In the following centuries, Norwegians, and to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls of Gaelic origin.The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the Althing, one of the world's oldest functioning legislative assemblies.When making a trip to Iceland, it is hard not to pay special attention to the country's namesake—namely, its 4,500 square miles of glacier.Ice climbing on Iceland's glaciers is practiced year-round and takes place mainly on the Sólheimajökull and Svínafellsjökull glaciers in the south of Iceland.
In 1262–1264, Iceland was incorporated into Norway; in 1380, when Norway came under Danish rule, Iceland went along; and on 17 June 1944, Iceland became an independent republic, though it had gained sovereignty in 1918 and had been largely autonomous since 1904. In 1703, when the first census was done, the population was 50,358.
Its unique geological conditions make for some awe-inspiring rock formations, both beneath the surface as well as above it.
Various tube caves—formed by magma flowing underneath the earth's surface after lava has solidified overhead—can safely be explored through guided excursions year-round.
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