Jónas Jónsson

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This is an Icelandic name. The last name is a patronymic, not a family name; this person is properly referred to by the given name Jónas.
Jónas Jónsson

Jónas Jónsson (known also as Jónas frá Hriflu, May 1, 1885 – July 19, 1968) was an Icelandic educator and politician, and one of the most influential people in 20th-century Icelandic culture and politics. Initially an educator and writer of textbooks, he was chairman of the Progressive Party for ten years, and Minister of Justice from 1927 to 1932.


Jónas was born in Hrifla in Suður-Þingeyjarsýsla. He studied at Möðruvalla School and wanted to attend the Reykjavík Latin School in 1905, but could not afford it—by the time his family had saved enough money he was rejected (by rector Steingrímur Thorsteinsson) for being too old.

Instead, he attended the folk high school in Askov, Denmark, and then moved to England to attend Ruskin College in Oxford, known as an institution for working-class students. On his return to Iceland, in 1909, he found himself in opposition to the class of newly-wealthy Icelanders and became involved in politics. He was elected MP in 1922 for the Progressive Party, a libertarian and agrarian-centrist party, a seat he held until 1949. He became attorney general in 1927, and was Minister of Justice from 1927 to 1932. He was chairman of the Progressive Party for ten years,[1] from 1934 to 1944.


Jónas was the author of the "immensely influential primer" Íslandssaga handa börnum ("History of Iceland for children", 2 vols., Reykjavík, 1915-1916). The primer molded the "historical perception of generations of Icelanders" until the 1970s, when it was no longer being used in education.[2] According to his textbook, Icelanders had a special status since they hailed from descendants of those who fled the rule of Harald Fairhair, an especially hardy stock of Norwegians; in combination with the harsh natural environment this produced the "unique Icelandic nation". The island's economic prosperity, he argued, resulted from its independence from Denmark.[1]


  1. ^ a b Bergmann, Eirikur (2014). Iceland and the International Financial Crisis: Boom, Bust and Recovery. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 22. ISBN 9781137332004. 
  2. ^ Guðmundur Hálfdanarson (2000). "Þingvellir: An Icelandic Lieu de Mémoire". History & Memory 12 (1): 4–29.