Iceland’s Sovereignty, 1918

December 1, 1918: Iceland becomes a sovereign state, yet remains a part of the Danish kingdom. Jews were not officially allowed to reside in Iceland until 1855 when the parliament complied with the request of the Danish king to allow Jews to enter the little island and trade under the same terms as had been adopted in Denmark. By the end of the 19th century, there were a small number of trading agents which represented firms owned by Danish Jews but there is no record as to how many of them, if any were Jewish.  A Jewish Danish merchant named Fritz Heyman Nathan moved to Iceland and pursued a successful business career in Reykjavik in the first two decades of the twentieth century.  He returned to Copenhagen to pursue his business interests, having found that Iceland was a hard place to follow a Jewish way of life.  Today, the Jewish population of Iceland is miniscule.

When Iceland gained full sovereignty, it was in a direct union with King Christian X, who also had a dual role as King of Denmark.

In 1920, a 20 stamp issue – of which 2 are shown here – was initiated with the portrait of  Christian X, now the King for the Kingdom of Iceland.

1920 iceland stamps Christian X

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