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Norwegian history (the s.c.nordic FAQ)
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Norwegian history

 



Subject: 6.3 

History

Norway's history is divided in two parts: Before 1387, and after 1814.
:->

A chronology of important dates:

800's
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.

890's
Harald Hårfagre ("fair-hair") unites Norway to a single kingdom. Ireland falls under Norwegian rule. Iceland is colonized.

995
King Olav Tryggvason converts to Christianity.

1000
(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 vassal.

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 Bohuslän.

1022
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.

1029
Bishopric in Trondheim

1030
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 him.

1042
King Hardeknud of Denmark dies without an heir, and Denmark and Norway is again united - now under King Magnus.

1047
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.

1066
Harald (Hårdråde) killed in the battle of Stamford Bridge while attempting to conquer England. Viking raids come to an end.

1184
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.

1261/62
Greenland and Iceland are subjected to Norwegian rule.

1266
King Magnus VI Lagabøter (Law-Mender) ended a lingering war with Scotland by selling the Isle of Man and the Hebrides to Scotland.

1274
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.

1319
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.

1349-50
Black plague, "Svartedauen", kills one third of Norways inhabitants.

1379
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 already.)

1387
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.


1536
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.

1645
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.

1716-18
Sweden attacks Norway, but has to retreat when king Karl XII is killed at Fredrikshald.


1814
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.

1905
The union with Sweden falls apart and Norway becomes an independent kingdom. The Danish prince Karl becomes king Haakon VII of Norway.

1940
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 neutral waters.

April 2-3rd Germany's naval forces start their journey to occupy Norway and Denmark, operation Weserübung.

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.

1941-45
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.

1945
Germany surrenders to the Allies and the Nazi-occupation ends in Norway.

1949
Norway joins NATO.

1957
Olav V becomes king after the death of Haakon VII.

1970s
Large oil finds in the North Sea make Norway prosperous.

1972
Norway holds a referendum about joining the EEC: the people vote NO.

1991
On Olav's death in January, his son Harald V succeeded him as the king of Norway.

1994
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 Finland joined.



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© Copyright 1994-2001 by Antti Lahelma.
You are free to quote this page as long as you mention the URL.
The line of flags is modified after a picture at det Åländska skoldatanätet.
This page was last updated May the 29th in the year of 1998.

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