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Asunto:NoticiasdelCeHu 584/03 - ABOUT ICELAND
Fecha:Miercoles, 28 de Mayo, 2003  19:04:16 (-0300)
Autor:Humboldt <humboldt @............ar>

Día luminoso

NCeHu 584/03

ABOUT ICELAND

The Age of Settlements

            850
            The Faraoese Naddodur lands on the east coast and named the place SnŠland (Snowland) before returning to his original destination (likely Faroe Islands).

            855?
            The second visitor, a Swede named Gar­ar Svavarsson, came in search of Naddodur's SnŠland. He circumnavigated the island and settled in for the winter at Húsavík on the north coast. When he left the following spring 3 of his men were left behind, whether they liked it or not, and thus became the island's first residents. He named the island Gar­arshólmur in a Scandinavian tradition.

            860
            The Norwegian Flóki Vilger­arson uprooted his farm and family and headed for SnŠland. He navigated with ravens and after some experiments one of the ravens did not return and Flóki followed its direction and found the shores of SnŠland. His use of ravens gave him the nickname, Hrafna Flóki (Raven's Flóki), by which he has been known ever since. He sailed to Vatnsfj÷r­ur on the west coast but was far from being impressed by the enviroment. When we saw icebergs floating in the fjord he named the island Ísland (Iceland) probably as much to discourage others from arriving there as anything else. He then returned to Norway but at some point reconsidered his position as he did in fact return to Iceland some years later and settled in the Skagafj÷r­ur district on the north coast.

            874
            Iceland's first intentional settler, Ingólfur Arnarson, arrives from Norway. He set up a house at a place he called Reykjavík (Smoky Bay) because of the steam from the thermal springs there.

             

            Settlement in Greenland


            In the year 985 the Viking Erik the Red moved from Iceland (expelled actually :) and settled in Greenland creating the first known permanent Nordic colony there. He returned to Iceland in 986 and told stories of a country he called GrŠnland ('Greenland') for he felt that that name would make it a feasible option for settlers. Perhaps this man pioneered the tourist industry? :)

            He left Iceland with 25 ships loaded with settlers but only 14 of them made it to Greenland (some were lost in storms, others turned back).
            It was from this colony that Erik's son Leifur Heppni ('Leif the Lucky') sailed to discover North America in the year 1000.

            The colony was roughly divided into two parts, Eystri Bygg­ ('Eastern settlement') which Erik founded and Vesturbygg­ ('Western settlement') which was around present day Nuuk about 200km north of Erik's farm. Both colonies were on the coast of western Greenland.

            At their peak the number of farms in the Nordic colonies reached 300 with about 5000 inhabitants who raised cattle, harvested the earth and hunted seals among other things. The settlers survived over there by hard work in an unfriendly environment.

            Shortly after the year 1400 the Nordic colony totally disappeared and it has never been explained why. The last account is from a wedding in the year 1406 between an Icelander and a colonist in the 'Eastern settlement', the couple then moved to Iceland.

            Legends tell of repeated pirate assaults which the colonists and native Inuits resisted together but lost much in the process. This theory alone does hardly explain the total and absolute extinction of the Nordic people there. Other theories include massive swarms of caterpillars destroying the harvest, great climate changes, inbreeding, English pirate attacks, Inuit attacks and immigration to North America.

            So ends the history of the Nordic settlement in Greenland.

                       
            Today's Greenland is a Danish country (been so since 1953) with full Danish citizenship and with 2 representatives in the Danish parliament.

             

                      1873 - 1914

                      During the last quarter of the 19th century Iceland had its share of problems; hardship, overpopulation, diseases and many starved. People had been going west to North America since 1855 but the first organised journey took place in 1873 when a large group sailed from Akureyri.

                      The greatest rush westwards was shortly after 1880, when Icelanders faced a great hardship and the Danish rulers were blamed for the situation, and lasted until 1890 when things became a little better here in Iceland.

                      Most of the people settled in Canada, specifically in Manitoba. A special Icelanders "colony" was formed in 1875 and was called Nřja Ísland ('New Iceland') It was located along the western shore of Lake Winnipeg about 60 miles north of Winnipeg and encompassed about 300 square miles of territory.

                      Many among the first to leave Iceland after 1855 took Mormon religion and moved to Utah in the United states where Spanish Fork became their main community.

