The struggle continued with great bitterness on both sides, but gradually the Danish government was forced to grant many important reforms. High schools were established at Reykjavik, and efforts made to better the trade and farming of the country.
Recognizing the value of an intellectual centre, he made Reykjavik not only the political, but the spiritual capital of Iceland by removing all the chief institutions of learning to that city; he was the soul of many literary and political societies, and the chief editor of the Ny Felagsrit, which has done more than any other Icelandic periodical to promote the cause of civilization and progress in Iceland.
He was sent to the old and famous school at Bessastad and (when it removed thither) at Reykjavik; and in 1849, already a fair scholar, he came to Copenhagen University as a bursaries in the Regense College.
The largest town is Reykjavik on Faxafloi, with 6700 inhabitants, the capital of the island, and the place of residence of the governorgeneral and the bishop. Here the Althing meets; and here, further, are the principal public institutions of the island (library, schools, &c.).
The Islands Bank in Reykjavik (1904) is authorized to issue bank-notes up to £133,900 in total value.
In 1847 a theological seminary was founded at Reykjavik, and there the majority of the Icelandic ministry are educated; some, however, are graduates of the university of Copenhagen.
There is a modern asylum for leprosy at Laugarnes near Reykjavik, and a medical school at Reykjavik, opened in 1876.
The general sanitary affairs of the island are under the control of a chief surgeon (national physician) who lives in Reykjavik, and has superintendence over the doctors and the medical school.
The minister for Iceland, who resided in Copenhagen until 1903, when his office was transferred to Reykjavik, is responsible to the king and the Althing for the maintenance of the constitution, and he submits to the king for confirmation the legislative measures proposed by the Althing.
From the sheriff courts appeals lie to the superior court at Reykjavik, consisting of three judges.
At Reykjavik there are a Latin school, a medical school and a theological school; at Modruvellir and Hafnarfjdror, modern high schools (Realschulen); and in addition to these there are four agricultural schools, a school of navigation, and three girls' schools.
The national library at Reykjavik contains some 40,000 volumes and 3000 MSS.
A leading position among Icelandic lexicographers is occupied by Jon porkeisson, formerly head of the Latin school at Reykjavik, whose Supplement til islandske Ordbcbger, an Icelandic-Danish vocabulary (three separate collections), has hardly been equalled in learning and accuracy.