On the 17th of June 1944 Iceland declared independence from Denmark and became a republic. Iceland, now also known as the Republic of Iceland is a Nordic island country between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. Iceland has a population of 332,529 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. June 17th is now recognised as Icelandic National Day and it commemorates the foundation of the Republic of Iceland. The date was chosen to coincide with the birthday of Jon Sigurdsson, a major figure of Icelandic culture and the leader of the 19th century Icelandic independence movement.