Population: 317 351

GDP: 14 590 000 000.00 $



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.



Population: 317,351 (2014)


Nationality: noun: Icelander(s) adjective: Icelandic


Ethnic groups: homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts 94%, population of foreign origin 6%


Languages: Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken


Religions: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland (official) 76.2%, Roman Catholic 3.4%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.9%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 1.9%, The Independent Congregation 1%, other religions 3.6% (includes Pentecostal and Asatru Association), none 5.2%, other or unspecified 5.9% 



GDP: $ 14 590 000 000.00 (2013)

Military Organization


No regular military forces; Icelandic National Police; Icelandic Coast Guard.

Conflicts and Disputes


Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm; the European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority filed a suit against Iceland, claiming the country violated the European Economic Area agreement in failing to pay minimum compensation to Icesave depositors.

Geographical Information and Map


Capital: Reykjavik


Location: Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the United Kingdom

Iceland has strategic location between Greenland and Europe; westernmost European country; Reykjavik is the northernmost national capital in the world; more land covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe


Geographic coordinates:

65 00 N, 18 00 W



total: 103,000 sq km

land: 100,250 sq km

water: 2,750 sq km


Land boundaries: 0 km


Coastline: 4,970 km


Natural resources:  fish, hydropower, geothermal power, diatomite