Iceland History Timeline

Iceland History Timeline

According to ehealthfacts, Iceland is a Nordic European island state, located where the North Atlantic meets the Arctic Ocean on the mid-Atlantic ridge. The country has 331,310 residents and an area of ​​103,000 km², making it Europe’s most sparsely populated country. The country’s capital and largest city is Reykjavík, which together with the surrounding areas in the southwestern part of the country is home to two thirds of the country’s population.

The ten largest urban areas in Iceland are: Reykjavik, Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður, Akureyri, Reykjanesbær, Garðabær, Mosfellsbær, Árborg, Akranes and Fjarðabyggð.

Iceland is volcanically and geothermally active. The interior of the country consists mainly of a plateau of sand and lava, mountains and glaciers, from which a series of glacial rivers run towards the sea through the lowland areas. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate despite its location relatively high to the north right up to the Arctic Circle.

The volcanic activity in Iceland is great due to unique geological conditions. Iceland has about 130 volcanic mountains, 18 of which have erupted since the settlement of Iceland began. Over the last 500 years, Iceland’s volcanoes have probably accounted for ⅓ of the total lava production on the planet.

Until the 20th century, Icelanders managed primarily by fishing and agriculture, and the country was then one of the poorest and least developed in the world. This has changed markedly, so that the country is now one of the most developed countries in the world. The enormous economic growth made Iceland at the top of the UN Human Development Index in 2007-08, but a violent economic slide as a result of the economic crisis has meant a drop to a thirteenth place in 2011.

Icelanders are among the healthiest people in the world, with 78% of the population in 2010 describing their state of health as being good (significantly higher than the OECD average of 70%).

In the film world, Iceland is also a very popular used place. Producers and filmmakers choose Iceland because the country is so varied in nature – but the distance is still short, so the country can represent a number of places or countries. In addition, you can get a highly professional Icelandic production crew member and the country has good infrastructure. Iceland is also easily accessible from both the US, the UK and the rest of Europe, ie. only a 5 hour flight from New York or 2.5 hour flight from London.

Here is an interactive map of the most famous footage in Iceland.


860 – A Norwegian Viking, Naddoðr, accidentally discovers Iceland. However, they drifted off course, and landed at Reyðarfjörður with their men, finding no people. It snowed the day they went home to the Faroe Islands again, and then they called the country Snæland. Later, the country got its current name Iceland.

874 – According to Landnámabók, Iceland was settled in 870, when the Norwegian chief Ingólfur Arnarson became the first permanent settler in 874. According to early Icelandic sources, it is claimed that the Norwegian chiefs who settled there fled from Harald 1. Hårfager’s tyrannical government over Norway. When the land was first inhabited, it was apparently largely covered by forest. In Íslendingabók from the 12th century, Ari Þorgilsson describes the island as “covered with forest from mountain to coast”.

1000 – Christianity is introduced.

1056 – Ísleifur Gissurarson becomes Skálholt’s first bishop.

1104 – The volcano Hekla erupts for the first time in the country’s recorded history, resulting in the destruction of Þjórsárdalur.

1117 – Slavery abolished in Iceland.

1208 – The Battle of Viddines (Icelandic: Víðinesbardagi), is a conflict on 9 September that took place between the secular and monastic forces.

1238 – The Battle of Örlygsstaðir is a historic battle fought by the Sturlungs against the Ásbirningar and Haukdælir clans in northern Iceland.

1262-1918 – Iceland was part of first Norway and later Denmark.

1362 – The eruption of Öræfajökull (the country’s highest volcano) in southeastern Iceland in Vatnajökull, left a small settlement desolate; after the eruption it was named Öræfi ‘wilderness’. The eruption is one of the largest known in terms of the amount of tefra. The associated glacier run from the ice-covered volcano also caused major damage. A new eruption in 1727 caused less destruction.

1397-1523 – The Squid Union was established between the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The Union included areas such as Finland, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands. After Sweden left the union, Denmark and Norway remained in the personnel union until 1814.

1380-1850 – Iceland together with Norway is subjugated to Denmark. There was great decline for Iceland due to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, crop failure, and disease like the Black Death.

1402-1404 – About 2/3 of f the Icelandic population of the above problems.

1493-1494 – Plague epidemics (for the second time) and ecological crisis. The population is declining drastically. It is estimated that half of the population died between 1494-1495.

