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The history of the Icelandic language began in the 9th century when the settlement of Iceland, mostly by Norwegians, brought a dialect of Old Norse to the island.
The oldest preserved texts in Icelandic were written around 1100, the oldest single text being Islendingabok followed by Landnamabok. Some of the poetry, such as the Eddas, that were written down a little later nevertheless contain older language because poetic language was kept in memory unchanged over sometimes a remarkably long time. The most famous of these, written in Iceland from the 12th century onward, are without doubt the Icelandic Sagas, the historical writings of Snorri Sturluson, and the Poetic Edda.
The language of the era of the sagas is called Old Icelandic, a dialect of (Western) Old Norse, the common Scandinavian language of the Viking era. The Danish rule of Iceland from 1380 to 1918 had little effect on the evolution of Icelandic, which remained in daily use among the general population: Danish was not used for official communications. The same applied to English during the British (and later American) occupation of Iceland during World War II.

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