The Kingdom of Norway is in northern Europe and includes a few of the Arctic islands. Norway is considered to be the home of the Vikings and they are a sea-faring culture. The philosophy of Norway is that negotiation is the best method to accomplish goals and they are therefore considered one of the best countries for the home of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Fun Facts about Norway:
Population: 4,620,000 people
Capital City: Oslo, 795,000 people
Religion: Evangelical Lutheran
Currency: Norwegian Krone
Area: 125,004 sq mi (323,758 sq km)
Literacy Percentage: 100
Life Expectancy: 79 years
It is believed that the first people to actually settle in the area that we know as Norway occurred around 10,000 years ago. These were fishing and hunting tribes that eventually made the changeover to become farmers and maintain livestock.
The first farms in the area occurred around 500 B.C., during the Bronze Age of humanity. The people in the area participated in trade and this continued as they became stronger and entered the Iron Age.
The Iron Age lasted until around 1,000 A.D. and both stronger tools and trade led to the prosperity and growth of the area. The Viking Age was launched around 800 to 1030 A.D. and was the most prominent time in the history of Norway.
During the Viking Age, they built large, fast sea-faring ships that traveled to many parts of the world. They held raiding parties that profited from the resources that they took from other countries. While they did sail to other parts of the world, many Vikings also made the choice to settle in some of these locations. Those that made the decision to stay brought their incredible talents for trade with them.
By 1030 A.D. those areas that we refer to as Norway were merged into a single kingdom and it was then that Christianity was introduced to the area.
Norway, in the 13th century ruled over many countries including: Greenland, Iceland, Shetland and the Faeroes and Orkney Islands. This was called the Norwegian empire and it continued until nearing 1350 when the ‘Black Death’ plague killed over half of the population of Norway.
The area slowly rebuilt and regained their population after the plague they were part of the union of Denmark form 1380-1814.
- When the union was dissolved, Norway wrote its own constitution and then entered into a different union with the country of Sweden. This union lasted until 1905.
- When Norway was finally done with the union with Sweden they chose Prince Carl of Denmark as their King and he took the name King Haakon VII. This title was held by all of the rulers for 525 years.
- Norway was invaded by the German Nazi’s during World War II. The King was forced into exile to the United Kingdom, who was one of their allies.
- The 1960’s brought a discovery of a massive amount of gas and oil right off the coast of Norway. This allowed the economy to prosper for eight years.
- Norway has been voted as the best country to live in by the United Nations.
- Norway has had a higher economic growth rate than any of the European countries.
- Norway is home to a culture of reindeer herders called Lapps or Sami. They have the largest population of reindeer herders in the world.
- Three-fifths of Norway is covered by the mountainous areas.
- The Norwegian ‘Fjords’ (fe-YORDS) are inlets that exist between the steep slopes and cliffs.
- The ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’ is further north of Norway and just above the Arctic Circle. In this place, the sun shines twenty four hours a day for part of the summer months.
- Since Norway is so close to the Arctic Circle you can see the ‘aurora borealis’, also known as the “Northern Lights”. These are colorful displays in the sky.
- Due to the many mountains and the colder climate, almost all Norwegians love to ski and are taught from a very young age.
Norway has industries that include food processing, pulp and paper products, ship building and gas and petroleum.
Norway’s agriculture includes wheat, potatoes, barley, pork and a great fishing industry.
Norway exports: machinery and equipment, petroleum, petroleum products, chemicals, ships, fish and metals.