                      From 1855 to 1914 (few moved after 1904 though) about 15,000 Icelanders moved to North America, these people were sadly missed but some of them came back with new technology and knowledge.

                      Today it is estimated that about 60,000 North Americans can trace their roots to Icelandic origin. About 18,000 are believed to be in the B.C. (British Columbia, Canada) and Washington state (U.S.) area. 25,000 more are in the Manitoba, North Dakota area. The remainder are in pockets of several thousands in the large urban centres like Toronto, New York and Los Angeles. There are also notable settlements in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

                      These people and their descendants are often called 'Vestur-Íslendingar' among themselves, but Icelandic Canadians and Icelandic Americans normally. When they first came over in the last century they were called "Icelanders" by the Canadians.

                      Special thanks to mr. Robert Asgeirsson in writing this section, all errors (if any) are mine.


                      Iceland and World War Two

                      1940

                      Jan 10. Trawler Hafsteinn saves 62 men from the 9000-ton German freighter Bahia Blanca which had taken serious damage from ice between Greenland and Iceland while enroute from Brazil to Germany. The men were taken to Iceland where they waited to be taken back to Germany but were all arrested by the British authorities when they occupied Iceland on May 10. 1940.

                      March 2. The trawler Skutull is attacked by a German aircraft. This is the first recorded attack on Icelandic vessel and personnel in World War II. No loss of life and minimal damages.

                      June 16. Trawler Skallagrímur saves 353 men from the British armed merchant cruiser AMC Andania (13950 tons) sunk 85 miles out of southern Iceland by the German U-boat UA (commanded by Hans Cohausz). The trawler then continued its course to Hull, England but a destroyer took the men off the trawler 36 hours after the rescue.

                      June 29. British aircraft carrier Argus grounded in Írfirisey, a small island out of Reykjavik. The carrier drifted to shore but was towed off the site few days later.

                      July 12. British trawler, Volanta GY 235 of Grimsby, sunk by a German aircraft. The trawler was hit by one of two bombs dropped at it and sank fast, all but its captain were saved 8 hours later by a small fishing boat.

                      August 3. The trawler Skutull saved 27 shipwrecked men of the Swedish freighter Atos which was sunk by a U-boat near Scotland.

                      August 14. Trawler Helgafell saved 8 men of the Swedish ship Nils Gorthon which had been sunk by a U-boat near Ireland 2 days earlier. The trawler arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland with the men on August 19.

                      Sept. 1 The trawlers Egill Skallagrímsson and Hilmir rescued 40 men of the ship Ville de Hasselt (sailing under a Belgian flag but originally called American Trader) that had been sunk by a U-boat near Scotland. Both trawlers were enroute to Fleetwood, Britain carrying fresh fish and after the rescue they resumed their course and that's where the shipwrecked men were put to shore.

                      Sept. 15. On this day 30 men were saved off the Norwegian ship Hird from Oslo by the Icelandic trawler Ůórólfur . It had been torpedoed 180 miles out of Barra Head in Scotland. The trawler took the men off the ship just when it was about to go under. No one was killed or badly wounded and the men were taken to Fleetwood, Britain.

                      Sept. 15. Two Icelandic trawlers, Arinbjorn hersir and Snorri go­i , rescued close to 500 men from the burning transport Arca that was bombed by Germans 15 miles Northwest of Hull of Cantyre in Irish Sea. The trawlers witnessed the actual attack and the bomber even flew a circle over one of them but did not attack and flew away. The rescue was risky as it was just over 1:30 AM. The men were both picked out of the sea and also from life rafts, and at last from the burning ship itself. A British destroyer came to the scene when the rescue was well underway and took the shipwrecked men from the trawlers which then immediately turned home to Iceland.

                      Sept. 20. Trawler Belgaum saved 44 men off the British whale-hunter New Sevilla . The vessel had been sunk by a U-boat near the north-east coast of Ireland. its 200-man crew was saved by several nearby ships and the men onboard the Icelandic trawler were shortly afterwards transferred onto a British surveillance ship.

                      Oct. 21. Icelandic fishing vessel Ůormó­ur saves 13 English men off the freighter Pacific Ranger which had been sunk by a U-boat 170 miles west of Ireland. When they were found they had been drifting for 8 days in a life boat. The 13 men in that boat were in one of several boats containing the entire 55 men complement.

