Iceland in History

Historical Events

  • 0930-06-23 World's oldest parliament, the Icelandic Parliament is established, the Alþingi (anglicised as Althing or Althingi)
  • 1783-06-08 Laki volcano in southern Iceland begins 8-month eruption, killing 10,000 and causing widespread famines throughout Asia and Europe
  • 1783-07-29 Skaptar Volcano on Iceland erupts killing about 9,000
  • 1899-02-16 Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur Iceland's first football club is founded
  • 1918-12-01 Danish parliament passes an act to grant Iceland independence under Danish crown
  • 1929-05-08 Jan Mayen island, 500 km NNE of Iceland, incorporated into Norway
  • 1935-01-28 Iceland becomes 1st western country to legalize abortion
  • 1941-07-07 US forces land in Iceland to forestall Nazi invasion
  • 1941-10-31 Prior to US joining WWII, German submarine U-552 torpedoes US destroyer Reuben James near Iceland
  • 1942-03-20 Convoy PQ13 departs Reykjavik Iceland to Russia
  • 1942-06-27 PQ-17 convoy leaves Iceland for Archangelsk
  • 1944-05-24 Icelandic voters severe all ties with Denmark
  • 1944-06-16 Iceland adopts constitution
  • 1944-06-17 Iceland dissolves its union with Denmark and declares itself a Republic
  • 1949-03-30 Riot breaks out in Austurvöllur square in Reykjavík, when Iceland joins NATO
  • 1959-05-06 Iceland gunboats shoot at British fishing vessels
  • 1968-02-05 A fishing trawler from Hull sinks off the coast of Iceland
  • 1971-04-21 Original Codex Reguis (with Edda-liederen) returns to Iceland
  • 1973-01-23 Helgafell, island of Heimaey Iceland erupts for 1st time in 7,000 yrs
  • 1975-10-15 Iceland moves intl boundary from 50 to 200 miles
  • 1976-06-01 Great Britain and Iceland end the "cod war"
  • 1978-11-15 183 die as Icelandic Airlines DC-8 crashes in Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • 1985-11-14 Holmfriour Karlsdottir of Iceland, 22, crowned 35th Miss World
  • 1987-12-26 "Les Miserables" opens at National Theatre of Iceland, Reykjavik

Election of Interest

1988-06-29 Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is elected the 4th President of Iceland becoming the world's 1st democratically elected female President

  • 1988-11-17 Linda Petursdottir of Iceland, 18, crowned 38th Miss World
  • 1991-02-12 Iceland recognizes Lithuania's independence

Album Release

1993-07-05 Icelandic musician Björk releases her 1st solo album "Debut"

  • 2002-05-23 The "55 parties" clause of the Kyoto protocol is reached after its ratification by Iceland
  • 2007-04-24 Iceland announces that Norway will shoulder the defense of Iceland during peacetime
  • 2008-10-24 Iceland receives a £1.3 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), 1st European country to require an emergency loan as a result of the financial crisis
  • 2009-02-01 Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir is elected as the first female Prime Minister of Iceland, becoming the first openly gay Head of Government in the modern world.
  • 2010-04-14 Icelandic Volcano Eyjafjallajökull begins erupting from the top crater in the centre of the glacier
  • 2010-04-15 Volcanic ash from the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland leads to the closure of airspace over most of Europe.
  • 2010-12-07 Iceland officially leaves the recession with growth of 1.2% in the third quarter
  • 2016-04-05 Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigns after the Panama Papers leak show a conflict of interest
  • 2016-06-09 Successful attempts to turn CO2 gases into stone underground in Iceland published in the journal "Science"
  • 2016-06-26 Iceland’s presidential election is won by history professor Guðni Jóhannesson

