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Monday, 10 October 2016

Norway

HISTORY

In 310BC Pytheas, an explorer from the Greek city of Massilia (now Marseilles), voyaged past Gibraltar and turned north up the European coast. He then sailed up the west coast of Britain and continued beyond it for six days to reach an uncomfortable inhabited land which he called Thule. At midsummer the sun never set, and beyond there the sea was frozen.

As a result of this report Thule (now assumed to be Norway) becomes for all Greek and Roman geographers the most northerly place in the world.

The name Norway comes from the Old Norse word norðrvegr, "northern way" or "way leading to the north", which the Danes named the coastline of western Norway.

In 866, Harald Fairhair made the first of a series of conquests over the many petty kingdoms which would compose all of Norway. In 872, after a great victory at Hafrsfjord near Stavanger, Harald found himself the first king of the whole country, becoming Harald I of Norway.

Harald Fairhair, in an illustration from the 14th century Flateyjarbók.

In the 13th century King Haakon IV of Norway gave polar bears to fellow monarchs that he liked. One such polar bear was given to Henry III of England and kept in the Tower Of London.

In 1349 half of the Norwegian people died from an outbreak of the bubonic plague.

Before 1814 Norway had been in a union with Denmark. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Sweden and Denmark–Norway signed the Treaty of Kiel on January 14, 1814, whereby Frederick VI of Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden in return for the Swedish holdings in Pomerania.

May 17th is Norway’s National Day, celebrating the signing of Norway’s constitution on May 17, 1814. The constitution was based on American and French models.

The 1814 constitutional assembly, painted by Oscar Wergeland

Since 1864, May 17 has also been Children’s Day in Norway, with parades and a tradition that children may eat as much ice cream as they want.

The union with Sweden lasted from 1814 until June 7, 1905 when Norway finally became a separate nation again.

When Prince Carl of Denmark was offered the throne of newly independent Norway in 1905, he refused to take it unless the Norwegian people agreed that they wanted a monarchy rather than a republic. He won the resulting referendum on November 12, 1905 with 79% of the vote, and became King Haakon VII.

King Haakon VII reigned from November 1905 until his death in September 1957.

Haakon VII.

Norway attempted to stay neutral in World War II, but was occupied by German forces from April 9, 1940 to May 8, 1945.

With the German invasion of Norway in progress on April 9, 1940, Norwegian military officer and politician Vidkun Quisling attempted to seize power in the world's first radio-broadcast coup d'état, but failed after the Germans refused to support his government.

Quisling served as Minister-President between 1942 and 1945, heading the pro-Nazi puppet government, known as the Quisling regime. He surrendered after the German defeat and was found guilty of high treason against the Norwegian state. Quisling was executed by firing squad at Akershus Fortress, Oslo, on October 24, 1945. The word "quisling" has since become a synonym for "collaborator" or "traitor," reflecting the very poor light in which Quisling's actions were seen, both at the time and since his death.

Vidkun Quisling

Rondane National Park was established as Norway's first national park on December 21, 1962.

FUN FACTS

Norway consumes more spicy Mexican food than any other European nation.

On a per-capita basis, Norway is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside the Middle East .The petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product

Oil production has helped to expand the Norwegian economy and finance the Norwegian state

Norway gets 98-99% of its electricity from hydroelectric power, more than any other country.

Norwegians pay half-tax in November so that they have more money for Christmas shopping.

From 2001 to 2006, and then again from 2009 to 2015, Norway had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the world.

Despite being smaller than California, Norway has a longer coastline than the entire United States (including Alaska and Hawaii).

The U.S. has more people of Norwegian descent than Norway.

There is a town called Hell in Norway.


Oslo, Norway, is the third most northern capital city of an independent country, behind Reykjavik, Iceland, and Helsinki, Finland.

In Svalbard, Norway, the northernmost inhabited region of Europe, there is no sunset from approximately April 19 to August 23.

Sources Daily Express, Historyworld.net

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