Icelandic i/aɪsˈlændɪk/ ( íslenska is a North Germanic language, the language of Iceland. It is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the colonisation of the Americas. Icelandic, Faroese, Norn, and Western Norwegian formerly constituted West Nordic; Danish, Eastern Norwegian and Swedish constituted East Nordic. History The oldest preserved texts in Icelandic were written around 1100 AD. Much of the texts are based on poetry and laws traditionally preserved orally. The most famous of the texts, which were written in Iceland from the 12th century onward, are the Icelandic Sagas. They comprise the historical works and the eddaic poems. Education The system of education in Iceland is divided in four levels: playschool, compulsory, upper secondary and higher, and is similar to that of other Nordic countries. Education is mandatory for children aged 6–16. Most institutions are funded by the state; there are very few private schools in the country. Iceland is a country with gymnasia. Origin The Viking Age (800-1066) is the most famous period of Scandinavian history. At that time, the Norse seafarers took control of all the sea passages around northern and western Europe, as well the water trade routes in the east and southwards to Russia. They even went as far south as the Mediterranean Sea. On their voyages around the oceans, they discovered and settled uninhabited islands, among them Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.