History Files


European Kingdoms

Northern Europe





Much of the area that makes up modern Norway has been occupied since the end of the last ice age by Sami and Kvens. Following the arrival of Finno-Ugric tribes and Indo-Europeans in the third millennium, it became home to various Germanic groups (in the far southern section only, at first). The birth of the modern Norwegian nation took place following the Viking Age, along with the simultaneous arrival of Christianity in Scandinavia and Fennoscandia. Before that, the Scandinavians were contained entirely within the southernmost third of Sweden and Norway. The rest was part of a poorly-defined territory known as Kvenland, which stretched all the way east into modern Russia.

As with Denmark and Sweden, the rulers of Norway (the Norsemen) emerged from legendary origins. There are less ambiguities and contradictions in Norway's reignal list, though, probably because it starts much later in time. The only uncertainty here is over the first known ruler, who is ascribed two sets of dates by differing sources. It seems to be fairly certain that Norway's royal line was founded by a refugee king from Sweden, fleeing his homeland during a period of Danish superiority.

Alternate dates are shown in red text alongside relevant entries. Rulers with a lilac backing are semi-mythical. Halfdan the Black is the earliest confirmed ruler and his resting place is usually assigned to a large burial mound in Norway. Those kings who ruled before him are generally though to have controlled only limited parts of modern Norway, and perhaps only very small territory. Such minor kingdoms included Agder, Alfheim, Finnmark, Fjordane, Hadeland, Hallingdal, Hålogaland, Hedmark, Hordaland, Möre, Namdale, Nerike, Oppland, Ringerike, Rogaland, Romerike, Sogn, Telemark, Vestfold, and Vingulmark. However, if the list of names is to be believed then the small, regional kingdom that was founded by this Swedish exile was the birthplace of Norway's monarchy. This kingdom bordered the native inhabitants of Kvenland until late in the Viking age, when it began to expand northwards. The Norwegians assimilated the westernmost section of this territory much more quickly than the neighbouring Swedes could absorb 'their' part of it, although the people in Hålogaland may have been Norse from an early point, or possible early descendants of ancient Kvens, or a mixture of the two.

(Additional information by Andreas von Millwall, and working in conjunction with the Kvenland site, listed in the 'Northern Europe' section of the Sources page.)

Nori / Nór / Norr

Son of Danp , who was the brother-in-law of Domar of Upsal.

Nori is the legendary founder of the kingdom of Norway. He is mentioned in several medieval Scandinavian texts, which establish that he is either the son of Danp (who himself is the brother-in-law of Domar of Upsal), or one of the sons of King Ypper of Upsal (the other two being Dan, who later rules Denmark, and Østen, who later rules the Swedes (possibly the Östen of the late sixth century)).

Nori is also claimed as a descendant of King Fornjótr of Kvenland. Perhaps he represents the beginnings of any notable kingship in Norway. However, apart from the tribes mentioned in the Old English poem Widsith, the first kingdoms are petty, coastal territories such as Agder, Hålogaland, Oppland (this being the exception in that it is inland), Ringerike, and Rogaland.

Geilo in eastern Norway
Norway's origins lie in regional petty kingdoms that were challenged in the mid-seventh century by members of the Swedish royal house

fl c.480s?


King of Hålogaland.

The Swedish princes, Jorund and his brother Eric, remain on their warships while Hugliek is king of the Swedes, and they prove to be great warriors. They maraud in Norway where they fight and capture King Gudlog of Hålogaland, an early appearance of Norsemen in this northern territory which must have been occupied solely by Kvens until very recently. The princes hang Gudlog at Stomones and allow his men to raise a mound over him.


Heoden / Henden / Hjaðn

King of the Gloms.

The Germanic Gloms are mentioned in the Old English poem Widsith. They are probably located along the River Glomma (or Glåma) in south-western Norway. The Heatho-Reams are also mentioned, who form the later kingdom of Romerike.

early 6th century

Roduulf / Rodwulf

King of the Ranii. Abandoned them to join the Ostrogoths.


According to Jordanes, the tribe of the Adogit live in the far north, while the Grannii (Grenland), Augandzi (Agder), Eunixi, Taetel, Rugii (Rogaland), Arochi (Hordaland, who have been linked to the Charudes) and Ranii occupy central and southern Norway at this time, along with the Raumarici (the later kingdom of Raumarike) close to modern Oslo. Roduulf rules the Ranii until, apparently despising his own kingdom and seeking adventure, he flees to join Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths.

fl c.580s


(A) King of Norway, according to Saxo Grammaticus.

According to Saxo Grammaticus, Koll is killed by Horvendil, Danish governor or prince of Jutland. He is probably one of several minor kings in Norway. A series of petty kingdoms seem to have sprung up along the south-western coastline of Norway by this time.

fl c.590s?

Fridthjóf the Bold / Friðþjófr inn frækna

King of Hordaland.

fl c.610s?

Hunthjóf / Hunþjófr

Son of Fridthjóf. King of Hordaland.


Swedish control of areas of Norway comes at this time, suggesting increasing Swedish power, but also that there is something worth conquering and ruling in Norway. Many minor kingdoms are known of, but nothing of their history or rulers until they come into contact with the Yngling kings, and are subsequently conquered or absorbed.

623 - 647?

Ingjald Illrade

Or 623-647. King of (part of) Norway and Sweden.

fl c.620s


King of Aatundaland.

fl c.630s?

Herthjóf / Herþjófr

Son of Hunthjóf. King of Hordaland. Killed in battle.

