Today in the Middle Ages: June 23, 930

The first session of the Icelandic Althing, often considered the world's first parliament, began on June 23, 930.

Icelandic settlement began from Norway in the 870s, and by 930 virtually all the land on the island had been claimed. The laws made at the Althing were agreed by consensus.

The early Icelanders used neither lawbooks nor police. Lawspeakers — lögsögumaður — memorized and recited the laws, and the populace enforced them. Some disputes were settled by agreement, others by arbitration.

Despite shifting political boundaries, the Althing has continued to this day, with one 45-year hiatus in the 19th century.