Background. Settled by Viking explorers and their mostly Celtic slaves during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930. After being independent for more than 300 years, Iceland was ruled by Norway and then Denmark. A volcanic eruption in 1875 devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter of a century, 20 percent...
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