Sigtryggur Jónasson, born at Baki, Iceland, was a publisher and entrepreneur who became a prominent leader in the West Icelandic community. As immigration agent he brought from Iceland more than a thousand people driven from their homeland by a volcanic eruption. They settled in 1876 on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg. Homesteading near Lundur, he was instrumental in establishing the unique laws and constitution of the Republic of New Iceland, and was subsequently elected President, serving three three-year terms.
In 1877 he founded Framfari, the first Icelandic-language newspaper on this continent. This was supported by the community of fishermen and farmers in spite of severe economic hardship and a smallpox epidemic. He also founded Lögberg in Winipeg. These newspapers contributed greatly to the survival in North America of Icelandic language and literature.
In 1930 he was chosen to represent the North American League at the millennium of Iceland's Parliament.