- Iceland is a large volcanic island in the North Atlantic Ocean that was thought by many scholars to have been reached first by monks from Ireland in the eighth century. It was certainly reached and taken by Vikings in the ninth century under whom Iceland established the Althing, the oldest continuous parliament in the world. Along with Greenland and the Faeroe Islands, Iceland became a Danish possession after Denmark ’s conquest of Norway in 1380. As a consequence of volcanic eruptions, disease, and neglect, Iceland atrophied as a colony until the eighteenth century, when cottage industries and fishing began to flourish. As of 1854, Iceland became a free trade area. Nineteenth-century change in Denmark also brought reform to Iceland. The Althing was reestablished in 1843, and a constitution provided for limited Home Rule in 1874. Iceland became autonomous in 1918 but did not sever its ties to the Danish crown until 1944.FURTHER READING:Gjerset, Knut. History of Iceland. New York: Macmillan, 1924;Hjálmarsson, Jón R. History of Iceland, From the Settlement to the Present Day. Reykjavik: Iceland Review, 1993.CARL CAVANAGH HODGE
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.