Icelanders established the country of Iceland in 930 A.D. when Althingi (Parliament) met for the first time. Iceland came under the reign of Norwegian, Swedish and Danish kings but regained full sovereignty and independence from the Danish monarchy on 1 December 1918, when Kingdom of Iceland was established. On 17 June 1944, the monarchy was abolished and the Icelandic republic was founded. The language spoken is Icelandic, a North Germanic language, and Lutheranism is the predominant religion. Historical and DNA records indicate that around 60 to 80 percent of the male settlers were of Norse origin (primarily from Western Norway) and a similar percentage of the women were of Gaelic stock from Ireland and peripheral Scotland.
Icelanders have had a tumultuous history. Development of the island was slow due to a lack of interest from the countries controlling it for most of its history: Norway, Denmark–Norway, and ultimately Denmark. Through this time, Iceland had relatively little contact with the outside world. The island became independent in personal union with the Kingdom of Denmark in 1918. Since 1944, Iceland has been a republic, and Icelandic society has undergone a rapid modernisation process in the post-independence era.