Following the death of Stóvirk (Stórvirkr), his son Starkad is brought up in the court of Harald, king of Agder, along with Harald's son, Víkar. King Herthjóf (Herþjófr) of Hördaland makes a surprise attack on the kingdom one night and kills Harald, taking Víkar hostage so that the young king's subjects remain subjugated. Herthjóf is the grandson of Fridthjóf the Bold, the main protagonist in Fridthjófs saga ins frækna. Vikar waits some years before gathering some men and striking back, killing Herthjóf and regaining his kingdom, along with some of the lands of his fallen oppressor.

fl c.630s?

Geirthjóf / Geirþjófr

Brother of Herthjóf. King of Oppland. Killed in battle.

fl c.630s?


Brother of Geirthjóf. King of Telemark.

fl c.630s?

Óláf the Keen-Eyed / Óláfr inn skyggni

King of Nærríki (modern Närke in Sweden). A minor state.

Now that he has been restored to his rightful inheritance, Vikar of Agder kills Herthjóf's brother, King Geirthjóf of Oppland, at the First Battle of Telemark. Oppland is incorporated into Vikar's kingdom, and the opportunity to gain Telemark from Geirthjóf's brother, Fridthjóf, presents itself. This king is later defeated at the Second Battle of Telemark, during which Vikar is aided by King Óláf the Keen-Eyed and by Starkad. Telemark is added to Agder, although Fridthjóf is allowed to live.


At a time when the kings of the Denes are conquering his homeland, Olaf Tretelgia is said to flee Sweden and, settling in Norway, founds its first (historical) royal house. However, although perhaps dominant in Norway, Olaf cannot be said to be the ruler of a single kingdom. The historical existence of his descendants of the eighth and early ninth centuries is doubted by some scholars, but the names probably reflect real persons, even if the stories surrounding them may be fanciful.

fl c.655 - ?

Olaf / Olav Tretelgia ('Tree-cutter')

Son. Former king of the Swedes of the house of Yngling.

Eystein Haardaade ('Severe')

Son of Thrond. King of Oppland and Hedmark.


Hedmark borders Sweden in the south-east of Norway, (the north-eastern section of modern Østlandet). The kingdom is either conquered by Halfdan Hvitbeinn or he gains it following the death of his father-in-law. Oppland borders Hedmark on its western flank ('opp' or 'upp' meaning highlands or upper countries, the highlands next to Hedmark).

late 7th century

Halfdan Hvitbeinn / Halfdan I Whitelegs

Son of Olaf. m Åsa, dau of Eystein of Oppland.

Halfdan Hvitbeinn becomes one of pre-unification Norway's most powerful kings. He obtains Hedmark and Oppland and conquers Hadeland, Toten (a minor kingdom within Oppland), and part of Vestfold. He also inherits Värmland (which had been founded by Olaf Tretelgia on the border between Sweden and Norway about AD 655) upon the death of his brother, Ingjald Olafsson.

? - c/695


King of Vend.

? - c/695

Agnar Sigtrygsson

Son. King of Vend.

fl c.700s?

Erik Agnarsson

Son. King of Vestfold.

Vestfold is a minor kingdom which includes Eiker and Lier. It is situated to the south of Oppland (bordering modern Buskerud and Telemark). Erik is its only known independent king of this period. His daughter marries Eystein Halfdansson and upon his death Vestfold passes entirely to Eystein.

early 8th century

Eystein I Halfdansson / Eystein Vart

Son. 'Vart' probably means 'the swift'. m Hild of Vestfold.

Eystein inherits the thrones of Romerike (mentioned in the 550s) and Vestfold from his father-in-law. However, his own expansionist skills prove to be limited, and he is killed by Skjöld while pillaging in Varna (location unknown).


The original line of 'kings' of Kvenland ends with the father of Gor Thorrasson 'Sea King'. The appellation of 'Sea King' to subsequent names, from Gor to his great-grandson, Sveidi, suggests that they lose or surrender their inheritance as Kven kings and rule the seas instead, eventually ending up as minor lords in Norway.


King of Varna. A great warlock.


King of Vestmar/Grenland.

Vestmar (Westmare), otherwise known as Grenland, is a minor coastal kingdom which is part of the larger region of Grænafylket (or Grenafylket), situated within the modern county of Telemark in the south-west of Norway. Dag's daughter, Liv, marries Halfdan hinn Mildi.

Map of Norway
A map of eighth and ninth century Norway showing the many petty kingdoms arranged along the coastline, although penetration into the interior is beginning


Kvens and Norse cooperate in battling against the invading Karelians, according to Egil's Saga, written around 1240.

late 8th century

Halfdan II hinn Mildi / Halfdan the Mild

Son of Eystein. King of Romerike and Vestfold. Died in bed.

fl c.790s?


King of Alfheim/Bohuslän.


Alfheim (or Alvheim) is a minor kingdom between the Glomma and Göta älv rivers which also incorporates at least the southern section of the province of Bohuslän. The daughter of King Alfarin is Alfhild, who marries Gudröd. Thanks to this marriage, Gudröd inherits half of Vingulmark (bordering the settlement of Romerike and including the site of the country's later capital, Oslo). Later archaeological finds suggest the region is an important centre of power.

c.804 - c.810

Gudröd / Gudrod the Magnificent

Son. King of Romerike and Vestfold.


