Althing (älˈthĭng) [key] [Icel., = general diet], parliament of Iceland. This assembly, the oldest in Europe, was convened at Thingvellir, SW Iceland, in 930. It was dissolved in 1800, was revived as an advisory body to the Danish monarchy in 1845, and in 1874, when Iceland was granted a constitution, became again a legislative body. The Althing in 1944 voted the independence of Iceland from Denmark, a decision ratified by popular vote. The Althing is now a 63-member unicameral body, but until 1991 it comprised a lower house (two thirds of members) and an upper house (one third). Members are elected by a system of proportional representation.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.