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Tot population
450,000 (est.)
Regions wi signeeficant populations
 Iceland295,672 [1]
 Canadae88,875 [2]
 Unitit States42,716 [3]
 Norawa8,982 [4]
Relatit leids include Færoese, Norse an ither Scandinavie an Germanic leids.
Gaelic haes a historical importance[6]
Nominally Lutheran;
Neo-pagan an Roman Catholic minorities amang ither faiths; secular.
Historically Norse paganism, Celtic Christianity (- 1000) an Catholic Christianity (1000 - 1551).
See Releegion in Iceland
Relatit ethnic groups
Færoese, Norse, Dens, Swadish,
Germans,[7] Dutch, Inglis,
Shetlanders, Orcadians, Erse, Scots,
Icelandic Canadians, Icelandic Americans
Ither Northren European ethnic groups

Icelanders are a Scandinavie ethnic group an a naition, native tae Iceland.

On 17 Juin 1944, whan an Icelandic republic wis foondit the Icelanders became unthirlt frae the Dens monarchy. The leid spoken is Icelandic, a North Germanic leid, an Lutheranism is the predominant releegion. Historical an DNA records indicate that aroond 60 tae 80 percent o the settlers wur of Norse oreegin (primarily frae Wastren Norawa) an the rest wur o Celtic stock frae the Breetish Isles.[8][9]


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Icelanders, especially those livin on the main island, hae haed a tumultuous history. Development o the island wis slow due tae a lack o interest frae the kintras controllin it for maist o its history: Norawa, Denmark-Norawa, an ultimately Denmark. Throu this time, Iceland haed relatively few contacts wi the ootside warld.[10] The island became unthirlt in union wi Denmark in 1918. Syne 1944, Iceland haes been a republic, an Icelandic society haes unnergane a rapid modrenisation process in the post-unthirldom era.


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Iceland is a geologically young land mass, haein formit an estimatit 20 million years ago due tae volcanic eruptions on the Mid-Atlantic ridge. Ane o the last lairger islands tae remain uninhabitit, the first human dounset date is generally acceptit tae be 874, awtho thare is some evidence tae suggest human activity prior tae the Norse arrival.[11]

Demografics an society

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Most mitochondrial DNA lineages foond the day in contemporary Icelanders can be tracit tae the native populations in Ireland an Breetain an Scandinavie. Anither study [12] shows that a tiny proportion o samples o contemporar Icelanders cairy a mair distant lineage, which belangs tae the haplogroup C1, which can possibly be tracit tae the dounset o the Americas aroond 14,000 years ago. The same study uised preliminar genealogical analyses which revealed that C1 lineage wis present in the Icelandic mtDNA puil at least 300 years ago. Due tae thair sma foondin population an considerable history o relative isolation, Icelanders hae aften been considered heichlie genetically homogeneous as compared tae ither European populations. For this raison, alang wi the extensive genealogical records for hintle o the population that reach back tae the dounset o Iceland, Icelanders hae been the focus o considerable genomics research bi baith biotechnologie companies an academic an medical researchers. Housomeivver, ane study o mitochondrial DNA, blood groups, an isozymes revealed a mair variable population than expectit frae thir genetic staundpoints, comparable tae the diversity o some ither Europeans.[13] Anither study shows that quite a big group o Scandinavie males, in pairticular the Norse an Icelanders (up tae 31% o samples), cairy Haplogroup R1a1a (Y-DNA).

Results o the mitochondrial DNA studies hae been consistent wi the genealogical records that trace the ancestry o maist Icelanders tae Scandinavie, Ireland an Breetain, tho thare mey hae been a minor contreibution frae ither European groups. Foonder effects an the effects o genetic drift are mair pronooncit for the Icelandic gene puil than ither nearbi populations, supportin the assumit genetic isolation o the population.[14]


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Greenland wis first settled bi some 500 Icelanders unner the leadership o Erik the Red in the late 10t century, CE. Isolatit fjords in this hairsk laund affered sufficient grazin tae support cattle an sheep, tho the climate wis too cauld for cereal crops. Ryal tred ships frae Norawa occasionally went tae Greenland tae tred for walrus tusks an falcons. The population eventually reached a heich pynt o aiblins 3,000 in twa commonties an developed unthirlt institutions afore fadin awa durin the 15t century.[15] A papal legation wis sent thare as late as 1492, the year Columbus attemptit tae fynd a shorter spice route but insteid foond the Americas.

