c600-800AD Irish monks began to seek solace in
(NH, 6/96, p.53)
800-900 Vikings brought ponies to Iceland.
(SFC, 3/21/98, p.A9)
800-900 In Scandinavia Futhark evolved around the
9th century. Instead of 24 letters, the Scandinavian "Younger"
Futhark had 16 letters. In England, Anglo-Saxon Futhorc started to
be replaced by the Latin alphabet by the 9th century, and did not
survive much more past the Norman Conquest. Futhark continued to be
used in Scandinavia for centuries longer, but by 1600 CE, it had
become nothing more than curiosities among scholars and
874 Vikings from Norway began
to survey Iceland. The monks withdrew to Ireland. The
40,000-square-mile island situated 500 miles northwest of Scotland
was first settled by Norwegians.
(NH, 6/96, p.53)(Economist, 8/25/12, p.64)
930 Jun 23, Icelanders
established the Althing, an open-air national parliament and the
world‘s oldest surviving parliamentary body. This was later credited
as the first example of representative government.
(NH, 6/96, p.53)(DrEE, 1/4/97, p.4)(SFC, 1/1/00,
In the Icelandic "Egils-saga" there is an account
of how Thorolf and Egil harried in Curonia (along the eastern Baltic
shore) about this time.
(DrEE, 11/23/96, p.3)(TB-Com, 10/11/00)
960 Thorvald Asvaldsson, the
father of Eric the Red (950-1003), committed a murder about this
time and was banished from Norway. He took his family to Iceland.
982 Eric the Red (950-1003),
killed a neighbor and some other men about this time and was
banished from Iceland for 3 years.
985 Eric Thorvaldsson, aka Eric
the Red, left Iceland and returned to Greenland establishing his 1st
1000-1100 In 2002 the remains of a longhouse from
this time were uncovered in northern Iceland. It was believed to be
associated with Snorri Thorfinnson, son of Viking explorers and the
1st European born in the New World.
(SFC, 9/16/02, p.A2)
1002 Thorer Eastman (d.1002), a
Norwegian sea captain, was blown off course on a trading voyage from
Iceland to Greenland. He and his wife, Gudrid, along with a crew of
13 became stranded on a rock near the coast of Newfoundland for
weeks until they were rescued by Leif Eriksson, who was on his way
home to Greenland from North America with a cargo of timber. That
fall an epidemic swept Greenland and Eastman died.
(ON, 12/07, p.4)
1006 Thorfinn Karlsefni
arrived in Greenland from Iceland and married Gudrid
Thorbjarnardottir. She soon talked him into leading an expedition to
the New World.
(ON, 12/07, p.5)
1007 Thorfinn Karlsefni
and Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir embarked with a 3-ship expedition to
the new World. Snorri Thorfinnson, son of Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir
and Thorfinn Karlsefni, was born in Vinland (probably Newfoundland),
the 1st European born in the New World. The family later returned
east and settled in Iceland.
(SFC, 9/16/02, p.A2)(ON, 12/07, p.5)
1010 Thorfinn Karlsefni and
Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir returned from the New World to Greenland
and then moved to Iceland the following year, where they raised a
(ON, 12/07, p.5)
1151 In Iceland the first known
fire and plague insurance was offered.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R42)
1262 After a long and bloody
conflict between the various families and clans, the Icelanders
accepted the rule of the Norwegian kingdom.
(DrEE, 1/4/97, p.4)
1294 The Great Geysir was
discovered in Iceland and gave rise to the community named Geysir.
Geyser became the generic name for all water spouts.
(SSFC, 7/17/05, p.D6)
1362 In Iceland the
Oraefajokull volcano erupted. This eruption was later believed to
have eclipsed the 79AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
(Econ, 4/24/10, p.62)
1413 Iceland used dried fish
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R42)
1602 Denmark imposed a strict
trade monopoly and cut off the island's products from lucrative
(SFEC, 9/19/99, p.A18)
1773 Iceland held its first
(Economist, 8/25/12, p.64)
1783 Jun 8, In Iceland the
Lakagicar volcano began erupting. Over the next 6 months it built a
lava dam 40 miles long and 540 feet high in a month. The Laki
volcano wiped out 75% of the crops, which led to a severe famine
that killed some 10,000 people, 20% of the population, reducing the
population to some 40,000 people. This was described by Haraldur
Sigurdson in an article titled Volcanic Pollution and Climate: Eos
63, Aug. 10, 1982. The Laki eruption sent poisonous gases across
Europe. In 2014 Alexandra Witze and Jeff Kanipe authored “Island on
Fire: The Extraordinary Story of Laki: the Volcano that Turned
Eighteenth-Century Europe Dark."
