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Encyclopedia > Icelandic Commonwealth

The Icelandic Commonwealth or the Icelandic Free State (Icelandic: Þjóðveldisöld) was the state existing in Iceland between the establishment of the Althing in 930 and the pledge of fealty to the Norwegian king in 1262. It was initially established by a public consisting largely of recent emigrants from Norway who had fled the unification of that country under King Harald Fairhair. The Althing (Modern Icelandic Alþingi; Old Norse Alþing) is the national parliament: literally, the all-thing (or General Assembly) of Iceland. ... Events With the establishment of the Icelandic Althing, now the worlds oldest parliament, the Icelandic Commonwealth is founded. ... Events Strasbourg becomes a Free City of the Holy Roman Empire First Visconti become the lord of Iceland swear fealty to the king of Norway, bringing an end to the Icelandic Commonwealth Births Ladislaus IV of Hungary Deaths Monarchs/Presidents Aragon - James I King of Aragon and count of Barcelona... Harald I (b. ...

Contents


Goðorð System

Note: the Icelandic ð sounds like the English th in either of its values.


The medieval Icelandic state had an unusual structure. At the national level, the Althing was both court and legislature; there was no king or other central executive power. Iceland was divided into numerous goðorð (plural same as singular), which were essentially clans or alliances run by chieftains called goðar (singular goði). The chieftains provided for defense and appointed judges to resolve disputes between goðorð members. The goðorð were not strictly geographical districts. Instead, membership in a goðorð was an individual's decision, and one could, at least theoretically, change goðorð at will. This is the basis of the disputed claim that the Commonwealth was a democracy. However, no group of lesser men could elect or declare someone a goði. The position was the property of the goði; and could be bought, sold, borrowed, and inherited. The Althing (Modern Icelandic Alþingi; Old Norse Alþing) is the national parliament: literally, the all-thing (or General Assembly) of Iceland. ...


Court System

If a person wanted to appeal a decision made by his goðorð court or if a dispute arose between members of different goðorð, the case would be referred to a system of higher-level courts, leading up to the four regional courts which made up the Althing, which consisted of the goðar of the Four Quarters of Iceland. The Althing eventually created a national "fifth court", as the highest court of all, and more goðar to be its members. Quarters is a popular drinking game which involves players bouncing a quarter off of a table in an attempt to have the quarter land, without another bounce, in a drinking glass (or cup) on that table. ...


The Althing was only moderately successful at stopping feuds; Magnus Magnusson calls it "an uneasy substitute for vengeance". Nevertheless, it could act very sweepingly. At the Conversion of Iceland in 1000, the Althing decreed that all Icelanders must be baptized, and forbade the public celebration of pagan rituals. Private celebration was forbidden a few years later. Magnús Magnússon KBE (born 12 October 1929) is a British television presenter, journalist, translator and writer, of Icelandic origin. ... // Events World Population 300 million. ...


In 1117 the laws were put into writing, and this written code was later referred to as the Gray Goose Laws. Events May 3 - Merton Priory (Thomas Becket school) consecrated. ... Gray Goose Laws A collection of laws from the Icelandic Commonwealth period consisting of Icelandic civil laws and the laws governing the Christian church in Iceland. ...


The Commonwealth as an instance of anarcho-capitalism

According to a theory expressed by the economist David Friedman, Icelandic society was anarchic during the 300 years of independence; the Althing was more akin to a chamber of commerce than to the law-making body of a sovereign. If this were an accurate characterization, then Icelandic history would be the closest approach yet made to the Friedmanite ideal of anarcho-capitalism. David Friedman David D. Friedman (born 1945), is a libertarian writer who became a leading figure in Anarcho-capitalism with the publication of his book The Machinery of Freedom (1971). ... Sovereignty is the exclusive right to exercise supreme authority over a geographic region, group of people or oneself. ... Anarcho-capitalism refers to an anti-statist philosophy that embraces capitalism as one of its foundational principles. ...


Decline and fall

In the early 13th century, the Commonwealth began to suffer from serious internal strife. Due to discontent with domestic hostilities and pressure from the rulers of Norway, the Icelandic chieftains in 1262 decided to acknowledge Norway's Haakon IV as king. This ended the Commonwealth. (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... Events Strasbourg becomes a Free City of the Holy Roman Empire First Visconti become the lord of Iceland swear fealty to the king of Norway, bringing an end to the Icelandic Commonwealth Births Ladislaus IV of Hungary Deaths Monarchs/Presidents Aragon - James I King of Aragon and count of Barcelona... Håkon IV (1204—December 15, 1263), also called Haakon the Old, was declared to be the son of Håkon III of Norway, the leader of the Birkebeiner, who had seized control over large parts of Norway in 1202. ...


See also

// Early history Iceland is, in geological terms, a young island. ... This is a list of past and present anarchist communities. ... Anarchism derives from the Greek αναρχία (without archons (rulers)). Thus anarchism, in its most general meaning, is the belief that rulers are unnecessary and should be abolished. ... Anarcho-capitalism refers to an anti-statist philosophy that embraces capitalism as one of its foundational principles. ...

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Iceland at AllExperts (2760 words)
Iceland, officially the Republic of Iceland (Icelandic: Ísland or Lýðveldið Ísland IPA:) is a volcanic island nation in the northern Atlantic Ocean between Greenland, Norway, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Faroe Islands.
Iceland was one of the last large islands uninhabited by humans until it was discovered and settled by immigrants from Scandinavia, Ireland and Scotland during the 9th and 10th centuries.
Icelanders enjoy freedom of religion as stated by the constitution; however, church and state are not separated and the National Church of Iceland, a Lutheran body, is the state church.
Icelandic Commonwealth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (597 words)
The Icelandic Commonwealth or the Icelandic Free State (Icelandic: Þjóðveldið) was the state existing in Iceland between the establishment of the Althing in 930 and the pledge of fealty to the Norwegian king in 1262.
19th-century interpretation of the Althing in the Icelandic Commonwealth
At the Conversion of Iceland in 1000, the Althing decreed that all Icelanders must be baptized, and forbade the public celebration of pagan rituals.
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