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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New Iceland (Icelandic: Nýja Ísland About this sound listen ) is an area where Icelanders settled in the 19th century. The area as it is today is in Manitoba, Canada. The Icelandic heritage still can be found easily in this area.

The term has also been used in Iceland itself referring to a new era in Icelandic governance and national identity after the 2008–2009 Icelandic financial crisis.



Due to harsh environmental and economic conditions in Iceland, including the eruption of Mount Askja, some 14 Icelanders left their homeland between 1870 and 1915. at the time this was half of their population. In 1875 a large group of Icelandic immigrants migrated from Ontario to Manitoba, leaving Kinmount, Ontario, on September 25, 1875, for the shores of Lake Winnipeg. One of the main reasons for the choice of the colony site was “the abundance of fish” in Lake Winnipeg, but according to Icelandic People in Manitoba, “their first attempts at fishing on Lake Winnipeg were not successful.” Moreover, the “winter of 1875–1876 was one of the coldest on record in Manitoba, and the settlers’ clothes, including the leather shoes from Ontario, were not suitable for the rigorous weather.” However, the immigrants eventually learned to handle the axe, prepare the soil, fish through ice, and hunt game. They also learned how to drain the land, grow crops, and build better houses. These Icelandic settlers, known in their native language as Vestur-Íslendingar (meaning Icelanders in the West), called their settlement "New Iceland", and the region remains a symbolic centre of the Icelandic heritage in Canada today.

Other information

  • According to Statistics Canada, Manitoba is home to the largest Icelandic population outside of Iceland.[1] There are about 26,000 people with Icelandic ancestry living in Manitoba,[2] making up about 2% of the total population of Manitoba. About 35% of the Icelandic Canadian population lives in Manitoba.[3]
  • Currently many ethnic festivals related to New Iceland, such as Íslendingadagurinn, are held in these areas, and also the weekly newspaper Lögberg-Heimskringla[4] is printed in Winnipeg.
  • In the University of Manitoba, there is an Icelandic Department, and students can learn the Icelandic language and literature there.
  • At Gimli, Manitoba, Icelandic settlers established a short-lived republic, the Republic of New Iceland in 1876 to 1887 over a disputed territorial area (the north-central part of Manitoba), later the land claimed by the Dominion of Canada.

See also


  1. ^ Maitoba Icelandic Population
  2. ^ Statcan - Manitoba Icelandic Population
  3. ^ Statcan - Icelandic Canadians living in Manitoba
  4. ^ Lögberg-Heimskringla

External links


  • Angrímsson Guðjón (1997), Nýja Ísland: Saga of the journey to New Iceland ISBN 978-0888012555
  • Arnason David (1994), The new Icelanders: A North American community ISBN 0888011865
  • Kristin Olafson-Jenkyns (2001), The Culinary Saga of New Iceland: Recipes from the Shores of Lake Winnipeg ISBN 0968911900


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