North Americae

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Gimli, Manitoba, pop. 5,797 (Statistics Canadae, 2006) is hame tae the lairgest concentration o Icelanders ootside o Iceland.

Accordin tae the Saga of Eric the Red, Icelandic immigration tae North Americae dates back tae 1006, whan Icelandic Snorri wis born in Vinland. This colony wis short-livit tho an bi the 1020s the Icelanders abandoned it. Icelandic immigration tae North Americae wad no resume for some 800 years.[16]

Ane o the first new instances o Icelandic immigration tae North Americae occurred in 1855, whan a sma group settled in Spanish Fork, Utah.[17] Anither Icelandic colony is Washington Island, Wisconsin tho anerlie a fift o its residents are o Icelandic strynd. Immigration tae the Unitit States an Canadae began in earnest in the 1870s, wi maist migrants initially settlin in the Great Lochs aurie. Thir settlers wur fleein faimin an owercroudin on Iceland.[18] The day, thare are sizable commonties o Icelandic strynd in baith the Unitit States an Canadae. Gimli, in Manitoba, Canadae, is hame tae the lairgest population o Icelanders ootside o the main island o Iceland.[19]

Leid an leeteratur

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Icelandic, a North Germanic leid, is the offeecial leid o Iceland (de facto, the laws are silent aboot the issue). Icelandic haes inflectional grammar comparable tae Laitin, Auncient Greek, mair closely tae Auld Inglis an practically identical tae Auld Norse.

Auld Icelandic leeteratur can be dividit intae several categories, o which three are best kent tae foreigners; Eddic poetry, skaldic poetry, an saga leeteratur, if saga leeteratur is unnerstuid broadly. Eddic poetry are heroic an meethological poems. Poetry that praises someane is considered skaldic poetry or court poetry. Feenally Saga leeteratur is prose that covers pure fiction tae fairly factual history.[20]

Written Icelandic haes chyngit little syne the 13t century. Acause o this, modren speakers can unnerstaund the Icelanders' sagas. The sagas tell o events takkin place in Iceland in the 10t an early 11t centuries. Thay are considered tae be the best kent pieces o Icelandic leeteratur.[21]

The elder or Poetic Edda, the younger or Prose Edda, an the sagas are the major pieces o Icelandic leeteratur. The Poetic Edda is a collection o poems an stories frae the late 10t century, whareas the younger or Prose Edda is a manual o poetics that contains mony stories o Norse meethologie.


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Kirk in Húsavík, Iceland

Iceland embracit Christianity in c. AD 1000, in wha is cried the kristnitaka, an the kintra, while maistly secular in observance, is still predominantly Christian culturally. The Lutheran kirk claims some 84% o the tot population.[22] While early Icelandic Christianity wis mair lax in its observances than tradeetional Catholicism, Pietism, a releegious muivement importit frae Denmark in the 18t century, haed a markit effect on the island. Bi discouragin aw but releegious leisur activities, it fostered a certaint dourness, which wis for a lang time considered an Icelandic stereoteep. At the same time, it led tae a boom in printin an aw, an Iceland the day is ane o the maist leeterate societies in the warld.[23]

While Catholicism wis supplantit bi Protestantism durin the Reformation, maist ither warld releegions are nou representit on the island: thare are sma Protestant Free Kirks an Catholic commonties, an even a nascent Muslim commonty, componed o baith immigrants an local converts. Aiblins unique tae Iceland is the fast growin Ásatrúarfélag, a legally recognisit revival o the pre-Christian Nordic releegion o the oreeginal settlers. Accordin tae the Roman Catholic Diocese o Reykjavík, thare wur anerlie approximately 30 Jews in Iceland as of 2001.[24] The First Lady o Iceland Dorrit Moussaieff is an Israeli-born Bukharian Jew.


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Icelandic cuisine consists mainly o fish, lamb, an dairy. Fish wis ance the main pairt o an Icelander's diet but haes recently gien wey tae meats sic as beef, pork, an poutrie.

