Norway's history is divided in two parts: Before 1387, and after 1814.
A chronology of important dates:
The bloody conflicts between tribal kingdoms, as
well as a craving for adventure, prompted Norwegians to leave
their lands in what are known as Viking voyages. Warriors from the
fjords (Vik in Norse) raided throughout western Europe
and into the Mediterranean.
Harald Hårfagre ("fair-hair") unites Norway to a
single kingdom. Ireland falls under Norwegian rule. Iceland is
King Olav Tryggvason converts to Christianity.
(circa) Norway is split in three parts by Olof
Skötkonung, King of Svealand, his step-father Svend
Forkbeard, King of Denmark, and the exiled Jarl Eirik.
King Olav Tryggvason is defeated. Jarl Eirik gets a third
of Norway as his own, and the part of Olof Skötkonung's as his
The viking chieftain King Olav Haraldsson defeats and slays
the son of Jarl Eirik, but unites with Eirik against King
Olof of Svealand. Unpease pesters the life in Jämtland and
King Canute the Great (of Denmark) conquered also Norway.
King Olav escaped to his relative King Jaroslav in Novgorod, where
he raised an army. The new King of Sweden, Amund Jakob, supports
king Olav Haraldsson.
Bishopric in Trondheim
The battle of Stiklestad in Trøndelag, in which
Olav Haraldsson (canonized as St. Olav) is killed. The pilgrimages
to his grave in Nidaros (Trondheim) begin. When King Canute the
Great dies in 1035 the Danish supremacy over
Norway is exchanged in a Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and
Mutual Assistance. It was settled that if one of the two realm's
kings should die without heirs, then the other would succeed
King Hardeknud of Denmark dies without an heir, and
Denmark and Norway is again united - now under King Magnus.
A retired colonel from Constantinople, later called
Harald Hårdråde, and actually an uncle of King Magnus,
returned to his native country and made demands on half of the
kingdom. As King Magnus refused, the uncle, allied with a claimant
to the Danish kingdom. King Magnus was defeated and the union
between Denmark and Norway was split.
Harald (Hårdråde) killed in the battle of
Stamford Bridge while attempting to conquer England. Viking raids
come to an end.
After a civil war, the illegitimate son of King
Sigurd, Sverre, is acknowledged as sole king. He consolidated the
power of monarchy, created a new nobility and replaced an
aristocratic administration with royal officials. His firm hand in
ruling the church led Pope Innocent III to excommunicate him and
lay Norway under interdict.
Greenland and Iceland are subjected to Norwegian
King Magnus VI Lagabøter (Law-Mender) ended a
lingering war with Scotland by selling the Isle of Man and the
Hebrides to Scotland.
Magnus VI introduces a general code of laws which
remains in use for more than four centuries, replacing local legal
systems with a unified code for the entire kingdom. It
strengthened the position of the monarch by treating crime not as
a private matter but as an offense against king and country.
Magnus also promulgated municipal laws and accepted a basically
independent status for the church.
The three-years old King Magnus of Norway is
elected King of Sweden too. This marks in many ways the end of
Norway as an independent kingdom, although the Norwegian magnates
in the Norwegian Senate (Council of the Realm) will continue to
meet for several hundreds of years.
Black plague, "Svartedauen", kills one third of
Marriage ties linked Norway with both Sweden and
Denmark, and Queen Margarete, the wife of Haakon VI, succeeded in
gaining control of the country as their son the king was only five
years old. (He had, by the way, been elected King of Denmark
The under-age king died, and with him the Norwegian
royal house died out. The nobles of the Senate (the Council of the
Realm) elected Erik of Pomerania, Margarethe's grandnephew, as
their king. Margarethe is appointed Regent and unites Norway,
Sweden, and Denmark in the Union of Kalmar.
Norway becomes a subject of the Danish crown,
little more than a Danish province. Danish becomes the written
language of Norway. Reformation makes Norway Lutheran.
The provinces of Jämtland and Härjedalen are ceded
to Sweden after Denmark-Norway's participation in the Thirty
Years' War. In 1658, Bohuslän is lost to Sweden, too.
Sweden attacks Norway, but has to retreat when
king Karl XII is killed at Fredrikshald.
The peace treaty of Kiel gives Norway to Sweden.
Norway declares independence at Eidsvoll, but after a short war against
Sweden Norway agrees to a personal union with Sweden. The
Norwegian constitution was written.
The union with Sweden falls apart and Norway
becomes an independent kingdom. The Danish prince Karl becomes
king Haakon VII of Norway.
The Altmark Incident February 16th British blockaders discovered the German war-ship
Graf Spee heading home along the Norweigan coast with 299 British
merchant seamen captured. The Brititsh Admiralty ordered their
rescue at all costs. The destroyer Cossack pursued the Altmark
into Jøssing fjord near Stavanger, and despite Norweigan protests
boarded and captured her, releasing the prisoners. Norweigan
protests of this violation died away in the face of British proof
that Norway had permitted an armed vessel to take refuge in
April 2-3rd Germany's naval forces start their
journey to occupy Norway and Denmark, operation
April 8th the British Navy placed mines in
Norwegian territorial waters off North Norway, in an attempt to
halt the shipment of Swedish iron ore over the port of Narvik.
This concurrence of events was purely coincidental. The German
occupation of Norway had been planned in meticulous detail months
in advance and had no connection with the British mine-laying.
Germany attacks Norway on 9th of April, and
after two months of resistance completes the occupation. The
Norwegian king and government flee to England. The leader of
Norways National Socialist party, Vidkun Quisling, is nominated by
Hitler to form a puppet regime.
The Norwegian resistance,
"Hjemmefronten", is organized. With its 50,000 members it made
life more difficult for the Nazi occupiers in Norway, while
many Norwegians joined British or American forces to fight the
Germans. The Norwegian merchant fleet played a vital role in
aiding the Allies. Although it lost half of its fleet, the
country recovered quickly after the war.
Germany surrenders to the Allies and the
Nazi-occupation ends in Norway.
Norway joins NATO.
Olav V becomes king after the death of
Large oil finds in the North Sea make Norway
Norway holds a referendum about joining the EEC:
the people vote NO.
On Olav's death in January, his son
Harald V succeeded him as the king of Norway.
A referendum about joining the EU will was held
November 27-28th. Again, the Norwegians voted "NO" by a clear
majority and thus remained outside the union while Sweden and
RXML parse error: No current scope.
| <if variable="print is 1">
| <if variable="print is 1">
- Is the text above
really reliable? - See the discussion in