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Arctic Circle Grimsey

Region: North Iceland
Coordinates: 66.5456205° N 18.0186071° W

Island Grimsey is the northernmost inhabited part of Iceland. It has an area of 5,3 km² and is situated 41 km north of the main island. The Arctic Circle crosses it and the sun does not set there at summer solstice. The island is framed with precipice except the southern part and its highest point is 105m. Although the island is on the Arctic Circle, the weather is relatively mild: The average temperature of the coldest month, January, is -1,1°C and the warmest, August, +8,3°C. Grimsey is a community with about 100 inhabitants, who base their livelyhood almost solely on the fisheries but also on limited tourism and agriculture and the bird cliffs, which saved them several times from famine and the scurvy grass growing there from scorbutic disease. Polar bears have often appeared on the island, being brought there by the drifting ice flows from Greenland. When it happened in 1969, one polar bear was shot and is preserved stuffed in the district museum in the village Husavik. The number of inhabitants was 102 on December 1. 1996.

The island is referred to in legends and the Saga literature.

Sagas of IcelandIn the latter part of the nineteenth century word got out, that the islanders were good chess players. A wealthy American, Willard Fiske, then gave the islanders quite a few chessboards, a good library on chess and funds to support and develope it.
See Selfoss waterfalls

In 1793 the island was almost abandoned when a disease killed all but 6 of the male population. The remaining 6 were sent to the mainland to fetch more of their kind. On the way back the boat was lost at sea and everyone drowned leaving the clergyman the as the only one remaining of the male species.

Polar bears have often appeared on the island, being brought there by the drifting ice flows from Greenland. When it happened in 1969, one polar bear was shot and is preserved stuffed in the folk museum in the small town Husavik.

Links in Arctic Circle Grimsey