Pastland  |  1800 A.D. - present day 

After so many centuries of hard times, the independence movement that began in the early19th century probably seemed long overdue. The movement reached full force under the outspoken leadership of a nationalist named Jon Sigurdsson. His efforts helped end the trade monopoloy in 1854, and domestic autonomy was established in 1874, followed by home rule in 1904 and sovereignty in 1918. Ties to the Danish crown were not fully broken until 1944, after large numbers of British and American troops stationed on the island bolstered the economy. Since then, the development of an American airbase on the island and a booming cod industry have transformed Iceland into one of the most prosperous nations on Earth. It has the both the longest life expectancy and the highest standard of living. In 1980, the nation elected Vigdis Finnbogadottir into office as the world’s first female head of state. 

Photo: Jon Sigurdsson, Iceland's "founding father." 

   Viking Oasis  -  Europe's Hard Shadow  -  Independence
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