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   Iceland Country Guide

Iceland Flag Settled by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930. Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by Norway and Denmark. Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter century, 20% of the island's population emigrated, mostly to Canada and the US. Denmark granted limited home rule in 1874 and complete independence in 1944. The second half of the 20th century saw substantial economic growth driven primarily by the fishing industry. The economy diversified greatly after the country joined the European Economic Area in 1994, but Iceland was especially hard hit by the global financial crisis in the years following 2008. Literacy, longevity, and social cohesion are first rate by world standards.

Iceland Map Full Name: Republic of Iceland
Area: 103,000 sq km (land: 100,250 sq km, water: 2,750 sq km)
Population: 335,878 (July 2016 est.)
Capital City: Reykjavik

People: homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts 94%, population of foreign origin 6%
Language: Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken
Religion: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland (official) 73.8%, Roman Catholic 3.6%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.9%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 2%, The Independent Congregation 1%, other religions 3.9% (includes Pentecostal and Asatru Association), none 5.6%, other or unspecified 7.2% (2015 est.)

Government Type: Parliamentary Republic
Chief of State President Gudni Thorlacius JOHANNESSON (since 1 August 2016))
Head of Government: Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi JOHANNSSON (since 7 April 2016)

GDP: $US 16.15 billion (2016 est.)
GDP per Capita: $US 48,100 (2016 est.)
Inflation: 1.9% (2016 est.)
Unemployment: 2.7% (2016 est.))
Industries: Fish processing; aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production, geothermal power; tourism
Currency: Icelandic krona (ISK)

Member of EU: No

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Info provided by the CIA World Factbook
Updated 2/2017
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