Coordinates: 61°N 8°E / 61°N 8°E / 61; 8
Page semi-protected
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

61°N 8°E / 61°N 8°E / 61; 8
Kingdom of Norway
Other official names
    • Kongeriket Norge (
      Southern Sami)
    • Norjan kuninkhaanvaltakunta (Kven
Location of the Kingdom of Norway and its integral overseas territories and dependencies: Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Bouvet Island, Peter I Island, and Queen Maud Land
Location of the Kingdom of Norway and
Ethnic groups [7]
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Harald V
Jonas Gahr Støre
Masud Gharahkhani
Toril Marie Øie
• Old Kingdom of Norway (Peak extent)
25 February 1814
17 May 1814
4 November 1814
7 June 1905
• Total
385,207 km2 (148,729 sq mi)[12] (61stb)
• Water (%)
5.32 (2015)[13]
• 2023 estimate
Neutral increase 5,488,984[14] (118th)
• Density
14.3/km2 (37.0/sq mi) (213th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $425 billion [15] (52nd)
• Per capita
Increase $78,128 [15] (6th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $504 billion[15] (30th)
• Per capita
Increase $92,646 [15] (3rd)
Gini (2020)Positive decrease 25.3[16]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.961[17]
very high · 2nd
CurrencyNorwegian krone (NOK)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
Driving sideright
Calling code+47
ISO 3166 codeNO
Internet TLD.nod
  1. The country has no official motto, but the oath from the 1814 Norwegian Constituent Assembly can be regarded as the closest unofficial equivalent:
    Enige og tro inntil Dovre faller (Bokmål)
    Einige og tru inntil Dovre fell (Nynorsk)
    "United and loyal until Dovre falls"
  2. Includes the mainland, Svalbard and Jan Mayen.[12] (Without the integral territories, it is the 67th largest country at 323,802[18] square kilometres)
  3. This percentage is for the mainland, Svalbard, and Jan Mayen. This percentage counts glaciers as "land". It's calculated as 19,940.14/(365,246.17+19,940.14).[citation needed]
  4. Two more TLDs have been assigned, but are not used: .sj for Svalbard and Jan Mayen; .bv for Bouvet Island.

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,[a] is a Nordic country in Northern Europe, the mainland territory of which comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The remote Arctic island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard also form part of Norway.[note 5] Bouvet Island, located in the Subantarctic, is a dependency of Norway; it also lays claims to the Antarctic territories of Peter I Island and Queen Maud Land. The capital and largest city in Norway is Oslo.

Norway has a total area of 385,207 square kilometres (148,729 sq mi)

1,619 km (1,006 mi). It is bordered by Finland and Russia to the northeast and the Skagerrak strait to the south, on the other side of which are Denmark and the United Kingdom. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea. The maritime influence dominates Norway's climate, with mild lowland temperatures on the sea coasts; the interior, while colder, is also significantly milder than areas elsewhere in the world on such northerly latitudes. Even during polar night
in the north, temperatures above freezing are commonplace on the coastline. The maritime influence brings high rainfall and snowfall to some areas of the country.

Harald V of the House of Glücksburg is the current King of Norway. Jonas Gahr Støre has been prime minister since 2021. As a unitary sovereign state with a constitutional monarchy, Norway divides state power between the parliament, the cabinet and the supreme court, as determined by the 1814 constitution. The kingdom was established in 872 as a merger of many petty kingdoms and has existed continuously for 1,151 years. From 1537 to 1814, Norway was a part of the Kingdom of Denmark–Norway, and, from 1814 to 1905, it was in a personal union with the Kingdom of Sweden. Norway was neutral during the First World War, and also in World War II until April 1940 when the country was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany until the end of the war.

Norway has both administrative and political subdivisions on two levels:

United States. Norway is also a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the European Free Trade Association, the Council of Europe, the Antarctic Treaty, and the Nordic Council; a member of the European Economic Area, the WTO, and the OECD; and a part of the Schengen Area. In addition, the Norwegian languages share mutual intelligibility with Danish and Swedish

Norway maintains the Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system, and its values are rooted in egalitarian ideals.[20] The Norwegian state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, having extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood, and fresh water. The petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).[21] On a per-capita basis, Norway is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside of the Middle East.[22][23] The country has the fourth-highest per-capita income in the world on the World Bank and IMF lists.[24] It has the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, with a value of US$1.3 trillion.[25][26]


