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Iceland Facts for Kids

Iceland also known officially as the Republic of Iceland or Island, it is a Nordic island country located north of the Atlantic.

Iceland Facts for Kids

  • Iceland has a total land area of 103,000 sq km (40,000 sq mi)
  • The largest city and also the capital city is Reykjavik.
  • The official language of the country is called Icelandic but Danish and English are compulsory languages taught in school.
  • The total population of the country is 339,747 (est. in july 2017).
  • Iceland gained independence on 1 Dec 1918 and became the republic of Iceland after the contract with Denmark had ended.
  • The national anthem is called “Lofsongur (song of praise)”.
  • The national animal is the gyrfalcon.
  • The national sport is handball but the traditional sport of the country is Glima, a form of wrestling that started in the medieval ages.
  • The people of Iceland are called Icelander with the major religion of the country being Lutheran at 73.8% and minorities of Orthodox 1.1% and others 25.1% (est in 2014).
  • The currency used in Iceland is the Icelandic Krona (ISK).
  • The national resources of the country include fishery, water, and renewable energy like geothermal energy and hydroelectric power; this is why Iceland is considered the eco-friendliest country in the world. Geothermal power produces 30% of its electricity while hydropower produces the rest.
  • The major industries of the country are Aluminum smelting, medical/pharmaceutical products, hydropower, fish processing, geothermal power and tourism.
  • Iceland exportation makes roughly $4.2 billion (est. in 2017) from Medicinal and medical products, Agricultural products, Ferro-silicon, fish and fish products (42%), Aluminum (38%).
  • The country’s importation spends $5.674 billion (est. in 2017) on foodstuffs, petroleum products, textiles and machinery and equipment.
  • Icelanders are known to have descended from the native population of Scottish who were captured and sold to the island as slaves and from Norwegian Vikings who moved to the island. Iceland was the last land to be populated and settled in Europe and in terms of land form, it is the youngest country in the world.
  • Even though it is located south of the Arctic Circle because of the political, cultural, practical and historical standing, Iceland is considered part of Europe.
  • One-fourth of the country’s population was killed by famine when volcano laki erupted in 1783-84. 20 to 25 percent of the people in country emigrated to Canada and the United States of America in the 18th century because of famine. Geologically, the island is young and active and a third of the earth’s total fresh lava in the last six hundred years is gotten from Iceland.
  • Iceland was one of the very first countries to allow same-sex marriage and the entire country believes in equality between sexes and the salary difference between the genders is lowest in the world.
  • The world’s first-ever elected female president was in Iceland. In 1980, Vigdis finogadottir was elected and the first female prime minister of Iceland Johanna siguroardottir was elected in 2009.
  • Snake, turtle and pet lizards are illegal to own in Iceland as there are no reptiles or amphibians in the country.
  • Hekla is the name of the most active volcano in the country and it is the most common name for a female in the country. The volcano is located in the south side of the country and has a height of 1,491 meter.
  • A strong work ethic is a trait of all Icelanders as among every industrialized country, they are known to work the longest hours because they vale self-sufficiency and independence.
  • The country police force don’t carry guns and while there is no standing army and the Coast Guard takes charge of the defense system and the coastal waters are patrolled by them.
  • The existence of elves is still strongly believed by 80% of the population of the country and some roads have even been built around some rocks and places said to be homes of elves
  • There are a lot of festivals and holidays like the bondadaur (husband day), midwinter celebration called Thorrablot which is based on ancient sacrificial winter fest and jonsmessa which celebrates midsummer night. The people of Iceland don’t have santa instead the thirteen Yule lads come to celebrate Icelandic Christmases with the children.
  • Only 10% of Iceland’s surface is made of ice and the country doesn’t have extreme cold weather. Greenland should have been named Iceland while Iceland named Greenland, because of the name presumption.