Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-03 > 1110042669

From: "ljcrain1" <>
Subject: Irish monks, Iceland’s pre-Viking inhabitants
Date: Sat, 5 Mar 2005 11:11:09 -0600

Day 5—Nupsstadur/Skaftafell National Park/Höfn: This morning we’ll travel on down the coast to Kirkjubaejarklaustur, renowned for its natural beauty and the early home of Irish monks, Iceland’s pre-Viking inhabitants.

Period of Settlement (870 - 930 AD)*
Iceland was settled by Norwegian Vikings, believed to have been fleeing the harsh rule of the Norwegian king, Haraldur Harfagri (the Fair-haired). The Vikings arrived from Scandinavia and Viking possessions in the British Isles, bringing a substantial portion of Celts with them. The initial settlement is believed to have occurred during the period 874 - 930 AD, even though the island had been settled by Irish monks before the arrival of the Vikings. Little is known about the monks except that they moved away when the Vikings started to arrive.

Norwegians arrived in Iceland in about 870 a.d. After first pushing aside a group of Irish monks , the Norsemen quickly conquered the entire island. According to Erik Wahlgren, "Within sixty years … most of the arable land had been taken by these four thousand pioneers". A hardy and fiercely independent lot, many of the original Icelandic settlers had fled political strife in their Norwegian homeland.

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