Old English
account, translated: "Ohthere told his lord Ælfrede king that he lived northmost of all Norwegians…"

Norway has two official names: Norge in

Anglo-Saxons referred to the coastline of Atlantic Norway[27][28][29] similar to leading theory about the origin of the Norwegian language name.[30] The Anglo-Saxons of Britain also referred to the kingdom of Norway in 880 as Norðmanna land.[27][28]

There is some disagreement about whether the native name of Norway originally had the same etymology as the English form. According to the traditional dominant view, the first component was originally norðr, a cognate of English north, so the full name was Norðr vegr, "the way northwards", referring to the sailing route along the Norwegian coast, and contrasting with suðrvegar "southern way" (from Old Norse suðr) for (Germany), and austrvegr "eastern way" (from austr) for the Baltic. In the translation of Orosius for Alfred, the name is Norðweg, while in younger Old English sources the ð is gone.[31] In the tenth century many Norsemen settled in Northern France, according to the sagas, in the area that was later called Normandy from norðmann (Norseman or Scandinavian[32][33]), although not a Norwegian possession.[34] In France normanni or northmanni referred to people of Norway, Sweden or Denmark.[35] Until around 1800, inhabitants of Western Norway were referred to as nordmenn (northmen) while inhabitants of Eastern Norway were referred to as austmenn (eastmen).[36]

According to another theory, the first component was a word nór, meaning "narrow" (Old English nearu), referring to the inner-archipelago sailing route through the land ("narrow way"). The interpretation as "northern", as reflected in the English and Latin forms of the name, would then have been due to later folk etymology. This latter view originated with philologist Niels Halvorsen Trønnes in 1847; since 2016 it is also advocated by language student and activist Klaus Johan Myrvoll and was adopted by philology professor Michael Schulte.[27][28] The form Nore is still used in placenames such as the village of Nore and lake Norefjorden in Buskerud county, and still has the same meaning.[27][28] Among other arguments in favour of the theory, it is pointed out that the word has a long vowel in Skaldic poetry and is not attested with <ð> in any native Norse texts or inscriptions (the earliest runic attestations have the spellings nuruiak and nuriki). This resurrected theory has received some pushback by other scholars on various grounds, e. g. the uncontroversial presence of the element norðr in the ethnonym norðrmaðr "Norseman, Norwegian person" (modern Norwegian nordmann), and the adjective norrǿnn "northern, Norse, Norwegian", as well as the very early attestations of the Latin and Anglo-Saxon forms with <th>.[31][28]

In a Latin manuscript of 840, the name Northuagia is mentioned.[29] King Alfred's edition of the Orosius World History (dated 880), uses the term Norðweg.[29] A French chronicle of c. 900 uses the names Northwegia and Norwegia.[37] When Ohthere of Hålogaland visited King Alfred the Great in England in the end of the ninth century, the land was called Norðwegr (lit. "Northway") and norðmanna land (lit. "Northmen's land").[37] According to Ohthere, Norðmanna lived along the Atlantic coast, the Danes around Skagerrak og Kattegat, while the Sámi people (the "Fins") had a nomadic lifestyle in the wide interior.[38][39] Ohthere told Alfred that he was "the most northern of all Norwegians", presumably at Senja island or closer to Tromsø. He also said that beyond the wide wilderness in Norway's southern part was the land of the Swedes, "Svealand".[40][41]

The adjective Norwegian, recorded from c. 1600, is derived from the

latinisation of the name as Norwegia; in the adjective Norwegian, the Old English spelling '-weg' has survived.[42]



The first inhabitants were the

Fosna culture) in the southwest. However, theories about two altogether different cultures (the Komsa culture north of the Arctic Circle being one and the Fosna culture from Trøndelag to Oslofjord being the other) were rendered obsolete in the 1970s.[44]

More recent finds along the entire coast revealed to archaeologists that the difference between the two can simply be ascribed to different types of tools and not to different cultures. Coastal fauna provided a means of livelihood for fishermen and hunters, who may have made their way along the southern coast about 10,000 BC when the interior was still covered with ice. It is now thought that these so-called "Arctic" peoples came from the south and followed the coast northward considerably later.

In the southern part of the country are dwelling sites dating from about 5,000 BC. Finds from these sites give a clearer idea of the life of the hunting and fishing peoples. The implements vary in shape and mostly are made of different kinds of stone; those of later periods are more skilfully made.

