Born June 17, 1811, in the village of Rafnseyri, in western Iceland; died Dec. 7, 1879, in Copenhagen; buried in Reykjavik. Icelandic statesman and historian; a fighter for Iceland’s national independence.
Sigurđsson studied at the University of Copenhagen from 1833 to 1835. He was a member of the Althing beginning in 1845 and its president beginning in 1851. From 1835 to 1855 he waged a struggle for the granting of regional autonomy to Iceland and for the establishment of a true union with Denmark modeled after the Swedish-Norwegian union of 1814. In the late 1840’s he insisted on Iceland’s legal right to complete autonomy and separation from Denmark. Sigurđsson, the author of the Icelandic constitution of Jan. 5, 1874, is known as the father of Icelandic independence. As a historian, he is famed for his editions of sources on ancient Icelandic history.