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.
They ended up in Canada, north-west of Winnepeg, a Ukraine settlement. Where did you're go?
Well, why should I, as a resident of VA, pay for the defense of iceland? Nothing against you guys, but sheez. Can I keep even a fraction of my own money? Is iceland going to pay for my healthcare?
I thought this was Iceland's most culturally significant export.
Thanks allways, I hope you are right. You were right about, as in the post, that this sentence did not come out right, here it is as it is supposed to be:
summer 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 France. The british sent a warship here, and arrested this man and sent him eventually to Australia and established danish control here again. But this brought new thinking to the country, that resulted in what is purported in next section.
(I have nothing against Iceland, but a country without defence - is, well, defenseless).
Who is the hot chick?
Thank you both Doc and Rocky. You are absolutely correct Doc.
One of the sadest thing I saw was when the long time editor of the conservative newspaper Morgunblaðið (www.mbl.is or Morning Paper in english) was talking in television recently. His position as the editor of this videly distributed paper has often been likened to a capinet ministry in itself, his powers are that strong.
The paper has stauncly supported the US during the whole Cold War and longer, but here in the television, I saw a broken man. His words, and specially how he said it, showed such a severe disapointment I could not do anything else than pity this strong man.
The fact was that he did not beliewe any longer in what he had his whole life work championed for and support, the US and defending their presence here. He, like many, truly beliewed in the US, but he seemed to have lost his belief.
You planning on flying that Cessna off a carrier?
Nah, I can launch it off a barge.
Bjork is many things...Cultured and signifigant have nothing to do with them. ;-P
The Crap Parade is just begining.
Do as we are doing here. Buy a rifle, learn to use it (if you haven't already) and keep at least 1000 rnds on hand.
(...a urethral syringe used to treat syphilis with mercury.)
Ha! I remember that. A night with Venus and a month with Mercury.
The little girl in Lazy Town is an angel, but she's from New York, not Iceland.
1972: Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky in Reykjavik to become World Chess Champion, dealing a huge psychological blow to the Soviet Union at a critical point in the Cold War. ;)
You could fly in your sessna and we can not do anything to stop you, that is until you land propably. Our Coast Guard, wich is the closest we have to any defence force, have now two helicopters but we rushed to rent I think two more when these news came.
Of course I understand your position. Sadly many others do not, when I have purported this position to people I know people laugh and say that the US was here and in rest of Europe just for their own gain. You must understand that is the moral gain the left won, they allways said that we were beeing used, but the right allways maintained that the US were the good guys protecting little Iceland from the goodness of their souls, and of course we also had an obligation to help the US defending freedom, although this wiew was not the one most often used.
When the US left us like a used rag, the left won a moral victory in a fifty year old argument that has been raging in the nation all this time.
But as I said, I understand your position, the US has of course mostly responsibility toward themselves (despite the NATO and the Biletiral Icelandic-US treaty saying otherwise), but many of us beliewed (and knew during the Cold War) that as long as the US stayed a superpower, our interests would stay hand in hand, as Iceland is strategilly placed in an outer ring of defences for the US. And of course also because of our joint commitment to liberty and democracy.
What we don´t understand is how this decision was submitted to us (a low key diplomat calls our PM office), how the discussions about this was dragged until the US had nearly all but left, and why the haste.
I mean, the HAWK (www.bjorn.is) that controls our judgement ministry, and has for long time, but sadly to deaf ears, presented the view that we should either establish our own defence force or at least take more responsibilites for our own defences, had recently gained that ministry, having been for to long in a low key minister position. There he eventually had the power to make some steps towards this, and had f.e. offered to let the Coast Guard take over the helicopter service at the military base and when the news came increased that offer and others about taking more of the cost of running the base.
The thing is, if the US had not left in such a haste, we could have, without a fuss and without endangering our majority, little by little and with US help, taken over most of the projects of the base, learning how to do it, without the left beeing able to say, as they say now, that we don´t need any defences, and should cut all connections to foreign military alliences (i.e. NATO), that our defences should be becoming a peaceful nation without any defences, because militaries and defences are somehow evil in themselves and the reason for us becoming a target.
