Iceland, or Lveldi sland in Icelandic, is a Nordic island nation located in the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of 332,529 people and covers an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it Europe’s least populous nation. Reykjavk is the capital and biggest city. Over two-thirds of Iceland’s population lives in Reykjavk and the neighboring regions in the southwest. Iceland is a volcanological and geological hotspot. The inner plateau is characterized by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, while the lowlands are drained by many glacial rivers. Iceland, despite its high latitude well beyond the Arctic Circle, benefits from the Gulf Stream’s warming effect and enjoys a moderate climate. Summers remain cool due to the island’s high latitude and maritime influence, with the majority of the archipelago having a tundra environment.
According to Landnámabók, Iceland’s colonization started in 874 CE, when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the island’s first permanent resident. Norwegians, and to a lesser degree other Scandinavians, came to Iceland in the following centuries, bringing with them Gaelic thralls. The Althing, one of the world’s oldest operating legislative bodies, ruled the island as an autonomous republic. Iceland acceded to Norwegian authority in the 13th century after a period of civil conflict. It was annexed by Denmark in 1814, during which time a unique Icelandic national identity developed. This culminated in 1918 with independence and the establishment of a republic in 1944. Iceland depended heavily on subsistence fishing and agriculture until the twentieth century, and was one of the poorest countries in Europe. Industrialization of the fishing industry and Marshall Plan assistance after World War II resulted in affluence, and Iceland became one of the world’s richest and most developed countries. It joined the European Economic Area in 1994, diversifying its economy further into areas like as banking, biotechnology, and manufacturing.
Iceland has a market economy with minimal taxes in comparison to the rest of the OECD. It retains a Nordic social welfare system that offers universal health care and access to postsecondary education for its people.  Iceland is highly ranked in terms of economic, political, and social stability and equality. In 2013, the United Nations’ Human Development Index rated it as the world’s 13th most developed nation. Iceland is nearly entirely powered by renewable energy. As a result of the continuing global financial crisis, the country’s entire banking system collapsed systemically in October 2008, precipitating a severe slump, widespread political upheaval, the Icesave dispute, and the imposition of capital restrictions. Numerous bankers have been imprisoned, and the economy has recovered significantly, owing in large part to a boom in tourism.
Icelandic culture is based on the country’s Scandinavian ancestors. Icelanders are mostly descended from Germanic and Gaelic immigrants. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is linked to Faroese and West Norwegian dialects. It is derived from Old Norse. Traditional Icelandic food, Icelandic literature, and medieval sagas are all part of the country’s cultural legacy. Iceland has the lowest population of any NATO member and is the only one without a permanent army, with defense provided by its lightly armed coast guard.