Icelandic Settlements in the New World
_The old Icelandic Sagas tell the tale of men and women who sailed to the continent of North America in the beginning of the eleventh century in an attempt to settle new lands. One of these expeditions was led by Þorfinnur Karlsefni and his wife Gudridur Þorbjarnardottir. Their son Snorri was the first European to be born in America. The Icelandic colony lasted for a few years in the New World but then Snorri and his parents sailed for the old country where they settled in Skagafjörður fjord (North Iceland).
The next Icelandic attempt to settle in the New World was more successful. During the 19th century several waves of emigrants left Iceland. The first one went during the 1850s to Utah but organized emigration on a large scale started in the 1870s, mainly to Canada, North Dakota and Minnesota. Almost a quarter of the entire population of Iceland emigrated between 1870 and 1914.
It is part of human nature to seek where you come from and many people of Icelandic origin would like to know more about the country of their ancestors. This is why the Nordic Association of Iceland, in co-operation with the Icelandic National League of Iceland implemented the Snorri Program.
The Snorri Program is now an established program, and all the young people who have participated in the program since the beginning, or in 1999, have left Iceland with good memories about the land of their ancestors. Some of them have returned with other family members and some have decided to live in Iceland to study Icelandic.