(NH, 9/97, p.38)(SFEC, 9/19/99, p.A18)(AM, 7/00,
p.40)(ON, 2/04, p.9)(Econ, 12/22/07, p.132)(Econ, 4/24/10,
p.62)(Econ, 5/29/10, p.85)(Econ, 7/19/14,p.71)
1783 Jun 8-1784 Feb, A series
of 10 eruptions from the Laki Craters on Iceland changed atmospheric
conditions in most of the Northern Hemisphere. This also generated a
cascade of events that led to record low levels of water in the Nile
River and brought famine to the region.
1784 Feb 7, In Iceland the
Lakagicar (Laki) volcano ceased its eruptions. Smoke from the 8
months of eruptions caused one of the longest and coldest winters in
Europe. [see Jun 8, 1783]
(ON, 2/04, p.10)
1800 The Althing was abolished
by the Danish king.
1821-1823 In Iceland the Eyjafjallajokull volcano
erupted over this period.
(Econ, 4/24/10, p.62)
1843 In Iceland a nationalist
movement re-established the Althing.
1859 The present church in
Thingvellir was constructed.
(NH, 6/96, p.53)
1869 Iceland made it illegal to
sell or distribute pornography.
(Econ, 4/20/13, p.64)
1874 A constitution was granted
1900 The puffin was almost made
extinct in the Westmann Islands about this time because of
harvesting. The puffin was hunted for its down which was exported to
Denmark. The hunting was banned for 30 years and when it was
harvested again Icelanders started using a hunting method from the
Faroe Islands, where the puffins are caught in a net on a long pole.
1902 Apr 23, Halldór Laxness,
Nobel Prize-winning Icelandic novelist (The Fish Can Sing, Paradise
Reclaimed), was born.
1904 Iceland won home rule.
(DrEE, 1/4/97, p.4)
1918 Dec 1, Danish parliament
passed an act to grant Iceland independence.
(HFA, ‘96, p.20)(MC, 12/1/01)
1936 Halldor Laxness, novelist,
published "Salka Valka".
(SFC, 2/11/98, p.A24)
1937 In Iceland an airline was
founded that developed into Icelandair.
(WSJ, 10/14/08, p.B10)
1937-1940 Halldor Laxness wrote "World Light," the
tale of an alienated Icelandic folk poet.
(SFC, 2/11/98, p.A24)
1938 The Loki volcano in the
center of the Vatnajokull glacier in southeast Iceland erupted.
(SFC, 10/3/96, p.A14)
1941 Feb 10, Iceland was
attacked by German planes.
1941 Jul 7, Although a neutral
country, the United States sent troops to occupy Iceland to keep it
out of Germany's hands.
(WUD, 1944, p.1683)(HN, 7/7/98)
1941 Oct 17, The U.S. destroyer
Kearney was damaged by a German U-boat torpedo off Iceland; 11
people were killed.
1941 Oct 31, The US Navy
destroyer "Reuben James" was torpedoed by a German U-boat off
Iceland, killing 115, even though the United States had not yet
entered World War II.
1944 May 24, Icelandic voters
severed all ties with Denmark.
1944 Jun 17, Iceland declared
full independence from Denmark and became a republic.
(DrEE, 1/4/97, p.4)(AP, 6/17/97)
1946 Halldor Laxness
(1902-1998) of Iceland published "Independent People." It helped him
win the Nobel Prize in literature in 1955.
1949 Apr 4, The (NATO) North
Atlantic Treaty Organization pact was signed by the US, Great
Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy,
Portugal, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Canada. It provided for
mutual defense against aggression and for close military
1955 Halldor Laxness
(1902-1998), Icelandic author, won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
His 1946 novel "Independent People" helped him win the prize.
1959 May 6, Iceland gunboats
shot at British fishing ships.
1961 Halldor Laxness, novelist,
published "The Atom Station."
(SFC, 2/11/98, p.A24)
1962 Halldor Laxness, novelist,
published "Paradise Reclaimed."
(SFC, 2/11/98, p.A24)
1963 Nov 14, Iceland got a new
island when a volcano pushed its way up out of the sea five miles
off the southern coast.
