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Timeline of Icelandic history

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Title: Timeline of Icelandic history  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: History of Iceland, Iceland in World War II, Danish–Icelandic Trade Monopoly, Icelandic independence movement, Iceland in the Cold War
Collection: History of Iceland, National Timelines, Years in Iceland
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Timeline of Icelandic history

This is a timeline of Icelandic history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Iceland and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see history of Iceland.

Centuries: 9th · 10th · 11th · 12th · 13th · 14th · 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th · 21st

9th century

Year Date Event
825 Dicuil, an Irish monk refers to fellow monks who spent the summer on an island which they referred to as Thule, far to the north.[1]
860 Naddoddr discovers Iceland.
He was heading to the Faroe Islands but drifted off course and landed near Reyðarfjörður in Iceland. As he returned to his boat it started to snow and thereby he reputedly named the land Snæland (Snowland).
Garðarr Svavarsson discovers Iceland.
Blown from a storm near the Orkney Islands. He circumnavigated Iceland, thus the first to establish that the landmass was an island. He stayed for one winter in Skjálfandi. He praised the new land and called it Garðarshólmi (lit. Garðar's islet). The island was thereafter known so.
865 Hrafna-Flóki becomes the first Scandinavian to deliberately sail to Iceland as news of a country in the west reached Norway.[2] When Hrafna-Flóki climbed a mountain in Vatnsfjörður he spotted drift ice in a fjord that inspired the name of the country, Ísland (Iceland).[3]
874 Ingólfr Arnarson becomes the first permanent Nordic settler of Iceland. The settlement of Iceland begins.[4]

10th century

Year Date Event
930 The Icelandic Commonwealth is founded with the establishment of the Icelandic parliament (Althing), which had legislative and judicial power, but no executive power was present in the country.[5][6]

11th century

Year Date Event
1000 The king of Norway pressures Icelanders to convert their religion thus initiating the christianisation of Iceland.[7]
1015 The Fifth Court is established.
1085 Ísleifur Gissurarson becomes the first bishop of Iceland.
1096 A tithe is instigated by the church authorities.

12th century

Year Date Event
1104 An eruption of the volcano Hekla destroys a settlement in Þjórsárdalur.
1106 Jón Ögmundsson is made the second of bishop of Iceland, in Hólar.
1117 Iceland becomes the first nation in history to abolish slavery.
1122 A Íslendingabók.
1197 Jón Loftsson, the most powerful chieftain in Iceland, dies.

13th century

Year Date Event
1208 Kolbeinn Tumason dies at the hands of bishop Guðmundur Arason's men in the Battle of Víðines.
1220 Snorri Sturluson becomes a vassal of King Hákon of Norway, kicking off the Age of the Sturlungs civil war.
1238 Battle of Örlygsstaðir.
1241 Snorri Sturluson is murdered.
1244 Battle of the Gulf – Iceland's largest domestic naval battle.
1253 The Flugumýri Arson, a failed attempt to murder Gissur Þorvaldsson, Jarl of Iceland.
1262 The signing of Old Covenant leads to Icelanders becoming subjects of the King of Norway.

14th century

Year Date Event
1308 The jarldom of Iceland is abolished.
1357 The first Icelandic bishop with Papal authority.
1361 Smiður Andrésson:) and Jón Skráveifa killed in Grund.
1362 A volcanic eruption in Öræfajökull destroys Litlahérað.
1375 The Skálholt Agreement.

15th century

Year Date Event
1402 The Great Plague hits Iceland.
1412 The English start fishing near the coasts of Iceland.
1419 Icelanders demand that the king grant them freedom to engage in trade as they wish.
1433 Jöns Gerekesson, bishop of Skálholt is drowned in Brúará.
1446 Bishop Guðmundur Arason is stripped of his property and honour.
1450 Langaréttarbót.
1467 Björn Þorleifsson is murdered by the English in Rif.
1474 Miklabæjarrán.
1491 Píningsdómur.
1494 A second plague hits Iceland.