Gudröd's wife dies during his reign, so he sends warriors to propose a marriage to Åsa, the daughter of King Harald Grunraude of Agder. Harald refuses, so Gudröd takes her by force, killing Harald and his son, Gyrd, in the process. However, a year after becoming father to Halfdanr Svarti, Gudröd is murdered by Åsa's page boy. The queen returns to Agder to raise her son while Olaf inherits the southern half of Gudröd's kingdom.

c.810 - 840

Olaf Gudrodsson Geirstade

Son by first marriage. King of Romerike & Bohuslän.


There is a question over whether Åsa reigns in Agder, as her son, Halfdanr has to conquer it in his early years. Possibly it is subjugated by Olaf Geirstade until the late 820s.

fl c.820s?

Álfgeir / Alfgeir

King of Vingulmark.

fl c.830s


Son. King of Vingulmark.

fl c.840s - 850s?


Son. King of Vingulmark. Killed by Halfdanr Svarti of Agder.


Brother and co-ruler or prince. Killed by Halfdanr Svarti of Agder.


Brother and co-ruler or prince. Fled the kingdom.


At the age of eighteen or nineteen, Halfdanr Svarti reconquers Agder before pursuing an aggressive policy of expanding his kingdom further. Dividing Vestfold with his brother, Olaf (later to be inherited by Olaf's son, Ragnvald), he persuades Gandalf of Vingulmark to cede him half of that kingdom (possibly through intimidation).

fl c.830s?

Harald Gulskeg

King of Sogn.

fl c.830s?

Harald Halfdansson

Son of Halfdanr Svarti of Agder & Ragnhild. King of Sogn.


Sogn is a minor kingdom which is located in western Norway and is now the southern half of the modern county of the same name. The king's daughter, Ragnhild, becomes the first wife of Halfdanr Svarti of Agder, and mother to a boy named Harald. Ragnhild's father names the young Harald as his successor, but when all three pass away in succession, Halfdanr Svarti lays claim to the kingdom, and it is peacefully subsumed.

fl c.840s

Sigtryg Eysteinsson

King of Hedmark & Raumarike. Killed by Halfdan Svarti of Agder.

fl c.840s

Eystein Eysteinsson

Brother. King of Hedmark & Raumarike.


Raumarike is a minor kingdom which is located to the north of modern Oslo in south-eastern Norway. In the sixth century, Jordanes mentions a people by the name of the Raumarici, probably the same as Raumarike. The Old English poems Beowulf and Widsith call them the Heaðo-Reamas ('battling Reamas'). In the eighth century, Raumarike is under the rule of Sigurd Ring of Denmark, and then his son, Randver. It is possible that Sigtryg is the son of Eystein Beli, sub-king of Sweden under Randver. He is sometimes given as being the son of Eystein I Halfdansson of Norway, but the likely timescale between them makes this impossible.

This kingdom is attacked by Halfdanr Svarti of Agder. He first kills Sigtryg Eysteinsson in battle, and then repeatedly attacks Sigtryg's brother in battle until he is also defeated. Raumarike passes to Halfdanr, along with half of Hedmark.

fl c.840s?

Ragnvald / Rognvald 'Mountain-High'

Son of Olaf. King of Vestfold.


Halfdanr Svarti of Agder further expands his kingdom following an attempted ambush by Hysing of Vingulmark and his brothers, Helsing and Hake. He raises an army and attacks the brothers, killing two and forcing the third to flee. Vingulmark is incorporated into his kingdom.

fl c.840s?

Sigurd Hjort 'Snake-in-the-Eye'

King of Hringarík / Ringerike. Killed by Hake.


Ringerike is a minor kingdom which is located in the modern county of Buskerud in southern central Norway, close to the south-western border of the kingdom of Oppland. The king's daughter (or great-granddaughter), Ragnhild, becomes the second wife of Halfdanr Svarti of Agder after being kidnapped by one Hake (the same Hake who had been expelled from Vingulmark?). Halfdanr rescues her. Together, they become the parents of Haraldr Hárfagri.

863 - 872

Haraldr Hárfagri / Harald I Fairhair

Son of Halfdanr Svarti of Agder. United all of Norway.

866 - 872

There is internecine war between the minor Norwegian kingdoms. Haraldr Hárfagri (or Harfarger) slowly becomes dominant, forcing the kingdoms to acknowledge his rule which, by 872, is complete. During this period, King Faravid of Kvenland is said by later chronicles to ally himself to the Norwegians to fight the Karelians to the east.

fl 860s - 870s


King of Orkdal. Defeated by Haraldr Hárfagri and made jarl.

? - 869


King of Firdafylke. Killed by Ragnvald (the Kven) of Raumsdal.

868 - 869

Haraldr Hárfagri subdues South More and selects Ragnvald 'The Wise' to be earl of North More, South More, and also Raumsdal. Ragnvald is the descendant of the original line of 'kings' of Kvenland who seem to have left their homeland in the time of Gor Thorrasson 'Sea King' in the late seventh century to find a new home amongst the Norwegians. In the following year, Earl Ragnvald captures Firdafylke by burning down a house in Naustdal in which is King Vemund with ninety of his men.

Kingdom of Norway
AD 872 - Present Day

Norway is on the western edge of Scandinavia, bordered to its west only by the North Sea. To its south is Denmark, while Sweden is to the east. Finland connects to Norway's far north-eastern border, as does Russia. By the time the kingdom was founded in the late ninth century, Norway still only comprised the southern third of the modern country, with the rest forming part of a vast territory known as Kvenland. It was only in the latter days of the Viking Age and in the medieval period that the westernmost parts of Kvenland began to be absorbed into the Norwegian territories. Migrants also arrived in Norway from the Finnic lands to the east in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. At least a couple of hundred thousand citizens of modern Norway are known to be descended from the Forest Finns, migrants from a group that is distinct from the Kvens. In Sweden that number is much larger.

