Iceland is a Nordic island country between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. It has a population of 329,100 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), giving the island the lowest population density of any country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterized by sand and lava fields, mountains and glaciers, while many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle.
Iceland is best known as the home of the first Viking explorers of North America, in the year 986. Its inhabitants are descended from Norse and some Celtic (mainly Irish and Scottish) peoples [mainly slaves and wives of the Norse men]; ancestors. Currently, they also include some other arrivals from Europe.
The economy has since made a significant recovery, in large part due to a surge in tourism. The tourism sector is expanding, especially in Eco-tourism and whale-watching. On average, Iceland receives around 1.1 million visitors annually, which is more than three times the native population.
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