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Iceland Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Charles Kinney, Jr.
Iceland, a small island in the North Atlantic, is a magical place with lots of natural beauty. In this lesson you will read Vikings, volcanoes, elves and the Althingi.

Iceland Geography

Iceland
Iceland

Iceland is an island in the North Atlantic. With only 300,000 people, Iceland is one of the smallest countries in the world. It only takes less than a day to drive around Iceland's ring road, unless you stop to take photos.

Many people joke that Greenland and Iceland should change names. Iceland is warmer and greener than Greenland, its closest neighbor. Iceland sits on a place on Earth where two plates, the land underneath the Earth, meet. This produces lots of volcanoes, natural geysers and steam heat. Even though it is warmer, Iceland is very windy!

How Did Iceland Get Started?

While most of Europe was already covered with people, no one really paid much attention to Iceland. Then, around the year 900, Vikings from Norway went looking for land. Along the way, they stopped in Ireland and took Irish women as slaves. Off they went and these were the ancestors of modern Iceland. Even today, Icelandic, the language of Iceland, is a mixture of old Norwegian and Gaelic, the language of old Ireland.

Denmark took over and ruled for hundreds of years. During World War II, the Germans invaded Denmark. The British were afraid the Germans would also take over Iceland and so the British invaded Iceland in 1940. Then the United States took over. In 1944, seeing a good thing, the Icelanders declared themselves independent. Denmark never came back.

In 2008, Iceland had many economic problems. They borrowed too much money and could not pay it back. Today, most of the problems are gone but it was very hard for Icelandic people.

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