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Iceland was first inhabited in the late 9th and 10th centuries. The main peoples to move to the island were the Norse and in 930 C.E. Following the creation of its constitution, Iceland was independent until 1262. In that year it signed a treaty which created a union between it and Norway. Norway and Denmark created a union in the 14th Century, and Iceland became part of Denmark.

In 1874, Denmark gave Iceland some limited independent ruling powers, and in 1904, this independence was expanded. In 1918, the Act of Union was signed with Denmark which officially made Iceland an autonomous nation that was united with Denmark. Iceland was occupied by the Germans in World War 11, but was liberated by the British, and in 1941 the United States took over the defense of the island. They are now part of NATO, with close ties to the United States.

Iceland features a strong social-market economy typical of Scandinavian countries. This means its economy is both capitalistic with free-market principles but it also has a large welfare system for its citizens. Iceland’s main industries are fish processing, aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production, geothermal power and hydropower. Tourism is also a growing industry in the country and the associated service-sector jobs are growing. In addition, despite its high latitude Iceland has a relatively mild climate due to the Gulf Stream which allows its people to practice agriculture in the fertile coastal regions. The largest agricultural industries in Iceland are potatoes and green vegetables. Mutton, chicken, pork, beef, dairy products and fishing also contribute considerably to the economy.

Iceland has a varied topography but it is one of the most volcanic regions in the world. Because of this, Iceland has a rugged landscape dotted with hot springs, sulphur beds, geysers, lava fields, canyons and waterfalls. There are approximately 200 volcanoes in Iceland and most of them are active.

The interior portion of Iceland is mostly an elevated plateau with small areas of forest but little land suitable for agriculture. In the north however, there are extensive grasslands which are used by grazing animals such as sheep and cattle. Most of Iceland’s agriculture is practiced along the coast.

Iceland

The world is at your feet, with an average of three hours walking a day in some of the most beautiful parts of Iceland and with some longer hikes for three of your days on this walking tour. Some of the highlights include visiting the two National Parks of √ěingvellir and Vatnaj√∂kull, the wonders of […]

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