Tuesday, April 23, 2013

SCUBA Diving in Iceland~ (Part 1 of 2 ) [Silfra & Strytan] "Land of Extremes"

Uploaded on Oct 4, 2011
Iceland was an extraordinary country with so much to see and do. Both above and below the water. This is part one of a two part video featuring some of the incredible sites around the island country.

Iceland Listeni/ˈslənd/ (Icelandic: Ísland, IPA: [ˈislant])[4] is a Nordic European island country situated at the confluence of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.[5] The country has a population of about 320,000 and a total area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), which makes it the most sparsely populated country in Europe.[6]

The capital and largest city is Reykjavík,[7] with the surrounding areas in the southwestern region of the country being home to two-thirds of the country's population. The nation's capital is the most northern capital in the world. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active.

The interior consists mainly of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains and glaciers, while many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle.

According to Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in AD 874 when the chieftain Ingólfur Arnarson became the first permanent Norse settler on the island.[8]

Others had visited the island earlier and stayed over winter. Over the following centuries, Norsemen settled Iceland, bringing with them thralls of Gaelic origin. From 1262 to 1918, Iceland was part of the Norwegian and later the Danish monarchies.

The country became independent in 1918 and a republic was declared in 1944. Until the 20th century, the Icelandic population relied largely on fishing and agriculture, and the country was one of the poorest and least developed in the world.

Industrialization of the fisheries and aid from the Marshall Plan brought prosperity in the years after World War II, and by the 1990s, Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. In 1994, Iceland became party to the European Economic Area, which made it possible for the economy to diversify into economic and financial services.

Iceland has a free-market economy with relatively low corporate taxes compared to other OECD countries,[9] while maintaining a Nordic welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens.[10]

In 2013, it was ranked as the 13th most developed country in the world by the United Nations' Human Development Index,[3] and the fourth most productive country per capita.[11] In 2008, the nation's entire banking system systemically failed, resulting in substantial political unrest.

 Iceland ranks high in economic and political stability, though it is still in the process of recovering from the crisis.[12] Gender equality is highly valued in Iceland. In the Global Gender Gap Report 2012, Iceland holds the top spot, closely followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden.[13]

Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation's Norse heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Norse and Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old Norse and is closely related to Faroese and some West Norwegian dialects.

The country's cultural heritage includes traditional Icelandic cuisine, poetry, and the medieval Icelanders' sagas. Among NATO members, Iceland has the smallest population and is the only one with no standing army.

Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: Lofsöngur
Location of  Iceland  (dark green)in Europe  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Iceland  (dark green)
in Europe  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]
and largest city
64°08′N 21°56′W
National language Icelandic
Ethnic groups (2013[1])
Demonym Icelander
Government Unitary parliamentary republic
 -  President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
 -  Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir
 -  Speaker of the Althing Ásta Ragnheiður Jóhannesdóttir
Legislature Althing
 -  Settlement 9th century 
 -  Commonwealth 930–1262 
 -  Union with Norway 1262–1814 
 -  Danish monarchy 1380–1944 
 -  Constitution 5 January 1874 
 -  Kingdom of Iceland 1 December 1918 
 -  Republic 17 June 1944 
 -  Total 103,001 km2 (108th)
39,770 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 2.7
 -  12 February 2013 estimate 321,857[a] (175th)
 -  Density 3.1/km2 (232nd)
7.5/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2012 estimate
 -  Total $12.831 billion[2]
 -  Per capita $39,223[2]
GDP (nominal) 2012 estimate
 -  Total $13.654 billion[2]
 -  Per capita $41,739[2]
Gini (2010) 25.0[b]
low · 1st
HDI (2013) Steady 0.906[3]
very high · 13th
Currency Icelandic króna (ISK)
Time zone GMT (UTC+0)
 -  Summer (DST) not observed (UTC)
Drives on the right
Calling code +354
ISO 3166 code IS
Internet TLD .is
a. ^ "Statistics Iceland:Key figures". Statistics Iceland. 1 October 2002. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
b. ^ "CIA – The World Factbook – Field Listing – Distribution of family income – Gini index". United States government. Retrieved 14 September 2008.