Famous Birthdays

  • 1726-12-01 Eggert Ólafsson, Icelandic explorer, writer (Reise igiennem Island - Travels In Iceland), and language conservationist, born in Svefneyjar, Iceland (d. 1768)
  • 1787-11-22 Rasmus Rask, Danish linguist and philologist (Investigation of the Origin of the Old Norse or Icelandic Language), born in Braendekilde, Denmark (d. 1832)
  • 1811-06-17 Jón Sigurðsson, Icelandic independence fighter and Icelandic historian, born in Hrafnseyri, Arnarfjörður, Iceland (d. 1879)
  • 1858-09-27 Þorsteinn Erlingsson, Icelandic poet (Pyrnar), born in Iceland (d. 1914)
  • 1880-06-19 Jóhann Sigurjónsson, Icelandic writer (Dr Rung), born in Laxamýri, Iceland (d. 1919)
  • 1881-02-27 Sveinn Bjornsson, 1st president of Iceland (1944-52)/poet (Figur ild)
  • 1889-03-12 Þórbergur Þórðarson, Icelandic author (d. 1974)
  • 1889-05-18 Gunnar Gunnarsson, Icelandic writer (The Church on the Mountain), born in Fljótsdalur, Iceland (d. 1975)
  • 1892-01-19 Ólafur Thors, Icelandic Prime Minister (5 times between 1942-63), born in Borgarnes, Iceland (d. 1964)
  • 1893-10-12 Páll Ísólfsson, Icelandic organist and composer, born in Stokkseyri, Iceland (d. 1974)
  • 1894-05-13 Ásgeir Ásgeirsson, 2nd President of Iceland (d. 1972)

Halldór Laxness

1902-04-23 Halldór Laxness, Icelandic writer (Nobel 1955), born in Reykjavík, Iceland (d. 1998)

  • 1908-04-30 Bjarni Benediktsson, 13th Prime Minister of Iceland (1963-70), born in Reykjavík, Iceland (d. 1970)
  • 1915-05-29 Igor Buketoff, American conductor (Iceland Symphony Orchestra, 1964-65), born in Hartford, Connecticut (d. 2001)
  • 1917-05-20 Bergur Sigurbjörnsson, Icelandic politician (d. 2005)
  • 1923-10-05 Albert Guðmundsson, Icelandic footballer and politician (Minister of Finance), born in Reykjavík, Iceland (d. 1994)
  • 1926-03-06 Jón Nordal, Icelandic composer (Choralis), born in Reykjavik
  • 1929-10-12 Magnús Magnússon, Icelandic television presenter, born in Reykjavik, Iceland (d. 2007)

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

1930-04-15 Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, 4th President of Iceland (1980-96) and the world's 1st woman democratically elected president, born in Reykjavík, Iceland

  • 1943-05-14 Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland
  • 1945-01-14 Einar Hakonarson, Icelandic painter, born in Reykjavik, Iceland
  • 1945-04-07 Megas [Magnús Þór Jónsson], Icelandic rock singer-songwriter, born in Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 1945-09-21 Bjarni V Tryggvason, Reykjavik Iceland, astronaut (STS 85)
  • 1947-02-20 Eggert Magnusson, Icelandic football executive
  • 1947-03-04 Gunnar Hansen, Icelandic-born American actor (Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), born in Reykjavík (d. 2015)
  • 1947-03-29 Peter Hinchcliffe, British businessman (co-founder of Iceland Frozen Foods)
  • 1949-08-22 Þórarinn Eldjárn, Icelandic writer (The Blue Tower), born in Reykjavik, Iceland
  • 1950-01-12 Dorrit Moussaieff, Israeli jewellery designer & businesswoman, born in Jerusalem, Israel
  • 1951-04-16 Björgvin Halldórsson, Icelandic singer, born in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland
  • 1954-12-11 Guðlaugur Kristinn Óttarsson, Icelandic musician, born in Iceland
  • 1955-08-08 Diddú, Icelandic soprano and songwriter
  • 1958-04-23 Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Icelandic music composer, born in Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 1958-06-16 Jóhannes Helgason, Icelandic guitarist (Þeyr)
  • 1960-04-28 Jón Páll Sigmarsson, Icelandic strength athlete (d. 1993)
  • 1962-10-02 Sigtryggur Baldursson, Icelandic alt-rock drummer (The Sugarcubes - "Hit"), born in Oslo, Norway
  • 1963-04-23 Magnús Ver Magnússon, Icelandic powerlifter (World's Strongest Man 1991, 94, 95, 96), born in Egilsstaðir, Iceland
  • 1964-01-22 Maria Ellingsen, Icelandic actress (Katrina-Santa Barbara), born in Reykjavik, Iceland
  • 1964-11-10 Magnús Scheving, Icelandic athlete, writer and producer (LazyTown), born in Borgarnes, Iceland
  • 1965-07-21 Gudni Bergsson, Icelandic footballer
  • 1965-10-25 Þorsteinn Bachmann, Icelandic actor (Life in a Fishbowl)


