The Settlement of Iceland

Illustration

Emma Groeneveld
by Max Naylor
published on 10 January 2019

Map depicting (to the best of the author's imagination following the accounts) the possible exploration journeys of three of the earliest Vikings to come to Iceland, whose stories are considered semi-legendary. According to the Landnámabók, the first settler of Iceland was Naddodd the Viking (c. 830 CE) who established a settlement on the east coast at the site of present-day Reyðarfjörður but left within a year to return to Norway. He was followed by Gardar the Swede (also known as Garðarr Svavarsson, c. 860’s CE) who circumnavigated the landmass and determined it was an island, as well as establishing a small settlement, this one on the shore of the bay of Skjálfandi (modern-day town of Húsavík) in the north. The third and best-known Scandinavian explorer to Iceland was Flóki Vilgerðarson (also known as Hrafna-Flóki, c. 868 CE). Unlike the first two, Flóki set out deliberately to reach the island and establish a settlement there, at Borgarfjord (Borgarfjörður, at which the modern town of Borgarnes is located) on the west coast.

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