1972 Aug 17, The International
Tribunal in The Hague pronounced that the Icelanders did not have
sovereignty over the areas between 12 and 50 miles. The Icelandic
government protested and decided to take no notice of this decree.
1972 Sep 1, American Bobby
Fischer won the international chess crown in Reykjavik, Iceland,
defeating Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union. In 2004 David Edmonds
and John Eidinow authored "Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the
Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time."
(AP, 9/1/97)(SSFC, 2/07/04, p.M1)
1973 Jan 23, Helgafell, an
island of Heimaey, Iceland, erupted for the 1st time in 7,000 yrs.
1974 Iceland completed its
first road around the island.
(Econ, 5/29/10, p.84)
1974 Sigurdur Hjartarson began
collecting penis memorabilia. In 1997 he opened his Icelandic
Phallological Museum in Reykjavik.
(SSFC, 10/19/03, p.C8)(Reuters, 5/16/08)
1975 Oct 15, Iceland moved its
intl. boundary for fishing rights from 50 to 200 miles.
1976 Jun 2, Great-Britain
& Iceland terminated their codfish war. It was agreed that only
24 British vessels would be allowed in the 200 mile zone and four
conservation areas would be completely closed to the British.
1976 Rabbits were imported to
Iceland from Spain about this time. Some were later released into
the wild and began to compete with the native puffin birds, which
breed in burrows.
(WSJ, 8/4/06, p.A1)
1980 Aug 1, In Iceland Vigdis
Finnbogadottir (b.1930) began serving as president and the world’s
first female head of state. She was re-elected 3 times and retired
1983 Jul, The Tuna Task Force
(TTF) issued a draft plan of management. It contained 14
recommendations, the most important of which include the use of
catch-quotas, minimum limits on fish-size, limited-entry and further
limits on purse-seine operations. It was proposed that the plan
should come into effect at the beginning of the 1983-84 fishing
season (on 1 October 1993). Because of difficulties in reaching
agreement on all aspects, this target was not achieved. Australia,
New Zealand and Iceland pioneered Individual Transferable Quotas
(ITQs) for commercial fisheries.
1986 Oct 11, President Reagan
and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev opened two days of talks
concerning arms control and human rights in Reykjavik, Iceland.
1986 Oct 12, The superpower
meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, ended in stalemate, with President
Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev unable to agree on
arms control or a date for a full-fledged summit in the United
1989 Jon Asgeir Johannesson
(20) and his unemployed father opened a discount grocery store,
Bonus, in Reykjavik, Iceland. Until this time dominant grocery
chains had kept food prices high throughout the nation.
(WSJ, 7/11/06, p.A1)
1991 Feb 11, The parliament of
Iceland confirmed that the recognition of Lithuania from 1922 was
fully valid and that diplomatic relations would be established as
soon as possible. Lithuania received de jure recognition from
(DrEE, 1/4/97, p.4)(LHC, 2/11/03)
1991 Iceland’s corporate tax
rate on profits stood at 50%.
(Econ, 2/19/05, p.61)
1991 David Oddsson became prime
minister of Iceland.
1992 Iceland left the Int’l.
Whaling Commission when a resolution was passed to outlaw commercial
(SFC, 5/10/97, p.A8)
1992 Mar 5, In Copenhagen the
Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany,
Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden, in the
presence of the representative from the European Commission, opened
a 2-day meeting and decided to establish a Council of the Baltic Sea
States to serve as a forum for guidance and overall coordination
among the participating states. Iceland joined the CBSS in 1995
1993 Bjorgolfur Bjorgolfsson
(26) left Iceland and started a soft-drink company in St.
Petersburg, Russia. He later expanded into brewing, banking,
telecommunications and discount pharmaceuticals. By 2006 his stake
in the Iceland-based Actavis Group was valued at $1 billion, making
him Iceland’s first billionaire.
(SFC, 4/1/06, p.C3)(Econ, 4/14/07, p.80)
1995 Iceland stopped
requirement immigrants to adopt local names.
(Econ, 1/14/12, p.59)
1996 Jun 27, Gay marriages were
legalized in Iceland.
