International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on December 15, 1998. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). For Iceland, the draft standard listed 23 townships and 23 counties. In the final standard, those divisions are completely absent. Iceland is shown divided into nine regions. They are the same as the regions given by Statistics Iceland, except that ISO splits Capital region into two regions: "H÷fuborgarsvŠi utan ReykjavÝk" (i.e. Capital Area without Reykjavik), and ReykjavÝk. But a revision of the standard dated 2015-11-27, removes Reykjavik as a subdivision. The ISO standard lists only the Icelandic names.
In 2006, due to merging municipalities, two former municipalities were moved from one region to another, resulting in changes to the total populations and areas of those regions. I have updated those two columns in the main table.
FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 10, affecting FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2006-03-23. It assigns new FIPS codes to the current Icelandic regions, superseding the county codes formerly in effect.
Currently, publications of Statistics Iceland show the country divided into eight landsvŠi (regions). These are subdivided
into 23 sřslur (counties), eight kaupstair (independent cities), seven bŠir (towns), and five divisions of other types.
The counties are further subdivided into units which have several Icelandic generic terms applied to them, but which can be referred to
overall as municipalities. The number of municipalities has changed almost every year lately. There is a hierarchical set of codes for
these divisions. Each region has a one-digit code. Each entity on the second level - county, independent city, town, etc. - has a
four-digit code ending in '00', in which the first digit identifies the region it belongs to. Each municipality has a four-digit code
whose first two digits indicate the county it belongs to. There is one exception. Reykjavik, the capital, is an independent city with
0000, but it belongs to the Capital region, whose code is
1. The eight regions are shown in the table
below. (English names of regions are approximate translations.)
In my opinion, the ISO list showed Capital and Reykjavik as two separate regions only because Reykjavik has a code beginning with 0, and the rest of the Capital region has codes beginning with 1.
Iceland was part of Denmark until 1918-12-01. After its independence, it retained its allegiance to the Danish crown until 1944-06-17, when it became a republic.
Icelandic is: ice, land: country
Spelling note: The Icelandic language uses the letters edh and thorn. The capital and small edh are printed đ and ; thorn is Ů and ■. Edh is used to represent the voiced 'th' sound (as in 'this'), and thorn the unvoiced (as in 'thing'). When place names are transcribed into a typeface that lacks these letters, edh is normally transcribed 'dh', and thorn 'th'. However, because of their superficial resemblance, thorn is sometimes erroneously transcribed 'p'.
Iceland is divided into eight landsvŠi (sing. landsvŠun: regions).
|Northland East||8||27,017||22,735||8,778||Akureyri||Norurland eystra|
|Northland West||7||8,870||12,581||4,858||Saußrkrˇkur||Norurland vestra|
Note: ReykjavÝk, although it is part of Capital region, was for a while given the ISO code
Iceland uses three-digit postal codes. Postal codes for Icelandic addresses can be identified by prefixing them with "IS-".
See the Municipalities of Iceland page.
Two of the regions are often grouped together: Capital Area, also called ReykjavÝk, and Southern Peninsula, also called Reykjanes. The regions are subdivided into 23 counties (1977, 1981-17; 1959-16) and 23 independent towns. These are further subdivided into 79 sveitarfÚl÷g (sing. sveitarfÚlagi: municipalities), as of 2006-04-08. Each of the independent towns coincides with a municipality. The number of municipalities has been steadily decreasing, while the number of independent towns has generally been increasing. The Association of Local Authorities in Iceland has published this report (in Icelandic, dated 2004-08-24) with a list of all 229 municipalities as of 1950, a list of all 105 municipalities as of 2002-12-31, and descriptions of all the changes from 1950 to 2004.
Rangßrvallasřsla includes the Vestmannaeyjar, sometimes called the Westman Islands.
The UN LOCODE page for Iceland lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.
Sources: 1910, 1950, 2000 data from Iceland in Figures 2001-2002, page 6 (no longer available online, but see more recent versions at Statistics Iceland ). 1970 and 1980 data from the EncyclopŠdia Britannica, 1984 edition; data for Southern Peninsula are included in Capital (listed as ReykjavÝkursvŠi og ReykjanessvŠi, i.e. Reykjavik area and Reykjanes area). The 1980 data are identified as an estimate in the EB, but they are in exact agreement with the populations shown in the 1985 edition of Almanaque Abril (Brazil). 1991 data from The Statesman's Year-Book, 1993-94 edition. The date is December 1 of each year shown until 1991, otherwise December 31. Recent data were compiled from population registers.
Sources differ regarding the 1950 census. Here are some data I've collected from several editions of the EncyclopŠdia Britannica World Atlas (EBWA), and The Statesman's Year-Book, 1959 edition. All areas are in km.▓. The data in the 1957 EBWA were listed in mi.▓, but they had evidently been converted from the rounded figures shown in this table.
|Source ->||EBWA 1951||EBWA 1957||EBWA 1964||SY 1959|
|Division||Area||1940 pop.||Area||1950 pop.||Area||1950 pop.||Area||1950 pop.|
The total 1950 population of Iceland is the same in EBWA 1964, SY 1959, and the 1950 "Iceland in Figures" data given above. Comparing the individual divisions from those columns, it looks as if East division is the same as Eastland region; North division is the same as Northland East and Northland West regions put together; South division equals Southland region; Southwest division equals Capital, Southern Peninsula, and Westland regions; and Western Peninsula division is Western Fjords region. The likeliest explanation is that some of the divisions were split up between about 1964 and 1970, and the data from "Iceland in Figures" are proleptic. I'm suggesting, that is, that Statistics Iceland had population data for lower-level entities, such as counties, and added them up as if those entities belonged to the regions that they belong to today.
There are significant differences between the areas of the divisions in these reference works. Moreover, none of them is a very good fit for the areas that you would get by converting the present-day regions into the old divisions. I can't account for these discrepancies.
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