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Ingolfur Arnarson

Region: Reykjavik Area
Coordinates: 64.18435° N 21.8525° W

Ingolfur Arnarson was from the valley of Rivedal in Sunnfjord in western Norway. According to the Icelandic Book of Settlements, he built his homestead in and gave name to Reykjavík in 874. However, archaeological finds in Iceland suggest settlement may have started somewhat earlier. The medieval chronicler Ari Thorgilsson said Ingolfur was the first Nordic settler in Iceland, but mentioned that Irish monks had been in the country before the Norsemen. He wrote that they left because they did not want to live among the newly arrived Norway.

The Book of Settlements (written two to three centuries after the settlement) contains a story about Ingolfur arrival. His firs stop now call Ingolfshofdi. The book claims he left Norway after becoming involved in a blood feud. He had heard about a new island which Gardar Svavarsson, Hrafna-Floki and others had found in the Atlantic Ocean. With his blood brother Hjorleifur Hrodmarsson, he sailed for Iceland. When land was in sight, he threw his high seat pillars overboard and promised to settle where the gods decided to bring them ashore. Two of his slaves then searched the coasts for three years before finding the pillars in the small bay which eventually became the site of Reykjavík.

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