Iceland had a 400-year law to kill Basques on the spot

For four centuries, a strange, to say the least, law was in force in Iceland - any inhabitant of the Basque Country who dared to set foot on Icelandic land must be killed. The corresponding decree was signed in 1615 by Ari Magnusson, the commissar of the Westfirdir region. But it was canceled only in the 21st century - in 2015. This law was not adopted from scratch, for this there were good reasons.

In 1615, three whaling ships belonging to the Basques approached the shores of Iceland. The aliens replenished their stocks of food and fresh water and again went to sea. But, their ships were destroyed by a terrible storm, some of the sailors were able to reach the coast. Here hungry Basques, in search of food, began to plunder local residents. The case ended in bloody clashes.

The incident was reported to the Commissioner Ari Magnusson, who ordered to find and destroy all the Basques who dared to disrupt the peaceful life of the Icelanders. A real hunt began for the Basques in Iceland, 32 whalers were found and killed. From now on, any Basque that appeared in Iceland risked its own life - no one canceled Magnusson's decree.

400 years have passed and in Iceland they decided to make peace with the Basques, canceling the terrible order, albeit long since lost its relevance. On April 22, 2015, Jonas Gudmundsson, in the same position as Ari Magnusson four centuries ago, canceled the directive of his distant predecessor. The ceremony was solemn; a delegation from the Basque Country, led by Martin Garitanoand, governor of the province of Guipuzcoa, was invited to it.

A memorial sign was unveiled at the site of the tragedy. Jonas Gudmundsson said that from now on every Basque can be absolutely sure of their safety in Iceland. However, after 1615, no killings of the inhabitants of the Basque Country were noted here. During the ceremony, a symbolic "reconciliation" took place, Javier Irijo, a descendant of one of the dead whalers, and Magnus Rafnnsson, whose ancestor was a participant in the "action of retaliation", exchanged handshakes.

This was far from the only curious law that existed in Iceland for a long time. For example, for almost the entire 20th century there was a ban on the use of beer. In 1915, a "dry law" was introduced in the country, which was canceled only 20 years later. Icelanders got the right to drink any alcoholic drink except beer. Why exactly beer was banned? The island has long been under Danish rule, where beer is the national drink. Therefore, proud Icelanders felt that its use was not patriotic. It wasn't until 1989 that beer became legal in Iceland, and March 1 is even celebrated as Beer Day.

And in 1924, dogs were banned from Reykjavik. This was explained by the fact that many dogs were infected with echinococcus, a parasite that affects the liver and lungs of the animal. A person could also get infected from dogs, therefore, the authorities of the capital were forced to take such a step. Currently, everything is not so strict, the residents of Reykjavik can start a dog, but with one condition - the pet must be regularly examined by a veterinarian.