Kristján Eldjárn
Dr. Kristján Eldjárn (6 December 1916 – 14 September 1982) was the third President of Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, from 1968 to 1980.

His parents were Þórarinn Kr. Eldjárn, a teacher in Tjörn, and Sigrún Sigurhjartardóttir. He graduated in archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 from the University of Copenhagen
University of Copenhagen
The University of Copenhagen is the oldest and largest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479, it has more than 37,000 students, the majority of whom are female , and more than 7,000 employees. The university has several campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the...

 and taught at the University of Iceland
University of Iceland
The University of Iceland is a public research university in Reykjavík, Iceland, and the country's oldest and largest institution of higher education. Founded in 1911, it has grown steadily from a small civil servants' school to a modern comprehensive university, providing instruction for about...

. In 1957 he was awarded a doctorate for his research into pagan
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 burials in Iceland. He was a teacher at the Akureyri Grammar School and the College of Navigation in Reykjavík, becoming a curator at the National Museum of Iceland
National Museum of Iceland
The National Museum of Iceland was established on 24 February 1863, with Jón Árnason the first curator of the Icelandic collection, previously kept in Danish museums...

 in 1945 and its Director in 1947, a position he held until the 1968 presidential election.

In 1966–68 he hosted a series of educational TV programs on the (then new) Icelandic National Television (RÚV
Ríkisútvarpið is Iceland's national public-service broadcasting organization.Operating from studios in the country's capital, Reykjavík, as well as regional centres around the country, the service broadcasts a variety of general programming to a wide audience across the whole country via radio...

), in which he showed the audience some of the National Museum's artefacts and explained their historical context. These programs became quite popular, making him a well known and respected popular figure. This no doubt gave him the incentive needed to run in the 1968 presidential election as a politically non-affiliated candidate.

Starting as the underdog in the 1968 presidential election, running against ambassador Gunnar Thoroddsen
Gunnar Thoroddsen
Gunnar Thoroddsen was Prime Minister of Iceland from 8 February 1980 to 26 May 1983. Gunnar is the youngest man ever elected to the Althing, Iceland's Parliament. He was 23 years old when he was elected as MP in 1934. He served as an Ambassador of Iceland in Denmark from 1965 to 1969 when he ran...

 who initially had a 70% lead in the opinion polls, Eldjárn won 65.6% of the vote on a 92.2% voter turnout
Voter turnout
Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election . After increasing for many decades, there has been a trend of decreasing voter turnout in most established democracies since the 1960s...

. He was re-elected unopposed in 1972 and 1976. In 1980 he decided not to run for another term, wanting to devote his remaining years entirely to continuing his lifelong academic work.

His son Þórarinn Eldjárn
Þórarinn Eldjárn
Þórarinn Eldjárn is an Icelandic writer born on 22 August 1949. He studied at the University of Lund and the University of Iceland. He has written numerous poems, stories, and novels. He has also translated numerous books into Icelandic, including Alice in Wonderland. In addition, he has produced...

 is one of Iceland's most popular authors, specializing in short stories, but also writing poetry and an occasional novel. His daughter Sigrún Eldjárn is also an author and illustrator of several children's books.
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