General information about Iceland
The official name is the Republic of Iceland (Ly.veidi. Island). An island state located in the northwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean. The area is 103 thousand km2, the population is 288 thousand people. (2002). The official language is Icelandic. The capital is Reykjavik (about 113 thousand people). Public holiday – Independence Day June 17 (since 1944). The monetary unit is the Icelandic krone (100 Eire).
Member of international organizations: UN (since 1946), NATO (since 1949), Northern Council (since 1952), OECD (since 1961), EFTA (since 1970).
Geography of Iceland
According to allcitycodes, Iceland is the second largest island in Europe. Its northern point reaches the Arctic Circle, and its southern point, 306 km away, is located at a latitude of 63 ° 24 ‘north latitude. From west to east, the island extends for 480 km – between 13 ° 28 ‘ and 24 ° 32 ‘ west longitude and between 18 ° and 65 ° north latitude. In the north it is washed by the Greenland Sea, in the east by the Norwegian Sea, in the west the Danish Strait separates from Greenland. The surface is a plateau (height 400-800 m), almost on all sides abruptly dropping to the sea coast. The prevailing relief is volcanic plateaus with peaks up to 2 km. There are approx. 200 volcanoes, of which approx. 30 active (Khvannadalshnukur – the highest point 2119 m). Frequent earthquakes. The consequences of volcanic activity are gas outlets, geysers and mud lakes. Minerals associated with volcanism:
A dense network of short rivers is the largest Tjoursau (237 km). There are many lakes of tectonic, volcanic and glacial origin (3% of the territory, the largest Tingvallavatn – 83.7 km2). St. 10% (11.9 thousand km2) is covered with glaciers. Europe’s largest Vatnajokull (8.5 thousand km2; ice thickness up to 1000 m). The length of the coastline is 5 thousand km, the coast is strongly dissected by numerous fjords and bays.
The climate is subarctic, maritime. The average temperature in July in Reykjavik is +11.2°С, and in January -1°С, it is colder in the mountains. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the climate is much milder, but very windy. The weather changes dramatically depending on the passage of cyclones. Precipitation from 500 to 4000 mm per year. In inland regions, there is stable snow cover in winter (up to 5 months in some places). Throughout the summer there are white nights.
Soils are mineral, loess type, partly bog, enriched with derived volcanic ash. Vegetation is sparse, represented by tundra species, semi-shrub “forests” (6% of the area) and lush meadows (550 km2). 2/3 of the territory is covered with stone placers with mosses and lichens. The animal world is poor: reindeer, arctic foxes and mouse-like rodents; in the waters of the ocean – seals, seals, whales. Off the northern coast are polar bears and walruses. Seabirds are numerous – 66 species. Trout in the lakes, salmon in the rivers. In the washing seas approx. 150 species of fish, incl. of great commercial importance – herring, cod, haddock, sea bass, halibut, and shrimp.
Population of Iceland
The average density is 2.3 people. per 1 km2 (in the southwestern part of the island 12 people per 1 km2).
Birth rate 14.86%, mortality 6.87%. Growth for 2002 0.68%. The average life expectancy for men is 77.2 years, for women 81.8 years. The age structure of the population: children under 14 years old – 23%, persons from 15 to 64 years old – 65%, 65 years and older – 12%. Migration rate 2.3%.
95% of the population lives in cities and towns, 40% is concentrated in Reykjavik, the second largest city is Kopavogur (18 thousand), the third is Akureyri (16 thousand). 20% of the territory is not populated.
The ethnic composition is homogeneous, 99% are Icelanders – descendants of Norwegians and Irish. The Icelandic language belongs to the Germanic group and has hardly changed since the time of the original settlement. Modern Icelanders easily read the original texts of the ancient sagas and can trace their genealogy back 10 centuries. The ethnic composition of the population, natural conditions and economic activity bring Iceland closer to Norway, which is manifested in a number of essential features of their peoples.
Evangelical Lutherans – 87% of believers, Catholics and Protestant communities – 3%. Christianity (Lutheran rite) has been the state religion since ser. 16th century.