16th century

Year Date Event
1501 English merchants plunder Bessastaðir.
1513 Leiðarhólmsskrá.
1522 Sveinsstaðafundur.
1539 Gissur Einarsson is made bishop
1541 The Skálholt see turns Lutheran.
1550 Bishop Jón Arason and his sons are beheaded in Skálholt.
1551 The Hólar see turns Lutheran.
1559 The English are driven from Vestmannaeyjar.
1571 Guðbrandur Þorláksson becomes bishop of Hólar.
1584 Guðbrandsbiblía, the first Icelandic bible, is published.

17th century

Year Date Event
1602 The King of Denmark grants Danish merchants monopoly on trade with Iceland.
1615 Spánverjavígin.
1625 The first person is burnt alive for witchcraft.
1627 Turkish Abductions: several hundred Icelanders are kidnapped by Muslim raiders.
1639 Brynjólfur Sveinsson becomes bishop of Skálholt.
1656 Kirkjuból witch trial.
The Flateyjarbók manuscript is sent to Denmark.
1662 Icelanders are made to accept the absolute monarchy of the King of Denmark.
1666 The Passion Psalms are composed by Hallgrímur Pétursson.

18th century

Year Date Event
1703 First Icelandic census.
1707 The Bubonic plague spreads in Iceland. A quarter of the population dies.
1712 Jarðabók is completed.
1720 The manuscripts of Árni Magnússon are moved to Denmark.
1760 Icelanders start exporting salted fish to Spain.
1783 Móðuharðindin – a volcanic eruption at Lakagígar destroys a great deal of the livestock in Iceland, causing famine and misery.
1787 Danish trade monopoly ceases.
1800 6 June The Althing is abolished.

19th century

Year Date Event
1801 The bishoprics of Skálholt and Hólar are united, located in Reykjavík.
1805 The Bessastaðaskóli (now Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík) is founded.
1807 Trade with Iceland all but disappears due to the Napoleonic Wars.
1809 Jørgen Jørgensen seizes power in Iceland and declares independence, but is deposed by the Danes shortly afterwards.
1811 17 June Jón Sigurðsson is born.
1835 The first copy of Fjölnir is published.
1841 Jón Sigurðsson starts publishing New Associated Writings.
1843 8 March The King of Denmark orders the Althing to be resurrected.
1845 26 May Jónas Hallgrímsson dies.
1 July The Althing is resurrected, and the house of the Menntaskóli í Reykjavík is opened.
1851 National Assembly of 1851.
1855 The Danes grant Icelanders free trade.
1871 The Danish Parliament passes the Stöðulög laws.
1874 The King of Denmark visits Iceland and grants Icelanders a constitution. 1000 years of settlement celebrated throughout the country.
1875 First session of the restored Althing which has the power to pass laws. The Askja volcano erupts.
1879 7 December Jón Sigurðsson dies.
1880 The climate grows much colder, driving many Icelanders to emigrate to the New World.
1885 Icelanders start demanding a review of the constitution from the Danes.

20th century

Year Date Event
1915 Universal suffrage.
1916 The political parties Social Democratic Party and Progressive Party are founded.
1918 1 December Iceland becomes a sovereign, independent nation. The Danish King remains head of state.
1922 Jarðræktarlögin.
1929 The Icelandic Independence Party is founded.
1930 20 December The Icelandic Communist Party is founded. The Icelandic State Radio begins broadcasting.
1939 Following the occupation of Denmark by Nazi Germany, a national emergency government is formed under Sveinn Björnsson.
1940 10 May The British invade, violating Icelandic neutrality.
1941 7 July The United States Army, still officially neutral, replaces the British occupation force.
1944 17 June Iceland becomes an independent republic, severing the last political ties to Denmark. Sveinn Björnsson becomes president.
1946 The Keflavik Agreement.
1948 Iceland receives Marshall Aid from the United States.
1949 30 March Riots break out on Austurvöllur.
4 April Iceland joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
1951 The United States Army establishes a base in Keflavík.
1952 1 August Fishing limits extended to 4 miles. Ásgeir Ásgeirsson becomes president.
1958 Fishing limits extended to 12 miles.
1963 14 November Volcanic eruption forms Surtsey.
1966 30 September The Icelandic State Television begins its first broadcasts.
1968 1 August Kristján Eldjárn becomes president. Collapse in the fishing industry.
1970 1 January Iceland joins the European Free Trade Association.
1972 Fishing limits extended to 50 miles.
1973 23 January Volcanic eruption in the Westman Islands.
1975 Fishing limits extended to 200 miles.
1980 1 August Vigdís Finnbogadóttir becomes president of Iceland, the first woman in the world to become elected head of state.
1994 1 January Iceland joins the European Economic Area.
1996 1 August Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson becomes president.