Norway's minor kingdoms were united by Haraldr Hárfagri during various wars of the 860s and early 870s. Upon the death of Haraldr's father, the kingdom of Raumarike submitted to Sweden, and had to be forcibly encouraged to join Haraldr's kingdom of Norway. This probably helped to complete Haraldr's control of all of that region after he inherited the remainder from his father. The area was also laid claim to by King Eric V Anundsson of Sweden, forcing Haraldr to invade Götaland to defend his own claim. In fact, many of Haraldr's opponents were forced to flee the country and seek refuge in various Viking outposts including the Faroe Islands, the Hebrides, Iceland, the Orkney Islands, and the Shetland Islands. Eventually he was forced to undertake an expedition to clear out some of them, including from outposts in Scotland itself.

Accepted wisdom translates the word 'viking' as someone who goes on a raid, but this is much more likely to be a later interpretation of the word based on their reputation for attacking the medieval kingdoms of England, France, and so on. The word was originally used to denote a trader, simply that and nothing more. Indo-European languages contain many cognates of the root word for trader, such as the Latin 'vic', along with 'wic' (primarily Anglo-Saxon) and 'wich' (Germanic), all of which relate to Scandinavian 'vik'. A Viking was more likely to be someone who goes to 'wics' or 'wichs' to trade. There is also the problem of 'vik' meaning an inlet in Norse, and this has created considerable confusion. Norway is called that precisely because it is the north way, a sea path. Without roads the only reliable travel is by water, so trading centres would be sited in protected inlets. This meant the use of 'vik' being transferred over time from the trade location or village to its location on inlets. In England, this usage did not go so far, but many Anglo-Saxon trading villages still retain their trading names, such as Harwich, Ipswich, and Norwich, while Hamptonwic has been modified as Southampton.

(Additional information by Edward Dawson, and from working in conjunction with the Kvenland site, listed in the 'Northern Europe' section of the Sources page.)

872 - 933

Haraldr Hárfagri / Harald I Fairhair

Son of Halfdanr Svarti / Halfdan III the Black of Agder.

late 800s

Haraldr marries Ragnhidr (Ragnhild), daughter of Eirik, prince of Jutland (who may be the same person as King Eric (I or II) of Denmark). The king's son by her is Eric Bloodaxe. During the same late ninth century period, battles take place as the Geats have to defend themselves against Haraldr. They receive no help from their Swedish overlords.

Haraldr Halfdansson of Norway
Haraldr Halfdansson united all the minor kingdoms of Norway in the later ninth century through a mixture of force of arms and diplomacy


The Kvens and Norse cooperate in battles against the invading Karelians, again according to Egil's Saga. Thorolf Kveldulfsson, the head of taxes for the king of Norway from 872, enters Kvenland, going 'up on the fell with a hundred men; he passed on at once eastwards to Kvenland and met King Faravid.' Based on medieval documents, this meeting takes place during the winter of 873-874.


Iceland is discovered and settled in increasing numbers, and an independent republic governs it until 1262. During the reign of Harald I, Thorvald Asvaldsson of Jadar is exiled for murder. He settles in Iceland where he becomes the father of Eirik the Red, who himself goes on to settle Greenland and fathers Leif Eriksson, founder of the Vinland colony in the Americas.


The oldest known written use of the term 'Kven', with nearly that spelling, is made in the Account of the Viking Othere, a report of the geopolitical landscape of the North, based on the voyage by Ottar, the Norse Viking adventurer, as he makes his way through the oceanic coasts of northern Scandinavia and the extreme north-western of modern Russia. In this account, the Kvens are referred to as 'Cwenas' who live in 'Cwena land'. It is the first genuine and comprehensive account of the North, and is therefore a principle source in studies relating to Nordic history.


Ottar reports his findings to King Alfred of Wessex, who has his account included in the additions to the Universal History of Orosius, which the king republishes. The book is a shared work between Orosius and King Alfred. The Kven Sea is mentioned as the northern border of Germany. The location of Kvenland is also explained in the following ways: 'Ottar (Ohthere) said that the Norwegians' (Norðmanna) land was very long and very narrow... and to the east are wild mountains, parallel to the cultivated land. Sami people (Finns) inhabit these mountains... Then along this land southwards, on the other side of the mountain, is Sweden... and along that land northwards, Kvenland (Cwenaland).

"The Cwenas (Kvens) sometimes make depredations on the Northmen over the mountain, and sometimes the Northmen on them; there are very large freshwater meres amongst the mountains, and the Kvens carry their ships over land into the meres, and thence make depredations on the Northmen; they have very little ships, and very light."


During his reign, Haraldr divides responsibility for the management of the kingdom. The original holdings in the south-east are given to sons (at least twelve) and kinsmen, the south-west coastal region remains under Haraldr's direct control as high king, the long north-western coastal strip is governed by the earls of Lade, while the earls of Møre govern a much smaller region between Lade and the south-west. The earls of Lade prove to be important players in the rule of Norway later in the century.


To keep the peace in the face of Viking attacks, Charles III of the Franks grants territory in the north to the Viking chieftain, Rollo. The resulting duchy of Normandy proves to be far more powerful than the king could have feared, but Rollo's origins are today disputed by Norway and Denmark. Norway claims him as the son of Rognvald Eysteinsson, earl of Møre, in western Norway. Records from the twelfth century claim he falls out with the king and migrates to Normandy.


