New and Regained, 5

Snippets about Iceland. I did not know:

Iceland lays claim to the world’s oldest legislative assembly, the Alþingi (anglicized as Althingi), which was established in the year 930. The Icelandic National Parliament (Alþingi Íslendinga) is a unicameral body currently representing seven distinct legislative groups: the Independence Party, the Left-Green Movement, the Social Democratic Alliance, the Progressive Party, the Reform Party, the Bright Future, and the Pirate Party.

In 1875, fallout from the Askja volcano of devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the following twenty-five years, twenty percent of the island’s population emigrated, mostly to Canada and the US. Denmark, which had ruled Iceland for centuries, granted limited home rule in 1874 and complete independence in 1944 (Icelandic independence day is June 17, 1944).

Substantial economic growth driven primarily by the fishing industry took place in the second half of the twentieth century. The economy diversified greatly after the country joined the European Economic Area in 1994, but Iceland was hit especially hard by the global financial crisis in the years following 2008. Literacy, longevity, and social cohesion are first rate by world standards.

For reasons I can’t quite pin down, I’ve had an interest in Iceland for quite some time. This morning, I’ve delved into learning a bit more about the country that holds an inexplicable appeal for me.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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