brown monolith rock on seashore

HOW NORSE AND GAELIC SETTLERS FIRST FOUNDED ICELAND

General

It is believed that during the second part of the 9th century, the settlement of Iceland began by the Norse settlers who migrated from the North Atlantic. Their reason for moving was not certain, but they discovered Iceland the same way they discovered the Americas. But they were not the founder as the lands already had people living in them. Although there’s not much history about the Gaelic monks and what exactly they were doing there, historians are certain they were there and they were the first to use the island at that time as a temporary base on the Hilberno Scottish mission.

Archeological remains of the Seljaland farm and Kverkerhillir cave dates back to 800 years. In the Kverkerhillir cave, a cross was found carved on the wall in Gaelic style which showed evidence of the Gaelic settlers. Another evidence that proves the Gaelic monks as the first settlers, is a deserted cabin that dates back to the early 8th and 9th centuries.

The truth about why the Gaelic monks left isn’t known but what we know is their settlement ended soon after the Norse Vikings arrived. Naddodd is the first Norse man to set foot on the island. He was lost during his journey from Norway to Faroes island during early 1800, he explored the land but when he figured out the land was uninhabited he left.

The next person to follow was a Swede Garðar Svavarsson who hid in the Northern part of the country before leaving himself. There is very little knowledge about him except the fact that while he was leaving a man named Nàttfari who was his traveling companion and two of his slaves stayed back to form a farm on the skjàfandel bay.

Flóki Vilgerðarson was the second Norse man to visit the island. The year he visited the island was unknown but according to the story he took three ravens with him to act as a compass. When he released the three ravens near Faroes island, the first went back to Faroes island, the second returned to the ship after roaming the air, while the third one flew in front of the ship, which they followed till they discovered Iceland.

But the time settlement fully begun in Iceland was around 874 by ingólfr Anarson, who sailed the land intending to settle there. That was the time major extensive human settlement began and towards the end of the 9th century, the whole country was inhabited. The estimates of initial settlers ranged between 311 and 416 but the number of people that migrated during the age of settlement was estimated to range between 4,300 and 24,000.

According to the books, since the land was vast some settlers gave their land freely, some were gifted the land by early settlers, some bought lands from earlier settlers while others took the land through threat and force. But lands were not likely rented as those lands given encouraged new settlers, provide easy maintenance of cattle and slaves as well act as a guarantee in times of difficulty.