Haraldr secures the succession by naming his favourite son, Eric Bloodaxe as his successor. They rule side by side for the three remaining years of Haraldr's life. This does not end the possibility of division within the kingdom, however, and it is not until about 1030 that Norway is unquestionably unified.

930 - 934

Eric I Bloodaxe

Son. King of the Scandinavian kingdom of York (948 & 952-954).

Guttorm Haraldsson

Brother. King of Ranrike.

Halvdan Kvite (Haraldsson)

Brother. King of Trondheim.

Halvdan Svarte (Haraldsson)

Brother. King of Trondheim.

Sigrød Haraldsson

Brother. King of Trondheim.

Rögnvaldr / Ragnald Haraldsson

Brother. King of Hadeland. Killed by Eric.

Bjørn Farmann

Brother. King of Vestfold. Killed by Eric.

Olaf Haraldsson Geirstadalf

Brother. King of Vingulmark, to which he added Vestfold.

934 - 954

An apparently harsh ruler, Eric quickly falls out of favour with the Norwegian nobility. When Haakon returns from England, he is asked to take the throne. Eric is banished. and flees the country to become an adventurer. In 946 he is invited to England to become ruler of the Scandinavian kingdom of York. He is rejected in 948, returns in 952, and is finally defeated in 954, although by then he has already killed many of his rivals (who also happen to be his brothers), including Bjørn Farmann, grandfather of Harald Gudrødsson Grenske, the later king of Agder and Vestfold. Even so, Eric's defeat on the other side of the North sea creates a fully unified kingdom of England.

934 - 961

Haakon I the Good

Brother. First Christian king. Fostered in Wessex as a child.

961 - 977

Harald II Graypelt

Son of Eric Bloodaxe. Killed Gudrød Bjørnsson of Vestfold.

977 - 995


Danish earl (jarl) of Lade. 'Regent'.

976 - 977

The accession of Haakon may cause some disharmony in the Norwegian nobility. From about 976, Harald Gudrødsson Grenske, father of King Olaf II, can be found ruling Agder, Vestfold, and Viken, although it is not clear if he is claiming a kingship or remains subject to the king's authority.


Greenland is discovered by Eric the Red and is claimed for Norway.


The Battle of Maldon on the Essex coast of England is lost when the forces of Olaf Tryggvason (soon to be king of Norway and the main rival against Sweyn Forkbeard for the throne of Denmark) defeat those of the ealdorman of Essex. The Vikings begin to demand heavy tribute from the Saxon lands.

995 - 1000

Olaf I Tryggvason


Tryggvason is attacked by a united army under the command of Olaf III Skötkonung of Sweden and Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark. The pair have determined that Norway will be conquered and divided between them. They duly defeat Olaf I at the Battle of Svolder and divide the country. A Danish earl of Lade, Eric son of Haakon, holds the Norwegian throne as regent from this point, while the Swedes gain border territories from part of Trøndelag and modern Bohuslän.

1000 - 1015

Eric Haakonsson

Son of Haakon. Danish earl (jarl) of Lade.

1016 - 1028

St Olaf II Haraldson / the Holy / the Stout

Son of Harald of Agder. First Christian king. Died 1030.


The accession of Olaf II brings his own domain of Agder fully back under the control of the Norwegian crown (if it was not already under that control beforehand). In gaining the crown, he also restores Norwegian control of the land after the Danish interlude.

1028 - 1035

Norway falls under the rule of Denmark, governed first by Haakon, then directly under Canute himself, and finally under Canute's son, Sweyn, and his mistress, Aelfgifu in his name until his death.

1028 - 1029

Haakon Eiriksson

Regent. Danish jarl of Hålogaland (previously within Kvenland).

1030 - 1035

Sven Cnutsson / Sweyn

Regent. Son of Canute II of Denmark.


Canute's death sees his great Scandinavian empire begin to break up. By the late 1020s he had been able to claim kingship over England, Denmark, Norway, and part of Sweden. Scotland had also submitted to his overlordship, and Viking raids against the British Isles had been ended. Now his brother Harold gains England, his son Hardicanute gains Denmark, and Sweyn gains Norway.

1035 - 1036


Former regent or governor of Norway.

1036 - 1047

Magnus I the Good

Also king of Denmark (1042-1047).

1047 - 1066

Harald III Hardrade ('Hard Ruler')

Killed by Harold II, king of England at Stamford Bridge.


The son of Sigurd Syr, sub-king of Ringerike in Norway, Harald III attempts to invade England with the help of King Harold's rebellious younger brother, Earl Tostig of Northumbria. The invasion is defeated at the Battle of Stamford bridge on 28 September, and both Harald and Tostig are killed.

1066 - 1069

Magnus II

1069 - 1093

Olaf III the Peaceful

1093 - 1103

Magnus III the Barefoot / Barelegs

Also king of Ynys Manau (1095-1102) & Dublin (1102-1103).

1093 - 1095

Haakon Magnusson Toresfostre


1103 - 1115

Olaf IV Magnusson

1103 - 1122

Eystein II (I)

1103 - 1130

Sigurd I the Crusader


A period of prolonged civil war erupts in Norway, partially due to muddy succession laws but also due to various oppositions groups with their own interests in claiming the crown. Conflict is frequent and prolonged but there are periods in which it subsides to the level of a mere feud.

1130 - 1135

Magnus IV the Blinded

Died 1139.