                      Oct. 30. Trawler Bragi rammed and sunk near UK. 10 out of its 13 men crew died and the others were barely rescued by the ship that rammed them, Duke of York . The captain, Ingvar Ágúst Bjarnason, was also pulled out of the sea but died shortly afterwards. The other 9 sank with the ship. The men were brought to Fleetwood and recovered there.

                      Dec 10. Two trawlers perish to mines east of Iceland without causalities. One was from Federal Islands, Toroy and the other was English. The two trawlers had a combined crew of 30 men and all of them survived.

                      Dec 12. Icelandic ship Súlan saved 37 men from the Belgian transport Macdonniere (8600 tons) that had been sunk by a torpedo 10 miles south of St. Kilda on Herbrides islands. The ship was guided to the sinking by an aircraft that flew overhead. The men were in two life boats and seemed in good shape. They were taken to Fleetwood.

                      Dec. 14. Icelandic vessel Erna saves 3 shipwrecked men from the Swedish freighter Veronika which was sunk by an aircraft. Only 3 out of its 20 man complement survived.

                      Dec. 22. The trawler Arinbj÷rn hersir attacked by a German aircraft. The crew felt that the Heinkel 111 bomber would not stop until it had sunk the ship and they lowered the badly damaged life boat and rowed away from their vessel. The bomber dropped a total of 14 bombs and repeatedly machine-gunned the ship before it flew away. The men were picked up by the English tow-boat Superman . 6 out of 13 men crew were wounded, 2 of them badly and they stayed in England until recovered. The trawler was towed to Londonderry by an English warship and was then sailed to Iceland by its crew.


                      1941

                      March: Germany declares a total blockade on Icelandic waters
                      All Icelandic vessels thus became involved in the Battle of the Atlantic

                      March 5. Icelandic trawler, Baldur , saves 49 men of two sunk vessels. First they found a life boat 8 miles west-northwest of Skerryvore that contained men from the Dutch ship Simaloer which had been sunk by a German bomber. They had drifted in that boat for about 60 hours. Shortly afterwards when Baldur had resumed its course they found another life boat containing 10 men of the torpedoed English ship Homelea . The men had been in that boat for 4 days. The shipwrecked men were taken to Fleetwood, Britain.

                      3 Icelandic vessels attacked within 2 days

                      These incidents are under my investigation, please be patient.

                      March 10. Trawler Reykjaborg sunk by a U-boat.

                      March 11. Fró­i attacked by a U-boat.

                      March 12. Pétursey perishes with all hands.

                      April 1. Trawler Hilmir saves 10 men of the Norwegian oil tanker Betuin that had been sunk by a U-boat just out of England. The crew, 34 men, got into 3 life boats, one of which got separated and that was the boat Hilmir found. One of the men, a Norwegian, had been shipwrecked 3 times during the war and in all 3 cases been rescued by an Icelandic ship.

                      April 3. German U-boat sank the British freighter Beaverdale 300 miles Southwest of Iceland while it was on its way from Canada to England. The crew, 79 men, got into 3 life boats that soon lost sight of each other. The Icelandic trawler Gulltoppur found one of them, then 45 miles west of Reykjanes, containing 32 men on April 7th. The trawler took the men to Reykjavik.

                      April 8. Several small fishing boats out of Hellissandur rescued 16 Norwegian sailors of the freighter Lincoln Elswarth that had been sunk 150 miles west of Iceland.

                      May 5. m.b. Sigurfari MB 95 saved 17 men of the Norwegian freighter Paranger that had been sunk by a U-boat west of Iceland 3 days before. The men had manned two life boats that and all survived except the captain that had been hit during the attack.

                      May 22. s.h. Brúarfoss saved 34 shipwrecked men from a British ship sunk by a U-boat more than 3 days earlier 600 miles west of Iceland (close to southern tip of Greenland).

                      May 30. m.b. Hólmsteinn perished with all hands, 4 men. Some wreckage was found that contained shrapnel. It is believed that the boat found itself in a crossfire between two warships.

                      June 29. The Icelandic freighter Hekla (1450 tons) was torpedoed on its way from Reykjavik to Halifax. 7 men out of its 21 man crew escaped the ship that sank in about 2 minutes. The men spent 10 days on a life raft before they were rescued by the British escort ship Candytuft that was being employed as a scout before a westbound convoy. One man died the next night onboard the Candytuft. The surviving 6 men were taken to port in St. John's in Newfoundland. One of the men spent over 6 months in a hospital before going back to Iceland.

