OFFICIALLY PART OF Europe, Iceland has been a republic since 1944. The capital city is Reykjavik and the population (2007 est.) is 311,400. The total area of the island is 39,768.5 sq. mi. (103,000 sq. km.). Glaciers cover approximately 11 percent of the landmass. Iceland is located in a geological hotspot and has several active volcanoes. During the last glaciation, Iceland was completely covered with ice. Colonists, primarily from Norway, first settled Iceland in the late 9th century. According to DNA studies, approximately one quarter of the original population was composed of women from the northern British Isles. Woodland cover, now around 1.3 percent of the total landmass, was then approximately 30 percent. The settlers brought a farming economy based on sheep and cattle. With ...

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