(SFC, 6/28/96, p.A14)
1996 Jun 30, Olafur Ragnar
Grimsson, a left-wing career politician, claimed victory in
(SFC, 6/30/96, B7)
1996 Sep 19, The Arctic Council
was founded to promote joint scientific research and to study
pollution, conservation and mapping. The Ottawa Declaration named
eight members of the Arctic Council: Canada, Russia, Norway,
Denmark, Iceland, the United States, Sweden and Finland. The first
step towards the formation of the Council occurred in 1991 when
eight Arctic countries signed the Arctic Environmental Protection
1996 Oct 1, The Loki volcano in
the center of the Vatnajokull glacier in southeast Iceland erupted.
(SFC, 10/3/96, p.A14)(SFC, 11/6/96, p.A25)
1996 Oct 12, The eruptions
ceased in the Loki volcano but a large amount of water was melted
from the glacier.
(SFC, 11/6/96, p.A25)
1996 Nov 5, The glacier’s ice
cap cracked and unleashed millions of gallons and 2 bridges were
(SFC, 11/6/96, p.A25)
1997 May 10, It was reported
that Iceland would resume whaling. Whaling had stopped there in
(SFC, 5/10/97, p.A8)
1997 The Icelandic
Phallological Museum opened in Reykjavik. It later moved to the
quiet fishing village of Husavik, 480 km (298 miles) northeast of
the capital. Sigurdur Hjartarson began his collection in 1974 with a
single bull's penis that looked something like a riding crop. By
2008 it included 261 preserved members from 90 species.
1998 Feb 8, In Iceland Halldor
Laxness (b.1902), novelist and Nobel Prize winner, died at age 95.
His books included "Independent People" (1946), "the Great Weaver of
Cashmere," "Salka Valka," "The Atom Station," and "Paradise
(SFC, 2/11/98, p.A24)
1998 Sep 10, Keiko the killer
whale, star of the 1993 "Free Willy" movie, was returned to Iceland,
where he was captured in 1979 at age 2. Much of his early life was
spent at a Mexico City amusement park.
(SFC, 9/11/98, p.A10)(SFC, 10/17/03, p.D1)
1998 Oct 12, Canada planned to
begin discussion with Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Liechtenstein for
the first trans-Atlantic free-trade pact.
(WSJ, 10/12/98, p.A1)
1999 Mar 10, In Iceland the
parliament passed a resolution to resume whale hunting within its
(SFC, 3/12/99, p.A15)
1999 May 9, In parliamentary
elections the right-wing Independence Party of Prime Minister
Oddsson won 40.8% of the vote.
(WSJ, 5/10/99, p.A1)
2000 Feb 27, In Iceland the
Mount Hekla volcano erupted.
(WSJ, 2/29/00, p.A1)
2001 Iceland’s corporate tax
rate on profits were cut to 30%.
(Econ, 2/19/05, p.61)
2002 May 20, In Japan the
Int’l. Whaling Commission rejected Iceland’s bid for full membership
for a 2nd year in a row.
(SFC, 5/21/02, p.A16)
2003 Apr 24, Iceland opened a
filling station for hydrogen-powered vehicles.
2003 May 10, Iceland voters
re-elected David Oddsson, Europe's longest serving prime minister
supporting his conservative economic policies rather than the
progressive spending plans of the former Reykjavik mayor.
2003 May 22, Iceland PM David
Oddsson announced that he will step down in September 2004 in favor
of the current foreign minister, who leads the other party in his
2003 Aug 17, Iceland launched
its first whale hunt in more than a decade in the name of scientific
research. The US, Britain and several other governments opposed to
whaling labeled the hunt unnecessary.
2003 Iceland privatized 2 of
its largest banks.
(Econ, 10/11/08, p.96)
2004 May 24, It was reported
that Alcoa planned to build a $1 billion aluminum smelter on the
island of Trinidad and another in Iceland.
(WSJ, 5/24/04, p.A1)
2004 Aug 16, The children’s TV
show “Lazytown" made its US premier. Magnus Scheving spent over a
decade building the brand in Iceland before moving overseas.
2004 Iceland’s PM David Oddsson
pushed through a media law aimed at limiting Baugur’s interests.
Baugur had large retailing interests and in the fall purchased
Denmark’s Magasin de Nord department-store group. Oddsson, Europe's
longest-serving prime minister, stepped down this year following
13-year tenure that transformed Iceland with a strong dose of free
(Econ, 7/25/05, p.54)(AP, 6/5/06)
2004 Halldor Asgrimson took
over as PM of Iceland.
(Econ, 3/4/06, p.48)
2005 Mar 21, Iceland's
Parliament awarded citizenship to chess champion Bobby Fischer.
