Monday, 17 June 2019

alþing considered

A possession of the Kingdom of Norway since the dissolution of the Kalmar Union in the early sixteenth century and then of the Kingdom of Denmark owing to the Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815, see also), the Republic of Iceland came into existence on this day (Þjóðhátíðardagurinn) in 1944.
A near unanimous referendum held that May came into effect 17 June, independence day marked on the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson (*1811 – †1879), a prominent leader in the movement for Iceland’s autonomy, voting to end the island’s personal union with the monarchy. Effectively devolved and with home rule—except in defence and diplomatic matters, since the end of World War I, the Act of Union negotiated had a quarter of a century expiry date unless renewed, a trial period to allow Icelanders the chance to demonstrate that they could govern themselves.  Due to Nazi occupation, however, Denmark was not able to honour the 1943 deadline and Iceland, hosting Allied forces, held the plebiscite and voted to sever ties. Though many Danes were upset with Iceland declaring independence with their country under invasion, King Christian X nonetheless congratulated (with some urging on the part of his cousin, the King of Sweden) the people for forming a republic.