Reykjavík (rāˈkyävēk, rāˈkävēk) [key], city (1993 pop. 101,824), capital of Iceland, SW Iceland, on the Faxaflói. It is the center of the cod-fishing industry and the chief commercial and industrial hub of Iceland. Publishing, food processing, and textile manufacturing are important industries. Reykjavík is the seat of the parliament (Althing), of the Lutheran bishop of Iceland, and of the supreme court; the Univ. of Iceland, the nation's oldest university (founded 1911), is there. Among the city's cultural institutions are the national theater and the national museum. One of the city's remarkable features is its heating system, which utilizes nearby hot springs. Reykjavík has a large airport, but international traffic uses the airport at nearby Keflavík.
The founding of Reykjavík by Ingolfur Arnarson, thought to be the first settler in Iceland, is traditionally dated 874. It was chartered in 1786, but modern growth began after 1904, when it became the capital. Among its monuments is a statue of Leif Ericsson, given by the Congress of the United States to the people of Iceland in 1930 to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of the Althing. In 1986 Reykjavík was the site of historic arms control talks between the United States and the USSR.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Scandinavian Political Geography