Aller au contenu

Royal decrees: Royal decree on Margrethe Angel’s house in Reykjavík

    This Royal decree confirmed the decision to purchase widow Margrethe Angel’s house in Reykjavík for use as the official residence of the landfoged. Margrethe Andersdatter Angel came to Iceland as a single woman to work as a servant. She married a fellow immigrant, assistant merchant Rasmus Angel, in 1788 and opened Iceland’s first tavern-inn after she was widowed in 1789. In 1777, an official policy whereby Danish-Norwegian merchants operating in Iceland were permitted to maintain a permanent residence on the island. However, no provision was made for their widows and children in the event of their death, effectively stranding immigrant women in Iceland without an income or pension. Margrethe Angel responded to this situation by successfully applying to become Iceland’s first officially licensed female business owner and meeting a previously unmet demand for a restaurant-hotel in the growing capital of Reykjavík. Margrethe Angel operated her establishment from ca. 1791 to 1796, purchasing a former factory building (now Aðalstræti 16 in downtown Reykjavík) and converting it into a space for her business. She also cultivated a large garden, which was still an unusual sight in Iceland, and in 1792 she was awarded a gold medal for her landmark efforts in growing vegetables in the Icelandic climate. In 1796, she and her Norwegian-Icelandic step-daughter sailed for Copenhagen, where the two women lived in extreme poverty and relied on financial assistance, as was not an uncommon experience for widows in urban parts of Denmark. Margrethe Angel died homeless in 1807 at the age of 62, two months after a British attack on Copenhagen destroyed the lodgings in which she lived.

    Original source name : G-Konungsúrskurðir
    English translation : Royal decrees: Royal decree on Margrethe Angel's house in Reykjavík
    Creator : public service
    Document- type 1 : correspondence
    Reference number : ÞÍ. Rentukammer 1928-011 B14/12-6
    Language(s) : Danish
    Geographical coverage : Denmark
    Time range : 18thc.
    Year(s) : 1798
    Theme 1 : family
    Theme 2 : legal
    Archive name : Þjóðskjalasafnið
    Archive name (English) : National Archives of Iceland
    Archive address : Laugavegi 162, 105 Reykjavík
    City : Reykjavík
    Country : Iceland
    Official website and institutional resources :
    Finding aid(s) :
    Back to the list