Letters on Iceland

Containing Observations Made during a Voyage Undertaken in the Year 1772 by Joseph Banks, Esq.

Swedish archbishop Uno von Troil (1746–1803) had a lifelong enthusiasm for travel and scientific study which led him to accompany the famous naturalist Sir Joseph Banks (1743–1820) on an expedition to Iceland in 1772. Banks was already well known for his role as botanist on Captain Cook's first voyage on the Endeavour, which mapped the Pacific and uncharted parts of Australia and New Zealand. This book, first published in 1780, is a compilation of letters written by von Troil, documenting the tour of Iceland. The letters describe volcanos and other geological features as well as providing meteorological information and an account of the northern lights. Through his amiable and enthusiastic correspondence, von Troil paints a picture of the Icelandic people, their national character and culture, including their diet and occupations. Also featured is an account of the religious history of Iceland and the organisation of the Icelandic church.

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