Icelandic migration and nationality in the late 19th century

Author(s): Agusta Edwald

Year: 2014


In the decade after Lord Acton (1862) wrote that ‘exile is the nursery of nationality’ Iceland experienced its largest exodus. In the last two decades of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th it is estimated that one in five Icelanders emigrated to North America, at the same time as the country’s independence battle from its Danish colonizers was gaining momentum. In this paper I will explore the connections between the emigration movement and Icelandic nationalism and state formation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and demonstrate that as well as emigrants’ construction of a native country of origin influenced the formation of an Icelandic identity the flow of materials, skills and knowledge between the mother- and foster-land played an active role in the making of the Icelandic state.

Cite this Record

Icelandic migration and nationality in the late 19th century. Agusta Edwald. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436876)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-34,05