There is perhaps no other country in the world more fascinating and alluring than Iceland. It has everything one needs and is the perfect touristic destination. It has picturesque landscapes, guilt-free electricity, exciting climate, rich culture and literature, magnificent volcanoes, glaciers, snow-capped mountains, the aurora borealis, and what not. Despite being a small country and sparsely populated, it ranks among the best countries in the world. Hence, here are some fabulous facts about Iceland that you’ve probably never heard of before.
1. Iceland is the only country in the world with no mosquitoes.
Though mosquitoes are known to breed in places with various climatic conditions, including in Antarctica and nearby Greenland, they are very much absent in Iceland. According to scientists, the Icelandic climate helps keep them away. Unlike in other cold countries, where the pupa could hibernate during winters and hatch when the ice melts in spring, the climate in Iceland changes rapidly and unexpectedly. There could be a sudden rise in temperatures in the middle of winters, which thaw the ice, and then a sudden drop in temperature, all of which disrupt the life cycle of mosquitoes making it impossible for them to breed and multiply. (source)
2. 100% of Iceland’s population has access to the internet.
From a rate of 99.8 percent in 2015, Iceland has reached 100 percent of internet users according to the data collected from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), World Bank, and United Nations Population Division. The data refers to internet users as those who can access the internet at home on any device type and connection. (1, 2)
3. Iceland is located on the boundaries of two tectonic plates and was formed from volcanic eruptions on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, about 18 million years ago.
Iceland is a part of the ridge between Eurasian and North American plates. It was created because of the rifting and volcanic activity when the plates were pulled apart. The presence of the ridge also means that there are hundreds of volcanoes in Iceland with approximately 30 volcanic systems being active and a lot of geothermal phenomenon like geysers. Iceland sits directly above a hotspot, known as Iceland Plume, which is believed to be the cause for the formation of the country. (1, 2)
4. At 103,000 sq km, Iceland is around the same size as England. However, its population is only 332,529, and 60% of this population live in Reykjavik, the capital city.
Since the time of its original settlement, the population of Iceland had faced lots of calamities like cold winters, ash fall from volcanic eruptions, and bubonic plagues along with 37 famine years. All these tragedies affected the population severely. Until the mid-19th century, the population of Iceland varied between 40,000 to 60,000 and only reached 320,000 in 2008. (1, 2)
5. The language of Iceland, Icelandic, has remained vastly unchanged from Old Norse.
Icelandic descended from Old Norse, and compared to other Nordic languages, its grammar and vocabulary did not change much. Instead of borrowing from other languages, Icelandic has developed its own vocabulary based on native roots, and so they preserved more noun and verb inflection. The reason the development of Icelandic had stayed puristic was because of conscious language planning that started in the 18th century as well as the country’s geographic isolation. (source)