2005 Mar 24, Chess legend Bobby
Fischer walked free from a Japanese detention center and immediately
headed to the airport to fly to his new home in Iceland.
2005 Jul 1, Police in Iceland
charged Jon Asgeir Johannesson, multimillionaire and CEO of Baugur,
with fraud. Baugur was taken private in 2003. In October the Supreme
Court dismissed 32 of 40 charges. A district court acquitted him of
the remaining 8 charges in March, 2006.
(Econ, 7/25/05, p.54)(Econ, 7/1/06, p.A9)(WSJ,
2005 Dec 10, Miss Iceland,
Unnur Birna Vilhjalmsdottir (21), an anthropology and law student
and part-time policewoman, was crowned Miss World on the southern
Chinese resort island of Hainan.
2005 Iceland’s corporate tax
rate on profits dropped to 18%.
(Econ, 2/19/05, p.61)
2006 Mar, Iceland’s currency
and stock market fell as its current-account deficit stood at 16% of
GDP. Similar problems due to high current-account deficits faced New
Zealand, Australia, Turkey and Hungary.
(Econ, 4/8/06, p.19)
2006 Apr 20-2006 May 10, This
is considered the prime hunting season for puffin birds in Iceland.
Up to 200,000 puffins are killed by hunters each year.
(WSJ, 8/4/06, p.A1)(www.huntingiceland.com/)
2006 Jun 5, Iceland's PM
Halldor Asgrimsson (58) announced he was stepping down in the wake
of his party's poor performance in recent local elections.
2006 Jun 15, Geir Haarde became
Iceland's new prime minister, marking a return to the office for
Iceland's largest political party and a likely shift toward a
tighter fiscal policy.
2006 Sep 8, The United States
Naval Air Station Keflavik (NASKEF) closed at Iceland’s Keflavik
2006 Oct 17, Iceland said it
would resume commercial whaling after a nearly two-decade
moratorium, defying a worldwide ban on hunting the mammals for their
2006 Nov 6, Transparency
International, a watchdog group, reported that nearly three-quarters
of 163 countries ranked in a new survey suffer from a perception of
serious corruption, while in nearly half it is seen as rampant.
Finland, Iceland and New Zealand ranked as the least corrupt, while
Haiti, Guinea and Myanmar ranked as most corrupt.
(AP, 11/6/06)(Econ, 11/11/06, p.69)
2006 The Iceland population was
2007 Apr 22, The annual Goldman
Environmental Prizes were announced on Earth Day. The winners
included Julio Cusurichi of Peru for his work to fight illegal
logging; Willie Corduff of Ireland for his work to halt an energy
project that disregarded local and environmental concerns; Sophia
Rabliauskas of Canada for her work to help protect the boreal forest
in Manitoba; Orri Vigfussen of Iceland for his work on the North
Atlantic Salmon Fund; Ts. Munkhbayar for his work against
unregulated mining in Mongolia; and Hammerskjoeld Simwinga for his
work in organizing microloan programs in Zambia.
(SSFC, 4/22/07, p.E1)
2007 May 13, Icelandic PM Geir
Haarde's centre-right Independence Party came out on top in weekend
general elections but it was unclear if his coalition government
will stay in power.
2007 Oct 9, In Iceland Yoko Ono
urged the world to give peace a chance as she unveiled a monument in
memory of her husband, former Beatle John Lennon (d.1980). Ono lit
up the Imagine Peace Tower on Videy island near the capital's harbor
on what would have been Lennon's 67th birthday.
2007 Nov 8, Nordic countries
again dominated the World Economic Forum's ranking of gender-equal
countries. New Zealand squeezed into the top five and the US fell to
31st place. Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland retained the top
four spots in the 2007 Gender Gap Index released by the Swiss-based
2007 Nov 27, Iceland has
overtaken Norway as the world's most desirable country to live in,
according to an annual UN table that again puts AIDS-afflicted
sub-Saharan African states at the bottom.
2008 Jan 17, Bobby Fischer
(b.1943), the reclusive chess genius, died in Iceland. He became a
Cold War hero by dethroning the Soviet world champion in 1972 and
later renounced his American citizenship.
2008 May 20, Whale hunting
season began in Iceland as the country's first whaling ship of the
year set sail in defiance of a worldwide moratorium on the practice.
2008 Sep 29, Britain seized
control of mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley. Germany organized
a credit lifeline for blue-chip commercial real estate lender Hypo
Real Estate Holding AG, while Iceland's government took over Glitnir
bank, the country's third largest.
