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Iceland Project

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Republic of Iceland

Iceland, an island about the size of Kentucky, lies in the North Atlantic Ocean east of Greenland and just touches the Arctic Circle. It is one of the most volcanic regions in the world. More than 13% is covered by snowfields and glaciers, and most of the people live in the 7% of the island that is made up of fertile coastland. The Gulf Stream keeps Iceland's climate milder than one would expect from an island near the Arctic Circle (infoplease)

History of Iceland:-

пЃ¶ Iceland was settled in the late 9th and early 10th centuries, principally by people of Norse origin. In 930 A.D., the ruling chiefs established a republican constitution and an assembly called the Althingi (AlÐ"Ñ*ingi) the oldest parliament in the world. Iceland remained independent until 1262, when it entered into a treaty establishing a union with the Norwegian monarchy. Iceland passed to Denmark in the late 14th century when Norway and Denmark were united under the Danish (U.S.Department of state)

пЃ¶ In the early 19th century, national consciousness revived in Iceland. The Althingi had been abolished in 1800 but was reestablished in 1843 as a consultative assembly. In 1874, Denmark granted Iceland limited home rule, which was expanded in scope in 1904. The constitution, written in 1874, was revised in 1903, and a minister for Icelandic affairs, residing in ReykjavÐ"­k, was made responsible to the Althingi. The Act of Union, a 1918 agreement with Denmark, recognized Iceland as a fully sovereign state united with Denmark under a common king. Iceland established its own flag, but Denmark continued to represent Icelandic foreign affairs and defense interests. (U.S.Department of state)

пЃ¶ German occupation of Denmark in 1940 severed communications between Iceland and Denmark. Consequently, Iceland moved immediately to assume control over its own territorial waters and foreign affairs. In May 1940, British military forces occupied Iceland. In July 1941, responsibility for Iceland's defense passed to the United States. Following a plebiscite, Iceland formally became an independent republic on June 17, 1944. In October 1946, the Icelandic and U.S. Governments agreed to terminate U.S. responsibility for the defense of Iceland, but the United States retained certain rights at Keflavik. Iceland became a charter member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949. After the outbreak of hostilities in Korea in 1950, and pursuant to the request of NATO military authorities, the United States and Iceland agreed that the United States should again make arrangements for Iceland's defense. A bilateral defense agreement signed on May 5, 1951, remains in force, even though the U.S. military forces are no longer permanently stationed in Iceland. Iceland is the only NATO country with no standing military of its own. (U.S.Department of state)

пЃ¶ In 1970, it was admitted to the European Free Trade Association. Iceland unilaterally extended its territorial fishing limit from 3 to 200 nautical miles in 1972, precipitating a dispute with the UK known as the “cod wars,” which ended in 1976 when the UK recognized the new limits. In 1980, the Icelanders elected a woman to the office of the presidency, the first elected female chief of state (i.e., president as distinct from prime minister) in the world. The country is a member of the UN, NATO (since 1949), the Council of Europe (1949), and the Nordic Council (1953), and was declared a nuclear-free zone by the Aling in 1985.After the recession of the early 1990s, Iceland's economy rebounded. (everything about iceland)

пЃ¶ At the International Whaling Commission meeting in July 2001, Iceland refused to agree to the continuation of the moratorium on commercial whaling that had been in effect since 1986. In 2003, after a 14-year lull, the country began hunting whales for scientific research. (U.S.Department of state)

пЃ¶ In May 2003, David Oddsson was reelected, making him the longest-serving prime minister in Europe. In 2004, in a prearranged agreement made between the two parties of the coalition government, Oddsson and Foreign Minister HalldÐ"Ñ-r Ð"ЃsgrÐ"­msson switched positions. In June 2006 Ð"ЃsgrÐ"­msson resigned as prime minister after his party did badly in local elections. Economic troubles were cited as the main reason for the Progressive Party's poor showing. Geir Haarde, leader of Iceland's largest political party, the Independence Party, became prime minister and announced the implementation of more fiscally conservative measures (U.S.Department of state)

Geographical Settings:-

ICELAND is the second largest island in the westernmost country of Europe, located between latitude 63Ð'o24Ð'Ò'N and 66Ð'o33Ð'Ò'N and between longitude 13Ð'o30Ð'Ò'W and 24Ð'o32Ð'Ò'W, close to the Arctic Circle. Iceland is about midway between New York and Moscow. Unlike neighboring Greenland, Iceland is considered to be a part of Europe not of, North America, though geologically, the island belongs to both continents. Because of cultural, economic and linguistic similarities, Iceland in many contexts is also included in Scandinavia .From north to south the greatest distance is about 300 km (185 miles), from west to east about 500 km (305 miles). The coastline is about 6,000 km (3,700 miles) and the shortest distances to other countries are 286 km (180 miles) to Greenland, 795 km (495 miles) to Scotland and 950 km (590 miles) to Norway. There are numerous islands around the coast, some of them inhabited. The largest being is the Westman Islands in the south, HrÐ"­sey in the north, and GrÐ"­msey on the Arctic Circle. Due to its location on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland is volcanically and geologically active on a large scale; this defines the landscape in various ways. The interior mainly consists of a plateau characterized by sand fields, mountains and glaciers, while many big glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Due to the Gulf Stream, Iceland has a temperate climate relative to its latitude and provides a habitable environment and nature. (Iceland trade_directory)

Iceland is the world's eighteenth-largest island. The country has a population of about 313,000 and is 103,000 kmÐ'І (39,768.5 sq mi) in size, of which 62.7 percent is wasteland. Lakes and glaciers cover a total of 14.3 percent. Only 23 percent is vegetated. The largest lakes are Porisvatn (Reservoir): 83вЂ"88 kmÐ'І (32вЂ"34 sq mi) and Ð"Ñ›ingvallavatn: 82 kmÐ'І (32 sq mi); other important lakes



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