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Timeline of Icelandic history: Wikis


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This is a timeline of Icelandic history. To read about the background to these events, see History of Iceland.

This timeline is incomplete; some important events may be missing. Please help add to it.

9th - 10th - 11th - 12th - 13th - 14th - 15th - 16th - 17th - 18th - 19th - 20th - 21st

9th century

Year Date Event
825 Dicuil, an Irish monk refers to fellow monks who spent the summer on an island which they referred to as Thule, far to the north.[1]
~860 Naddoddr discovers Iceland.
Was en route to the Faroe Islands but drifted off course and landed near Reyðarfjörður in Iceland. As he returned to his boat it started to snow and thereby he reputedly named the land Snæland (—Snowland).
~860 Garðarr Svavarsson discovers Iceland.
Blown from a storm near the Orkneys. He circumnavigated Iceland, thus the first to establish that the landmass was an island. He stayed for one winter in Skjálfandi. He praised the new land and called it Garðarshólmi (—lit. Garðar's islet). The island was thereafter know so.
~865 Hrafna-Flóki becomes the first Scandinavian to deliberately sail to Iceland.
He stayed for one winter at Barðaströnd. It was a cold winter, and when he spotted some drift ice in the fjords he gave the island its current name, Ísland (—Iceland).
874 Ingólfr Arnarson becomes the first permanent Nordic settler of Iceland. The settlement of Iceland begins.

10th century

Year Date Event
930 The Icelandic Commonwealth is founded with the establishment of the Althing, now one of the world's oldest parliaments.
985 Icelandic explorers find Greenland.
~1000 Christianity is adopted by the decision of Þorgeirr Ljósvetningagoði.

11th century

Year Date Event
~1015 The Fifth Court is established.
1085 Ísleifur Gissurarson becomes the first bishop of Iceland.
~1096 A tithe is instigated by the church authorities.

12th century

Year Date Event
1104 An eruption of the volcano Hekla destroys a settlement in Þjórsárdalur.
1106 Jón Ögmundsson is made the second of bishop of Iceland, in Hólar.
1122 A cloister is founded in Þingeyri. Ari Þorgilsson writes Íslendingabók.
1197 Jón Loftsson, the most powerful chieftain in Iceland, dies.

13th century

Year Date Event
1208 Kolbeinn Tumason dies at the hands of bishop Guðmundur Arason's men in the Battle of Víðines.
1238 Battle of Örlygsstaðir.
1241 Snorri Sturluson is murdered.
1244 Battle of the Gulf - Iceland's largest domestic naval battle.
1253 The Flugumýri Arson, a failed attempt to murder Gissur Þorvaldsson, Jarl of Iceland.
1262 The signing of Old Covenant leads to Icelanders becoming subjects of the King of Norway.

14th century

Year Date Event
1308 The jarldom of Iceland is abolished.
1357 The first Icelandic bishop with Papal authority.
1361 Smiður Andrésson and Jón Skráveifa killed in Grund.
1362 A volcanic eruption in Öræfajökull destroys Litlahérað.
1375 The Skálholt Agreement.

15th century

Year Date Event
1402 The Great Plague hits Iceland.
1412 The English start fishing near the coasts of Iceland.
1419 Icelanders demand that the king grant them freedom to engage in trade as they wish.
1433 Jöns Gerekesson, bishop of Skálholt is drowned in Brúará.
1446 Bishop Guðmundur Arason is stripped of his property and honour.
1450 Langaréttarbót.
1467 Björn Þorleifsson is murdered by the English in Rif.
1474 Miklabæjarrán.
1491 Píningsdómur.
1494 A second plague hits Iceland.

16th century

Year Date Event
1501 English merchants plunder Bessastaðir.
1513 Leiðarhólmsskrá.
1522 Sveinsstaðafundur.
1539 Gissur Einarsson is made bishop
1541 The Skálholt see turns Lutheran.
1550 Bishop Jón Arason and his sons are beheaded in Skálholt.
1551 The Hólar see turns Lutheran.
1559 The English are driven from Vestmannaeyjar.
1571 Guðbrandur Þorláksson becomes bishop of Hólar.
1584 Guðbrandsbiblía, the first Icelandic bible, is published.

17th century

Year Date Event
1602 The King of Denmark grants Danish merchants monopoly on trade with Iceland.
1615 Spánverjavígin.
1625 The first person is burnt alive for witchcraft.
1627 Turkish Abductions: several hundred Icelanders are kidnapped by Muslim raiders.
1639 Brynjólfur Sveinsson becomes bishop of Skálholt.
1656 Kirkjuból witch trial.
1656 The Flateyjarbók manuscript is sent to Denmark.
1662 Icelanders are made to accept the absolute monarchy of the King of Denmark.
1666 The Passion Psalms are composed by Hallgrímur Pétursson.

