The Iceland Guide

Companion websites

The Globe Travel Bookshop
This site gives access to numerous online bookshops around the world that sell travel books. There are also links to second-hand bookshops and to publishers

The Globe Travel Shop
Accommodation and transport around the globe. And lots more interesting things!

The Globe Travel Guide
Illustrated travel articles about various countries, including France, Iceland, Scotland and the USA.

The Scotland Guide
Illustrated encyclopaedia articles on Scotland. At present there are over 200 articles about Glasgow, the country`s biggest city. The articles are based on the guidebook The Glasgow Guide.



Books by David Williams
These include travel guides to Iceland and Scotland.

The land and the people

History: The twentieth century

With the future looking brighter, the Althing continued to press for more power and after the election of a new Danish government (which was more amenable to the Icelanders' demands) a Home Rule agreement was drawn up in 1904. In this, the "Icelandic Minister" was responsible to the Althing, some of whose members were still appointed by the king. Debate and negotiations still continued on the issue and in 1918 Iceland and Denmark became sovereign states, having the same king and with Denmark being responsible for the defence and foreign interests of the two countries. This agreement was to run until the end of 1940 and if no agreement could be reached within three years (i.e. at the end of 1943) then either country could unilaterally declare the Union to be finished.

This is exactly what happened. On 9 April 1940, Denmark was occupied by Germany and therefore unable to abide by the 1918 Act of Union. On 10 April, the Althing took upon itself the powers over defence (though it had no forces) and foreign affairs. However, one month later a British force occupied the country in order to forestall Germany from doing the same thing, and in 1941, as the British troops were needed elsewhere, the lcelanders agreed (on 8 July 1941) to them being replaced by American troops, who stayed there throughout the war.

Without wasting much time after the expiry of the three–year limit, the Althing declared (on 25 February 1944) the Act of Union to be terminated and put the issue to a plebiscite, with 97 per cent of the votes being cast in favour of the Althing's decision. On 17 June 1944 over 20,000 people went to the historic site of Thingvellir to hear the Althing's president declare the establishment of the Republic; the date was chosen as it was the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson. This great event marked the start of the modern phase of the country's history, but as a celebration of the nation's past, an even larger crowd (some 50,000 or about one quarter of the country's entire population), returned some thirty years later (on 27 July 1974) to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of the Settlement.

What`s in the website ?


The land and the people

The first explorers
The Age of the Settlement
The conversion to Christianity
The discovery of Greenland and America
The collapse of the Commonwealth
The Dark Ages
The nineteenth century
The twentieth century
Culture in the Icelandic environment
Old Icelandic literature
Eddic and skaldic poetry
The Sagas
Later literature
Modern literature
Painting, sculpture and music
The Icelanders
Traditional living conditions
The seasons
Changes in the modern world
Independent minds
Superstition, morality and the media
The land
On the edge of Europe
The shape of the land
The volcanoes
The glaciers
The natural world
The climate
The economy and infrastructure
Industry and energy