                      Aug. 17. The Danish freighter Sessa (then leased by the Icelandic Steamship Company) was sunk by torpedo and gunfire from a German U-boat. Only 3 out of its 27 man crew escaped this sinking ship but after 19 days adrift only one, the second-in-command H. Bjerregaard , was alive. 2 Icelanders perished along with the ship.

                      Aug. 18. The Faroese fish-transporter Solaris hit a mine east of Iceland. The ship got lost in a fog and mistakenly wandered into a British mine-field. 5 were killed but 3 survived on a life raft without food or water for 3 days (they managed to capture a baby seal and feast on it) until they were rescued by a small Icelandic boat, H÷frungur .

                      Sept. 12. An Icelandic motor boat found a life boat with 12 men just west of Heimaey (Westman Islands' largest island). The life boat was from the Norwegian freighter Einvik which had been sunk 8 days earlier 400-500 miles Southwest of Iceland. Another life boat from the same ship landed in southern Iceland the very same day. The entire 23 man crew of that freighter survived.

                      Sept. 3-4?.

                      Sept. 29.

                      Oct. 16. Trawler Surprise saves 29 shipwrecked men of a sunk ship west of Iceland. The trawler was guided by a British aircraft to the life boat. In it were 29 men that had been drifting for 14 days , one of the original 30 men had perished. The men were taken to port in Patreksfj÷r­ur where some of the weaker men were admitted to the local hospital.

                      Dec. 2. Trawler Svi­i sank.


                      1942

                      Feb. 13. m.b. GrŠ­i RE 76 (31 tons) rammed by an American destroyer near Reykjavik, the boat was broken to pieces and one out of its 7 man crew died.

                      April 26. The trawler Surprise from Hafnarfj÷r­ur was attacked by a German aircraft 160 nm out of Westman Islands. 2 bombs were dropped at it but while they fell extremely close to its side and shook it up no damages resulted from this encounter.

                      Aug. 19. Icelandic boat, Skaftfellingur , while on its way to Fleetwood, UK, saved 52 men from a sinking German U-boat. The boat, according to one of the survivors, had participated in a fight between a German and a British aircraft. Both the planes had crashed into the sea and the boat itself was badly damaged. The U-boat saved the crew from the German plane but ignored the British. [ This is taken from a 1971 book, based on local WWII data which was censored by the allied authorities in Iceland, so details are lacking. I cannot find ANY U-boat in my sources that matches this. ] The boat then moved on to Fleetwood but was stopped by two destroyers near port and the destroyers took the Germans. The British were extremely sceptical that only 7 Icelanders had dared to rescue 52 Germans but let the boat go anyway.

                      Aug. 24. German Focke Wulf FW-200 Condor recon bomber attacked the trawler V÷r­ur 20 nm out of Icelandic shores. The trawler was machine gunned at 9:30 AM just when the ship was about to leave the fishing grounds for port. 3 men were on deck when the plane fired and one was hit in the chest and died shortly thereafter. The plane came over the trawler twice and dropped a bomb which fell into the sea just aft of the ship and shook at badly causing some internal damages. The plane then flew eastwards.

                      Sept. 10. German bomber attacked 5 small fishing boats just east of Iceland. The boats were machine gunned but only one was hit causing minor damages but no men were hurt. The aircraft then dropped a bomb towards one of the boats but missed and then flew away.

                      Sept. 29. German bomber attacked Icelandic ship east of Iceland, both using machine guns and bombs. No casualties were inflicted on board and the crew fired 83 rounds from a machine gun but apparently missed the plane.

                      Oct. 8. German bomber attacked 2 motor boats east of Iceland using bombs but missed.

                      Oct. 18. German FW-200 Condor attacked the large boat Eldborg north-east of Iceland and made 15-16 attempts against it. At one time the plane was so low that the crew of the boat could even see the Germans open up the bomb hatch. No bombs were dropped as the boat was constantly changing course, finally the Germans gave up on trying to bomb it and machine gunned the boat but missed.

                      Oct. 23. Trawler Jón Ólafsson disappeared two days after leaving English port. It was last seen on Oct. 22. and then it was doing fine. It has never been explained what happened to it but everything suggests that it perished with all hands (13 men) due to military reasons (mines, U-boats etc.).

