|Area||39,770 sq mi |
(about the size of Kentucky)
|Languages||Icelandic (Main) |
Iceland is a democratic country isolated in the Atlantic Ocean well away and to the north of most of Europe, Iceland is culturally European and culturally Scandinavian despite being geographically relatively close to North America. Iceland is a member of NATO and had applied for the membership in the European Union. It is very green and beautiful island, second largest in Europe. Geologically Iceland is relatively new, it was formed from volcanic activity between the Eurasian and North American Plates. The Island is still very volcanically and geologically active.
Iceland was uninhabited until 874. Today the population of Iceland is over 300,000. By comparison, the population of New York City or is 8,300,000 or 8 million more. London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Paris, Vienna and many other European cities also have a larger population than the whole of Iceland.
Police forces in Iceland are among the most peaceful in the world. Since gun statistics for the country started in the 1940s, only ONCE has an Icelandic officer shot and killed a civilian. In 2013, a man was shooting toward the cops who entered his home, who used tear gas to try and subdue him. The tear gas failed and police shot him. The force actually accepted responsibility and owned up to their mistakes (maybe America can learn something from this). Police chief Haraldur Johannessen offered his condolences to the victim's family. Icelandic police are typically unarmed, and only carry Guns in severe circumstances.
Iceland was a member of the Coalition of the Willing so obviously it is a country with no army, it pulled out in winter 2008. They only had one troop in Iraq. Icelanders enjoy a high standard of living and an egalitarian society. Icelanders have a rich cultural heritage including poetry and cuisine. Like Norway and Switzerland Iceland does not belong to the European Union. Their president is Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson. Their Prime Minister is Katrín Jakobsdóttir. People are generally open-minded and tolerant of homosexuality in Iceland. On January 1st 2018 Iceland made it illegal for any of its citizens to pay women less money at work
Traditionally Iceland relied heavily on fish which is their most important export. Despite moving heavily into other areas fishing is still very important for the island.
In 2007 The United Nations ranked the Icelandic economy as the most developed in the world. Iceland was also ranked the 4th most productive per capita in the world. All that was before the economic crisis ot 2008-2009. 
For such a country with such a small population it owns (or did own) a remarkable amount of business around the world. In 2008 Iceland got pwned because it did particularly badly in the ongoing economic crisis, its banks owed about six times the countries annual GDP!  all three major banks collapsed. No bigger banking collapse relative to the size of the country’s economy had ever happened in history. The crisis cost more than 75% of Iceland’s 1975 GDP. Half a million foreigners with bank deposits in Iceland had their money frozen, Iceland’s population is only 300,000 remember. The value of the national currency fell sharply and the value of Iceland’s stock exchange went down by 90% and more.
"Other banks and financial institutions no longer wanted to touch Iceland with the longest barge-pole ever constructed." 
Imports and exports
Iceland's economy is highly export-driven. Bjork's CDs account for the majority of goods exports. Other important exports include artificial limbs, ferro-silicon alloys, second hand clothing, and generic drugs. Also, memeribelia from the mighty ducks movie.
The main imports are cement, petroleum products and crappy Hollywood movies.
The capital, Reykjavík is near the Arctic circle and receives only about 4 hours of sunlight in December. Temperatures average about freezing point in winter and are about 10 to 15 degrees centigrade in summer. Iceland is warmer than most other areas so far from the equator because the Gulf Stream warms the country. Since Iceland is geologically very active most Icelanders can warm their homes cheaply using renewable geothermal energy and hydroelectric power. 
World heritage site
In 1963 there was an unusual and spectacular event in the seas near Iceland. In mid-November the crew of a fishing boat noticed smoke rising from the sea. The captain thought another boat might be on fire and went to help. There was no boat. Instead there was a volcanic eruption below the sea. Volcanic smoke increased rapidly. Before the end of November a new volcanic island had formed above the surface of the sea and was growing rapidly in size. The new Island was called Surtsey. Geologists studied the volcano as it was erupting.
The Icelandic people could see this island gave a unique chance to find out how new life colonizes a volcanic island and Surtsey became a nature reserve before the eruptions had even finished. A handful of scientists land on Surtsey to study the island but other people are kept away. Different types of plants have begun to grow on Surtsey recorded by the biologists. As birds started to nest on Surtsey the soil improved and more plant species could survive there. Seabirds have nested for decades on Surtsey. Seals regularly bask on the beaches and whales are found off the coast. Insects colonized Surtsey as well.
All this excites the scientists so much that in 2008 UNESCO declared Surtsey a World Heritage Site. An island that’s so barren is a Nature reserve and a World Heritage Site. Paradoxical isn’t it? 
- No wonder Iceland has the happiest people on earth
- Iceland’s Contribution to the Iraq War, Part I
- Iceland Withdraws from NATO Project in Iraq
- Iceland Just Made It Illegal To Pay Women Less
- Markets call time on Iceland - BBC
- Iceland's 'tenacity' lifts economy out of crisis
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