 Settlement and Commonwealth 874–1262 

Ingólfr Arnarson (modern Icelandic: Ingólfur Arnarson), the first permanent Norse settler in Iceland
According to both Landnámabók and Íslendingabók, Celtic monks known as the Papar lived in Iceland before the Norse settlers arrived, possibly members of a Hiberno-Scottish mission. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed the ruins of a cabin in Hafnir on the Reykjanes peninsula, and carbon dating indicates that it was abandoned somewhere between 770 and 880, suggesting that Iceland was populated well before 874. This archaeological find may also indicate that the monks left Iceland before the Norse arrived.[14]

The first known permanent Norse settler was Ingólfur Arnarson, who built his homestead in present-day Reykjavík in the year 874. Ingólfr was followed by many other emigrant settlers, largely Norsemen and their thralls, many of whom were Irish or Scottish. By 930, most arable land had been claimed and the Althing, a legislative and judiciary parliament, was initiated to regulate the Icelandic Commonwealth. Christianity was adopted around 999–1000, although Norse paganism persisted among some segments of the population for several years.

The Commonwealth lasted until the 13th century, when the political system devised by the original settlers proved unable to cope with the increasing power of Icelandic chieftains.[15] During these early Celtic and Viking settlements, the climate was significantly warmer and about 25% of Iceland was covered with forest compared to 1% now.[16]

The Middle Ages

Ósvör, a replica of an old fishing outpost outside Bolungarvík

A 19th-century depiction of the Alþingi of the Commonwealth in session at Þingvellir
The internal struggles and civil strife of the Sturlung Era led to the signing of the Old Covenant in 1262, which ended the Commonwealth and brought Iceland under the Norwegian crown. Possession of Iceland passed to Kalmar Union in 1415, when the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark and Sweden were united. After the break-up of the union in 1523, it technically remained a Norwegian dependency, as a part of Denmark-Norway.

In the ensuing centuries, Iceland became one of the poorest countries in Europe. Infertile soil, volcanic eruptions, deforestation and an unforgiving climate made for harsh life in a society where subsistence depended almost entirely on agriculture. The Black Death swept Iceland twice, first in 1402–04 and again in 1494–95.[17] The former outbreak killed 50% to 60% of the population, and the latter 30% to 50%.[18]

Reformation and the Early Modern period

Around the middle of the 16th century, King Christian III of Denmark began to impose Lutheranism on all his subjects. Jón Arason, the last Catholic bishop of Hólar, was beheaded in 1550 along with two of his sons.

The country subsequently became fully Lutheran. Lutheranism has since remained the dominant religion. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Denmark imposed harsh trade restrictions on Iceland, while pirates from several countries raided its coasts.[19][20]

A great smallpox epidemic in the 18th century killed around a third of the population.[21][22]

In 1783 the Laki volcano erupted, with devastating effects.[23] The years following the eruption, known as the Mist Hardships (Icelandic: Móðuharðindin), saw the death of over half of all livestock in the country, with ensuing famine in which around a quarter of the population died.[24]

Independence movement 1814–1918

In 1814, following the Napoleonic Wars, Denmark-Norway was broken up into two separate kingdoms via the Treaty of Kiel. Iceland, however, remained a Danish dependency. Throughout the 19th century, the country's climate continued to worsen, resulting in mass emigration to the New World, particularly Manitoba in Canada.

About 15,000 people out of a total population of 70,000 left.[25]

However, a new national consciousness had arisen, inspired by romantic and nationalist ideas from mainland Europe. An Icelandic independence movement took shape in the 1850s under the leadership of Jón Sigurðsson, riding on the burgeoning Icelandic nationalism inspired by the Fjölnismenn and other Danish-educated Icelandic intellectuals. In 1874, Denmark granted Iceland a constitution and limited home rule, which was expanded in 1904, with Hannes Hafstein serving as the first Minister for Iceland in the Danish cabinet.

Source: Wikipedia  

There is way to much information Here at Wikipedia for this posting. I served three years in Iceland in the U.S. Navy as an Airman and never took the time to research all It has to offer. I  should have.  

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