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Heimaey

Iceland, Heimaey
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Heimaey off southwest IcelandHeimaey in February 2009. Looking north-eastHeimaey harbour in June 2005, looking southView from the Helgafell, looking north-west
"Heimaey" () is the largest island (13.4 km² - 5.2 sq. miles) in the Vestmannaeyjar cluster, approximately 4 nautical miles (7.4 km) off the south coast of Iceland. It is the only island in Vestmannaeyjar that is populated, and there are around 4,500 inhabitants.

History
Oldest tales
The Landnáma tells that after Ingólfur Arnarson, the first settler in Iceland, had spent a winter at Ingólfshöfði, he released his "Öndvegissúlur" into the water and followed them west. (These were pillars associated with the chief"s chair. They were put into the sea and let float to shore. Where they came ashore, the Viking who followed it would build his farm.) At Hjörleifshöfði, Ingólfur found that his brother/close friend Hjörleifr Hróðmarsson was dead and his slaves were missing. Out at sea he could see boats going towards a small group of islands, and he set off after them.

Abducted from the north of Ireland, the slaves were called westmen (Vestmenn), as Ireland was the most western part of the known world then (c. 840). The slaves went ashore at Heimaey and took shelter in the mountains. Ingólfur hunted them and slaughtered them in revenge for their killing his foster brother. In the process he created names for various places —for example "Dufþekja", an area on Heimaklettur, Heimaey"s highest mountain (283 m), is named after the slave Dufþakur. He was said to have thrown himself off Heimaklettur at that point—preferring to take his own life than to let Ingólfur take it.

First settlers
In tradition, Herjólfur Bárðarson was said to be the first person to settle in Heimaey. The Landnáma said he built his farm in Herjólfsdalur (literally: Herjólf"s valley) about 900. The archaeological excavation of ancient ruins in Herjólfsdalur in 1971 showed that there had been settlement nearly 100 years earlier.Sigurgeir Jonsson, "About Westman Islands", Visit Westman Islands, n.d., accessed 14 Nov 2008

Turkish invasion
In 1627 three pirate ships from the Ottoman-controlled Barbary Coast raided many towns on the south coast of Iceland and outlying islands. They attacked Grindavík and Heimaey. In Grindavík townspeople could flee into the lava field of Reykjanes and hide indefinitely; however, Heimaey was so isolated that it was vulnerable and people suffered. Many heroic stories told of the people who survived the invasion, most notably Guðríður Símonardóttir. Better known as Tyrkja-Gudda (Turkish-Gudda), she was taken by the pirates from her home at Stakkagerði on Heimaey to the slave market in Algeria. From there she bought her way back to Iceland through Tunisia, Italy and Denmark—Iceland was then under Danish rule. Upon returning to Iceland, she married the poet Hallgrímur Pétursson. The Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran church in Reykjavík is named in his honor.

Eldfell
The 1973 eruption of Heimaey.
On 23 January 1973 at around one in the morning a volcanic eruption of the mountain Eldfell began on Heimaey. The ground on Heimaey started to quake and clefts began to form. The clefts grew up to 1600 meters in length, and soon lava began to erupt. Fissures erupted spraying lava in to the air. The ash was also blown out to sea. However later, the situation deteriorated; the fissures closed up and the eruption became one concentrated lava flow, which headed towards the harbour. Also the winds changed, and half a million cubic metres of ash were blown on to the town. During the night the 5000 inhabitants of the island were evacuated, mostly by fishing boats, as almost the entire fishing fleet was in dock.

The encroaching lava flow threatened to destroy the harbour that was the main source of livelihood for most of the town. The eruption lasted until 3 July the same year. However, townspeople constantly sprayed the lava with cold seawater, causing some of it to solidify and much to be diverted, thus saving the harbour from destruction. During the eruption, half of the town was crushed and the island grew a great deal. Heimaey was about 11.2 km² before the eruption, but the "island" grew by about 2.24 km². The island measured about 13.44 km² when the eruption finally stopped. Only one man died in the eruption: a sailor who asphyxiated while looting a pharmacyThe_Control_of_Nature_(book). This event is described by John McPhee in his book "The Control of Nature".

Present day
Vestmannaeyjar is home to around 4,500 humans, eight million puffins
every summer,Harding, Paul. "Iceland", Lonely Planet, 2004, pg. 129. and many millions of other birds.

The island is connected to the rest of Iceland by a ferry and Vestmannaeyjar Airport.

Most people on the island live off fishing. Every year there is a big festival on Hemaey, and people are allowed to catch a few puffins themselves, to share on the festival, or just to eat at home.

In popular culture
*Some final shots of Chris Marker"s "Sans Soleil" are of stark white Heimaey houses slowly buried by the deep black volcanic ash of the eruption. The backdrop reveals splashes of red lava as the smouldering landscape drops in to a steel-grey sea.
*Heimaey is mentioned in the song "Island" by American progressive-metal band Mastodon. The line is "Lava goddess, Ice and fire, Settling down, Ocean Geysir, Gullfoss, Heimaey 73." This may refer to the eruption of Eldfell.

References



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Dieser Artikel stammt aus der freien Enzyklopädie Wikipedia und kann dort bearbeitet werden. Der Text ist unter der Lizenz Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike verfügbar. Fassung vom 08.08.2022 07:20 von den Wikipedia-Autoren.
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