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Norway[]

History[]

Amongst the great powers of Scandinavia, Norway was decisively the first. As audacious Vikings and explorers, and then hardened Christian warriors and traders, Norway rose to prominence in the 13th century, colonizing as far as Greenland and Iceland, and bringing inspiration to her Nordic brothers. Its dominance would be short-lived, however, as Norway would be devastated by the Bubonic Plague and then the rise of the Hanseatic League, and would spend the next seven centuries under the sovereignty of Denmark and then Sweden. The Kingdom would regain its independence at the turn of the 20th century and would regain its former prosperity; becoming one of the most successful economies today - owing largely to the fact of its independence from the European Union and its exorbitant natural oil reserves.

Viking Legacy[]

Much like its neighbours, Norway's legacy begins in the period of Scandinavian expansion known as the Viking Age. During this time, Norwegian Vikings sought to colonize lands suitable for farming; maintaining raiding parties and the abduction of thralls in order to support their expansion. These Vikings settled as far as Shetland, Orkney and the Faroe Islands - and even founded the city of Dublin in Ireland in the 7th Century. Norwegian expansion across the Atlantic peaked in the late 8th century, when Erik the Red settled the island of Greenland, and then when his son, Leif Ericson, discovered Newfoundland in North America. By the mid 9th century, petty kingdoms had begun to arise in Norway and eventually the quest to unify the land would fall to Harald Fairhair - traditionally the first King of Norway.

Dissidence Period[]

During the early Middle Ages, violent dissidence over the Christianization of Norway and the alliance of Danish Kings against the ruling Fairhair dynasty would divide the Kingdom, leading to the Battle of Stiklestad and the death of the Christian King Olav Haraldsson. Eventually, though, Norway would be united in its opposition to the influence of neighbouring Denmark and nearly a century of peace would ensue. In 1130, a civil war would break out over an uncertain succession, in which all the King's sons had been bestowed to rule jointly. Although the church would attempt to intervene, it would finally be the succession of Haakon Haakonsson in 1217 that would bring peace to Norway, as well as prominence and power to the Kingdom.

The Norwegian Golden Age[]

The Norwegian Golden Age begins in the 13th century, during a time in which Norwegian trade with the British Islands and Germany was prosperous and bustling, and Norway's influence exerted itself across all of Scandinavia. During this time, the Norwegian Kings established a central administration and formalized Norway as a political entity, and the power of the Church would grow considerably. In 1349, the Bubonic Plague would devastate Norway, killing a third of the Kingdom's population, and in the following years its power would decline. In the 14th century, its trading prowess would be finally usurped by the Hanseatic League and Norway's former glory would fade.

The Kalmar Union[]

In 1380, Olaf Haakonsson inherited both the thrones of Norway and Denmark and a union was formed between the two countries. In 1396, under the reign of Queen Margarethe I, Sweden would be included in this union - to be known as the Kalmar Union - and all of Scandinavia would be united for the first time in its history. Despite attempts to do so, Norway was never strong enough to secure its independence, and though Sweden would pull out of the Union in 1523, Norway would remain and become apart of Denmark-Norway under the rule of the Danish Kings of Copenhagen. This would eventually lead to Norway's conversion to Protestantism and a series of lengthy wars between Denmark-Norway and Sweden over the dominance in the Scandinavian peninsula - Sweden triumphing for the most part.

Denmark-Norway[]

In 1807 Denmark-Norway entered the Napoleonic Wars allied with Napoleon's France, which would have devastating repercussions upon Norway. In 1813, Norwegians finally rejected the rule of the Danish heir Christian Frederik and demanded the creation of a Norwegian constitution to ensure representation in Copenhagen. In 1814, the Constitution of Norway was concluded, but an invasion by Sweden would intervene in its passing and Denmark-Norway would surrender to the invaders. Norway would once again lose its chance for independence and a union between Sweden and itself would be formed.

Norwegian Independence[]

Norway's independence would come in 1905, after a nation-wide referendum in which an overwhelming majority rejected the rule of the King of Sweden. Norway's parliament would offer the crown to Denmark's Prince Carl and Haakon VII would become the first sovereign of Norway in centuries. Over the course of the 20th century, Norway would maintain a strict policy of neutrality. Though it would be annexed by Germany in 1940, it would resist the occupation and eventually regain its independence. From then, Norway would remain an important member of the United Nations in Europe and would emphasis its relations with its neighbours. Unlike most other European countries, Norway would retain its independence from the European Union, as well as its Monarchy, and has become one of the most socially and economically prosperous nations today.

Factoids[]

  • Although it is one of the top oil exporters in the world, Norway is one of the countries with the highest petrol price.
  • The Grandiosa frozen pizza is unofficially named as the Norwegian national dish and each year Norwegians consume 20 million Grandiosa pizzas in addition to all the other frozen pizza brands on the market.
  • Norway has voted against membership in the EU several times, but has implemented more EU directives than any other EU member state.
  • The majority of the population of Norway believe a Norwegian invented the paperclip, which is not actually true.

Haakon VII[]

History[]

Haakon VII, known as Prince Carl of Denmark until 1905, was a Danish prince who became the first king of Norway after the 1905 dissolution of the union with Sweden. He reigned from November 1905 until his death in September 1957.

As one of the few elected monarchs, Haakon quickly won the respect and affection of his people. He played a pivotal role in uniting the Norwegian nation in its resistance to the German invasion and subsequent five-year-long occupation of his country during World War II. Regarded as one of the greatest Norwegians of the twentieth century, he is particularly revered for his courage during the German invasion—he threatened abdication if the government cooperated with the invading Germans—and for his leadership and preservation of Norwegian unity during the occupation.

He became King of Norway before his father and older brother became kings of Denmark. During his reign, he saw his father, his brother and his nephew, Frederick IX, ascend the throne of Denmark, respectively in 1906, 1912 and 1947. He died at the age of 85 on 21 September 1957, after having reigned for nearly 52 years. He was succeeded by his only son, Olav V.

Haakon died at the Royal Palace in Oslo on 21 September 1957. He was 85 years old. At his death, Olav succeeded him as Olav V. Haakon was buried on 1 October 1957 alongside his wife in the white sarcophagus in the Royal Mausoleum at Akershus Fortress. He was the last surviving son of King Frederick VIII of Denmark.

Haakon VII is regarded by many as one of the greatest Norwegian leaders of the pre-war period, managing to hold his young and fragile country together in unstable political conditions. He was ranked highly in the Norwegian of the Century poll in 2005.

Unique Components[]

Panserskip[]

The Eidsvold class was a class of coastal defence ships, two of which were built for the Royal Norwegian Navy in 1899 by Armstrong Whitworth. The class consisted of two ships, HNoMS Eidsvold and HNoMS Norge. Locally they were referred to as panserskip. These panserskips were warships built for the purpose of coastal defence, mostly during the period from 1860 to 1920. They were small, often cruiser-sized warships that sacrificed speed and range for armour and armament. They were usually attractive to nations that either could not afford full-sized battleships or could be satisfied by specially designed shallow-draft vessels capable of littoral operations close to their own shores. The Nordic countries and Thailand found them particularly appropriate for their island-dotted coastal waters. Some vessels had limited blue-water capabilities; others operated in rivers.

Verft[]

A shipyard (also called a dockyard) is a place where ships are built and repaired. These can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, which are sometimes associated more with initial construction. The terms are routinely used interchangeably, in part because the evolution of dockyards and shipyards has often caused them to change or merge roles.

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