1130 - 1136

Harald IV Gillechrist


Sigurd Horrid

A deacon, held the throne for one day.

1136 - 1161

Inge I Crookback

1136 - 1161

Sigurd II the Mouth

1142 - 1157

Eystein III (II)


The world atlas by the Arabic geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, which is commissioned by the Norman count of Sicily, Roger II, mentions that the king of FMRK has possessions in Norway. 'FMRK' refers to Finnmark ('Finn land'), the name for the northernmost part of Fennoscandia, which is still part of Kvenland. In the modern northern Norwegian county of Troms alone there are at least twelve prehistoric Kven place names, and Finnmark retains its name as Norway's northernmost county.


In his geographical chronicle, Leiðarvísir og borgarskipan, the Icelandic Abbot Níkulás Bergsson (Nikolaos) provides descriptions of the lands near Norway: Closest to Denmark is little Sweden (Svíþjóð), there is Öland (Eyland); then is [the island of] Gotland; then Hälsingland (Helsingaland); then Värmland (Vermaland); then two Kvenlands (Kvenlönd, perhaps Kvenland itself and Finland to the south, on the northern shore of the Baltic Sea), and they extend to north of Bjarmia (Bjarmalandi, the land of the Bjarmians).

1161 - 1162

Haakon II Broad-Shoulder


By this time Erling 'Skakke' ('the Jolted', named as such after a war 'accident') has claimed much of the country on behalf of his son, Magnus V Erlingsson. Essentially two power blocs now exist in the civil war; the 'Baglers' (the church and the nobility led by Magnus V and his father), and the 'Birkebeiners' (shown in green, a motley crew of brigands, 'ravers', and other outcasts lead by King Sverre who holds his claim via his mother's side of the family).

1161 - 1179

Erling Skakke

Regent for his son.

1162 - 1184

Magnus V Erlingsson

Leader of the 'Baglers'. Killed at the Battle of Fimreite.

1162 - 1163

Sigurd III

A Bagler.

1168 - 1170


A Birkebeiner.

1170 - 1173


A Birkebeiner.


The Historia Norvegiae (History of Norway) mentions Kvenland, stating that the Kvens serve pagan gods.

1174 - 1177

Eystein the Maiden

A Birkebeiner.

1177 - 1202

Sverre the Priest

A Birkebeiner, in Tronheim, their main stronghold.

1184 - 1194

Once Magnus V is killed at the Battle of Fimreite in this year, Sverre is sole king of Norway. He also proves to be a great king, and perhaps one of the country's most important. In 1194, following a disagreement with the church (which supports the opposing Baglers), he is excommunicated by the Pope. Despite this, he continues to receive support both from Knut VI of Sweden and from Prince John in England, and relations with the Pope become insignificant with the resurgence of Bagler opposition.

1185 - 1188

Jon Cuvlung

A Bagler.

1193 - 1194

Sigurd Magnusson

A Bagler.

1196 - 1199

Inge Magnusson

A Bagler.

1202 - 1204

Haakon III

A Birkebeiner.



A Birkebeiner.

1204 - 1207

Erling Steinvegg

A Bagler.

1204 - 1217

Philip Simonson Steinvegg

A Bagler, in Opland & Viken, two main strongholds.

1204 - 1217

Inge II Baardson

A Birkebeiner.

1203 - 1208

The four sons of Knut VI of Sweden have been living at King Sverker's royal court, but in 1203 they begin to stake their own claims for the throne. Sverker has them exiled to Norway, but they return with troops in 1205, supported by the Birkebeiner faction of Norway's nobility. Sverker is victorious at the Battle of Älgarås in which three of Knut's sons are killed. The surviving son, Eric Knutsson, retires back to Norway until 1208, when he is able to try again with further Norwegian support, and defeats Sverker at the Battle of Lena. Sverker is forced into exile in Denmark while Eric seizes the Swedish throne.


Agreement is reached between the two warring factions. Inge rules the country while Philip Simonson rules in Viken in a nominally independence guise.


The long-running period of civil war is finally ended following the deaths in this year both of Inge II and Philip Simonson. The thirteen year-old Haakon is chosen as sole king, with Skule Bårdsson acting as regent. The regency does not go smoothly, however, with Skule eventually rebelling against the king. Skule proclaims himself king in 1239 but is killed the following year, and with that country is finally at peace.

1217 - 1263

Haakon IV the Old

Son of Haakon III.

1217 - 1240

Skule Bårdsson

Regent. Rebelled and was killed.


The Norwegians and Karelians engage in combat.


The Icelandic Althing (Assembly) votes for union with Norway.


King Alexander III of Scotland successfully defeats an invasion by Haakon the Old at the Battle of Largs in 1263 (the 'Last Viking Invasion' of the British Isles). An old man, Haakon winters in Orkney and dies there. Following this, the Treaty of Perth transfers the Hebrides and the Isle of Man to Scotland from Norway. From this point the Isle of Man is controlled directly from either Scotland or England, as the two nations vie for power. As part of the peace-making, Alexander's daughter marries Haakon's grandson, Eric II. Their daughter Margaret later becomes queen of Scotland.

1263 - 1281

Magnus VI Lawmender


Icelandic annals report the following to have happened in the mid-northern area of modern Norway: "Then Karelians and Kvens pillaged widely in Hålogaland."

1281 - 1299

Eric II / Eirik II

His dau. Margaret, became queen of Scotland (1286-1290).

