Skip to comments.A brief history of Iceland - Vanity
Posted on 12/08/2006 11:24:32 AM PST by Leifur
Here are the basics of the history of Iceland. With a special emphasis of US - Icelandic connections and the US military presence here and its end in this year, and the disillusionment of many Icelanders, specially on the right, because of this towards the US wich they have supported for long time.
874: Scandinavian/british isles vikings and their celtic slaves began settling the country.
930: Mostly settled, the Icelandic Free State was established, a governing system without a king or any executive branch whatsoever. A very individualistic system of governance, that ensured peace and prosperity here for 300 years. Its main body was the Althing, establised this year.
1000: Christianity established as state religion instead of Paganism. Due to pressure from the norweegian king, but was easy as propably the majority of the population where christians, that is the former celtic slaves. Most of their descendants had soon become subsistance farmers here as the system had quicly made slavery obsolete as a practical institution.
1264: We lost our independence to the Norweegians, because of a small civil war that the Norweegian King had fueled. Taxation due to the church was most likely instrumental in destabilising the system, creating rivaling chieftaining families.
?: The Kalmar Union between the Danish and Norway made us subjects to the Danish.
1550: The execution of Jón Arason (every Icelander can trace him as their ancestor) the last Chatholic bishop by the Danish established Lutherianism as state religion.
This was followed by ever more oppressive system of government aimed at making us a tax colony of Denmark, in wich the church was instrumental in destroying many cultural institutions. That hand in hand with worsened weather, and then many volcanic eruptions made us very few in numbers and poor.
Thus the current population can all trace their ancestors together in the 8th to 10th generation.
summor of 1809: Winds of change reach Iceland, a young Danish adventurer establishes a short lived republic here based on the ideals of the American and French revelutions. Was possible because of the countries isolation due to the Napolonic wars, but Denmark had become an ally of Denmark. The british sent a warship here, and arrested this man and sent him eventually to Australia and put danish control here back. But this brought new thinking to the country.
1830: Icelanders began effectively championing for Icelandic freedom, but not with weapons. The Icelandic Free State was romanticed and the idea was to reestablish it.
1845: We managed to make Althing (wich had run continously since 930 except for few years prior to this) a advisory body to the Danish King.
1874: Iceland got its own constitution and more freedom in commerce
1901: Home rule established.
1918. All but independence reached, as the Kingdom of Iceland, with the Danish king as head of state. The Danish were still though responsible for foreign affairs.
?: During WW2 the british establish a presence here after Denmark is overrun by the Germans. Later, six months prior to the attack of Pearl Harbor and the formal participation of the US in the WW2, the US reliefs the British here and become our protectors by establishing a military presence here. Shortly before the Normandy invasion there where ca as many military men here as there were male Icelanders, or about 70 thousand man.
1944: Iceland declares independence, but we had had de facto independence (under US protections) since the Germans overran Denmark.
1952: US establishes a cold war base here (and Iceland joins NATO even though we don´t have a military) after having left the country briefly (officially) since the end of WW2 (never completely though), with the support of the nationalistic right (as in independence nationalism/patriotism of those that sought for our independence), but this move split the formerly majority independence movement between the right wing Independence Party (wich I am a member of and is supported by about 35 to 40% of the nation) and those nationalists/patriots that loathed a foreign military presence here but they eventuelly migrated to the left and became the basis of the communist movement here.
This move split the nation in half and surged the support of leftwingers, and due to the socialistic influence our economy spiralled over the next forty years, although with brief relatively good years in between because of high prises of our main export, fish. There was huge inflation here in this time, measured in three numbers.
1992: Mr. Davíð Oddson the head of the Independence Party became Prime Minister. He liberalised the economy, privatised most state run industries and paid down nearly all of our foreign depts, wich were considerable. Our quality of life surged so today we are number 4 in the world of countries with the best quality of life.