Rock carvings (i.e. petroglyphs) have been found, usually near hunting and fishing grounds. They represent game such as deer, reindeer, elk, bears, birds, seals, whales, and fish (especially salmon and halibut), all of which were vital to the way of life of the coastal peoples. The rock carvings at Alta
in Finnmark, the largest in Scandinavia, were made at sea level from 4,200 to 500 BC and mark the progression of the land as the sea rose after the last ice age ended.

Bronze Age

rock carvings at Steinkjer, Central Norway

Between 3000 and 2500 BC, new settlers (

who grew grain and kept cows and sheep. The hunting-fishing population of the west coast was also gradually replaced by farmers, though hunting and fishing remained useful secondary means of livelihood.

From about 1500 BC, bronze was gradually introduced, but the use of stone implements continued; Norway had few riches to barter for bronze goods, and the few finds consist mostly of elaborate weapons and brooches that only chieftains could afford. Huge burial cairns built close to the sea as far north as Harstad and also inland in the south are characteristic of this period. The motifs of the rock carvings differ slightly from those typical of the Stone Age. Representations of the Sun, animals, trees, weapons, ships, and people are all strongly stylised.

Thousands of rock carvings from this period depict ships, and the large stone burial monuments known as stone ships, suggest that ships and seafaring played an important role in the culture at large. The depicted ships most likely represent sewn plank built canoes used for warfare, fishing and trade. These ship types may have their origin as far back as the neolithic period and they continue into the Pre-Roman Iron Age, as exemplified by the Hjortspring boat.[45]

Iron Age

Locations of the Germanic tribes described by Jordanes
in Norway

Little has been found dating from the early Iron Age (the last 500 years BC). The dead were cremated, and their graves contain few burial goods. During the first four centuries AD, the people of Norway were in contact with Roman-occupied Gaul. About 70 Roman bronze cauldrons, often used as burial urns, have been found. Contact with the civilised countries farther south brought a knowledge of runes; the oldest known Norwegian runic inscription dates from the third century. At this time, the amount of settled area in the country increased, a development that can be traced by coordinated studies of topography, archaeology, and place-names. The oldest root names, such as nes, vik, and bø ("cape," "bay," and "farm"), are of great antiquity, dating perhaps from the Bronze Age, whereas the earliest of the groups of compound names with the suffixes vin ("meadow") or heim ("settlement"), as in Bjǫrgvin (Bergen) or Sǿheim (Seim), usually date from the first century AD.

Archaeologists first made the decision to divide the Iron Age of Northern Europe into distinct pre-Roman and

Roman Iron Ages after Emil Vedel unearthed a number of Iron Age artefacts in 1866 on the island of Bornholm.[46] They did not exhibit the same permeating Roman influence seen in most other artefacts from the early centuries AD, indicating that parts of northern Europe had not yet come into contact with the Romans at the beginning of the Iron Age

Migration period

The destruction of the Western Roman Empire by the Germanic peoples in the fifth century is characterised by rich finds, including tribal chiefs' graves containing magnificent weapons and gold objects.[citation needed] Hill forts were built on precipitous rocks for defence. Excavation has revealed stone foundations of farmhouses 18 to 27 metres (59 to 89 ft) long—one even 46 metres (151 feet) long—the roofs of which were supported on wooden posts. These houses were family homesteads where several generations lived together, with people and cattle under one roof.[citation needed]

These states were based on either clans or tribes (e.g., the Horder of

Trondheimsfjord area; the Earls of Lade, near Trondheim, seem to have enlarged the Frostatingslag by adding the coastland from Romsdalsfjord to Lofoten.[citation needed

Viking Age

Bergen Museum

From the eighth to the tenth century, the wider Scandinavian region was the source of

colonised, raided, and traded in all parts of Europe. Norwegian Viking explorers discovered Iceland by accident in the ninth century when heading for the Faroe Islands, and eventually came across Vinland, known today as Newfoundland, in Canada. The Vikings from Norway were most active in the northern and western British Isles and eastern North America isles.[48]

The Gjermundbu helmet found in Buskerud is the only known reconstructable Viking Age

According to tradition, Harald Fairhair unified them into one in 872 after the Battle of Hafrsfjord in Stavanger, thus becoming the first king of a united Norway.[49] Harald's realm was mainly a South Norwegian coastal state. Fairhair ruled with a strong hand and according to the sagas, many Norwegians left the country to live in Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and parts of Britain and Ireland. The modern-day Irish cities of Dublin, Limerick and Waterford were founded by Norwegian settlers.[50]

