Iceland

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Iceland, c. 1975

Iceland, an island in the north Atlantic Ocean, was settled by Vikings and their (mostly Irish) slaves in the late Dark Ages. It fell under Norwegian and then Danish domination during the Middle Ages and was forcibly Lutheranized in the late 1500's. Deforestation, climate deterioration and volcanic eruptions imposed severe hardships and by the mid 19th century the population had declined to 70,000. Many Icelanders emigrated to the United States and Canada. Iceland was granted home rule by the Danish crown in 1874 and complete independence in 1918, but remained part of the Danish monarchy. In 1940, Denmark was occupied by the Nazis and British occupied Iceland. The occupation was turned over to American troops in 1941 and in 1944, Icelanders voted to sever all ties with Denmark, becoming a republic. With the end of World War Two, American troops withdrew. In 1949, Iceland joined NATO and participated in the Marshall Plan, bringing aid to a desperately underdeveloped country. Today, Iceland is free, stable and prosperous.

kingdom (1918-44)

one eyrir

two aurar

five aurar

ten aurar

twenty-five aurar

one krona

two kronur

republic (since 1944)

one eyrir

five aurar

ten aurar

twenty-five aurar

one krona

two kronur

five kronur

reform coinage (since 1981)

tokens

currency