Iceland had been hit especially hard by the Great Recession that began in December 2007, because of the failure of its banking system and a subsequent economic crisis. Iceland's principal historical international disputes involved disagreements over fishing rights. [216] The average life expectancy is 81.8 (compared to an OECD average of 79.5), the fourth-highest in the world. This part of the mid-ocean ridge is located above a mantle plume, causing Iceland to be subaerial (above the surface of the sea). [48] A month later, British armed forces conducted Operation Fork, the invasion and occupation of the country, violating Icelandic neutrality. The Iceland Defense Force (IDF) was a military command of the United States Armed Forces from 1951 to 2006. [224] A Gallup poll conducted in 2012 found that 57% of Icelanders considered themselves "religious", 31% considered themselves "non-religious", while 10% defined themselves as "convinced atheists", placing Iceland among the ten countries with the highest proportions of atheists in the world. [273] Bridge is also popular, with Iceland participating in a number of international tournaments. [18] Iceland runs almost completely on renewable energy. Amaze your friends with your new-found knowledge! Last 100 years Known for it's volcanos, beautiful nature and of course the Blue Lagoon. Religion: Christian majority. The main radio stations are Rás 1, Rás 2, X-ið 977, Bylgjan and FM957. English is widely understood and spoken, while basic to moderate knowledge of Danish is common mainly among the older generations. In the 1980s, many Icelandic artists worked with the subject of the new painting in their work. This time period is known as Jolabokaflod, the Christmas Book Flood. [citation needed] Conflict with the United Kingdom led to a series of so-called Cod Wars, which included confrontations between the Icelandic Coast Guard and the Royal Navy over British fishermen: in 1952–1956 due to the extension of Iceland's fishing zone from 3 to 4 nmi (5.6 to 7.4 km; 3.5 to 4.6 mi), in 1958–1961 following a further extension to 12 nmi (22.2 km; 13.8 mi), in 1972–1973 with another extension to 50 nmi (92.6 km; 57.5 mi), and in 1975–1976 after another extension to 200 nmi (370.4 km; 230.2 mi). The island's interior, the Highlands of Iceland, is a cold and uninhabitable combination of sand, mountains, and lava fields. Grímsvötn is one of Iceland's most active volcanoes, and this eruption was much more powerful than the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull activity, with ash and lava hurled 20 km (12 mi) into the atmosphere, creating a large cloud.[84]. Iceland lies just south of the Arctic Circle, and only about 20 per cent of the land area is habitable. Your jokes might get lost in translation, and your sarcasm might be considered as a sincere … As it shares ancestry with English, there are many cognate words in both languages; which means each has the same or similar meaning and are derived from a common root. A new left-wing government was formed a week later and immediately set about removing Central Bank governor Davíð Oddsson and his aides from the bank through changes in law. Swimming is popular in Iceland. [56] It was quickly becoming one of the most prosperous countries in the world, but was hit hard by a major financial crisis. Iceland's best-known classical works of literature are the Icelanders' sagas, prose epics set in Iceland's age of settlement. [105] The country has a high level of civic participation, with 81.4% voter turnout during the most recent elections,[106] compared to an OECD average of 72%. Also, health care and education spending have relatively poor returns by OECD measures, though improvements have been made in both areas. Hymns, both religious and secular, are a particularly well-developed form of music, due to the scarcity of musical instruments throughout much of Iceland's history. Iceland has hundreds of volcanoes with about 30 active volcanic systems. Polar bears occasionally come over from Greenland, but they are just visitors, and no Icelandic populations exist. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. An island in the Atlantic Ocean north of England. [261] The Icelandic national football team qualified for the 2016 UEFA European football championship for the first time. This is low compared with other countries (over one million species have been described worldwide). The largest seat of higher education is the University of Iceland, which has its main campus in central Reykjavík. And best of all it's ad free, so sign up now and start using at home or in the classroom. The elections for president, the Althing, and local municipal councils are all held separately every four years. Garðar departed the following summer but one of his men, Náttfari, decided to stay behind with two slaves. Popular sports include football, track and field, handball and basketball. [238], Most books in Iceland are sold between late September to early November. The main island covers 101,826 km2 (39,315 sq mi), but the entire country is 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi) in size, of which 62.7% is tundra. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed the ruins of a cabin in Hafnir on the Reykjanes peninsula. 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