Haakon the Good was Norway's first Christian king, in the mid-10th century, though his attempt to introduce the religion was rejected. Born sometime in between 963 and 969, Olav Tryggvasson set off raiding in England with 390 ships. He attacked London during this raiding. Arriving back in Norway in 995, Olav landed in Moster. There he built a church which became the first Christian church ever built in Norway. From Moster, Olav sailed north to Trondheim where he was proclaimed King of Norway by the Eyrathing in 995.[52]

burgher class existed in Norway.[53]

Civil war and peak of power

The Norwegian Kingdom at its greatest extent during the 13th century, including the Open Border
with the Novgorod Republic

From the 1040s to 1130, the country was at peace.

Håkon Håkonsson, who introduced clear law of succession.[56]

From 1000 to 1300, the population increased from 150,000 to 400,000, resulting both in more land being cleared and the subdivision of farms. While in the Viking Age all farmers owned their own land, by 1300, seventy percent of the land was owned by the king, the church, or the aristocracy. This was a gradual process which took place because of farmers borrowing money in poor times and not being able to repay. However, tenants always remained free men and the large distances and often scattered ownership meant that they enjoyed much more freedom than continental serfs. In the 13th century, about twenty percent of a farmer's yield went to the king, church and landowners.[57]

The 14th century is described as Norway's Golden Age, with peace and increase in trade, especially with the British Islands, although Germany became increasingly important towards the end of the century. Throughout the High Middle Ages, the king established Norway as a sovereign state with a central administration and local representatives.[58]

In 1349, the

Council of State.[60]

Bryggen in Bergen, once the centre of trade in Norway under the Hanseatic League trade network, now preserved as a World Heritage Site

The Hanseatic League took control over Norwegian trade during the 14th century and established a trading centre in Bergen. In 1380, Olaf Haakonsson inherited both the Norwegian and Danish thrones, creating a union between the two countries.[60] In 1397, under Margaret I, the Kalmar Union was created between the three Scandinavian countries. She waged war against the Germans, resulting in a trade blockade and higher taxation on Norwegian goods, which resulted in a rebellion. However, the Norwegian Council of State was too weak to pull out of the union.[61]

Margaret pursued a centralising policy which inevitably favoured Denmark, because it had a greater population than Norway and Sweden combined.[62] Margaret also granted trade privileges to the Hanseatic merchants of Lübeck in Bergen in return for recognition of her right to rule, and these hurt the Norwegian economy. The Hanseatic merchants formed a state within a state in Bergen for generations.[63] Even worse were the pirates, the "Victual Brothers", who launched three devastating raids on the port (the last in 1427).[64]

Norway slipped ever more to the background under the Oldenburg dynasty (established 1448). There was one revolt under Knut Alvsson in 1502.[65] Norwegians had some affection for King Christian II, who resided in the country for several years. Norway took no part in the events which led to Swedish independence from Denmark in the 1520s.[66]

Kalmar Union

Upon the death of

Haakon V (King of Norway) in 1319, Magnus Erikson, at just three years old, inherited the throne as King Magnus VII of Norway. At the same time, a movement to make Magnus King of Sweden proved successful, and both the kings of Sweden and of Denmark were elected to the throne by their respective nobles, Thus, with his election to the throne of Sweden, both Sweden and Norway were united under King Magnus VII.[67]

In 1349, the Black Death radically altered Norway, killing between 50% and 60% of its population[68] and leaving it in a period of social and economic decline.[69] The plague left Norway very poor. Although the death rate was comparable with the rest of Europe, economic recovery took much longer because of the small, scattered population.[69] Even before the plague, the population was only about 500,000.[70] After the plague, many farms lay idle while the population slowly increased.[69] However, the few surviving farms' tenants found their bargaining positions with their landlords greatly strengthened.[69]

King Magnus VII ruled Norway until 1350, when his son, Haakon, was placed on the throne as

Haakon VI.[71] In 1363, Haakon VI married Margaret, the daughter of King Valdemar IV of Denmark.[69] Upon the death of Haakon VI, in 1379, his son, Olaf IV, was only 10 years old.[69] Olaf had already been elected to the throne of Denmark on 3 May 1376.[69] Thus, upon Olaf's accession to the throne of Norway, Denmark and Norway entered personal union.[72] Olaf's mother and Haakon's widow, Queen Margaret, managed the foreign affairs of Denmark and Norway during the minority of Olaf IV.[69]

