She was popular throughout her terms and is still popular today. In Icelandic culture, the outlaw is a prominent figure of interest. Which international films and TV shows have been filmed in Iceland? However, reports claim she was with child at the time, so her execution was postponed. The bloody feud continued, peaking when Egill slew the king's son Rögnvaldur. Recently, we published an article on the famous Icelanders who had the greatest impact on our culture and our history. The first Icelanders to become famous after the Vikings have likely been the musicians. Egill's greatest feat, therefore, was not achieved by means of sword and axe, but his words and wits. Anyone who has resided in Iceland for the high summer might be familiar with the days never ending, and the parties never stopping. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was the first woman to be president in Europe and Iceland (there had been others across the world, but none democratically elected). As noted, there is no way to compile a list of famous historical Icelanders without leaving a few out. On the green hill Arnarhóll, a statue of Ingólfur Arnason overlooks central Reykjavík. Terrified, he ran outside to hide in the stables, with Björn fast on his heels. After marvelling at the beauty of the waterfall, it is great to be able to see and appreciate the unlikely figure who helped to save it. This only added to his many skills; he had been raised by a learned man whom his father had captured and was already fluent in several languages, knowledgeable about literature, trained in weaponry and skilled at trade. An outlaw is someone who, after a grave disagreement with the law, retreats into the wilderness to reside outside of society. While this had significant backlash, with concerns that further enfranchisement would lead to women dominating men, it started a movement that was all but impossible to reverse. Today, the word is used as an umbrella term for every Scandinavian man of the Viking-Age—the period from the late 8th century to the mid 11th century—most of whom were farmers by profession, and therefore not occupied with Viking endeavours all the time. Neither of these Vikings, however, settled long on the island, so neither make this list. Gullfoss is a stop most visitors will get to; it is one of the three stops of the famous Golden Circle. Painting by: Christian Krohg, 1852 - 1925. One tells of a mother and her three children who spent the night at Öxl. While those who initially chose to move to Iceland were all Norse, they brought with them many Irish slaves. Re-elected twice, his stern resolution meant that Iceland’s newly discovered nationhood was impossible to deny. Whatever their crimes, these colourful individuals are all remembered by the Icelandic nation as being larger than life. Hallgerður's position as a sort-of black widow of the Saga is thus of grave importance to the possible role of women in this ancient, masculine society, ruled by death and vengeance. Snorri was the first person to compile the stories and tales about how the Vikings believed the world and gods were created into one volume. Perlan is a famous landmark in Reykjavik, you’ll see it’s massive glass dome on the hill. As for Þórdís, her husband named her a culprit to the murders, and as a consequence, she was also sentenced to death. For homecomings and family gatherings, there is usually a sumptuous spread of cakes and pastries, including crullers … Now, don’t get me wrong. Where do you need to travel to find the most spectacular waterfalls? She then famously states how the slap is not to be forgotten. What is Guide to Iceland? Hans Jonatan: Hans Jonatan was the first person of colour to settle in Iceland. Whatever the case, Jón Magnússon was, without a doubt, a terribly troubled man. There, the farmer took the boy to see the sheriff of Brekkubær, who subsequently returned with a few strong men to face Björn at Öxl and arrest him, thus finally ending his reign of terror. Fjalla-Eyvindur and Halla historically existed as recently as the 18th century. Helgi Björns and Atli Rafn with the doll likenesses of a boy and a girl - Photo Credit: Eddi @ Vesturport. Almost all the rest of the country consists of mountains, glaciers and lava fields. Björk Guðmundsdóttir, known simply as Björk, is an Icelandic singer-songwriter. Reykjavik is the world’s most northerly capital city, and is one of the safest and cleanest cities in the world. The authorities cruelly ruled against him, and ordered he return to slavery in the Caribbean; once again, however, he escaped. Out of 170 people prosecuted for witchcraft during this period, only one-tenth were women, and of the 21 people executed for their practices, only one of them was female. According to these theories, the characters of the Sagas each represent particular mythological or cosmological concepts. Although the facts are littered with myths, Axlar-Björn's is a story stained with blood and one the Icelandic people are not likely to ever forget - guaranteeing him the top spot on our list. Many scholars argue that the Sagas are not simply pass-time stories, but allegories, created for the purpose of preserving Iceland’s pagan world-view after the country’s Christian conversion in 1000 AD. Sveinn Björnsson: Sveinn Björnsson was Iceland’s first president, following independence in 1944 when Denmark was taken over by the Nazis. Berglind Ros-September 27, 2018. Iceland has some pretty disgusting food available to eat. Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir, however, born in a developing Reykjavík in 1856, managed to make herself known. Egill is estimated to have been born in the year 910 in the farmstead Borg in Mýrar, just west of the town of Borgarnes. The theatre company Vesturport did a chilling production based on Axlar-Björn back in 2012 - Photo Credit: Eddi @ Vesturport. To learn the fascinating backstory of the most famous chessmen artifacts in the world, see The Missing Pieces: Unraveling the history of the Lewis Chessmen . Sagas of kings are historical biographies of the kings of Norway (and to a lesser extent, of Denmark) from prehistoric times into the 14th century. Example of a 'Stave' - a magical sigil of runes used for spells. While still very young, Hallgerður was betrothed against her will. Behind the church in Búðir is the beautiful Snæfellsjökull glacier, the setting for the novel 'Under the Glacier'. Before she was ever formally introduced to the suffrage movement, Bríet was active in promoting women’s interests. Read more. Jóhanna retired from politics in 2013, opting not to run for re-election. Where can you find the best beers? Björn gleefully devoured the pieces one by one, until finally feeling sick after the eighteenth. Scholars have also interpreted the epic of Njáls Saga as a critique of a misogynistic society, which showcases how ideals of masculinity are always and eventually self-destructive. The victims were stripped of their goods, clothes and horses, supporting the reportedly lush lifestyles of Björn and his wife. Sigríður was born to in 1874, daughter of a man called Tómas who owned the farmland surrounding Gullfoss waterfall, now one of Iceland’s most popular tourist destinations. Although Eyvindur reportedly wanted nothing to do with these killings, he didn't stop his companion either. The evildoer was tried at Alþingi in 1596, and his sentence was death by beheading. In what has since become known as Kirkjubólsmálið, Iceland's most famous witch trial, the father and son plead guilty to the use of sorcery against the minister, who subsequently sealed their fate in 1656—death by burning at the stake. The poetry of the saga is, therefore, something like its spine; it's what connects events otherwise lost in time to a linearity of possible truths. Why were they called the Dog Days? Ingólfur’s influence on Iceland’s history is indisputable. And sure enough, at the crest of the tale, Gunnar needs a lock from his wife's hair for his bowstring. What should travelers eat while visiting Iceland? The Icelandic Football teams: The Icelandic football teams also deserve to be mentioned here. Timeline: ~7-8 th centuries: Celtic monks sail to Iceland. It was for these creations that he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Within them, he perfectly captured the societal tensions of the 20th Century, caused by industrialisation, urbanisation, migration and the decreasing role of centuries old traditions. This upbringing made him quite the eligible bachelor, so he was able to marry not only into land and wealth but into a chieftainship. He used this time to sail around Greenland. Icelanders established the country of Iceland in mid 930 A.D. when the Althingi (Parliament) met for the first time. Hallgerður was the wife of one of the Icelandic Saga's greatest warriors, Gunnar of Hlíðarendi. Women were permitted to participate in municipal elections, so she formed a women’s party, the success of which shocked the Reykjavík establishment. Thomas H. Johnson was appointed attorney general and minister of public works for Manitoba in 1915, … He went from a devout Catholic to an ardent critic of Christianity; he changed from a supporter of capitalism to Soviet communism, then to a more gentle socialism, before dropping all doctrines but a loose interpretation of Taoism. He thus led an expedition and came to North America. While these talks did not result in any immediate arrangement, they showed that both sides were willing to meet, and what both sides were ready to concede on. Considered to be Iceland’s first environmental campaigner, she fought for the preservation of one of the country’s most beautiful features and in doing so, inspired changes in laws that would keep so much of her land protected. Opportunities to break out of fishing and farming communities to challenge the values of the world were practically non-existent. Ari Þorgilsson: As discussed earlier, without Ari Þorgilsson, almost all of our knowledge of medieval Iceland and the settlement era would be gone. She then uses her charms and wits to convince various shady individuals to kill members of Njáll and Bergþóra's household. So what is a priest to do? He was also caught in a conflict between traditional rural living and the appeal of a modern, convenient life. Painting by: Emil Doepler, 1855 - 1922. Fjalla-Eyvindur, or ‘Eyvindur of the Mountains’, and his wife, Halla, reportedly lived together in the wilderness of the Icelandic highlands for twenty years. At the centre of this destructive cycle of fragile male egos stands Hallgerður, pulling the strings to her own desires. The musician is perhaps best known for her unique singing-voice as well as the infamous swan dress she wore to the Academy Awards in 2001. Famous people from New Zealand – a list of 100 most famous people from New Zealand, including politicians, sportspeople, artists, writers, military leaders and actors. The first of these is the Office of the President of Iceland, which is located in central Reykjavík. Including Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare, Thomas Cromwell and Queen Elizabeth I. The first of these is the Bible of Old Norse mythology, Edda, now regularly referred to as Snorri’s Edda. Although the role of president in Iceland is largely ceremonial, she used her influence to great effect. Jørgensen went on to be arrested for having left London, but not before he saved the crew of the ship that was transporting him from a fire. This was the case until archaeological excavations in Newfoundland proved it to be true in 1960. Erik first came to Iceland because his father was exiled from Norway for murder; he settled with a family here, having Leif, before being exiled himself for the same crime. Most prominent of these insults in Njáls Saga are those involving blows to a character's' masculinity. The main evidence that this American community ever existed is what was written in the Book of Settlements, but as it was not mentioned in wider European literature, it was considered to be a legend for centuries. First, he was sent to an island off Iceland, but on repeating his offence, was exiled completely for three years. Tourism to the country is as eco-friendly as can be, and the only time when residents tend to have a problem with visitors is when they do not show Iceland’s environment the respect it deserves. Discover a wide range of Mountain Tours Why not join this Mo... What is the best beer in Iceland? After supper, Björn escorted the girl from the room, when her brother was suddenly startled by her screams. Atli Rafn Sigurðarson in his role as Axlar-Björn - Photo Credit: Eddi @ Vesturport. It is a shame it did not get such furore, but proved that the 2016 championships were not a fluke; Icelandic football is in its renaissance. Tómas would refer to the waterfall as his friend, and his sentiment was felt throughout his family. While his role in the formation of the nation was enormous, however, he did not change culture in the same way those listed above did, so just misses out on a place on the list. Is it true that Icelanders only eat dried fish and fermented shark? It has to do with astronomy; the Ancient Greek associated high summer with Sirius or the 'dog star' – the brightest star in the Earth's night sky. From the earliest settler to the world's first gay leader, Icelanders have been vital in shaping human culture in far greater ways than the size of their population would ever suggest they could. Icelandic history includes a long tradition of sorcery, witchcraft and magical practices. Though only serving one term, she left the office of Prime Minister having changed the face of Iceland forever. The most famous was Guðríður Símonardóttir, who returned to Iceland and married Hallgrímur Pétursson, one of Iceland’s most famous poets – the three bells in Hallgrímskirkja are named after the couple and their daughter. They’re also known for some really good seafood and lamb. The story goes that his poetry was so extraordinary, that it convinced the king to pardon his own son's murderer. Iceland is by many considered to be a peaceful place, free of serious crime and bloody conflict. During this period, any insult to someone's honour had to be avenged. The town of Ísafjörður in the Westfjords - Photo by: 'Bjarki Sigursveinsson' Wikimedia Creative Commons. Iceland has a long history of poetry and when you look at the environment you'll see that poetic inspiration isn’t hard to come by. This was the first major step towards the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He was invited to Norway, and became a hirdman, or Housecarl, for the King Olaf Tryggvasson. The first to travel to Iceland intentionally and stay for a prolonged period was Hrafna Floki. Continue... See a selection of wonderful photographs that capture the magic of the Northern Lights throughout Iceland. Björk: No discussion about famous Icelanders can be complete without at least a mention of the legendary musician and artist Björk. Ever since, the islands have been named after them. The Danish records of him end here; but in the early 1990s, it was discovered what had happened. Thankfully, Þuríður did not suffer the same fate as many of her European sisters - Photo by: 'R. 0. Icelanders see this gift-giving as a formal acceptance on the part of Americans and an acknowledgment that Leif Eiriksson, an Icelander, found America, not Christopher Columbus. In Eiríksstaðir, there is a replica of the Viking longhouse in which Erik lived and Leif was born. Another version of the pair's demise is that Halla was apprehended by the authorities, but deemed too weak to be imprisoned. We thought it high time to compose a list, not of Iceland’s best but worst - of daring outlaws, vicious Vikings, legendary bandits and murderous savages. So to recap: a Danish outlaw and a prisoner of war of England breaking parole, Jørgen Jørgensen revolted against his own and essentially declared himself King of Iceland. While Iceland had previously been visited, and a few others had resided on it for short periods, he was the first person brave enough to relocate from Norway, and permanently settle here with his family. During this time, Iceland’s oppressive democratic system, which excluded women and men without property, crumbled. Halldór Laxness, born in 1902, followed Iceland’s long history of mastering the written word and used it to tell fascinating stories that speak of the hardships and conflicts of not only Icelanders but of the human soul. The same fate awaited her second husband, although they reportedly had a happier marriage. Gunnar slaying Þorgeir as Hallgerður looks on - Photo Credit: Njálurefill. A traitor, liberator, crusader, or ruthless invader? When was Guide to Iceland founded and why? Halldór Laxness. Where do you need to travel to find the most spectacular waterfalls? Numerous guided city walks, bike rides and segway tours around Reykjavík take you to the two main buildings that Vigdís Finnbogadóttir made history in. And later, when Bárður of Atley, a retainer of King Erik Bloodaxe of Norway, gravely insulted Egill, he killed him for it. How do you sleep during the... Iceland is a country of many amazing waterfalls, but which are the best ones? That does not mean, however, it was completely forgotten in this time. This historic aircraft wreck is an Iceland landmark to see. The Lewis chessmen (Ninox / CC BY-NC 2.0 ) Reading Van der Linde, Willard Fiske became annoyed. She and her sisters laid the first path down to the falls, and would take visitors to come and see it; even in the 19th Century, it drew people from around the world. He is an actor, singer and songwriter who by the time he came out was already known in the society. It is believed that Native Americans killed the few who stayed, and it almost became forgotten in the annals of history. Jóhanna Sigurðadóttir is not only notable for being the first female prime minister of Iceland, nor for pulling Iceland out of a financial crisis that threatened to destroy it; she was also the world’s first openly gay head of state. Eyvindur's crimes are noticeably less horrid and mostly include theft of sheep and horses. Egill Skallagrímsson engaging in a 'holmgang' / a duel of life and death - Photo by: 'Johannes Flintoe' Wikimedia Creative Commons. Throughout most of his life, Egill would be prone to outbursts of violence, eventually gaining the repetition of a Berserker. Watch: Fantastic drone video of a humpback whale jumping close to a whale-watching boat. Even when the Danish King revealed that he fully expected Iceland to remain part of his state following the end of the war, Sveinn was very clear that this was not the future his nation envisioned. A legendary beauty, she had four marriages, none of which ended well, and she ended up becoming the nation’s first nun. Guide to Iceland | The Story of the Leading Travel Agency of Iceland, Food in Iceland | An Introduction to Icelandic Cuisine, Borgarfjörður and Langjökull Glacier Tour, The Church and Vengeance in Medieval Iceland, Get to know the ins and outs of Icelandic history and culture on a, Read about more infamous Icelanders in the, Find out more about the people of Iceland in the, Explore the homeland of Egill Skallagrímsson on this, Visit Þingvellir, the site of Hallgerður and Gunnar's meeting, on these, Explore the location of the trials in the desolate. The other work was Heimskringla, an account of Scandinavian kings and their lineages. Why include him on our list of infamous Icelanders? The only European of his... SnorriSturluson. What are the most popular tour choices and cultural excursions? She promoted causes such as the education and empowerment of girls, the funding and celebration of the arts, and the protection of Icelandic nature, and oversaw a slew of legislation that made these goals possible. Continue... See a selection of wonderful photographs that capture the magic of the Northern Lights throughout Iceland. She lifted Iceland out of its post-crash slump and strengthened trade unions to protect workers. A leader to set us free? She refuses him the favour, which leads to his defeat. He is best known, however, for his novels. She was not what you would expect of a female leader in 1980. Until then, any opposing party was to be executed. Laxness's novels also paint a vivid picture of Iceland's nature. Eyvindur and Halla supposedly had many children together, but Halla terminated them all upon birth. The island of ice and fire has indeed generated many fascinating individuals, dating all the way back to its early settlers. He was not the first to discover it (there were, of course, millions of people who had been there for millenniums, and other sailors who had claimed to have seen it), but he was the first European to explore and form a settlement on it. It includes a multimedia presentation telling of his life and works. His skills did not go unnoticed. With new horses regularly appearing in the stables, chances are that they did, but kept quiet because of the influence of Björn’s adopted family. 6 of the Best Down-town Coffee shops. Because of the war against England, no Danish ships had arrived in Iceland bearing goods, leaving the country in a state of famine. Alexander Petersson (1980-). This was to be the location of the horrors that Björn freely committed for all those years, where unsuspecting travellers sought shelter at his land. Here, he escaped, joined the Danish Navy, and was celebrated for his role in the Napoleonic wars. They had to make a hasty escape, so Halla threw the girl child off a cliff. The first Viking known to have seen Iceland was an explorer called Naddoður, who named it ‘Snowland’; the second was a Swede called Garðar Svavarsson, who named it after himself. The plane, a Douglas R4D-8, was originally a US Navy plane which crash-landed in Iceland in 1973. One of most important historic treasures of Icelanders - Valþjófsstaður Door, a church door in the Romanesque style ornamented with wood-carving dating about 1200 AD, the only Icelandic historic church door still existing, remained in use in Valþjófsstaður until 1851, now important exhibit, National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavik Artist's depiction of Norse Vikings landing in Iceland - Photo by: 'Oscar Wergeland' Wikimedia Creative Commons. The election of a person in the queer community to lead the government, however, was an enormous landmark, and to this day, Jóhanna remains the only openly lesbian leader of any country throughout history. One of Iceland’s most renowned poets and lyricists, Megas, masterfully adapted the tale in his 1994 novel Björn og Sveinn, where the father and son duo travel the modern underworld of Reykjavík together. Over and over again, she walked to and from the capital to meet with a lawyer, in a relentless attempt to protect Gullfoss. This did not stop our rebel explorer, and he returned the following June with quite the counterstrike. The most famous has to be Hakarl, or fermented shark. Since Iceland's Age of settlement was between 870-930 AD, Egill Skallagrímsson belongs to the first generation of Icelanders. Due to the customs of her time, the main reason she is so venerated is because of her beauty, rather than how she altered culture with her bold actions, so she just doesn't quite compare to figures such as Bríet. The following day, Jørgensen signed and released a now infamous proclamation, where he declared Iceland free and independent from Danish reign. Read on... What are some of the silliest, most ignorant, or plain stupid things that visitors to Iceland have done? How has Guide to Iceland changed since its conception? The boy spent the night on the run, before finally escaping to the nearby farm Hraunlendi. Although the individuals of Njáls Saga are historical, the story is written down long after its events unfolded. Thus far, the famous Icelanders listed have been men best remembered for their actions; Snorri Sturluson, however, is best remembered for his words. Christianity at the Glacier, also called Under the Glacier, for example, is set in the shadow of Snæfellsjökull glacier, and introduces readers to the nature of Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the curious residents who live on it. Do You Know Any of Them? Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Painting by Johan Peter Raadsig, 1806-1882. What impact did they have and how did their mischiefs shape what is now considered the most peaceful of nations? Find out who they are and why they are so important to Icelanders. Renowned for her beauty and wild spirit, the feuds she inflamed lead to decades of deaths and destruction. To learn more about the settlement era altogether, there is the excellent Settlement Centre Museum in Borganes. Lying on the constantly active geologic border between North America and Europe, Iceland is a land of vivid contrasts of climate, geography, and culture. He got a job in a trading station, which he would eventually take over the running of, married an Icelandic woman, and died a free man. Who is your favourite villain in Icelandic history? We must admit we saved the worst for last, for topping our list of Iceland’s most wanted is none other than Björn Pétursson, better known as Axlar-Björn, Iceland’s only known serial killer in history. Snorri Sturluson, renowned medieval scholar and possible author of Egils Saga - Photo by: 'Christian Krogh' Wikimedia Creative Commons. Need to travel Europe in the town where he declared Iceland free and Independent Danish. Often than not limited to the mountains to be executed famous people from sent... Resilience in valuing nature over profit made her Iceland ’ s father and son, both named Jónsson! 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