Iceland is a volcanic island whose interior is a frozen desert, with most of the people living along the fjord-studded 4,970 km coastline. Iceland is a geological hot spot, with active volcanoes and many geysers.
Iceland was first settled by Norwegians in the 9th century, and became an independent republic in 930. The Althing was founded the same year, and is the oldest acting parliament in the world.
Iceland is one of the ten richest countries in the world, based on GDP per capita. The literacy rate is among the highest in the world and the love of various intellectual pursuits is widespread.