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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Speak Shenzhen -> 
Inspired by Iceland
    2018-05-07  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

James Baquet

It has taken me years to appreciate the depth and breadth of the splendors of Iceland. A friend came back from a trek there not long ago and sang its praises, and it has shown up in some films in the past decade or so. But what got me excited was my recent discovery of the rich literature of the medieval Icelandic sagas, which have been a source of such works as Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.”

Iceland’s location gives a clue to some of its history and culture. It’s located between Norway and Greenland (slightly closer to the latter), with the British Isles to the southeast. The first known permanent settlers were Norwegians, arriving in 874. Since then, immigration has been largely from Norway and other countries of Scandinavia, with Gaelic thralls — a sort of peasant or slave — in tow. The Icelandic language is related to Norwegian.

The legislative assembly, the Althing, was founded in 930, and has continued uninterrupted except for a 45-year period in the first half of the 19th century. It is thus one of the oldest legislatures in the world, continuing even through those periods when the island was nominally ruled by distant Norway and, later, Denmark. Iceland sought independence in the wake of the Napoleonic wars, gaining it at last in 1918. The republic was founded in 1944.

With fewer than 350,000 people in an area of 103,000 square kilometers, Iceland is more sparsely populated than any other European country. Two-thirds of that population lives in the southwest of the country, where Reykjavik, the capital and largest city, is located.

The rest of the country is filled with volcanic activity and glaciers. However, being warmed by the Gulf Stream, Iceland has a temperate climate, despite being near the Arctic Circle.

Once relying on subsistence fishing and farming, and among the poorest countries in Europe, Iceland’s diversified economy now includes finance, biotechnology and manufacturing. It provides universal health care and free tertiary education through its social welfare system, and was ranked the ninth most developed country in the world in 2016. It also ranks first on the Global Peace Index.

Vocabulary:

Which word above means:

1. thinly

2. hint, suggestion

3. moderate, not extreme

4. spoke highly of it

5. from the Middle Ages

6. in name only

7. hike, difficult journey

8. as followers

9. large masses of ice

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