                      Oct. 31. m.b. Vigri sank with all hands, 3. It is believed that it hit a mine as other boats heard a massive explosion close to its estimated location that same day.

                      Nov. 4. Trawler V÷r­ur rescued 4 British airmen from a downed plane near Isle of Man. The plane had flown near the trawler and signalled it before making an emergency landing on the sea.

                      Nov. 4. s.s. Brúarfoss rescued 44 shipwrecked men of the English ship Daleby which was sunk by a U-boat. Brúarfoss was serving as a rescue-ship at the time and immediately went to Daleby's rescue. The men were both in lifeboats and onboard the sinking ship itself, the rescue thus was difficult and 10 crewmembers and one passenger were commended for it.


                      1943

                      May 17. Trawler Gar­ar rammed and sunk near Scotland by the freighter Miguel de Larrinaga of Liverpool. The incident occurred in a foggy weather around 11PM and the trawler sank within minutes and took 3 men out of its 13 man crew with it into the depths. The men were picked out of the sea by the ramming ship's crew and shortly afterwards turned them over to a small English trawler, Bell Dock of Grimsby, which transported the men to port. Miguel de Larringa apparently rammed another ship near Scotland only few days before.

                      May 21. Icelandic seaman perished when the German ship Altenfelds was shot down.

                      June 16. The Coasting vessel Sú­in attacked by a German FW-200 Condor recon bomber aircraft north of Iceland. The ship was repeatedly hit by machine guns and cannons and then 3 bombs were dropped. One of them was a near-miss and started a leak in the engineroom. The ship made its way to port badly shaken later that day. 2 men were killed and 3 wounded.

                      Nov. 26. m.b. Hilmir ÍS 39 perished with its 11 man crew in Faxaflói (a large bay out of western part of Iceland). Weather was good when it sank and it has been a mystery ever since, some suggest military reasons like mines.


                      1944

                      Jan 10. Icelandic trawler Max Pemperton perished with its 29 man crew. No reasons for its loss have been found but military reasons (like mines) have not been ruled out.

                      Feb. 10. The British tanker El Grillo sunk by 3 German bombers in the fjord of Sey­isfj÷r­ur in eastern Iceland. The ship was mortally wounded by 2 near-misses and was halfway sunk when the British decided to finish the job and sunk it late that night. The wreck is still in that fjord and is sort of a monument for the population there.

                      March 14. The trawler Sindri rescues 4 US airmen from a downed plane South-west of Iceland. The plane had developed engine troubles and crash landed near the vessel which picked the men out of the rough seas.

                      April 6. 8 airmen rescued from a downed US aircraft near Icelandic shores. 6 of them were picked up by a small Icelandic fishing boat and 2 by a British trawler called Avant Garde. Most of the airmen were wounded.

                      Oct. 24 . Canadian destroyer HMCS Skeena grounded in Vi­ey (small island out of Reykjavík). Skeena was built in 1930 as a destroyer and her displacement was 1337 tons and max. speed was 31 knots. Her wartime complement was about 200 men. She served during the early years of World War Two as a escort ship for Atlantic convoys and took place in the famous SC-42 convoy battle out of which she escaped untouched. She shared the "kill" of the German U-boat U.588 on July 31 1942 with HMCS Wetaskiwin while defending the convoy ON 115. Skeena was assigned to escort duties during D-Day operations.

                      Skeena was at the time of her grounding part of a destroyer group called 11th Escort Group [EG-11] (HMCS Qu'Appelle, HMCS St. Laurent, and HMCS Skeena) which was to patrol the sea south of Iceland and hunt German U-boats. EG-11 returned to Iceland on the eve of Oct. 24 1944 and EG-11 was given the choice of anchoring in Hvalfjor­ur or out of Reykjavik. They chose Reykjavik and there Skeena was anchored at 22.30 hours at 12 fathoms. Shortly after that she started dragging her anchor and less than 90 minutes later she had drifted to shore in Vi­ey.
                      When she had been grounded an order to abandon ship was issued but withdrawn only 5 minutes later. It was too late for the men in the 3 lifrafts that had left ship, one of the rafts turned over and the 6 men onboard it all survived, 5 rescued onto Skeena and 1 made it to Videy. The other 2 rafts are believed to have contained at least 23 men and they drifted to shore. 15 men perished in the liferafts and the rest of the men, exhausted and covered with oil, were rescued by local farmers. The men still onboard Skeena were taken to shore in Vi­ey as it was found impossible to rescue them from the sea. Icelandic fishing boat captain, Einar Sigur­sson , was the man who pulled the rescue off (he led a rescue team of 13 English and 2 American soldiers) and was awarded Member of the British Empire the following spring. At 07:40 a line was successfully fastened between Skeena and shore and at 08:30 the last man had been saved. The 198 men were cold and tired after the night onboard the Skeena but they all recovered. 1

