National Geographic : 1951 Nov
--- A-- A Circle 2, 20 ArcticCircle . . - .4------------------Tr--*C~p~s e jSLna Ise Horn (North Cape) ap*. .-. ris3 j fie' K6pasker ,<& Langanes .o...n. \ 3-o,. + . Tiorshofn F atey k. 4jacL ? r aBakkafjordhur Thin f ordhur o 6ifsfjordhu l savi . hrrdh Flate E -1 o " . aSaur nA s e a,M yt ystrajorn dh 1r_ ( tj or na -. agT dang ~a tA . Th6rsmos 604 Drawn . arry . Olivcrand ictorJ.Kelley Iceland, Atlant Steppingstone, Lies about Halway Between New York and Moscow ns n is is in or nroh r rs is shors n r sno ors H4dJ~+6 s6f onlyone-eighth of its39,750 square miles. volcanoes through the centuries have smothered a large part of the island with lava. Population issparse-three persons to the square mile. Kef Keri ' ^t 1 HGta '0 < E** Hafna- Fio A . St& (T^h6rsmoro f VestmannaEyjar -' Vi o Ce \ 0 50 * ?sa 2' 0 °r STATUTEMILES 20° 1;° 604 iDrawn hv Harry S. Olir andl Victor J. Kelley Iceland, Atlantic Steppingstone, Lies about Halfway Between New York and Moscow the island with lava. Population is sparse-three persons to the square mile. Vestmanna Eyjar Vik7 8 o so aupstdhur0 C C a, T STAUTEMILS 2' 1 60 rw yHrr .Oie n Vco . Kle Ic nd tani tepngtn, is bu Hlwa ewenNe ok n Mso Icln' aei ilaig o a r fteGl temwrsis hrs n epta nwcvr onyoeegtho t 975 qaemle.Vlaos hog h cnuishvesohrda ag ato theisan wthlaa.Poultin s pasetheepesos o hesqar mle the statue unveiled in Philadelphia in 1920. It depicts Thorfinn Karlsefni, an adventur ous Viking, and, according to the sagas, the first white man to settle in America with his young wife. Long before our country was even a gleam in Columbus's eye, our continent was visited A.D. 1000 by Leif, son of Eric the Red. Karl sefni's son, Snorri, is said to have been born on the North American Continent, possibly in New England, in 1003. So, if the story is true, the first white child born in America was an Icelander. The most comfortable thing about the Hotel Borg, after the heavenly light and warm eider down quilts and the intense quiet filling the halls, was that everybody spoke English. Reykjavik boasts theaters where American movies are taken straight, with no chaser of Icelandic subtitles. Probably the six-year stay of our United States troops during World War II helped perfect the "American" we heard everywhere.* Many Icelanders knew Stephen Foster by heart, and were as nostalgic about My Old Kentucky Home as if they had been born on a plantation instead of in a fishing cove. We heard remnants of Yankee wisecracks on every hand, "Let's sit here, Hulda, and watch the fjords go by!" Our boys learned enough Icelandic to call a girl a stzlka, and were successful in talking many of them into holy wedlock. American soldiers had their influence on the monetary situation as well as the matri monial. Our army command used local labor for construction work, since Iceland has neither army nor navy to draw on, having declared herself permanently neutral. The unit of currency is the krdna, which is rated at about 16 to the dollar. "Working for the good old kronur," was sung to the tune of Rum and Coca-Cola in every new installation. With the high wages paid at the American installations, and little to spend money on, prices rose rapidly. The present inflation, therefore, to a certain degree is due to the influx of the thousands of men who were invited to enter Iceland to protect the Nazi coveted "unsinkable aircraft carrier." Choice Handicrafts Sell Despite Inflation The cost of Icelandic living has increased tremendously since prewar times. For in stance, United States cigarettes, sold on a Government monopoly, cost 73 cents a pack. Most things cost about five times what they did before the war. The severe rise in prices, however, serves * See "American Soldier in Reykjavik," by Corporal Luther M. Chovan, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, November. 1945.