Iceland - Unravel the Mystique of the Land of Fire and Ice
Iceland is a European island and country located in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Greenland, neighboring the Scandinavian countries, and northwest of Great Britain. Iceland is surrounded by the Arctic Ocean from the north. It is a nation established on a volcanic island in the North Atlantic and consists of several smaller islands around it. Its closest neighbor is Greenland, about 350 km away. Norway is another neighboring country, approximately 1050 km away, and Scotland is 800 km away. The population of Iceland is 358,780 people, and it covers an area of 103,000 square kilometers, making it the most densely populated country in the world. Reykjavik, its capital, and its surrounding areas are home to more than two-thirds of the population in the southwestern part of the country. Reykjavik is considered the northernmost capital in the world.
Iceland is not an official part of the European Union geographically as it is not located on the European continent. However, it can be considered culturally European. Iceland is a member of the European Free Trade Association and four European countries outside the European Union. It is also part of the European Economic Area. Iceland is a member of the Nordic Passport Union and the Schengen Area under the European Union law as a non-voting participant. The Icelandic culture has been built on the Scandinavian heritage of the country. Most of the people are descendants of Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, Irish, and German settlers. The Icelandic language, a North Germanic language, is a native language derived from Old Norse and closely related to the Western Norwegian dialects. The country's cultural heritage includes traditional Icelandic cuisine, Icelandic literature, and medieval sagas.
Iceland is the only member state with a population smaller than other NATO members and does not possess armed forces. The Icelandic Coast Guard is responsible for defense.
Naming and History:
Iceland was discovered by the Norwegians in 861, and the Vikings from Norway settled there in the ninth and tenth centuries. The leaders of these societies united to form Althing, which can be considered one of the first parliaments in 930. The island, which lost its independence due to internal conflicts, fell under Norwegian rule in 1262. In the fourteenth century, with Norway annexed to Denmark, it came under Danish rule. Denmark made commercial use of the island. Later, Iceland was ruled entirely by Denmark. Icelanders who accepted Protestantism in a referendum in 1551 pledged allegiance to the Danish king in 1662. In the seventeenth century, diseases, famines, and volcanic eruptions devastated the island. In 1838, a council with ten members was established in Reykjavik. In 1843, Althing was reestablished. In 1904, Iceland was granted home rule outside of diplomacy.
As a result of the nationalist movements that emerged in the nineteenth century, Iceland became a subordinate state to Denmark in 1918. During World War II, it was occupied by Britain to protect its strategic value. The Americans later took over in 1941, and in 1941 Althing decided to sever ties with Denmark. After the referendum on the new constitution, which was presented to the public in May 1944, the republic was proclaimed on June 17. Iceland became a member of NATO in 1949. It is the only country without an army but is a member of NATO. On June 17, 1944, the United States was the first country to recognize Iceland.
The President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and the Secretary-General of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, held a summit meeting in Reykjavik on October 11 and 12, 1986, where negotiations on nuclear arms reduction began.
Iceland's climate is not extremely cold given its latitude. While the lowest recorded temperature in the country is -39 degrees, the highest recorded temperature in 2009 was 29 degrees. The island is influenced by the Gulf Stream, resulting in cool and wet summers. The winters are mild. The average temperature around the capital, Reykjavik, is around -1 degrees Celsius in winter and +11 degrees Celsius in summer. However, the northern regions are cooler, with an average temperature of about -8 degrees Celsius in winter. In the northern part, in June, the sun does not set for 18 days. The average precipitation is 865 mm around the capital and 1710 mm in the southeast.
Official Language: Icelandic
Currency: Icelandic Krona
Area: 103,001 square kilometers
Establishment Date: December 1, 1918
Date of Republic Declaration: June 17, 1944
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