21st century

Year Date Event
2000 17 June Southern Iceland gets hit by two earthquakes, the prior 6.6 ML and the latter 6.5 ML. There were no fatalities but a few people were injured and there was some considerable damage to infrastructure. (to 21 June)[8]
2004 2 June The president of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, refuses to sign a bill from the parliament for the first time in the nation's history.
2005 23 March Bobby Fischer moves to Iceland after having been granted an Icelandic passport and full citizenship.
2006 30 September The United States Army abandons the military base in Keflavík, thus ending a 55-year U.S. military presence in Iceland.
2008 September Iceland faces financial crisis following the collapse of the country's 3 major commercial banks.
2009 26 January After months of rallies outside the parliament building the Icelandic government resigns.
1 February After the collapse of the Icelandic government, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir becomes the first female prime minister of Iceland and the world's first openly gay head of government of the modern era.
16 July The parliament narrowly passes a bill authorising the government to apply for EU membership.
2010 5 January The president of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, refuses to sign a bill from the parliament for the second time in the nation's history.
20 March Volcanic eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull.
2011 20 February The president of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, refuses to sign a bill from the parliament for the third time in the nation's history.
21 May Volcanic eruption of the Grímsvötn.

See also


  1. ^ The 9th century Irish monk and geographer Dicuil describes Iceland in his work Liber de Mensura Orbis Terrae.
  2. ^ "Hver gaf Íslandi það nafn?" [Who gave Iceland its name?] (in Icelandic). Vísindavefurinn (The Icelandic Web of Science). 30 October 2000. Retrieved 19 March 2011. Tilvist landsins í vestri spurðist út á vesturströnd Noregs og hélt Flóki Vilgerðarson, norskur maður, af stað til að finna landið. 
  3. ^ "Hver gaf Íslandi það nafn?" [Who gave Iceland its name?] (in Icelandic). Vísindavefurinn (The Icelandic Web of Science). 30 October 2000. Retrieved 19 March 2011. Flóki gekk upp á fjall eitt í Vatnsfirði og sá þá ofan í annan fjörð, líklega Arnarfjörð, og var hann fullur af hafís. Í 2. kafla Landnámu segir að eftir þetta hafi Hrafna-Flóki og menn hans nefnt landið Ísland. 
  4. ^ "History". Retrieved 19 March 2011. Ingólfur Arnarson was said to be the first settler. He was a chieftain from Norway, arriving in Iceland with his family and dependents in 874. 
  5. ^ "History". Retrieved 19 March 2011. In the year 930, at the end of the settlement period, Althingi (legislature and judiciary) was established and a legal code was adopted. 
  6. ^ "History". Retrieved 19 March 2011. The establishment of Althingi marks the formation of the Icelandic Commonwealth, although it had no executive power. 
  7. ^ "History". Retrieved 19 March 2011. Christianity was peacefully adopted in Iceland at Althingi in the year 1000. The main reason for this conversion was most likely pressure from the king of Norway. 
  8. ^ Ragnar Sigbjörnsson. "SOUTH ICELAND EARTHQUAKES 2000: Damage and Strong-Motion Recordings". Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  • Árni Daníel Júlíusson, Jón Ólafur Ísberg, Helgi Skúli Kjartansson Íslenskur sögu atlas: 1. bindi: Frá öndverðu til 18. aldar Almenna bókafélagið, Reykjavík 1989
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