2008 Oct 5, Iceland’s
government and banks scrambled to rescue the country’s banking
system. Its economy was one of the hardest hit by the global
(WSJ, 10/5/08, p.A13)
2008 Oct 7, Iceland
nationalized its second-largest bank under day-old legislation and
negotiated a euro4 billion ($5.4 billion) loan from Russia to shore
up the nation's finances amid a full-blown financial crisis.
2008 Oct 8, Britain added to
the financial chaos engulfing Iceland by declaring it planned to sue
over lost deposits held by thousands of Britons with Icelandic bank
accounts. The news from London overshadowed an emergency loan from
Sweden to Iceland's biggest bank.
2008 Oct 9, Iceland suspended
trading on its stock exchange for two days and took control of the
country's largest bank, the third to be placed under its protective
umbrella, as it grappled with a banking crisis that is threatening
to engulf the entire country.
2008 Oct 14, Iceland's blue
chip stocks plunged 77 percent when trading reopened on after a near
week-long suspension and an official delegation from the island
sought Russian help in saving the economy from collapse.
2008 Oct 15, Iceland moved to
shore up its ravaged economy by slashing borrowing costs and
officials pursued efforts to get help from Russia in tackling the
worst financial crisis in the island's history.
2008 Oct 24, Iceland, where the
financial system has all but collapsed, reached a deal with the IMF
for $2 billion to help fix its broken banking system, restart
currency trading and soften the blow from the global downturn.
(Reuters, 10/25/08)(WSJ, 10/25/08, p.A9)
2008 Oct 28, Iceland’s PM Geir
Haarde said his country needs about $6 billion in loans to recover
from the financial meltdown, just as the country's central bank
separately hiked its interest rates by a massive 6 percentage points
(AP, 10/28/08)(WSJ, 10/29/08, p.A10)
2008 Nov 17, Iceland moved to
secure $6 billion in loans to refloat its collapsed financial system
as Britain said it would welcome a government promise to guarantee
its citizens' deposits in collapsed internet bank Icesave.
2008 Nov 19, The IMF approved a
two-year, $2.1 billion support program for Iceland designed to
restore confidence and stabilize the country's shattered economy.
2008 Nov 20, Finland's Finance
Ministry said four Nordic countries will lend Iceland $2.5 billion
(euro1.98 billion) to help the country recover from its economic
2009 Jan 26, Iceland's
coalition government collapsed, leaving the island nation in
political turmoil amid a financial crisis that has pummeled its
economy and required an international bailout to keep the country
2009 Jan 27, Iceland's
center-left Social Democratic Alliance Party was chosen to lead the
country following the collapse of the island nation's government
amid deep economic troubles and intense political discord.
2009 Jan 27, Iceland raised it
quota on whale hunting to 250 a year, a dramatic increase over past
2009 Jan 28, In Iceland both
parties of the new coalition government supported the appointment of
social affairs minister Johanna Sigurdardottir (66), an openly gay
former air hostess, as interim prime minister.
(SFC, 1/29/09, p.A8)(Econ, 5/2/09, p.52)
2009 Feb 8, Sigurdur Helgason
(b.1921), former Icelandic airline CEO (1974-1984), died on the
Caribbean private island of Mustique. He pioneered cheap flights
that carried legions of backpackers between Europe and the United
States in the 1960s and '70s.
2009 Mar 9, The Icelandic
government took control of Straumur Burdaras Investment Bank hf.,
the last of the major Icelandic banks to collapse after running out
2009 Apr 25, Icelanders voted
in an early parliamentary election. Iceland's leftist coalition won
the country's general election, a blow for the pro-business
Independence Party that many blamed for the collapse of the
country's banking system. Johanna Sigurdardottir, the acting prime
minister, was expected to be named prime minister.
(AP, 4/25/09)(AP, 4/26/09)(Econ, 5/2/09, p.52)
2009 Jun, Iceland made a deal
to borrow some $5.5 billion from the British and Dutch governments
at an annual rate of 5.5% to meet its Icesave banking obligations.
(Econ, 8/15/09, p.46)
2009 Jul 16, Iceland’s Althingi
(parliament) voted 33 to 28 to apply to join the EU.
(Econ, 7/25/09, p.50)
2009 Jul 23, Iceland formally
applied to join the European Union but said it would not accept a
"rotten deal" for its fishing industry, a key sector of the island
nation's troubled economy.
