The Republic of Iceland (Icelandic: Lýðveldið Ísland) is an island nation in the northern Atlantic Ocean between Greenland, Norway, and the British Isles.
Iceland remained one of the world's last larger islands uninhabited by humans, until it was first settled by Scandinavian and Celtic immigrants during the late 9th and 10th century. It boasts the world's oldest parliament, Alþingi (English: Althing), which was established in 930, although it has not run continuously since that date. Some literary evidence suggests that Irish monks may have been living in Iceland before the arrival of Nordic settlers but no archaeological evidence backs this up.
Iceland remained independent for over 300 years, and was subsequently ruled by Norway and Denmark, formally as a Norwegian crown colony until 1814 when the united kingdoms of Denmark and Norway were separated by the treaty of Kiel, and Iceland was kept by Denmark as a dependency. Limited home rule was granted by the Danish government in 1874, and protectorate-like independence and sovereignty over domestic matters followed in 1918, foreign relations and defence remained in the authority of the Danes until the World War II occupation of Denmark by Nazi Germany in 1940 and the occupation of Iceland by the allied powers in 1941. The Danish king remained the De jure sovereign of the nation until 1944, when the current republic was founded in the absence of Danish authority.
The new republic became a charter member of NATO in 1949 and signed a treaty with the United States in 1950 to take responsibility for the defense of Iceland. The US still operate a military base in Keflavík today, based on this agreement, but Iceland has no armed forces of its own. The economy of Iceland remained dependant of fisheries in the post-war decades and the country has had several clashes with its neighbours over this vital resource, most notably the Cod Wars with the British. The economy has become more diverse recently owing to large investments in heavy industry such as aluminum smelting and deregulation and privatization in the financial sector. Iceland is a member of the EU's Common market through the EEA but has never applied for membership of EU.