But as only 300 thousand we propably won´t be able to have our own military planes in the near future though.
Yes, of course, thank you.
And of course the meeting, whose anniversary was recently, where Reagan showed Gorbatshow of the Evil Soviet Empire, that they could not win the Cold War, and would have to give up for the forces of good.
About Ficsher, this was a truly historic event, though many don´t remember it any more. Icelanders have since been grateful to him for putting us on the map and of course we on the right to him for helping us in the moral and propaganda war against communism.
So much that Iceland gave him recently citichenship when in his diliriousness he had burned all bridges behind him. Here he stays I beliewe in an effective prison of an island, because he has or at least had trouble travelling abroad.
Maybe it was though done because the US government wanted us to help them get rid of that problem of a man. And it also helped in the last elections when the right was purported by the left as on an american leash to do something that seemed to be against US will, although a only simbolic move. Hopefully that was though not one of the reasons the US military left!!
I can´t agree with you more. Of course we have all these international cooperations between political parties, but these are inefective organisations, f.e. I beliewe the US Republicans and US Democrats are in the same global movement, because they are both essentially on the right in global perspective.
But I know many of us in the right are intrigued by the conservative revival in the US, although it lays low (our media has purported is as a great evil). I for example have been buying a lot of books from the US to try to understand the conservative movement (wich I of course understands more than many because of my stauncly christian upbringing). Those are very interesting to say the least.
But most of the right in Iceland, at least the young with the ideas are more libertarian than conservative. Or if conservative, somekind of Red Torie conservatism of big government but/and surrender to liberalism in social matter.
But I know of some, including I myself, that would like more of such connections. These discussions and the exchange of ideas has been possible because of the internet (the official media has not helped), but that is of course limited somewhat.
F.e. I would like to know about good books about conservatism and resources to know more about it, the US version and other. So if anyone knows about any good books or such I should read, pleace let me know. I am though also rather libertarian in many ways and have trouble with things like democracy trumping the individual. But my opinions are still molding, I am young :).
What resident of Iceland has ever paid $1200 to defend themself, via a military? Pony it up, and we will rethink.
I am not offended, this idea has sometimes be set forth here, at least in some circles. I am a little bit honoured ;). I would though be against it personally, for the same reason I am against the EU, I beliewe in local control, and although the US is contrary to the EU far less centrally controlled, we would loose lot of our powers.
We have often said in the debate here about the EU and US, when the Europeansists/Social Democrats have said that now we don´t have an independent foreign policy, that we just follow the US blindly, that it is not true.
But privately we have said that if true, it would be better to control everything about our own matters except part of our foreign policy by the current (or the used to be) connection to the US, than not controling anything like if part of Europeland.
But having to choose between the US or EU I would choose the US any day. Sadly we would loose the establishment of Christianity here as the mainstream religion (having allready lost it as such de facto) officially, because of the separation of church and state in the US. And other things, like abortions beeing possible to late in the pregnancy (now it is to third month) am I not right? But most of all it would not be good for the preservation of what is left of our culture and specially the language.
But more connections, specially free trade agreements, like the US had promised us during the discussions when the US was leaving, but seems to be backing out because some silly reservation against our usage of our natural resources (this happening prior to your elections), like whaling.
As I said, we should establish our own defences, and pay for themselves. But what we would have liked is the help of the US towards establishing them, both morally and with its experteese.
Because of this US decision it seems our defences will be not having any, like the left is saying. Yes it is as ridicules as it sounds.
But we could have established them if it had been done gradually, in effect that when the decision must have been made officially we would allready have it in place.
Now that we have none, the argument that we don´t need any is stronger.
Despite this opinion of mine I understand Rumsfeld´s purposes of making the US military a leaner, meaner fighting force and reforming its Cold War status. I just wish more European countries would do the same and take up the banner for the defence of the West. Sadly Iceland will propably never now have the means to do it, although we have been trying like you can see on my webpage.