2009 Aug 28, Iceland's
parliament approved a controversial deal to pay back billions of
euros (dollars) lost by British and Dutch savers in the collapse of
the online Icesave bank. The deal provided for the payment of 3.8
billion euros by 2023 to the British and Dutch governments for the
compensation they forked out to disgruntled savers.
2009 Iceland introduced fines
and jail terms for those who patronize prostitutes.
(Econ, 4/20/13, p.63)
2010 Jan 5, Iceland’s Pres.
Olafur Ragnar Grimsson rejected a bill passed by parliament on Dec
30 on a state guarantee for €3.9 billion owed to British and Dutch
governments. This amount would cover compensation paid to savers in
those countries following the collapse of Landsbanki and its
internet-banking scheme, Icesave, one of three stricken Icelandic
banks nationalized in October 2008.
(Econ, 1/9/10, p.52)
2010 Mar 6, Icelanders voted in
a referendum on a $5 billion deal to repay Anglo-Dutch loans. The
referendum resoundingly rejected a deal to pay Britain and The
Netherlands billions for losses in the Icesave bank collapse.
(Reuters, 3/6/10)(AFP, 3/7/10)
2010 Mar 21, In southern
Iceland a volcano erupted overnight, forcing some 600 hundred people
to evacuate the area and diverting flights after authorities
declared a local state of emergency.
(Reuters, 3/21/10)(AF, 3/22/10)
2010 Mar 24, Iceland’s
parliament voted to ban striptease shows, making it an offense for
any business to profit from the nudity of its employees. The ban
became effective on 1 July.
2010 Apr 6, Moody's Investor
Service downgraded Iceland's debt ratings outlook to negative from
stable over concerns about the tiny island nation's ability to tap
the foreign credit it needs to stay afloat.
2010 Apr 14, In Iceland a
volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier erupted for the second
time in less than a month, melting ice, shooting smoke and steam
into the air, closing a major road and forcing hundreds of people to
flee rising floodwaters.
2010 Apr 15, British airport
operator BAA Ltd. said all flights at London's Heathrow Airport have
been suspended for the rest of the day, causing travel chaos as ash
clouds from Iceland's spewing volcano halted air traffic across
2010 Apr 16, Volcanic ash
blanketed parts of rural Iceland and left a widening arc of grounded
aircraft across Europe, as thousands of planes stayed on the tarmac
to avoid the hazardous cloud. Travel chaos engulfed major European
cities and the UN warned of possible health risks from falling ash.
2010 Apr 17, A lingering
volcanic ash plume forced extended no-fly restrictions over much of
Europe, as Icelandic scientists warned that volcanic activity had
increased and showed no sign of abating, a portent of more travel
chaos to come. Nearly 17,000 flights to and from Europe were
cancelled out of about 22,000 on a normal day.
(AP, 4/17/10)(Econ, 4/24/10, p.63)
2010 May 4, Iceland's volcanic
ash renewed its threat to European air space, forcing Ireland to
shut services temporarily for the first time in 12 days. Ireland and
Britain lifted flight restrictions after temporarily closing
airspace due to the return of ash.
(AP, 5/4/10)(AFP, 5/4/10)
2010 May 21, Norwegian browser
developer Opera Software said it is moving its data processing
capacity to a newly-built center in Iceland, one of the first
foreign investment deals for the crisis-hit island as it tries to
rebuild its economy.
2010 Jun 17, Iceland’s
parliament voted to create what supporters hoped will be the world’s
strongest protections for free speech and journalism, passing
measures intended to make Iceland a safe haven for investigative
(SFC, 6/18/10, p.A2)
2010 Jun 27, Iceland's PM
Johanna Sigurdardottir (68) married her partner under a new law
legalizing same-sex marriage in the country.
2010 Jul 5, Authorities in
Iceland exhumed the body of American chess champion Bobby Fischer to
determine whether he is the father of a 9-year-old girl from the
2010 Nov 1, Icelandic
Meteorological Office geophysicist Gunnar Gudmundsson said that
floodwater is coming from the subglacial Grimsvotn volcano, but
there are no signs of the underground tremors that would signal an
2010 Sigurdur Gylfi Magnusson
authored “Wasteland With Words: A Social History of Iceland."
