Iceland (Icelandic: Ísland; [ˈistlant] (About this soundlisten)) is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, with a population of 356,991 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a polar climate.
Reykjavík (/ˈreɪkjəvɪk, -viːk/ RAYK-yə-vik, -veek; Icelandic: [ˈreicaˌviːk]) is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói bay. Its latitude is 64°08′ N, making it the world’s northernmost capital of a sovereign state. With a population of around 131,136 (and 233,034 in the Capital Region), it is the center of Iceland’s cultural, economic, and governmental activity, and is a popular tourist destination.
Reykjavík is believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland, which, according to Landnámabók, was established by Ingólfr Arnarson in AD 874. Until the 19th century, there was no urban development in the city location. The city was founded in 1785 as an official trading town and grew steadily over the following decades, as it transformed into a regional and later national centre of commerce, population, and governmental activities. It is among the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world.