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Iceland



FIRST STAMPS Denmark from March 1870. Numerals 236 and 237 were allocated to Reykjavik and Seydisfjordur respectively.

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1 January 1873.


CURRENCY

1873, 96 skilling = 1 riksdaler

1876, 100 aurar = 1 krone.



An independent island republic in the North Atlantic. Iceland's parliament is the oldest in Europe having been formed in AD 930. The Tynwald in the Isle of Man (q.v) makes a similar claim, but the latter is not fully independent.


Came under the control of Denmark in the 13th century, but for many years its main contact with the outside world was through trade with Scotland and England. This became particularly important when the Danish coast was blockaded during the Napoleonic wars.


In 1776 a postal system was established in Iceland by royal decree. An annual mail-boat service between Reykjavik and Copenhagen was introduced two years later and gradually this service was extended. By 1858 sea trips were being made between April and November each year.


Internal mail in Iceland developed during the same period. However, the terrain was too difficult to permit a service comparable to that in mainland Europe. By 1831 letters were delivered eight times a year on the west coast route, but it was not until 1849 that the demand for the service had generated a complete network.


The system was rapidly reorganized and 13 further POs were opened. In 1875 Iceland joined the UPU as a Danish possession. This was followed in 1876 by a new currency for Iceland alone. In 1918 Iceland became an independent constitutional monarchy under the Danish crown.


The first airmails in the island began in 1928. This was the easiest means of transporting mail internally and many small and local services were inaugurated.


During World War II, commencing in May 1940, British, and later American, forces garrisoned the island against possible German bases being established. Field POs of both countries were used. British FPOs were withdrawn in February 1943.


Iceland was declared an independent republic in May 1944, following a plebiscite. It has remained thus ever since and has maintained close links with Western Europe.




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