Sveinn Björnsson
Sveinn Björnsson son of Björn Jónsson (editor and later minister) and Elísabet Sveinsdóttir, was the first President of the Republic of Iceland.

He became a member of Reykjavík
Reykjavík is the capital and largest city in Iceland.Its latitude at 64°08' N makes it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay...

 town council in 1912 and was its president during 1918–1920.

Born in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Denmark, he was a member of the Althing
The Alþingi, anglicised variously as Althing or Althingi, is the national parliament of Iceland. The Althingi is the oldest parliamentary institution in the world still extant...

 in 1914–1916 and 1920, and after Iceland's independence from Denmark in 1918 he acted as minister to Denmark during 1920–1924 and 1926–1940.

Although Iceland has been independent since 1918, its foreign affairs had been conducted by Denmark until the beginning of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

The German occupation of Denmark
Occupation of Denmark
Nazi Germany's occupation of Denmark began with Operation Weserübung on 9 April 1940, and lasted until German forces withdrew at the end of World War II following their surrender to the Allies on 5 May 1945. Contrary to the situation in other countries under German occupation, most Danish...

 after May 1940, however, resulted in Iceland's autonomy, and Björnsson was elected Regent of Iceland three times during 1941–43, assuming all the prerogatives in Icelandic affairs previously held by the Danish king
Monarchy of Denmark
The monarchy in Denmark is the constitutional monarchy of the Kingdom of Denmark, which includes Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.As a constitutional monarch, the Queen is limited to non-partisan, ceremonial functions...

. In July 1941, U.S. troops entered Iceland on the invitation of Björnsson's government and remained, in reduced numbers, after the war; their continued presence provoked the main controversy of the nation's postwar foreign policy.

He was elected president by the Althing on the inauguration of the Republic of Iceland in 1944. His first term was only one year, since the people of Iceland were to elect their president directly for the first time in 1945. However, Björnsson was unopposed in 1945 and 1949. He died in Reykjavík in 1952, more than one year before his third term of office was due to expire and is the only president to die in office.

Björnsson was one of the founders of Eimskipafélag Íslands
Eimskipafélag Íslands
Hf. Eimskipafélag Íslands is a large Icelandic investment company, focused on investments in the transportation industry. The company was formed on January 1, 2005, from several long standing companies. In 2005, Eimskipafélag Íslands was ranked the second fastest growing business in Europe by the...

, the main shipping company in Iceland, in 1914 and its chairman 1914–1920 and 1924–1926. He was the founder of the insurance company Brunabótafélag Íslands and its director from its foundation in 1916 until 1920. He was also one of the founders of the insurance company Sjóvátryggingafélag Íslands in 1918 and its chairman in 1918–1920 and 1924–1926. Björnsson was one of the founders of the Icelandic Red Cross on 10 December 1924 and its first chairman, serving until 1926.

His son Björn Sv. Björnsson served in the German military as a part of the Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 in WWII.

His great grandson is Henrik Björnsson singer and lead guitarist of the Shoegaze rock band Singapore Sling
Singapore Sling (band)
Singapore Sling is an indie band from Reykjavík, Iceland.As of 2011 they have released five albums and a best of compilation. Singapore Sling have supported The Brian Jonestown Massacre on their North American tours and covered Dirty Water a 1966 garage rock hit by The Standells in their debut album...

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