Margaret was working toward a union of Sweden with Denmark and Norway by having Olaf elected to the Swedish throne. She was on the verge of achieving this goal when Olaf IV suddenly died.[69] However, Denmark made Margaret temporary ruler upon the death of Olaf. On 2 February 1388, Norway followed suit and crowned Margaret.[69] Queen Margaret knew that her power would be more secure if she were able to find a king to rule in her place. She settled on Eric of Pomerania, grandson of her sister. Thus at an all-Scandinavian meeting held at Kalmar, Erik of Pomerania was crowned king of all three Scandinavian countries. Thus, royal politics resulted in personal unions between the Nordic countries, eventually bringing the thrones of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden under the control of Queen Margaret when the country entered into the Kalmar Union.

Union with Denmark

After Sweden broke out of the Kalmar Union in 1521, Norway tried to follow suit,[citation needed] but the subsequent rebellion was defeated, and Norway remained in a union with Denmark until 1814, a total of 434 years. During the national romanticism of the 19th century, this period was by some referred to as the "400-Year Night", since all of the kingdom's royal, intellectual, and administrative power was centred in Copenhagen in Denmark. In fact, it was a period of great prosperity and progress for Norway, especially in terms of shipping and foreign trade, and it also secured the country's revival from the demographic catastrophe it suffered in the Black Death. Based on the respective natural resources, Denmark–Norway was in fact a very good match since Denmark supported Norway's needs for grain and food supplies, and Norway supplied Denmark with timber, metal, and fish.


With the introduction of Protestantism in 1536, the archbishopric in Trondheim was dissolved, and Norway lost its independence, and effectually became a colony of Denmark. The Church's incomes and possessions were instead redirected to the court in Copenhagen. Norway lost the steady stream of pilgrims to the relics of St. Olav at the Nidaros shrine, and with them, much of the contact with cultural and economic life in the rest of Europe.

Eventually restored as a kingdom (albeit in legislative union with Denmark) in 1661, Norway saw its land area decrease in the 17th century with the loss of the provinces Båhuslen, Jemtland, and Herjedalen to Sweden, as the result of a number of disastrous wars with Sweden. In the north, however, its territory was increased by the acquisition of the northern provinces of Troms and Finnmark, at the expense of Sweden and Russia.

The famine of 1695–1696 killed roughly 10% of Norway's population.[73] The harvest failed in Scandinavia at least nine times between 1740 and 1800, with great loss of life.[74]

Union with Sweden

The 1814 constitutional assembly, painted by Oscar Wergeland

After Denmark–Norway was attacked by the United Kingdom at the 1807

Syttende mai
(Seventeenth of May) holiday celebrated by Norwegians and Norwegian-Americans alike. Syttende mai is also called Norwegian Constitution Day.

Norwegian opposition to the great powers' decision to link Norway with Sweden caused the

Charles XIII of Sweden as king of Norway, thereby establishing the union with Sweden.[77] Under this arrangement, Norway kept its liberal constitution and its own independent institutions, though it shared a common monarch and common foreign policy with Sweden. Following the recession caused by the Napoleonic Wars, economic development of Norway remained slow until economic growth began around 1830.[78]

Harvesting of oats in Jølster
, c. 1890

This period also saw the rise of the Norwegian romantic nationalism, as Norwegians sought to define and express a distinct national character. The movement covered all branches of culture, including literature (Henrik Wergeland [1808–1845], Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson [1832–1910], Peter Christen Asbjørnsen [1812–1845], Jørgen Moe [1813–1882]), painting (Hans Gude [1825–1903], Adolph Tidemand [1814–1876]), music (Edvard Grieg [1843–1907]), and even language policy, where attempts to define a native written language for Norway led to today's two official written forms for Norwegian: Bokmål and Nynorsk.

Metternich.[neutrality is disputed] As such, he was regarded as a liberal monarch for that age. However, he was ruthless in his use of paid informers, the secret police and restrictions on the freedom of the press to put down public movements for reform—especially the Norwegian national independence movement.[79]

The Romantic Era that followed the reign of King Charles III John brought some significant social and political reforms. In 1854, women won the right to inherit property in their own right, just like men. In 1863, the last trace of keeping unmarried women in the status of minors was removed. Furthermore, women were then eligible for different occupations, particularly the common school teacher.[80] By mid-century, Norway's democracy was limited; voting was limited to officials, property owners, leaseholders and burghers of incorporated towns.[81]

family in Norway, c. 1900