1299 - 1320

Haakon V


Torkel Knutsson, constable of Sweden, governor of Finland, and virtually king during the early years of the young King Berger, is arrested and, in February 1306, he is executed. Prince Waldemar, duke of Finland, divorces his wife, the late constable's daughter, and in 1312 marries Ingeborg Eriksdottir, daughter of the late King Eric II of Norway.

1320 - 1365

Magnus VII of Norway

Also Magnus II of Sweden (1320-1365).

1343 - 1380

Haakon VI



Upon the death of Valdemar of Denmark, his daughter immediately secures the election of her infant son as his successor. The daughter is Margaret, wife of Haakon VI, having been engaged to him since the age of six. As Olaf is a baby, Margaret rules in his stead, proving to be an able and accomplished queen regnant.

1380 - 1387

Olaf IV

Son. Also Olaf V of Denmark (1376-1387). Died aged 17.

1380 - 1387

Queen Margaret I

Mother and regent. De facto ruler of Denmark & Norway.


Haakon dies, leaving Queen Margaret to ensure that their son, Olaf, is proclaimed king in Norway, adding it to his territories. This creates the Union of Denmark and Norway, while Denmark also gains Greenland and Iceland. In reality, Margaret is again the de facto ruler, as Olaf is still a minor.

1387 - 1388

Olaf's sudden and unexpected death at the age of seventeen puts Margaret firmly in the driving seat as queen regent of Denmark and Norway. In effect, Norway is ruled as an appendage of Denmark. The nobility of Sweden, already unhappy with their own King Albert, invite Margaret to invade and take the throne. In 1388 she is accepted, at her own insistence, as 'Sovereign Lady and Ruler' of Sweden.


Queen Margaret I

Queen of Denmark, Norway & Sweden.


Having promised to find a ruling king for the Scandinavian nations under her control, Margaret proclaims her great-nephew, Bogislaw of Pommern-Stolp, king of Norway with her ruling alongside him as specifically agreed for Norway. He receives the more acceptable Scandinavian name of Eric as he takes up his new position, although he is still a minor, so Margaret returns to the role of regent.

1389 - 1439

Eric III of Pomerania

Also Eric VII of Denmark, XIII of Sweden, and I of Pommern-Stolp.

1389 - 1412

Queen Margaret I

Regent and former queen. Remained de facto ruler.


In order to fully unite the three kingdoms under her control and promote her aim of securing peace and prosperity for Scandinavia, Margaret convenes the Congress of the Realm at Kalmar in June 1397. Eric is crowned king of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden under the terms of the Union of Kalmar. Margaret remains regent for the rest of her lifetime so that even when Eric reaches his majority, she remains in control. (Eric is removed by the nobles in 1439, although Norway waits until 1440 to ratify this decision) and returns to Pommern-Stolp.)

1439 - 1440

Sigurd Jonsson

Regent in Norway until the selection of Christopher.

1440 - 1448


Son of Eric III. Also Christopher of Denmark and III of Sweden.

1448 - 1450

Sigurd Jonsson

Regent for a second time in Norway.


Christopher dies suddenly. In Norway, Sigurd Jonsson becomes regent in Norway for the second time while the nobles of the three nations decide who to elect as the new king. Sweden selects Karl while Denmark chooses Christian of Oldenburg. Norway debates selecting a third candidate for its own throne but eventually it also goes with Christian of Oldenburg (in 1450), although a portion elects Karl in opposition to Christian. Karl and Christian now jostle for supremacy in Scandinavia, and Karl is soon forced by the nobility to relinquish his claim on Norway. Christian remains Norway's king for the rest of his life.

1450 - 1536

The kings of Denmark rule Norway directly, largely in their minds as hereditary kings, but Norway often insists on a formal election process, confirming the king some time after he has been proclaimed in Denmark. From 1536, governors (statholders) are appointed to manage the country's internal interests.

1536 - 1551

Peder Hansen Litle


The map of Scandinavia by Olaus Magnus shows a Kven settlement to the south of modern Tromsø in northern Norway, named 'Berkara Qvenar'. Integration is continuing, but Kvens are still easy to pick out in northern Scandinavia.


The first known Norwegian tax records mention Kvens. These records are stored at the Norwegian national archives (Riksarkivet). This is at a time, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, that the Swedish government is encouraging settlement in many wilderness and border areas in order to secure territories against fears of expansionism by the Russians. Even Sweden proper has its wilderness areas which require settlement.

Thanks to this policy, many Finns migrate westwards across Scandinavia. Thousands of farmers from Savonia and Northern Häme make the journey as far as eastern Norway and central Sweden and become known as the Forest Finns. They help to turn forests to farmlands using slash-and-burn agriculture, and in return they are given land. More of them head north to Ostrobothnia and Kainuu, east towards Northern Karelia, and south towards Ingria (Swedish land at this time, but now within Russia). An estimated ten or fifteen per cent also cross the Baltic Sea in search of largely uninhabited land fit for their needs.

Those Kvens who settle in Norway prior to the twentieth century - and in some cases prior to the Second World War - and their descendants are called Kvens today, as they had originated from the medieval area of Kvenland. Also, the descendants of all the native Kvens in northern Scandinavia continue to be known by that name.

