykjavik, which was settled back in the 870s but was not officially established until 1786. It has a rich literary heritage (in fact, the entire country is well read, with one in 10 Icelanders even becoming writers!) and was home to Halldor Laxnes, who won the 1955 Nobel Prize for Literature.

It's a safe haven for political exiles

Iceland may have extradition treaties with several countries, but this does not always mean that they abide by it. Chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer, for example, became an American icon by defeating Boris Spassky at the 1972 World Championship in Reykjavik, as Spassky was from the USSR and Cold War tensions were high, but in a rematch with Spassky in Yugoslavia, he became an American icon. The presence violated the United Nations. The sanctions that were in force at the time, so the United States issued a warrant for his arrest. Fischer found sanctuary in Hungary and then the Philippines before being arrested in Japan, but was allowed to make his way to Iceland, which hosted him for the rest of his life. Many people in Iceland also called the NSA. expressed sympathy for Whistleblower Edward Snowden, although his citizenship application was officially denied in 2013.

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