1550 – Jón Arason (1484 – 7 November 1550) was an Icelandic Roman Catholic bishop and poet who, along with his sons, was executed (beheaded) in his struggle against the introduction of the Protestant Reformation in Iceland.

1584 – Gudbrandsbiblía, the first Icelandic Bible, is published.

1615 – The Massacre of the Spaniards ( Spánverjavígin ) takes place. It was the last documented massacre in Icelandic history. 31 Basque whalers were killed by local Icelanders by the West Fjord. The massacre is described by Jon Gudmundsson, who blames the local governor, Ari Magnússon from Ögur, for the massacre.

1625 – The first person is burned alive for witchcraft.

1627 – Turkish abductions take place. Hundreds of Icelanders were abducted by Muslim pirates between June 20 and July 19.

1647 – Hekla, is a 1491 meter high volcano located in the region of Suðurland in the south of Iceland, approx. 110 km east of Reykjavik. The Italian monk Julius Caesar Recuptus writes in 1647 that Hekla is the descent into hell, which God has left open to the fear and warning of sinners. The volcanoes in Iceland are not much mentioned in the sagas, as these texts mainly deal with social conditions in Iceland.

1656 – The Kirkjuból witch trial took place in what is today Ísafjörður. It is the most famous witch trial in Iceland. Pastor Jón Magnússon accused two members of his own congregation who also sang in the choir, a father and son both named Jón Jónsson of witchcraft. The eldest Jón confessed to owning a book on magic, and that he had used it against Jón Magnússon. The son also admitted to having made the priest ill and to having used magic signs and fart runes (Fretrúnir) against a girl. The curse of the feather should be relentless, not only to humiliate the victim, but also to cause chronic abdominal pain and weakness in the body. Both were found guilty and burned alive at the stake. The trip then came to Jónsson’s daughter / sister, Þuríður Jónsdóttir, for witchcraft, but a lawsuit declared her not guilty. She sued for wrongful persecution, and won the case. She received the pastor’s belongings as compensation (things he had received from Jónsson ). In Iceland magic was often practiced and not necessarily associated with the Devil, but the religious and secular authorities, directly or indirectly influenced by Denmark and Germany, had a different opinion on the subject.

18th century – Smallpox epidemics, volcanic eruptions and harsh climates cause severe population decline.

1707 – Bubonian plague (Bildepest) spread in Iceland. A quarter of the population dies.

1783-1784 – The eruption of the volcano Laki caused a major famine that cost about a quarter of the population its life; the eruption created clouds of dust and fog that reached most of Europe as well as parts of Asia and Africa for months after. It is one of the largest on Earth since the last ice age. It is calculated at size 6 on the VEI scale.

1805 – Bessastaðaskóli is founded. The farm, which today serves as the presidential residence, is located in Álftanes, not far from the capital Reykjavík.

1809 – The Dog Day King, Jørgen Jørgensen takes power in Iceland and declares independence, but is soon deposited by the Danes. For the next 2 months, until 22 August, he was Iceland’s supreme leader.

1855 – The Danes give Icelanders free trade.

1875 – The Askja volcano in Vatnajökull erupts. The explosive eruption created what is today Askja Lake.

1880 – The climate becomes much colder, forcing many Icelanders to emigrate to the New World.

1918 – Iceland becomes independent as a kingdom.

1939 – After the occupation of Denmark by Nazi Germany d. April 9, form a national emergency government during Sveinn Björnsson (later Iceland’s first president).

1940-1945 – World War II; Iceland is occupied by British troops on May 10, 1940. The US Army, which remains officially neutral, replaces the British occupying force on July 7, 1941. A defense agreement is concluded with the United States on defense of the island during the war.

1942 – An airport is built by the US Army Air Force, to transfer fighters and bombers to Europe. The Americans evacuated the base in 1947, but returned in the 1950s under the name Naval Air Station Keflavik. built by the US military during World War II as a replacement for a small British runway at Garður north of Keflavík. It consisted of two separate airfields, built in 1942 just 4 km apart. Patterson Field in the South opened in 1942 and Meeks Fieldelt in the Northwest opened on March 23, 1943.

1944 – Iceland becomes an independent republic, separating the last political ties to Denmark. Sveinn Björnsson becomes president on June 17, 1944.

1946 – Member of the United Nations.

