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Iceland Iceland was named by Floki Vilgerdarson, who spent a winter in Baroastrond and gave the island the name after regularly viewing ice drifts in the nearby fjords. Prior to this, the island held many names, including "Snowland" and "Gardarsholmi," which was named after Gardar Svavarsson.



Iceland has one of the world's shortest histories and it seems likely that people didn't arrive to the island until the 800 or 900s. However, these first settlers brought with them a culture and lifestyle that still exists in many forms today. However, with a changing world landscape, the culture has also rapidly changed in modern times as foods, clothing, and other items are imported into this small island nation daily as there is now a reliance on foreign goods for survival.

The first settlers on Iceland were ethnic Norwegian explorers, who arrived during the Viking Age. These people brought with them a sense of adventure, an ability to survive harsh conditions, and an almost capitalistic attitude of economic gain and wealth. However, the people also brought with them political organization, advanced technology, and more.

For much of Iceland's early history their culture and lifestyle progressed with Norwegian changes as the people continued to speak a language similar to Norwegian, they ate foods that were similar, technologies were similar, and communication was primarily done with other Norwegians. However, their lifestyle was also quite different and unique. Despite its northerly location, Iceland is a geothermal hot spot, allowing plants to grow and giving the island a longer growing season than one would expect, making survival a bit easier, but also altering the lifestyle from the Norwegians and others.

These changes and the isolation of Iceland helped the Icelandic culture develop on its own path as the language diverged, foods changed, and other aspects of the culture grew steadily more diverse. Contact with Norway, and later Denmark continued though and most of the outside influences to Iceland came from these countries, including the introduction of Christianity and later Lutheranism. This contact and foreign rule also led to a stronger Icelandic identity and culture beginning in about the 1800s.

Today Iceland remains closely tied to Norway, Denmark, and the rest of Europe, but in terms of culture and lifestyle, the Icelanders are growing more unique. Their long periods of isolation, their lifestyle on an island, and the recent introduction of foreign products has continuously altered the culture and people on Iceland as they at times seem isolated, but at others seem to be on the verge of progress and growth as they boast a unique architecture and nearly everyone is well educated as the people look inward for values and identity, but outward for technological inspiration and advancements.

Information for Iceland was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks