Full text: Iceland 1930

vocabulary. But as the old stock of words still remains unaltered in 
the main, and as both grammatical forms and rules are very much the 
same as of old, the Icelanders can read and understand their literature 
of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries much more easily than an Eng- 
lishman can the works of Shakespeare. Hence it is wrong to speak 
about Old and Modern Icelandic as being two different languages; on 
the contrary, they are one and the same language, Icelandic, which has 
remained essentially unaltered from the time of the colonization to this 
very day. And though the country is large, the inhabitants widely scat- 
tered, and infercommunication therefore very difficult, there are no 
dialects, and the difference between the spoken and written language 
is less marked than in most other countries. This is supposed to be 
chiefly due to the fact, that our language has from the first been 
a literary language, and our literature extensively read by the general 
public. Hence the uniformity of speech in spite of the widely scattered 
population and want of communications. 
Iceland is by far the most sparsely populated country in Europe, 
with a present population of about 106 000, which gives an average of 
something more than one person per square kilometre. In Norway 
and Finland, the most thinly peopled countries in Europe (Iceland 
excepted), the populations average 7 and 9 per square km. respectively. 
But it should be remembered that almost four-fifths of Iceland are 
uninhabited and for the most part uninhabitable (jdkulls, glaciers, 
sands. wastes). 
It is not known with certainty what the population of Iceland was just 
after the country had become fully settled, but with some probability 
it has been estimated at about 60000 a hundred years or so after the 
first colonists landed there (in 965), and by the end of the eleventh 
century it may have numbered some 80 000. Afterwards it considerably 
decreased in number owing to the terrible disasters and plagues with 
which the country was frequently visited. The most deadly of these 
was the Black Death, which ravaged the country from 1402-—1404, 
and is supposed to have swept away no less than two-thirds of the 
The first census in Iceland was taken in 1703. It was very elaborate, 
giving the name, station, and age of every person, and is probably the

Note to user

Dear user,

In response to current developments in the web technology used by the Goobi viewer, the software no longer supports your browser.

Please use one of the following browsers to display this page correctly.

Thank you.