1965-11-21 Bjork, Icelandic singer (Like Someone in Love), born in Reykjavik, Iceland

  • 1967-01-02 Jón Gnarr, Icelandic comedian
  • 1967-04-17 Birgitta Jonsdottir, Icelandic politician, Head of the Pirate Party, born in Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 1968-02-05 Eyþór Guðjónsson, Icelandic actor, born in Iceland
  • 1969-01-24 Hilmir Snær Guðnason, Icelandic actor, born in Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 1974-05-02 Garðar Thór Cortes, Icelandic tenor, born in Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 1974-06-13 Selma Bjornsdottir, Icelandic singer (All Out of Luck), born in Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 1974-07-11 Hermann Hreiðarsson, Icelandic footballer
  • 1975-04-23 Jón Þór Birgisson, Icelandic musician and singer (Sigur Rós)
  • 1975-07-10 Stefán Karl Stefánsson, Icelandic actor (Lazytown), born in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland (d. 2018)
  • 1975-10-16 Brynjar Gunnarsson, Icelandic footballer
  • 1976-04-06 Georg Hólm, Icelandic musician
  • 1977-06-04 Berglind Icey, Icelandic actor
  • 1977-08-03 Tómas Lemarquis, Icelandic actor (Nói Albínói), born in Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 1977-08-20 Ívar Ingimarsson, Icelandic footballer, born in Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 1977-08-22 Heiðar Helguson, Icelandic footballer, born in Dalvík, Iceland
  • 1978-09-15 Eiður Guðjohnsen, Icelandic footballer (Chelsea, Barcelona) and manager, born in Reykjavík, iceland
  • 1979-07-28 Birgitta Haukdal, Icelandic singer, born in Húsavík, Iceland
  • 1982-07-28 Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir, Icelandic singer and actress, born in Reykjavik, Iceland
  • 1983-04-01 Ólafur Ingi Skúlason, Icelandic soccer midfielder (36 caps; Zulte Waregem, Fylkir), born in Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 1985-11-27 Klara Elias [Klara Ósk Elíasdóttir], Icelandic pop singer (Nylon), born in Sweden
  • 1988-03-05 Bjarni Viðarsson, Icelandic footballer

Famous Weddings

  • 2013-10-05 Skateboarder and actor Bam Margera (34) weds Nicole Boyd in Reykjavík, Iceland

Famous Deaths

  • 1241-09-23 Snorri Sturluson, Icelandic historian, poet (Heimskringla), and politician, assassinated at 62 (b. 1178)
  • 1550-11-07 Jon Arason, the last Roman Catholic bishop of Iceland prior to the reformation, beheaded in Skalholt with his two sons Are and Bjorn. (b. 1484)
  • 1674-10-27 Hallgrímur Pétursson, Icelandic poet (b. 1614)
  • 1832-11-14 Rasmus Rask, Danish linguist and philologist (Investigation of the Origin of the Old Norse or Icelandic Language), dies of tuberculosis at 44
  • 1899-06-30 Jon Helgason, Icelandic poet (Ur Landsudri), dies
  • 1919-08-30 Jóhann Sigurjónsson, Icelandic writer (Dr Rung), dies at 39
  • 1922-12-13 Hannes Hafstein, Icelandic politician and poet (b. 1861)
  • 1952-01-25 Sveinn Bjornsson, Danish 1st President of Iceland (1944-52), dies at 70
  • 1964-12-31 Ólafur Thors, Icelandic Prime Minister (5 times between 1942-63), dies at 72
  • 1974-11-23 Páll Ísólfsson, Icelandic organist and composer, dies at 81
  • 1975-11-21 Gunnar Gunnarsson, Icelandic writer (The Church on the Mountain), dies at 86
  • 1993-01-16 Jón Páll Sigmarsson, Icelandic strength athlete (b. 1960)
  • 1994-04-07 Albert Guðmundsson, Icelandic footballer and politician (Minister of Finance), dies at 70
  • 2001-09-07 Igor Buketoff, American conductor (Iceland Symphony Orchestra 1964-65), dies at 86
  • 2007-01-07 Magnús Magnússon, Icelandic television presenter, dies at 77
  • 2015-11-07 Gunnar Hansen, Icelandic-born American actor (Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), dies of cancer at 68