Saturday, October 6, 2012

Jon Sigurdsson

Jón Sigurðsson (June 17, 1811 – December 7, 1879) was the leader of the 19th century  Icelandic Independence movement. Þjóðernishyggja is the Icelandic term for  nationalismnationmindedness is a rough translation of the term. Its use was instrumental in the Icelandic movement for independence from Denmark, led by independence hero Jón Sigurðsson. He became an expert on the sagas and on Icelandic history. He never graduated from university, as Icelandic politics grew to consume all his time.
The home of Jón and Ingibjörg in Copenhagen became a centre for all Icelanders in the city. They had no children except for one foster-son who was Jón's nephew. However, a contemporary remarked that "all Icelanders are their children". He died in Copenhagen in 1879.
His birthday, June 17, was chosen as  Iceland's National holiday to recognize his efforts toward Icelandic independence, and a picture of Jón graces the 500 Icelandic Krónur banknote.
He is often referred to as President ("Jón forseti") by Icelanders. The main reason for this is that since 1851 he served as President of the Copenhagen Department of the Icelandic Literature Society. He was also the president of Althing several times, for the first time in 1849. He is currently pictured on Iceland's 500  kronur bill, and has been honoured on Icelandic postage stamps on the centenaries of his birth and death, the 150th anniversary of his birth, and on the creation of the Republic of Iceland (on his 133rd birthday). Maria sent me this FDC which marks the 150th Birth Anniversary of Jon Sigurdsson on 17th June 1961.

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