1551 - 1556

Jesper Friis

1556 - 1572

Christiern Munk

1572 - 1577

Pouel Ottesen Huitfeldt

1577 - 1583

Ludvig Ludvigsson Munk of Norlund

1583 - 1588

Ove Juel

1588 - 1601

Aksel Gyldenstjerne

1601 - 1608

Jørgen Friis of Krastrup

1608 - 1618

Enevold Kruse of Hjermislov

1618 - 1629

Jens Hermansson Juel

1629 - 1642

Christopher Knudsson Urne of Asmark

1642 - 1651

Hannibal Sehested


One of the first acts of Queen Christina of Sweden is to negotiate the peace with Denmark. She does so successfully, gaining all of modern Estonia when the Danes hand over the island of Ösel (Saaremaa) under the Treaty of Brömsebro, along with the island of Götaland. As a constituent of Danish holdings, Norway also has to concede territory, this being the districts of Härjedale and Jämtland which remain part of Sweden to this day.

1651 - 1655

Gregers Krabbe

1656 - 1661

Nils Trolle Trollesholl Gauno

1661 - 1664

Iver Tageson Krabbe

1664 - 1699

Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve

Count Laurvig-Tønsberg.

1669 - 1675

Ove Juel

Acting statholder.

1675 - 1682

Jens Juel

Acting statholder.

1682 - 1694

Just Högh of Fultoffe

Acting statholder.

1699 - 1708

Frederik Gabel

1708 - 1710

Johan Vibe

1710 - 1712

Ulrik Frederik Valdemar

Baron Løvendal.

1712 - 1713

Claus Henrik Vieregg

1713 - 1722

Frederik Krag

1716 - 1718

Karl XII attempts to break the threat of attack on Sweden by Denmark, England, Hannover, Russia, and Saxony by attacking Norway, a vital part of Denmark's war effort. However, Swedish efforts are largely rebuffed. A repeat with greater numbers in 1718 ends prematurely when Karl is killed by a shot through the brain, and under potentially suspicious circumstances.

1722 - 1731

Ditlev Vibe

1731 - 1733

Patroclus Romeling

Acting statholder.

1733 - 1739


Count Rantzau.

1739 - 1750

Hans Jakob Arnold

Acting statholder.

1750 - 1771

Jacob von Benzon


For the past two centuries, Forest Finns have been settling a swathe of land in Norway from a point about 150 kilometres north of Oslo and covering a long stretch of border land between Norway and Sweden. That border is only now properly established between the two countries.

1766 - 1768


Acting statholder. Son of Frederick II, landgrave Hessen-Kassel.

1771 - 1809

The post of statholder is vacant.

1778 - 1790

Having secured the Swedish throne through force, Gustavus reintroduces an absolute monarchy, forcing parliament to accept a secondary role. Despite two failed military campaigns in 1788-1790, first to capture Norway and then to recapture the Baltic Provinces from Russia, he is still able to restore Sweden's military power and restore to the country some of its former sense of greatness.

1809 - 1810

Christian August

Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg.

1810 - 1813


Son of the landgrave of Hessen-Kassel.

1813 - 1814

Christian Frederik of Denmark


Marcus Gjøe Rosenkrantz

1814 - 1905

Denmark loses Norway, which then comes under the rule of Sweden from the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The post of statholder is retained, but now with Swedish nobles fulfilling the duties of office. From 1818, Sweden's new king is Karl XIV, but in Norway he is known as Karl III John.

1814 - 1816

Hans Henrik

Count von Essen.

1816 - 1818

Carl Carlsson

Count Mörner.

1818 - 1827

Johan August

Count Sandels.

1827 - 1829


Count von Platen.

1829 - 1836

The post of statholder is vacant.

1836 - 1840

Johan Caspar Herman

Count of Wedel-Jarlsberg.

1841 - 1856

Severin Løvenskiold

1856 - 1873

The post of statholder is again vacant, and is abolished in 1873. Full rule of Norway returns to the kings of Denmark until 1905.


Norway gains full independence on 7 June. On 12-13 August a plebiscite is held in which 368,392 male voters agree to formally end the union with Sweden. A total of 184 vote against the move. Women, unable to vote, collect 250,000 signatures in support of the move. The Norwegian government then asks Prince Carl of Denmark to become the country's new king. Following a highly successful vote on 12-13 November to establish whether the Norwegian people themselves want the prince, he arrives during a blizzard on 25 November, with his wife Maud (daughter of King Edward VIII of England), and his son Alexander. Carl changes his name to the more acceptable Haakon, and is welcomed as the first wholly Norwegian king for 600 years.

1905 - 1940

Haakon VII

Formerly Prince Carl of Denmark.

1914 - 1918

When the First World War erupts on Continental Europe, all three of the Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, remain neutral. Sweden asserts its right to continue trading with the countries of its choice, whatever side they have taken in the war. In practice this favours Germany so the Allies, especially Great Britain's Royal Navy, blockade Sweden, causing a severe food shortage in 1916.


Haakon's son, Crown Prince Olaf, marries the Swedish Princess Märtha on 21 March.

1940 - 1945

As in the previous war, Sweden manages to remain neutral throughout the Second World War. Despite this, there are unofficial breaches of that neutrality on behalf of both sides in the war. German troops are shipped along Sweden's railways during their invasion of Russia in 1941, while the Allies are allowed to use Swedish airbases from 1944. There are several further examples. Neighbouring Denmark and Norway are both invaded and occupied by the Nazi Germans. During this period a fascist regime rules the country.

1945 - 1957

Haakon VII



Crown Princess Märtha dies on 5 April.

1957 - 1991

Olaf V

Son. Prince Alexander of Denmark. Died 16 January, aged 87.

1991 - Present

Harald V


Crown Prince Haakon Magnus

Son. m Mette Marit.

Crown Princess Ingrid Alexandra

Dau. Born 2004.