historical events; Faeroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland
Page last modified 11/1/2021
See also Denmark
See also Finland
See also Norway (Vikings)
See also Sweden
For main European events of World War Two see France-Germany
See also Russia for more events of Finland-Russia conflict 1939-40
Faeroe Islands – see Appendix 2
Greenland, Svalbard/Spitsbergen, Arctic – see Appendix 3
Iceland – see Appendix 4
Appendix 2 – Faeroe Islands
1972, The Faeroe Islands voted not to join the EC.
1948, Denmark granted Home Rule to the Faeroe Islands.
1397, The Faeroe Islands, as part of Norway, became united to Denmark under the Union of Kalmar. They remained Danish when Norway and Denmark separated in 1814.
1848, A measles epidemic hit the Faeroe Islands. However Danish doctor peter panum found that 98 oolder people were immune to it. They were the survivors of an earlier epidemic back in 1781.
1035, The Faeroe islands formally became part of Norway.
800, The Vikings began to settle in the Faeroe Islands.
Appendix 3 – Greenland, Svalbard/Spitsbergen, Arctic
21/6/2009, Greenland took steps towards further separation from Denmark; it took control of police, law enforcement, the legal system and natural resources.
25/11/2008, Greenland held a referendum on further autonomy from Denmark, with a result 75% in favour.
23/2/1982. Greenland, a Danish territory, with home rule, voted to leave the EC. It departed in 1985.
1/5/1979, Denmark granted Greenland home rule.
1973, Greenland found itself taken into the EC, along with Denmark, despite voting not to join.
1953, A new Danish Constitution fully integrated Greenland with Denmark.
5/4/1933, The International Court at The Hague ruled that Greenland was a Danish possession, against Norway’s claim.
1929, Jan Mayen Island was formally incorporated into Norway.
16/6/1928, Arctic Norwegian explorer Roald Engelbregt Amundsen died in a plane crash whilst searching fro shipwreck victims.
1921, Norway established a weather station and radio transmitter on the uninhabited Jan Mayen Island.
1920, The Spitsbergen Treaty awarded soveriegnty of Svalbard to Norway, but allowed other signatories to exploit the coal deposits.
20/2/1920. Robert Peary,
Arctic explorer and first man to reach
the North Pole in 1909, died in
6/4/1909. Commander Peary
6/12/1905, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen landed at Fort Egbert, Alaska, after a 2 ½ year exploration of America’s Arctic coast.
16/7/1905. Commander Peary of the
11/7/1897, The Swedish balloonist S A Andree set off from Spitsbergen with two companions to fly over the North Pole. After a few days all contact with them was lost; their remains were discovered in 1930 on White Island.
3/11/1879, The Arctic explorer, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, was born.
1888, Fridjtof Nansen explored the interior of Greenland.
25/10/1888, Richard Byrd, US naval officer and polar explorer, was born in Winchester, Virginia. In 1926 he became the first person to fly over the North Pole.
30/10/1881, George Delong, US Arctic explorer, died (born 20/8/1844).
8/11/1871, Charles Hall, US Arctic explorer, died (born 1821).
10/10/1861, Fridjtof Nansen, Norwegian Polar explorer, was born near Oslo. He became the first person to cross Greenland overland in 1888.
6/5/1856, Robert Peary, American Arctic explorer, was born in Cresson Springs, Pennsylvania.
22/8/1844, George Delong, US Arctic explorer, was born (died 30/10/1881).
1/6/1831. Sir James Clark Ross located the Magnetic North Pole on his Arctic expedition with Admiral Parry.
1775, The settlement of Julianehaab, southern Greenland (now known as Qaqortoq) was founded.
1733, Greenland was hit by a smallpox epidemic.
1728, The Danish explorer Vitus Bering discovered the Diomede Islands, midway between Siberia and Alaska.
3/5/1721, Hans Egede, Norwegian missionary, set sail from Bergen with the aim of converting the Norsemen of Greenland to Christianity. However on arrival he found no Norsemen, only Eskimo, whose language he did not understand. The Norsemen may have suffered disease or starvation, or migrated to America. He persisted, founding the settlement of Godthaab, until ill-health forced his return to Norway in 1736 where he became Principal of a seminary in Copenhagen.
1611, Jan Mayen Land, between Spitsbergen and Iceland, was discovered by the Dutch explorer Jan Mayen.
1596, Svalbard (Spitsbergen) was (re-) discovered by the Dutch explorer Willem Barents, who sighted the islands whilst searching for the Northern Sea Route. By the 1600s the importance of the whaling industry in the region attracted claims from the British and Danish, as well as The Netherlands.
1594, Explorer Willem Barents set sail for the Arctic, tro find a northern sea route to east Asia. He believe dthe myth of a warm Arctic, first proposed by the ancient Greeks.
1585, John Davis visited Greenland and found no trace of any Norse colonists, just the Inuit. However a feew Inuit traditions bore some resemblance to old Norse customs.
1410, The last recorded ship from Norway to Greenland returned to Norway this year. The support from Norway for the Norse colonists in Greenland gradually dwindled away as the Norway-Greenland shipping became a monopoly of the King of Norway in the mid-1300s, and these monarchs tended to send ships out to Greenland only at intervals of several years apart. Also the maritime trade of Norway was becoming more tied to the Hanseatic League, who had nointerest in Greenland.
