Early Icelanders

Europeother subsistence combinations

expand_more Description

The designation "Early Icelanders" refers to the inhabitants of Iceland, during the period of time from the first Viking settlements on the island around 870 AD to its incorporation into the Norwegian state in 1262 AD Knowledge of the culture comes from archaeological, historical, and literary sources (particularly the Icelandic Sagas). The early inhabitants spoke Old Norse, but a very distinct language known as "Icelandic" gradually evolved. (Icelandic is in the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family of languages.) The economy was based on limited agriculture and pastoralism and people lived in dispersed farmsteads on the coastal plains and inland valleys. Formal state institutions were lacking, although there was a general assembly of chieftains that was responsible for the introduction and maintenance of law.

  • Europe
  • Scandinavia
Subsistence Type
  • other subsistence combinations
  • Iceland
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