(Econ, 5/29/10, p.84)
2010 Iceland’s Parliament
indicted former PM Geir Haarde for violating the laws of ministerial
responsibility. He was charged with doing too little to protect the
country against expansionary lending by bankers that resulted in
(SFC, 3/6/12, p.A2)
2011 Feb 20, Iceland's Pres.
President Olafur R. Grimsson triggered a referendum on an updated
plan to pay $5 billion to Britain and Netherlands for debts incurred
from the financial crisis, creating new uncertainty over the
island's economic recovery.
2011 Apr 9, Icelanders voted in
a referendum on whether the nation will repay Britain and the
Netherlands in full for compensating their citizens who had deposits
in Icesave, a failed online bank. Voters rejected the
government-backed deal, sending the dispute to an int’l. court.
(SFC, 4/9/11, p.A2)(SFC, 4/11/11, p.A2)
2011 May 22, Iceland closed its
main international airport and canceled all domestic flights as the
Grimsvotn volcano sent a plume of ash, smoke and steam 12 miles (20
2011 May 24, About 250 flights
to northern Britain were canceled over concerns about the ash cloud
spewing from an Icelandic volcano, but British and Irish officials
dismissed fears of a mass shutdown of airspace.
2011 Oct 1, Icelanders, angry
over citizen costs for the country’s economic crises, pelted
lawmakers with eggs during a protest at the opening of the new
parliamentary session in Reykjavik.
(SSFC, 10/2/11, p.A4)
2011 Nov 25, Iceland's interior
ministry said it had rejected an application by Huang Nubo's
Zhongkun Group to buy 120 square miles (30,639 hectares) of land on
the north shore of Iceland for a vast nature retreat in a deal that
would have been worth about 1 billion Icelandic kronur ($8.8
million). On Nov 27 Huang said the rejection was indicative of
anti-Chinese attitudes in the West.
2011 Dec 15, Iceland formally
recognized the Palestinian state at a ceremony in Reykjavik,
becoming one of the few Western European countries and NATO members
to do so.
2012 Apr 20, China signed
accords on energy cooperation and the Arctic in Iceland as Premier
Wen Jiabao started a tour of northern Europe that will focus on
Chinese investment in a continent eager for funds and to trade with
the rising world power.
2012 Apr 23, In Iceland former
PM Geir Haarde was acquitted on the major counts in a trial probing
his responsibility for the country’s 2008 economic collapse.
(SFC, 4/24/12, p.A2)
2012 Jun 30, Iceland's
President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson was re-elected to a fifth term with
52.8% of the vote.
2013 Jan 31, In Iceland a
15-year-old Icelandic girl was granted the right to legally use the
name "Blaer," which means "light breeze," given to her by her
mother, despite the opposition of authorities and a strict law on
2013 Apr 15, Iceland President
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson announced the formation of the Arctic Circle
at a Pres Club meeting in Washington, DC., The new nonprofit will
dedicated to bringing together the many international stakeholders
in an open venue to address the challenges facing the
2013 Apr 15, China signed a
free-trade deal with Iceland as PM Johanna Sigurdardottir made a
6-day visit there. This was China’s first free-trade with a European
nation. Some saw China’s goal as better access to shipping routes
through the Arctic.
(Econ, 4/20/13, p.50)
2013 Apr 24, Wikileaks said it
has secured a victory in Iceland’s Supreme Court against the
financial blockade imposed by Visa and Master Card on donations for
the secret-spilling site.
(SFC, 4/25/13, p.A2)
2013 Apr 27, Icelanders voted
in a parliamentary election. The center-right parties that led the
country into economic collapse five years ago returned to power. The
conservative Independence Party won the most votes but it and the
rural-based Progressive Party each won 19 seats in the 63-seat
parliament. The Pirate Party, just a few months old, took 5.1% of
the vote, gaining three seats in the Althingi.
(AP, 4/27/13)(SFC, 4/29/13, p.A2)(AP,
4/30/13)(Econ, 5/4/13, p.56)
2013 May 22, In Iceland
Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, head of the Progressive Party, was
chosen as the new prime minister. He immediately announced a halt to
talks with the EU about joining the 27-nation block.
(SFC, 5/23/13, p.A2)(Econ, 5/4/13, p.56)
2013 Jun 20, An Icelandic
businessman linked to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said he had
readied a private plane in China to fly Edward Snowden, who has
admitted leaking secrets about classified US surveillance programs,
from Hong Kong to Iceland if Iceland's government would grant
2014 The population Iceland was
(SSFC, 2/2/14, p.M8)