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European Kingdoms

Northern Europe

 

Kingdom of Norway (Restored)
AD 1905 - Present Day

Norway is on the western edge of Scandinavia, bordered to its west only by the North Sea, although its location has meant a long history of involvement in the affairs of Great Britain, Iceland, and Greenland. To its south is Denmark, while Sweden is to the east. Finland connects to Norway's far north-eastern border, as does Russia.

The capital is Oslo, known as Christiania between 1624-1877 and Kristiania between 1877-1925. It lies at the head of the Oslo Fjord in the south-eastern part of the country, having been founded by King Harald Hardraade about 1050.

Norway's various Petty Kingdoms were united by Haraldr Hárfagri during various wars of the 860s and early 870s. By this time the newly-created kingdom of Norway still only comprised the southern third of the modern country, with the rest forming part of a vast Northern European 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 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 which is distinct from the Kvens. In Sweden that number is much larger.

From 1450 the kings of Denmark ruled Norway directly as part of the Kalmar Union, largely in their minds as hereditary kings. Norway, though, often insisted on a formal election process, confirming the king some time after he was proclaimed in Denmark. From 1536, governors (statholders) were appointed to manage the country's internal interests.

Following the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, Sweden took over as the senior partner, but the system started to break down in the second half of the nineteenth century, and direct rule by Sweden was not especially welcomed by Norwegians. Instead, the country moved further and further towards breaking away from over four hundred years of union with the other Scandinavian countries.

Norway gained full independence from Sweden on 7 June 1905. On 12-13 August a plebiscite was held in which 368,392 male voters agreed to formally end the union with Sweden. A total of 184 voted against the move. Women, unable to vote, collected 250,000 signatures in support of the move.

The Norwegian government then asked Prince Carl of Denmark to become the country's new king. Following a highly successful vote on 12-13 November 1905 to establish whether the Norwegian people themselves wanted the prince, he arrived during a blizzard on 25 November, with his wife Maud (daughter of King Edward VIII of England), and his son Alexander.

Carl changed his name to the more acceptable Haakon, and was welcomed as the first wholly Norwegian king for six hundred years. The royal anthem is sung to the same melody as that of Britain's 'God Save the Queen' and Liechtenstein's anthem, albeit with different words.

Scandinavia

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from Beyond the Northlands: Viking Voyages and the Old Norse Sagas, Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, from The Heimskringla: Or, Chronicle of the Kings of Norway, Volume 1, from Glymdrapa, Hornklofe, from Saga: Six Pack 6, A Scandinavian Sextet (various authors), and from External Links: Kvenland (a detailed overview of the existence of Kvenland before it was absorbed into Norway, Sweden, and Finland, although with some content which is of dubious reliability), and Visit Norway, and The War in Algiers (in Danish), and Gáldu Resource Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (also available in English), and Why does Liechtenstein use 'God Save the Queen' as its national anthem? (Guardian Notes), and Britannica, and Norway mourns 77 dead (PBS News Hour).)

1905 - 1940

Haakon VII

Formerly Prince Carl of Denmark. Deposed by Nazi Germany.

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.

Map of Scandinavia AD 1917-1944
The twentieth century wrought great changes on the borders of the Nordic countries with Finland, controlled from Moscow since 1809, now becoming a battleground between Soviet and German interests, while Denmark and Norway were occupied by Germany (click or tap on map to view full sized)

1927 - 1929

The country's Labour Party becomes the largest party in parliament in 1928. In the following year it forms Norway's first Labour government. Despite some calls to restrain this 'revolutionary' party, the king declines, stating that he is also king of the country's communists. In the next year, 1929, 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 while the king is transported safely to Tromsø, by Great Britain's Royal Navy to form a government in exile. That government soon has to be transported to Britain itself where it spends the remainder of the war.

King Haakon VIII of Norway during the Second World War
King Haakon VII (pictured in uniform on the left) had to spend much of the Second World War in exile in Britain, attempting to support his people despite the Nazi German occupation of Norway

1945 - 1957

Haakon VII

Restored to popular acclaim. Died aged 85.

1954

Olaf's bride of 1929, Crown Princess Märtha, dies on 5 April of cancer after having been ill for quite some time. She leaves behind her grieving husband who is very soon to ascend the throne, and three children, the eldest of which is shortly to give birth to her own first child.

1957 - 1991

Olaf V

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

1981

Norway's first female prime minister is the Labour Party's Gro Harlem Brundtland. Her first term is brief (4 February-14 October 1981) but she returns for two full terms of office between 1986-1996. She continues many of the reforms of her Conservative predecessor, while also backing traditional Labour concerns such as social security, high taxes, the industrialisation of nature, and feminism.

By the late 1990s, a Norway which is led by her government has paid off its foreign debt and had started accumulating a sovereign wealth fund.

Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland
Gro Harlem Brundtland (born in 1939) became Norway's first female prime minister, serving for three terms (1981, 1986-1989, and 1990-1996), and later was director general of the World Health Organization (19982003)

1991 - Present

Harald V

Son. Born 21 Feb 1937.

2005

Following almost thirty years of disputes with the Norwegian government over the management of Sámi native land in Finnmark, a satisfactory agreement is reached.

Beginning as 'the Finnmark' a border region which had come under increasing Norwegian control since the ninth century, the region had been formalised as Norway's northernmost county.

In 1978 plans to inundate a Sámi village as part of a new dam and hydroelectric plant had met with vociferous Sámi protests. Now, in 2005, the government agrees the Finnmark Act. It signs over to the inhabitants of Finnmark approximately ninety-five per cent of the county's total land, to be managed as part of the Finnmark Estate.

Sámi protest against the 1978 hydroelectric dam construction in Norway
Sámi protests against the intended flooding of one of their villages in order to construct a dam served as a kind of trigger for the 2005 signing of the momentous Finnmark Act

2011

The country suffers two terrorist attacks on the same day, both of which are conducted by Anders Behring Breivik. The first strikes at the government quarter in Oslo, while the second takes place at a summer camp for the Labour Party's youth movement, on Utya Island, which results in seventy-seven deaths and 319 wounded.

2021

Jonas Gahr Store's centre-left Labour Party forms a minority coalition government in September 2021 after winning the greatest number of seats in the country's general election.

Crown Prince Haakon Magnus

Son. Born 20 Jul 1973. m Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby.

Crown Princess Ingrid Alexandra

Dau. Born 21 Jan 2004.

 
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