Q:

How did Iceland get its name?

A:

Quick Answer

According to Icelandic tradition, a Viking named Hrafna-Floki Vilgerdarson gave the land its name when he arrived from Norway with his family. The packed ice he saw in the mountains inspired the name.

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Full Answer

"Iceland" is not the only wintry name that this country ever received. Naddoddur Astvaldsson, another Norwegian, was the first Norseman to find the country. As he was leaving, he saw snow falling on the mountains and gave the country the name Snowland. Another name connected to Iceland is Thule, which appears in the writings of Pytheas, a Greek explorer, in reference to a place far to the north. However, this could also refer to Norway, Greenland, Scandinavia, Shetland or Orkney, depending on which researcher one reads.

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