Kingdom of Iceland

Kingdom of Iceland

Infobox Former Country
native_name=Konungsríkið Ísland
Kongeriget Island
conventional_long_name=Kingdom of Iceland
status_text= Personal union with the Kingdom of Denmark
era=Interwar period
flag_p1= Flag of Denmark.svg
flag_s1= Flag_of_Iceland.svg
date_start=1st December

stat_area1 = 103000
stat_pop1 = 127791
stat_year1 = 1944
government_type=Constitutional monarchy
common_languages=Icelandic¹, Danish¹
footnotes=¹ Both were de facto official languages.
The Kingdom of Iceland was a constitutional monarchy lasting from 1st December 1918 until 17th June 1944, when it became an independent republic.

Origins in Danish rule

Iceland had been under the control of the Danish Crown since 1380, although formally a Norwegian possession until 1814. In 1874, a thousand years after the first acknowledged settlement, Denmark granted Iceland home rule, which again was expanded in 1904. The constitution, written in 1874, was revised in 1903, and a minister for Icelandic affairs, residing in Reykjavík, was made responsible to the Althing, the Icelandic parliament.

The Act of Union, a 1st December, 1918, agreement with Denmark, recognized Iceland as a fully sovereign state united with Denmark under a common king. The Kingdom of Iceland established its own flag and asked that Denmark represent its foreign affairs and defense interests. The Act would be up for revision in 1940 and could be revoked three years later, if an agreement wasn't reached.

World War II and the establishment of the Republic

German occupation of Denmark on 9th April, 1940, severed communications between Iceland and Denmark. As a result, on April 10, the Parliament of Iceland, Alþingi, elected to take control of foreign affairs, electing a provisional governor, Sveinn Björnsson, who later became the republic's first president. During the first year of World War II, Iceland strictly enforced a position of neutrality, taking action against both the United Kingdom and German forces violating the laws of neutrality. On 10th May 1940, "Operation Fork" was launched and UK military forces began an invasion of Iceland by sailing into Reykjavík harbour. The government of Iceland issued a protest against what it called a "flagrant violation" of Icelandic neutrality. On the day of the invasion, prime minister Hermann Jónasson read a radio announcement telling Icelanders to treat the UK troops with the politeness due to guests. The Allied occupation of Iceland would last throughout the war.

At the peak of their occupation of Iceland, the UK had around 25,000 troops stationed in Iceland, all but eliminating unemployment in the Reykjavík area and other strategically important places. In July 1941 responsibility for Iceland's defence passed to the United States of America under a USA-Icelandic defence agreement. The UK needed all the forces it could muster closer to home and thus coerced the Alþingi into agreeing to a USA occupation force. Up to 40,000 soldiers were stationed on the island, outnumbering all grown Icelandic men. (At the time Iceland had a population of around 120,000.)

Following a referendum on 24th May, Iceland formally became an independent republic on 17th June 1944. Since Denmark was still occupied by Nazi Germany, many Danes felt offended that the step should have been taken at this time. Despite this the Danish king, Christian X, sent a message of congratulations to the Icelandic people.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • List of Ambassadors from the United Kingdom to Iceland — The Ambassador from the United Kingdom to Iceland is the United Kingdom s foremost diplomatic representative in Iceland, and in charge of the UK s diplomatic mission in Iceland. His official title is Her Britannic Majesty s Ambassador to the… …   Wikipedia

  • Iceland — Infobox Country native name = Lýðveldið Ísland conventional long name = Republic of Iceland common name = Iceland map caption = Location of Iceland (red) in Europe (white) national motto = national anthem = Lofsöngur official languages =… …   Wikipedia

  • Iceland — • The island called Iceland, is considered, because of its population and history as forming a part of Europe, is situated in the North Atlantic Ocean Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Iceland     Iceland …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Iceland moss — Scientific classification Kingdom: Fungi Division: Ascomyco …   Wikipedia

  • Iceland (disambiguation) — Iceland, officially the Republic of Iceland is a volcanic island nation in the northern Atlantic Ocean.Iceland may also refer to:* Iceland national football team * Iceland (supermarket), a supermarket chain in the United Kingdom. * Iceland… …   Wikipedia

  • Iceland — [īs′lənd] 1. island in the North Atlantic, southeast of Greenland 2. country including this island & a few small nearby islands: settled by Norwegians in 9th cent. A.D.; united with Norway (1262), with Denmark (1380); became an independent… …   English World dictionary

  • Iceland during World War II — Initial British targets for the 1940 Invasion of Iceland: Reykjavík along with its harbour and seaplane landing site (Vatnagarðar), nearby landing grounds at Sandskeið and Kaldaðarnes to the east, the nearby anchorage at Hvalfjörður to the north …   Wikipedia

  • Kingdom of Denmark — For the country within the kingdom, see Denmark. Kingdom of Denmark Kongeriget Danmark (Danish) Kongsríki Danmarkar (Faroese) …   Wikipedia

  • Iceland–United Kingdom relations — Icelandic–British relations are foreign relations between Iceland and the United Kingdom. Iceland was a Danish possession until the 1940s. Fearing an Axis move against Iceland follwowing the Nazi Occupation of Denmark, British forces landed on… …   Wikipedia

  • Iceland (supermarket) — Infobox Company company name = Iceland company logo = company type = Private foundation = 1970, Malcolm Walker location = Deeside, Wales, UK industry = Retail num employees = 1,000+ (2008) homepage = []… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.