Settlement and the Viking Age


According to stories passed down for generations the Irish abbot St. Brendan sometimes between the years 512 and 530 went in search of The Promised Land of the Saints. One of the stories told of a visit to "The Islands of the Sheep and the Paradise of Birds" situated several days'' sailing distance from Scotland. Based on this story and archaeological excavations there is good reason to believe that Irish monks were the first settlers in the Faroe Islands.

The main historical source for the Faroese history up until the 14th century is the 13th century work Færeyinga Saga (Saga of the Faroese).The Faroe Islands are an ancient constitutional entity with a fascinating history. In the year 800, Norse settlers (Viking, if you like) came to the Faroe Islands. These were mainly farmers from Norway who ended up in the Faroe Islands in search of new land. They formed a polity called by themselves a “land” with its own constitution, which was originally founded on the ancient Viking traditions from the 9th century. All free men convened at the Althing, later called the “Law Thing” (Løgting), in the capital Tórshavn. Thus, the Faroese Parliament, has a very good claim to being the oldest functioning parliament in the world.

From the latter half of the 12th century on when attached to the medieval Norwegian Kingdom they further developed their own culture, language and other social institutions.