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keskiviikko 24. helmikuuta 2016

Norway, Cool Facts #101

<= 100. Finland                                                                                                              102. Iceland => 

1. Norwegian Flag 

In 1821 Frederik Meltzer designed the Norwegian flag. Before that Norway had had only modified Danish and Swedish flags as it had been part of Denmark and was at the moment part of Sweden. 

Meltzer used the Nordic cross in the flag demonstrating close ties to Sweden and Denmark. With the blue-white-red tricolor it also showed Norway's liberal ideas as this color combination was used by the revolutionary France, which influenced the flags of many other countries. 

Iceland, the Faroe Islands and the Finnish Åland Islands took afterwards in use a similar flag design as Norway with different colors only. 

Norwegian flag design by Frederik Meltzer

2. Norwegian Vikings

The Viking age started in 792 when the Vikings destroyed a church in Northeast England, killed the monks or took them as slaves and looted the treasures. The end of the Viking age is the Norman conquest of England in 1066. 

Between this time Norway took shape as a nation when Harald Fairhair unified the Norwegians after the Battle of Hafrsfjord. Norwegian and Danish Vikings travelled to the west across the Atlantic as the Swedish Vikings had travelled to the east. 

Norwegian Vikings occupied Iceland, Faroe Islands and Greenland and established the first settlements. Leif Erikson and other Norwegian Vikings reached even North America from Greenland in about 986 when they arrived to the present-day Newfoundland. 

The settlement on "Vinland" as they called the area was abandoned after a few years after some conflicts with indigenous people and without no support from Greenland. 

Leif Erikson
Viking Routes

3. Danish and Swedish rule in Norway 

In 1387 Olav IV of Norway died and he was the last Norwegian king to be born on Norwegian soil for the next 567 years. In 1397 Sweden, Norway and Denmark united as the Kalmar Union. Sweden left the union in 1523 and left Norway in an unequal union with Denmark.

Danish kings ruled Denmark-Norway between 1523-1814. The king had aligned Denmark-Norway with France during the Napoleonic Wars which was fatal. France lost the war so Denmark was forced to cede Norway to Sweden but Denmark kept Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, which had been in fact Norwegian areas at first.

So between 1814-1905 Norway was in a union with Sweden which ended in a referendum in 1905 and since then Norway has been independent. In the beginning of the independence Norway Haakon VII was crowned as the king of Norway.

He was a Danish Prince and his real name was Carl and he's the grandfather of the current king of Norway, Harald V, the first prince after Olav IV to have born on Norwegian soil. 

Haakon VII
4. Norway's Geography 

Norway's coastline is 21.300 km long which is more than half of the circumference of the Earth, 40.075 km. 

Norway has claims on areas in the Antarctica because the Norwegian Roald Amundsen reached the area as the first person in 1911. Amundsen was the first person in history to have reached both poles. 

Dependency = an autonomous territory without full political independence

Norwegian territories

Svalbard - since 1925 part of Norway 
Jan Mayen - since 1930 part of Norway 

Norwegian dependencies

Bouvet Island - Norwegian dependency since 1930
Peter I Island - Norwegian dependency since 1933
Queen Maud Land in Antarctica - Norwegian dependency since 1957

Lost areas to Denmark

Faroe Islands - 1035-1814
Greenland - 1261-1814  
Iceland - 1262-1814

Possessions of Norway
5. Oil and Wealth in Norway 

In the beginning of the Norwegian independence in the early 1900s Norway was one of the poorest countries in Europe. This led the people to emigrate out of Norway and for example about 600.000 Norwegians moved to USA at the time of gaining independence.

Nowadays Norway is the biggest donor of development aid considering the percentage of its Gross national income.

Oil was found in Norway's waters and 5085 oil wells had been drilled by Norwegian companies between 1966-2013 mostly in the North Sea. Currently the oil and gas export revenues constitute almost 50% of the total exports and 20% of the GDP.

Norway is the fifth-largest oil and third-largest gas exporter in the world. It has used its revenues from natural resources to create one of the most prosperous nation in the world.


10,000 BC The ice started melting in Norway
793 Viking Age starts after a looting event in Northeast England
872 Harald Fairhair unified the Norwegians after the Battle of Hafrsfjord
986 Leif Erikson was estimated to have arrived at the coast of North America
995 Olav Tryggvasson became the king of Norway and built the first church in Norway the same year
1130 Norway drifted into a spiral of civil wars
1319 Sweden and Norway were united under King Magnus VII
1349 Black Death killed 50-60% of the Norwegian population
1380 Denmark and Norway entered a personal union
1389 Eric of Pomerania, grandson of Queen Margaret's sister, was crowned the king of all three Scandinavian countries
1397 Sweden, Norway and Denmark enter the Kalmar Union together
1523 Sweden left Kalmar Union, Norway tried to leave it also after a rebellion which the Danes defeated forcing Norway to stay in the union until 1814
1536 Norway lost its independence becoming a colony of Denmark and Protestantism was also introduced in Norway
1695-1696 The famine killed about 10% of Norwegian population
1812 Mass starvation during the Napoleonic Wars
1814 As Denmark was on the losing side of the war it was forced to cede Norway to Sweden under terms of the Treaty of Kiel
1821 Norway gets its own flag designed by Frederik Meltzer 
1905 Norway gets independence after a referendum, Prince Carl of Denmark was then elected as Haakon VII, king of Norway
1940-1945 Norway was occupied by Nazi Germany during the World War II
1949 Norway joined Nato
1970s Norway started drilling oil and natural gas
1974 and 1994 Norway voted against joining the European Union
2011 Anders Behring Breivik conducted terrorist attacks at Utoya island and government quarter in Oslo 

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