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Settled by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930. Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by Norway and Denmark. Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter century, 20% of the island's population emigrated, mostly to Canada and the US. Denmark granted limited home rule in 1874 and complete independence in 1944. The second half of the 20th century saw substantial economic growth driven primarily by the fishing industry. The economy diversified greatly after the country joined the European Economic Area in 1994, but Iceland was especially hard hit by the global financial crisis in the years following 2008. Literacy, longevity, and social cohesion are first rate by world standards.


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Military

Military branches
No regular military forces; Icelandic National Police (2008)

Manpower available for military service
Males age 16-49 75,337 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
Males age 16-49 62,781
Females age 16-49 61,511 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
Male 2,277
Female 2,200 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures World Ranking: 172
0% of GDP (2005 est.)

Military - note
Iceland has no standing military force; under a 1951 bilateral agreement - still valid - its defense was provided by the US-manned Icelandic Defense Force (IDF) headquartered at Keflavik; however, all US military forces in Iceland were withdrawn as of October 2006; although wartime defense of Iceland remains a NATO commitment, in April 2007, Iceland and Norway signed a bilateral agreement providing for Norwegian aerial surveillance and defense of Icelandic airspace (2008)


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  Iceland (Reykjavik):


  GPS points from Iceland (Reykjavik)

Bakki (ic30)

Mana (ic32)

Vesturbodi West

Sydri Bakki Northeast

Stadarfjall (ic06)

Trandarkot (ic08)

Stadarholshnukur Northeast





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