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On this day June 17, 1944

Iceland declares independence from Denmark and becomes a republic.

Iceland during World War II joined Denmark in asserting neutrality. After the German occupation of Denmark on 9 April 1940, Iceland’s parliament declared that the Icelandic government should assume the Danish king’s authority and take control over foreign affairs and other matters previously handled by Denmark on behalf of Iceland.

A month later, British Armed Forces occupied Iceland, violating Icelandic neutrality. In 1941, responsibility for the occupation was taken over by the United States with the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade landing in the country. Allied occupation of Iceland lasted throughout the war. Read More…

On this day June 8, 1783

The volcano Laki, in Iceland, begins an eight-month eruption which kills over 9,000 people and starts a seven-year famine.

Laki fissure

On 8 June 1783, a fissure with 130 craters opened with phreatomagmatic explosions because of the groundwater interacting with the rising basalt magma. These are sometimes mistaken by non-volcanologists as being “Plinian” but are not.

Over a few days the eruptions became less explosive, Strombolian, and later Hawaiian in character, with high rates of lava effusion. This event is rated as VEI 6 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, but the eight month emission of sulfuric aerosols resulted in one of the most important climatic and socially repercussive events of the last millennium. Read More…

Ash from Iceland volcano eruption

A volcanic eruption has started under the top of Eyjafjallajökull glacier in Iceland, producing plumes of steam rising up to 5,000 feet over the glacier.

Eyjafjallajökull Glacier before eruption

The eruption has created a large hole in the glacier, as well as a fissure that is forming under the glacier, which is now around 2 kilometers (1 mi) long.

People in the area have been evacuated because of massive flooding due to meltwater from the glacier. This is the second volcanic eruption in this area recently. On March 21th, a volcanic eruption occurred in Fimmvörðuháls between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. The current eruption appears to be much more powerful.

According to the UK Air Traffic Control Service NATS, ash coming from an active volcano in Iceland could disrupt flights coming out and into the UK. Read More…

Icelandic volcanic erupts

A volcanic eruption started yesterday in south Iceland at or near the Eyjafjallajökull glacier.

Eyjafjallajökull Glacier

The first signs of of the eruption were seen between 23:00 and midnight GMT. It is still not clear where the exact location of the eruption is but it appears to be on Fimmvörðuháls.

People living in the area are being evacuated. Police have closed the roads into the area and a state of emergency has been declared. The eruption is expected to result in flooding if it is under the glacier, but fortunately it appears to between Eyjafjallajökull and another glacier, Read More…

Icelanders reject compensation for the collapse of Icesave bank

Icelanders reject a plan to pay €3.8 billion to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands as compensation for the collapse of Icesave bank. The referendum failed to pass, with 93% voting against.

The referendum was held to approve the terms of a state guarantee on the debts of the Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund (Tryggingarsjóður innstæðueigenda og fjárfesta), in particular a €3.8 billion loan from the governments of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to cover deposit insurance obligations in those countries.

The referendum was held under article 26 of the Icelandic Constitution after President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson refused to counter-sign the corresponding Act of Parliament (known as the second Icesave bill) into law on 5 January 2010. Read More…

Iceland President refused to pay US$5 billion bill

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland, refused to sign a bill to pay US$5 billion (£3.1 billion) to Holland and the UK.

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson

Savers in those countries lost out when Icesave’s parent bank Landsbanki collapsed and was nationalised alongside Glitnir and Kaupthing.

The governments of those nations paid out the money individuals had lost and the bill is designed to compensate them.

However, the bill is unpopular with the public as 70% of them are said to oppose the measure, which critics have claimed will slow recovery for the Icelandic economy.

A petition was given to the President demanding he refuse to sign the bill. Read More…

Iceland passes €3.8 billion bill

The Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and her coalition government narrowly escaped a commitment to resign as a €3.8 billion bill to repay British and Dutch savers following the collapse of Icesave online banking passed. The vote margin was only three votes.

Only a matter of hours before the anticipated final vote, Wikileaks announced the disclosure of one of 23 documents suppressed by the Icelandic Minister of Finance: an apparent legal summary of meetings between Icelandic and EU representatives held in Brussels in November 2008. The leaked document discusses the then-assessed liabilities of Iceland at 60% of GDP, considerably higher than the reported 40% which repaying Icesave deposit holders entails. Read More…