Iceland haes mony tradeetional fuids cried Þorramatur. Thir fuids include smokit an saltit lamb, singed sheep heids, dree'd fish, smokit an pickled salmon, an cured shark. Andrew Zimmern, a chef who haes traveled the warld on his show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, respondit tae the quaisten "Wha's the maist disgustin thing you'e iver eaten?" wi the response "That wad hae tae be the fermentit shairk fin A haed in Iceland." Fermentit shairk fin is a form o Þorramatur.[25]

Performance airt

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Sigur Rós haes gained internaitional fame performin maistly in Icelandic.

The earliest indigenous Icelandic muisic wis the rímur, epic tales frae the Viking era that wur aften performit a cappella. Christianity played a major role in the development o Icelandic muisic, wi mony hymns bein written in the local idiom. Hallgrímur Pétursson, a poet an priest, is notit for writin mony o thir hymns in the 17t century. The island's relative isolation ensured that the muisic maintained its regional flavor. It wis anerlie in the 19t century that the first pipe organs, prevalent in European releegious muisic, first appeared on the island.[26]

Mony sangsters, groups, an forms o muisic hae come frae Iceland. Maist Icelandic muisic contains vibrant fowk an pop tradeetions. Some mair recent groups an sangsters are Voces Thules, The Sugarcubes, Björk, Sigur Rós, an Of Monsters and Men.

The naitional anthem is "Ó Guð vors lands" (Scots: "Oor Kintra's God"), written bi Matthías Jochumsson, wi muisic bi Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson. The sang wis written in 1874, whan Iceland celebratit its ane thoosanth anniversar o dounset on the island. It wes oreeginally publisht wi the teetle A Hymn in Commemoration o Iceland's Thoosan Years.[26]

Iceland's naitional fitbaa team haes yet tae pairticipate in the FIFA Warld Cup. Thair first Olympic participation wis in the 1912 Simmer Olympics; housomeivver, thay did no pairticipate again till the 1936 Summer Olympics. Thair first appearance at the winter gemmes wis at the 1948 Winter Olympics. In 1956, Vilhjálmur Einarsson wan the Olympic siller medal for the triple jump.[27] The Icelandic naitional handbaa team haes enjoyed relative success. The team receivit a siller medal at the 2008 Olympic Gemmes an a 3rd place at the 2010 European Men's Handbaa Championship.

See an aw

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  1. "Number of Icelandic citizens in Iceland". Archived frae the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 4 Februar 2013.
  2. [1] Archived 2009-09-03 at the Wayback Machine Statistics Canada, Census 2006 - Selected Ethnic Origins1, for Canada, Provinces and Territories - 20% Sample Data
  3. "US Census Bureau. "Fact Sheets." 2006. May 30, 2007". Archived frae the original on 8 Juin 2011. Retrieved 4 Februar 2013.
  4. "Persons with immigrant background, by immigration category, country background and gender. 1 January 2011". Archived frae the original on 22 August 2011. Retrieved 4 Februar 2013.
  5. "Statistics Denmark:FOLK2: Population 1. January by sex, age, ancestry, country of origin and citizenship". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  6. Þorvaldur Friðriksson. Keltnesk örnefni á Reykjanesi og víðar Archived 2016-04-20 at the Wayback Machine Faxi: p. 20. March 2007. Retrieved 2012/02/28.
  7. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived frae the original (PDF) on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 4 Februar 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. Icelanders, a diverse bunch?
  9. Estimating Scandinavian and Gaelic Ancestry in the Male Settlers of Iceland
  10. Fiske et al., 1972, p. 5
  11. Jónsson et al., 1991, pp. 17-23
  12. Sigríður Sunna Ebenesardóttir et al., 2010 (10 th of November, 2010). "A new subclade of mtDNA haplogroup C1 found in Icelanders: Evidence of pre-Columbian contact?". Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 144 (1): 92–9. doi:10.1002/ajpa.21419. PMID 21069749. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. Árnason et al., 2000
  14. Helgason et al., 2000
  15. Tomasson, pp. 405-406.
  16. Jackson, May 1925, pp. 680-681.
  17. Jackson, May 1925, p. 681.
  18. Library of Congress, 2004
  19. Vanderhill, 1963
  20. Lahelma et al., 1994–96
  21. Lovgren, 2004, p. 2
  22. Jochens, 1999, p. 621
  23. Del Giudice, 2008
  24. Roman Catholic Diocese of Reykjavík, 2005.
  25. Beale et al., 2004
  26. a b Fiske et al., 1972, p. 9
  27. Fiske et al., 1972, p. 7