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History

Norwegian History

Norway has a proud history when it comes to world exploration. Between 800-1066 was a time known as the Viking age, when the Vikings, which were the Norwegians, Swedes and Danes travelled in long ships to Britain, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and even as far as the Eastern Coast of North America where they explored, traded and even colonized large areas of the islands.


Around 875AD King Harold Fairhair unified Norway into one kingdom, as it was easier to govern this way. He ruled Norway till 930AD and after many successors the most famous person to rule Norway was Olaf Haraldson who ruled till 1030. He was the one who is thought to have brought Christianity to the country and after his death he was revered as a saint. Also, after his death saw the Danish move in under King Knut the Great and thus Norway was ruled for the next three centuries as part of the “North Sea Empire”. After this new formed alliance they tried to invade England in 1066, but were beaten at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. It was thought with this defeat was the end of the Viking Age and the “North Sea Empire” and the dominance it once had.
Norway and Denmark was held together till the 18th century when in 1812 they joined an alliance with Napoleon. This decision was a grave decision as in the Napoleonic Wars they were defeated in 1814 and from here were forced to cede Norway to the king of Sweden in the Treaty of Kiel. Sweden allowed for Norway to maintain its constitution, but it was governed from Sweden. This union with Sweden lasted till 1905 when they were finally granted independence.


With the breakout of World War I, Norway decided to stay neutral in the conflict, as it didn’t see itself strong enough yet to enter into full blown out war. Unfortunately, this neutrality came at a cost, as many ships were still sunk at sea and many sailors lost their lives. Despite being Neutral during the war Norway found they helped out Britain on many occasions, thus they became known as the “Neutral Ally”


In World War II, Norway had planned to be neutral again, but in April 1940, Nazi Germany had other ideas. The Germans attacked Oslo and other ports along the coast and even though they were able to hold off the enemy for a couple of months it was all in vane, as the German forces were just to strong and advanced for the Norwegians and their allies. This occupation lasted till May 1945, when the Germans were finally defeated by the allies. After the war, Norway joined NATO in 1949 and the European Free Trade Area in 1960. During the 1960s large reserves of petroleum and natural gas were discovered, which led to a huge boom in the country. After this showing that they are very patriotic and not needing the European Union, on two occasions in 1972 and 1994 the country said no to joining the EU.


Today, Norway is one of the most advanced countries on the planet and the United Nations on many occasions has ranked Norway number one for the highest standard of living on the planet. This is based on income, expected length of life and their education system.

 
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