History of Iceland

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This article is about the history of the areas comprising modern-day Iceland.

Contents

Early history

In geological terms, Iceland is a young island. It started to form about 20 million years ago from a series of volcanic eruptions on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The Iceland hotspot is likely partly responsible for the island's creation and continued existence.

Iceland remained for a long time one of the world's last larger islands uninhabited by humans (the others being New Zealand and Madagascar). It has been suggested that the land called Thule by the Greek merchant Pytheas (4th century BC ) was actually Iceland, although it seems highly unlikely considering Pytheas' description of it as an agricultural country with plenty of milk, honey, and fruit (possibly the Faroe or Shetland islands). The exact date that humans first reached the island is uncertain. Ancient Roman coins dating to the 3rd century have been found in Iceland, but it is unknown whether they were brought there at that time, or came later with Viking settlers, having circulated as currency already for centuries.[citation needed]

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