2003: Iceland is part of the Coalition of the Willing. Just a week prior to the general election the US declare that they are going to move their airplanes from Iceland, but according to the defence treaty (established in ´52) they were responsible for the air defence of the country. Thankfully, Davíð Oddson, managed to prevent this information getting out and also managed to get this decision reverted, but it propably did not help in concentrating his efforts to the upcoming elections, in wich we reduced our majority.
2005: Davíð Oddson steps out of government, wich is though still run by the Independence Party and its coalition partner.
2006: The US moves its military presence away from the country in a sudden move, leaving us defenceless even though the defence treaty is formarly still in place. This disillusions many staunch supporters of the US here on the right, who had defended the US and its presence here during the whole Cold War, and the Iraqi and Afghan invasions. Specially how sudden this came, how we came to know about it and many other things, specially how unwelcome our moves of promising to pay for and gradually taking over many aspects of the defences here, by learning from and with the help of, the US in defending ourselves, wich we haven´t done for centuries.
2007: Iceland heads for general elections in the spring, but most projections predict that the current, long held coalition will lose its majority to the anti-american left, under the control of people who had championed against the US presence here during the Cold War and claimed that they were only here for their own gain, but not to protect us as, the right claimed and beliewed until their departure.
Iceland is though starting such agreements, first of European countries, with the Chinese:
Best wishes from Iceland, I am though still a staunch supporter of the US, even though that is not as general on the right as before,
Here is finally the answer to your question cloud, sorry for the time it took. It is part of a bigger post here.
The Althing is one of the oldest governments in the world.
My paternal grandfather was born in Iceland.
My kids also love Iceland because of
What does Iceland have in lieu of a military? A defense force (as is the case in Japan)?
How could Jon Arason, a [supposedly celibate] Catholic bishop, be everyone's ancestor? The late Renaissance and all that, but still...
There were many bishops of Rome who had children (out of wedlock, too).
Well, one bishop in the 10th century Germany [forgot his name] had 110 children - a record for a bishop. Only the Saudi kings have had more. Still, I gather that this one is supposedly a venerated figure.
When did that bit about the age of consent for sex being 14 go into effect?
My husband's grandparents were born there too. My father-in-law grew up in an Icelandic-speaking Lutheran church in Ballard/ Seattle ("it looks just like Norway/ Iceland.") Hey, we must be related...
Our stupid and evil politicians will not even defend our own southern border from an Mexican invasion of illegal immegrants and drug smugglers, so it is no surprise they won't defend Iceland. Socialism is a contagious mental illness -- I pray that we all survive.
> Here is finally the answer to your question cloud...
Thanks, and thanks for the post.
I don't know if I mentioned it, but my son served in the US Navy, and he was going to be stationed at Keflavik and quite excited about it too, as it was his first choice. But then they decided to close the base only a few months before his scheduled departure, and he ended up on the USS Enterprise, an aircraft carrier.
Good luck in next year's elections, but I'm afraid we all will have to endure a few years of European socialism.
With the Democrats once again thinking they are in charge of America, or making noises in that direction, it is unlikely we will have any resources to help.
Best bet is to learn Føroyskt ~ you can start here: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/faroese.htm
Thanks for the ping. I really hope that the left does not win your next election. Don't make the same mistake that we have. Many in the US still support a conservative government, but we are not in the majority. If our decisions cause the conservative government to fall in Iceland, that will be added to the unfortunate costs our decisions have created.
It is sad that the U.S. would backstab Iceland by suddenly removing it's forces in violation of an international treaty with Iceland. This is the type of action that gives the U.S. a very bad international reputation. It's doubly bad because Iceland did allie itself with the U.S. in the Iraq war. And now that the U.S. is gone, I've heard reports of Russian fighters and bombers ,with impunity, violating Icelandic airspace.
Don't know if it's an issue yet for Iceland, but if the left wins, be prepared for Europe's fate: ie. an overwhelming wave of Islamic nutjobs flooding into your country and attempting to subvert its institutions and culture.