Icelandic is a Northern Germanic language with about 300,000 speakers in Iceland (Ísland), Canada (Kanada) and the USA (Bandaríki Norður-Ameríku). Icelandic is the closest of the Northern Germanic languages to Old Norse and it is possible for Icelandic speakers to read the Old Norse sagas in the original without too much difficulty.
The first permanent settlement in Iceland was established by Vikings from Norway and Celts from the British Isles in 870 AD. The main language of the settlers was Old Norse or the Dǫnsk tunga (Danish tongue). A number of great literary works - the sagas - were written by Icelanders during the 12th and 13th centuries. From 1262 until the 15th century, Iceland was governed by Norway, then the Danes took over. During the periods of Norwegian and Danish rule, Norwegian and Danish were used in Iceland, to some extent.
In 1944 Iceland gained its independence and Icelandic was revived as an official and literary language. Today there is a flourishing publishing industry in Iceland and Icelanders are probably the keenest readers and writers in the world.