An Iceland Update

I alluded to the troubled financial situation in Iceland yesterday, but if you want a proper explanation check out Claus Vistesen’s post at A Fistful of Euros which will explain what’s happening. The comments thread, meanwhile, turned to an argument over whether or not it’s correct to say that Icelanders are descended from Vikings. Daga says this is a kind of slur:

Its much like saying that all palestinians are terrorists. to “go viking” was an action,neither a profession nor an ethnic entity. At the time it was either “landnaam” (landgrabbing) or pillaging-depending on the strenght and size of the party.

Iceland was settled by people from the West coast of Norway,opposing our first king’s unification og the country. Normandy was settled for much the same reason–this time by “viking” -i.e. by force.

Given that Iceland was completely unoccupied at the time of Norse settlement (no aboriginal population whatsoever), it would seem wrong to suggest that any landgrabbing was involved. My understanding is, however, that many of the settlers stopped off in Ireland en route to capture slaves, giving Iceland’s population its mixed Nordic/Celtic character.