1947 – Hekla erupts in 1947 after a 101-year hiatus. An ash column of 27 km rose from the volcano, and only in April the following year did the lava flow stop.

1949 – NATO is established, and the driving forces are the United States, Britain, and France. Other countries that participated: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway and Portugal. Later, NATO has expanded with more member states.

1958-1976 – Iceland in conflict with Britain over fishing borders. Exclusive economic zone expanded to 12 nautical miles in 1958.

1963 – The volcanic island of Surtsey rises from the sea 33 km south of Iceland on 14 November. It is now a nature reserve.

1966 – Icelandic state television broadcasts its first broadcasts on 30 September.

1970 – Hekla has erupted since 1970 at regular intervals of approx. Ten years. The most recent outbreak was in February 2000.

1972 – On September 1, American-Icelandic chess player Bobby Fischer wins the World Chess Championship in Reykjavik against reigning champion Boris Spassky in a “dramatic showdown”. Due to the Cold War, the match had major political undertones. Among other things. grabbed America’s then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger into contact Bobby Fischer and appeal to his patriotic feelings to ensure that the match had even been completed.

Exclusive economic zone extended to 50 nautical miles.

1973 – Eldfell erupted d. January 23, destroying many buildings and forced a month-long evacuation of the entire population to mainland Iceland. The eruption lasted 157 days and ended on 28 June. Approx. one-fifth of the city was destroyed before the lava flow was stopped using 6.8 billion. cold sea water.

1975 – Exclusive economic zone extended to 200 nautical miles.

1980 – Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is elected the first woman in the world to become president.

1984 FILM: Filming for the 14th James Bond film, A View To A Kill, began on June 23, 1984 in Höfn and Jökulsárlón, (opening sequence), It is the Largest, and Perhaps Most Famous Glacier Lakes in Iceland, and Vatnajökull glaciers.

1986 – The Reykjavik Summit is a summit between US President Ronald Reagan and Secretary-General Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union held on 11-12 December. October 1986 Höfði in Reykjavík.

1994 FILM: Filming for Sylvester Stallone’s latest project, Judge Dredd, begins in Öræfi and Eldvarpahraun (Lavafjeld), as well as Reykjanes (Cursed Earth). Incidentally, the film was the first film to be released at the same time as a video game. The game included an option to arrest or execute all sinners on the spot. The moment in the movie where Dredd takes off his helmet creates a lot of controversy, as Dredd in the cartoon would never remove his helmet because he has a disfigured face. The film opened on the weekend of July 4, 1995 – the studio renamed the American Independence Day ‘Judgment Day.’

2000-FILM: The recordings for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, were filmed in Jökulsárlón (Siberian scenes).

2002-FILM: The recordings for the 20th and 4th and last Bond film with Pierce Brosnan in the lead role, Die Another Day, will be shot in Iceland, Höfn, Jökulsárlón, Vatnajokull, Gunnar Jokull Karlson Glacier, Blue Lagoon, Jukkasjärvi and Reykjavik (snow and ice locations).

2004 FILM: Filming for Batman Begins, began in March at Vatnajökull Glacier ( Ra’s Temple in Bhutan ), Skaftafell, Svínafellsjökull and Öræfasveit. This is a new beginning in the Batman movie series, after a series of failed attempts to develop a movie after the disastrous Batman & Robin (1997). The film received positive reviews and is considered by many to be one of the best superhero movies of the 2000s. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and three BAFTA Awards. It was followed by The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), which make up The Dark Knight Trilogy.

2005 FILM: Flags of Our Fathers was filmed primarily in Iceland (Sandvik – black beaches) and the USA (Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC & Texas) and Japan (Iwo Jima). The film is seen from the American point of view of the Battle of Iwo Jima, while its companion, also directed by Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima, is seen from the Japanese point of view. This movie was released on February 23, 2007.

CHESS: In March 2005, the Icelandic parliament awarded Bobby Fischer an Icelandic citizenship in gratitude for putting the island on the world map in 1972. On March 24, 2005, he landed again in Reykjavik, where he lived until his death (17/1/2008). In the end, Fischer no longer played regular chess, but only Fischer Random chess. He is buried in the cemetery in Selfoss in the southern Icelandic region of Suðurland.

2006 – On 30 September, US NATO forces leave Naval Air Station Keflavik, ending a 55-year presence in Iceland. The base had a staff of approx. 1,350 US soldiers, 100 US civilians and 650 Icelandic civilians. There were also soldiers from Norway, Denmark, Great Britain and Canada.