                      4 of the 15 men who perished are buried in the cemetery Fossvogskirkjugar­ur in Reykjavik where many victims of the war rest (47 Canadians died while serving in or near Iceland during the war).

                      HMCS Skeena was de-commissioned from the RCN (Royal Canadian Navy) right after the grounding and was sold to 3 local residents during the spring of 1945 for 1350 pounds. She was later scrapped but the iron which was loaded into a bow of a scrapped Liberty ship (serving as a barge) in 1952 but the remains of Skeena were lost during the towing of the barge to England.

                      Nov. 9. s.s. Go­afoss sunk by a German U-boat. The ship had been stopped to rescue 19 men from a burning English tanker out of Reykjanes just before noon. Then the ship continued its way to Reykjavík but at 13:02 it was torpedoed by a German U-boat ( U-300 commanded by Oblt. Fritz Hein, her only captain. This was her second wartime patrol, operating from Norway. U-300 herself was sunk, in the North Atlantic, on her 3rd patrol on Feb. 22 1945 killing 9 including her captain). The ship sank within 7 minutes and took with it 24 people (10 passengers and 14 crewmembers), among them a family of 5 (2 young doctors returning from Harvard,US and their 3 children). 4 or 5 of the 19 men saved from the British tanker survived the Go­afoss sinking .


                      1945

                      Feb. 21 . Icelandic freighter Dettifoss (1564 tons) sunk 25 miles out of Belfast, Ireland by a German U-boat. Dettifoss was in a small convoy headed for Iceland when the ship has torpedoed at 0829 in the morning. Only 5-7 minutes later it was gone into the depths, taking with it 15 lives (3 of them passengers). 29 survived the sinking (were rescued after an hour in the sea by the rescue ship Fusilier) and were taken to Scotland and from there to Iceland.
                      The sinking of Dettifoss was a harsh blow so soon after the Go­afoss had been sunk near Reykjavík on Nov. 9 1944. All public activities in Iceland were cancelled on Feb. 24 for example.



                      Icelandic losses on the seas (I think that no lives were lost on shore during the war but I may be wrong) during World War II were proportionately as great as the number of solders lost by the United States. This, of course, takes into account the population of Iceland (121.000 in 1940). The main reason for these loss of lives were the much-needed sales of fresh fish in Britain by Icelandic trawlers. Several were lost during these trips (see above) due to various reasons. Many of the sailing trawlers had armoured bridges and thus greatly reduced the stability of the ships, also many of these trawlers were simply overloaded. Due to this risk the sailing ships only had the absolute minimum complement on board while the rest of the crew took a well deserved break on shore. But most of them were lost to mines or torpedoes.

                       

             



             

             


Economy


Iceland's Scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic, but with an extensive welfare system, relatively low unemployment, and comparatively even distribution of income. The economy is heavily dependent on the fishing industry, which provides nearly 75% of export earnings and employs 12% of the workforce. In the absence of other natural resources - except energy - Iceland's economy is vulnerable to changing world fish prices. Iceland's economy has been in recession since 1988. The recession continued in 1993 due to a third year of cutbacks in fishing quotas as well as falling world prices for the country's main exports: fish and fish products, aluminum, and ferrosilicon. Real GDP declined 3.3% in 1992 and rose slightly, by 0.4%, in 1993.

The center-right government's economic goals include reducing the budget and current account deficits, limiting foreign borrowing, containing inflation, revising agricultural and fishing policies, diversifying the economy, and privatizing state-owned industries. The recession has led to a wave of bankruptcies and mergers throughout the economy, as well as the highest unemployment of the post-World War II period [3.9% in 1995]. Inflation, previously a serious problem, declined from double digit rates in the 1980s to only 3.7% in 1992-93.