18th century

Year Date Event
1703 First Icelandic census.
1707 The Bubonic plague spreads in Iceland. A quarter of the population dies.
1712 Jarðabók is completed.
1720 The manuscripts of Árni Magnússon are moved to Denmark.
1760 Icelanders start exporting salted fish to Spain.
1783 Móðuharðindin - a volcanic eruption destroys a great deal of the livestock in Iceland, causing famine and misery.
1787 Danish trade monopoly ceases. And then Batman begins to harass Robin and he quits their team and becomes nightwing and Batgirl joins Batman.

19th century

Year Date Event
1800 June 6 The Althing is abolished.
1801 The bishoprics of Skálholt and Hólar are united, located in Reykjavík.
1805 The Bessastaðaskóli (now Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík) is founded.
1807 Trade with Iceland all but disappears due to the Napoleonic Wars.
1809 Jørgen Jørgensen seizes power in Iceland and declares independence, but is deposed by the Danes shortly afterwards.
1811 June 17 Jón Sigurðsson is born.
1835 The first copy of Fjölnir is published.
1841 Jón Sigurðsson starts publishing New Associated Writings.
1843 March 8 The King of Denmark orders the Althing to be resurrected.
1845 July 1(1), May 26(3) The Althing is resurrected1, and the house of the Menntaskóli í Reykjavík is opened. Jónas Hallgrímsson dies3.
1851 National Assembly.
1855 The Danes grant Icelanders free trade.
1871 The Danish Parliament passes the Stöðulög laws.
1874 The King of Denmark visits Iceland and grants Icelanders a constitution. 1000 years of settlement celebrated throughout the country.
1875 First session of the restored Althing which has the power to pass laws. The Askja volcano erupts.
1879 December 7 Jón Sigurðsson dies.
1880 The climate grows much colder, driving many Icelanders to emigrate to the New World.
1885 Icelanders start demanding a review of the constitution from the Danes.

20th century

Year Date Event
1915 Universal suffrage.
1916 The political parties Social Democratic Party and Progressive Party are founded.
1918 December 1 Iceland becomes a sovereign, independent nation. The Danish King remains head of state.
1922 Jarðræktarlögin.
1929 The Icelandic Independence Party is founded.
1930 December 20(2) The Icelandic Communist Party is founded. The Icelandic State Radio begins broadcasting2.
1939 Following the occupation of Denmark by Nazi Germany, a national emergency government is formed under Sveinn Björnsson.
1940 May 10 The British invade, violating Icelandic neutrality.
1941 July 7 The United States Army, still officially neutral, replaces the British occupation force.
1944 June 17 Iceland becomes an independent republic, severing the last political ties to Denmark. Sveinn Björnsson becomes president.
1946 The Keflavik Agreement.
1948 Iceland receives Marshall Aid from the United States.
1949 April 4(1), March 30(2) Iceland joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization1. Riots break out on Austurvöllur2.
1951 The United States Army establishes a base in Keflavík.
1952 August 1 Fishing limits extended to 4 miles. Ásgeir Ásgeirsson becomes president.
1958 Fishing limits extended to 12 miles.
1963 November 14 Volcanic eruption forms Surtsey.
1966 September 30 The Icelandic State Television begins its first broadcasts.
1968 August 1(1) Kristján Eldjárn becomes president1. Collapse in the fishing industry.
1970 January 1 Iceland joins the European Free Trade Association.
1972 Fishing limits extended to 50 miles.
1973 January 23 Volcanic eruption in the Westman Islands.
1975 Fishing limits extended to 200 miles.
1980 August 1 Vigdís Finnbogadóttir becomes president of Iceland, the first woman in the world to become elected head of state.
1994 January 1 Iceland joins the European Economic Area.
1996 August 1 Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson becomes president.

21st century

Year Date Event
2006 September 30 The United States Army abandons the military base in Keflavík, thus ending a 55-year U.S. military presence in Iceland.
2008 Late September Iceland faces financial crisis following the collapse of the country's 3 major commercial banks.
2009 February 1 After the collapse of the Icelandic government, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir becomes the first female prime minister of Iceland and the world's first openly gay head of government of the modern era.
2010 January 5 The president of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, refuses to sign a bill from Alþingi for the second time in the nation's history.


  1. ^ The 9th century Irish monk and geographer Dicuil describes Iceland in his work Liber de Mensura Orbis Terrae.
  • Árni Daníel Júlíusson, Jón Ólafur Ísberg, Helgi Skúli Kjartansson Íslenskur sögu atlas: 1. bindi: Frá öndverðu til 18. aldar Almenna bókafélagið, Reykjavík 1989


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