2009 – After months of rallies outside the parliament building, the Icelandic government resigns. On February 1, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir becomes the first female Prime Minister of Iceland and the world’s first overtly gay head of government in the modern era.

2010 – On March 21, the first eruption in Eyjafjallajökull in southern Iceland took place, since 1821, and again on April 14, a new eruption in the same area. The new eruption was under a glacier and produced large amounts of fine ash dust, causing extensive problems, primarily for aviation, which affected large parts of northern and western Europe. Danish airspace was closed by Naviair during the afternoon of 15 April, so that the airspace was completely closed from kl. 18. The ash was shot up at an altitude of ten kilometers and came down to Northern and Western Europe at almost 200 kilometers per hour via the southbound jet stream over the North Sea. The Danish airspace was not reopened completely until 22 April at 8.

2011 – In November 2010, increased activity in the volcano was measured and Grimsvötn’s latest eruption began on 21 May 2011 at 19.25 (local time). On Tuesday 24 May, the ash cloud was six kilometers high, and approx. 500 planes were delayed or canceled in Scotland and Scandinavia, due to the ash cloud. According to GEUS, Grímsvötn emitted 120 million tonnes of ash in the first two days approx. 20 km up in the air. It is just as much ash that Eyjafjallajökull emitted during its entire eruption the year before.

2011 TV SERIES: Filming for the second season of the popular Game of Thrones series, took place in November at Vatnajökull near Smyrlabjörg and Svínafellsjökull near Skaftafell and Myrdalsjökull near Vik on Höfðabrekkuheiði. Iceland was used in almost all seasons. Tourism increased in 2012 at the locations used by the series, which had a strong impact on the country’s economy.

2011 FILM: Filming for Prometheus began on July 11, at the foot of Hekla, and one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe, the Dettifoss waterfall, was used in the opening sequence. Ridley Scott said the film in Iceland included about fifteen minutes of filming for the film and that the area represented the beginning of time.

2012-FILM: On October 12, the production of Thor: The Dark World moved to Iceland and recorded in Dómadalur, Skógafoss, Fjaðrárgljúfur and Skeiðarársandur. The producers chose Iceland as the location for Svartalfheim, due to the place’s black volcanic landscape. The name ‘Svartalfheim’ literally means ‘Black Elves Home’ in Old Norse (Icelandic).

2012 FILM: Filming for Oblivion, began in June 2012, and lasted 10 days. The locations were recorded at Jarlhettur, Dettifoss Falls and Hrossaborg (crater representing the rest of MetLife Stadium, New Jersey).

2013 FILM: Filming for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar began in late August, over a 14-day filming in Svínafellsjökull and the town of Klaustur. Anne Hathaway suffered from hypothermia during filming in Iceland due to her astronaut suit being open while filming scenes in the icy water. The film features six Oscar winners: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Sir Michael Caine, Ellen Burstyn, Casey Affleck and Matt Damon. It also includes two Oscar nominees: Jessica Chastain and John Lithgow.

2014 MOVIE: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is the 7th film in the saga. It includes a very welcome reunion with Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in this universe. The story takes place approx. 30 years after Return of the Jedi (1983). Filming began in April and ended in November. The location was i.a. at the Krafla volcano in Lake Mývatn. The area is densely populated with craters, lakes and active volcanoes.

2015 MOVIE: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is an independent story that takes place. In Iceland, the crew shot in Reynisfjara and around the mountains in Hjörleifshöfði and Hafursey at Mýrdalssandur, who were used to representing Lahmu and Eadu in the film. The story takes place immediately before the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) and is about a group of rebels who come together to steal the plans for the battle station Death Star.

2016 – Panama papers reveal on April 4 that Prime Minister Sigmund Davíð Gunnlaugsson had links to private companies engaged in offshore tax havens, resulting in a call for a quick election. Two days after the revelations, Icelandic Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson chose to resign and asked the president to dissolve parliament.

2016 FILM: The shooting for the latest superhero film from DC-Comic, Justice League, began in the city of Djúpavík, which is the film’s headset. This is where Bruce Wayne goes to look for Aquaman.

2017 – On December 4, Öræfajökull has started to move again. It has not erupted since 1727.

Iceland History Timeline