Iceland’s Dog Day King Jörgen


In 1809, Iceland had a new king for the summer. Our Icelandic ancestors called him Jörundur hundadagakonungur or Jörundur the Dog Day King.


The Dog Day King, Jörgen Jörgenson, was born 7 Apr 1780 in Copenhagen. He was the son of a royal clockmaker of Denmark and he was an adventurer.

In 1808, he was on a ship that was captured by the British. In 1809, he was on an illegal British trading ship to Iceland, where he was acting as an interpreter. Denmark had established a trade monopoly in 1602 and violators were severely prosecuted. This caused much destitution for our ancestors. Jörgen knew that Iceland was suffering and he came up with a great plan to further his fame and commercial interests while at the same time “helping” the Icelanders. Some acquaintances of Jörgen owned a soap factory and they needed tallow at a low price, which the Icelanders had ready for trade and so the adventure began.

Denmark was fighting in the Napoleonic Wars and they were stretched very thin to patrol the Iceland harbors. Essentials from Danish trade ships were few and far between partly because the few that were on their way to Iceland were intercepted by the British Navy. In 1801, the British Navy had attacked Copenhagen and destroyed almost the entire navy fleet. Denmark did not officially join the Napoleonic Wars until 1807 when the British fleet left Copenhagen in ruins and captured the remaining ships in the Danish fleet. Denmark was all but bankrupt in 1813 when they could no longer take the costs of fighting in the war.

When Jörgen landed on Iceland in the early summer of 1809, he along with his ship-crew arrested the Danish appointed governor after they were unsuccessful in trading their goods. Jörgen promised that he would reinstate Icelandic self-government and that the Icelandic people should have a society such as the people in America and Europe had at this time. He even had a new flag for Iceland that showed three fish in the upper left quarter on a blue field. The entire story of Jörundur´s flag is HERE.

Two months later, at the end of the dog days of summer, the Danish government arrested Jörgen and restored Danish rule in Iceland. He was in prison for two years and afterwards continued to lead an amazingly ambitious and glorious existence until his death 20 Jan 1841.

According to James Dally in the Australian Dictionary of Biography:

Jorgen’s wife was a violent and alcoholic Irish convict. Jorgenson was an average-sized man, given to passionate expression and wild gesticulation. Gifted with extraordinary high spirits and unbalancing verve, he was ambitious, diversely talented and appreciably amoral.

Hálfdan Helgason from Iceland wrote a great article about the Dog Day King HERE.

To learn more about Jörgen, click on the Biography page.

Here is a book written about his life.


In our Icelandic heritage, hundadagar (Dog Days) signifies the days in the summer when dogs eat grass and it is the hottest and driest part of the summer. This was the time of year that Jörgen claimed kingship of Iceland.

The ancient Romans discovered that from the middle of July to the middle of August, there is a special star that shines in the same part of the sky as the sun. This star, called Sirius, is the largest and brightest star in the sky and included the days that are 20 days before through 20 days after Sirius (the dog-star) and the sun were in alignment.


The Romans would sacrifice a brown dog at the beginning of Dog Days to appease the gods. Sirius is located in the constellation Canis Major (Big Dog) and is called the dog-star. It is about twenty times brighter and two times bigger than our sun. At night, Sirius is the brightest blue-white star in the sky. There are so many stories, myths, and folklore associated with Sirius from Free Masons to Tarot Cards and also on our American money.

The light behind the All-Seeing Eye on the American dollar bill is the star, Sirius. The Great Pyramid of Giza was built in alignment with Sirius and it shines above the Pyramid.


The light behind the All-Seeing Eye on the American dollar bill is Sirius. The Great Pyramid of Giza was built in alignment with Sirius and it shines above the Pyramid.

Harry Potter’s godfather is named Sirius Black. He is Harry’s teacher and a guide. This famous wizard is an animagus and can morph into a big black shaggy dog — Sirius the dog.


Harry Potter’s godfather is named Sirius Black. He is Harry’s teacher and a guide. This famous wizard is an animagus and can morph into a big black shaggy dog — Sirius the dog.

The dog-star is associated with divinity, knowledge, and power. There are many religious, secret society, mythological, and folklore connections to the star, Sirius — the Dog Star. To learn more about these connections see the long article HERE.

So, now you know the Icelandic connection to the Dog Star, Sirius, and to the Dog Days of Summer through the 1809 king they called Jörundur hundadagakonungur or Jörundur the Dog Day King.

Happy Dog Days of Summer (Hundadagurinn)!



Icelandic Roots is a non-profit, educational, heritage organization specializing in genealogy, history & traditions of our Icelandic ancestors.

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