16/9/1408, The last recorded event in Norse history in Greenland; a wedding at Old Hvalsey church. The Norse colonists may have been massacred by the Inuit, or more likely intermarried with them and were absorbed into their culture, see 1585.
1397, Greenland found itself joined to Denmark when the Union of Kalmar united Norway (along with Greenland) to Denmark. When Norway separated from Denmark in 1814, Greenland remained as part of Denmark.
1262, Greenland formally became a Norwegian possession.
1194, Spitsbergen was first discovered by Norsemen.
986, Erik the Red was banished from Iceland, and sailed to Greenland where he founded a new Viking colony. The name ‘Greenland’ may have been chosen to attract new colonists to an inhospitable place where farming was only possible, with a short growing season, in the extreme south-west. The Vinking colony died out in the 1400s as climatic conditiins deteriorated.
982, Erik the Red set up a temporary Viking camp on Greenland, the first settlement by man there. This camp was replaced by a permanent colony in 986.
Appendix 4 – Iceland
2013, After new elections Iceland became cooler about joining the European Union, and formally withdrew its application in 2015.
16/7/2009, Iceland’s Parliament voted to begin negotiations to join the European Union. The country had a new leftist Government, following the near- collapse of the Icelandic banking system after the 2007 Credit Crunch.
1/2009, Johanna Sigurdardottir became Prime Minister of Iceland; she was Europe’s first openly lesbian head of state.
5/2007, The Iceland Movement, an ecological, Green, Party chaired by Omar, first contested elections. It got 3.3% of the vote, failing to achieve the 5% needed for representation in Parliament; however the Green agenda was becoming more prominent in Icelandic politics.
1885, Iceland declared itself a nuclear-free zone.
14/11/1985, Holmfriour Karlsdottir of Iceland, 22, was crowned the 35th Miss World.
broke off diplomatic relations with
10/12/1975, The first
shots were fired in the Cod War between
24/10/1975, Women in Iceland staged a one-day general strike.
For events of Cod War see also Great Britain 1970s
15/10/1975, Iceland unilaterally extended its fishing
grounds to 200 miles, leading to a resumption of the Cod War with
25/7/1974, The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that Britain was not bound to observe Iceland’s unilateral extension of its fishing rights from 12 to 50 miles in 1972.
8/11/1973, The Cod War between
7/9/1973, Iceland threatened to break off diplomatic relations with Britain over the fishing dispute.
24/5/1973, The Cod War continued between Britain and
25/10/1972, Iceland boycotted British goods as part of the Cod War.
1/9/1972, Iceland extended its fishing limit from 12 to 50 miles.
27/2/1961, Britain and Iceland settled their fishing dispute. British ships would no longer fish within 12 miles of the Icelandic coast.
10/12/1959, US troops
began to leave
1/9/1958, British trawlers defied the Icelandic 12-mile fishing limit, which came into force this day.
1/6/1958, Iceland extended its fishing limits to 12 miles.
1951, The US built an air base at Keflavik, despite strong local opposition.
17/6/1944, Iceland became an independent republic. The 25-year Union with Denmark had expired, see 1/12/1918.
1940-1944, Iceland was occupied by US and British troops, as a precuation against Nazi occupation during World War Two.
13/12/1922, Hannes Hafstein, Prime Minister of Iceland, died.
1/12/1918, Denmark granted independence to Iceland; a 25-year union with Denmark was instituted.
1915, Iceland instituted universal suffrage.
1914, Iceland became autonomous.
13/5/1894, Asgeir Asgeirsson, President of Iceland, was born.
1874, Iceland achieved limited self-rule.
1847, A theological seminary (Lutheran) was constructed in Reykjavik.
1800, The Althing (Icelandic Parliament), which had lost influence under Danish rule, ceased to exist. It was reconstituted in 1843.
8/6/1783, The Laki Volcano in Iceland erupted; the world’s largest volcanic eruption. One fifth of Iceland’s inhabitants, over 10,000 people, died as a 28km long fissure opened up, from which lava covered an area of 570 square kilometres. Some 12-15 cubic kilometres of lava were ejected. Deaths were from poisonous gases then from famine and disease as 11,500 cattle (53%of total), 28,000 horses (77% of total) and 190,500 sheep (82% of total) also perished.
1627, Reykjavik, Iceland, was attacked by pirates.
1380, Iceland came under Danish rule, as Norway united with Denmark.
1262, Icelandic chieftains accepted rule by Norway.
1000, Iceland’s Althing chose to adopt Christianity over Odin-worship.
939, Major volcanic eruption in Iceland, affected climate and crops worldwide.
928, The Althing, the Icelandic Parliament, was founded at Thingvellir. It is the world’s oldest Parliament.
874, Norse settlement of Iceland began. Ingolfur Arnason brought in the first settlers.
866, Floki Vilgeroarson, Norseman, made an early expedition to Iceland, and named it ‘Ice-Island’ due to the quantity of ice in its fjords.