In 1397, a weakened Norway entered into a union (of sorts) with Denmark and Sweden. This Kalmar Union of mostly self-serving dynasties dissolved in 1524 when Sweden withdrew. A somewhat subservient Norway was now all but controlled by Denmark.
In the early 16th century, after Martin Luther nailed his (95 Theses) to the door of the Wittenberg Castle's Church, the Reformation began. Civil War and religious persecution swept western Europe, and Denmark and Norway, now joined in union, were not immune.
In 1814, during Napoleon Bonaparte's conquest of Europe, Denmark was defeated and forced to cede Norway to Sweden. Well, rightfully proud Norway continually resisted and wrote its own constitution. Norwegians begrudgingly accepted the Swedish King but (people power) was the determining factor when Norway finally left Swedish control in 1905, and Prince Carl of Denmark was crowned King Haakon VII.
Though neutral during World War I, Norway secretly sided with Britain by delivering much-needed supplies. Ignoring Norway's expressed neutrality during World War II, the Germans attacked Oslo and other cities. King Haakon and his government left for England and the Norwegian civil-resistance movement aggressively fought back. Norway (and many others) stood strong and tall, and the Germans surrendered in 1945.
At the end of that world-changing war, the royal family returned and a new day began. In 1945 Norway joined NATO, huge deposits of oil and gas were discovered offshore in the late 1960's, and the country's economic future was all but certain.
Though it joined the European Free Trade Association, Norway rejected joining the European Union (EU) as its citizens and government remain hesitant and protective, and they refuse to lose their fishing rights and change their standard of living. In fact, Norway still has the highest standard of living in the modern world.
This thoughtful and respectful "we against the world" attitude may eventually be modified, however, the unbelievable beauty of Norway will never change, and if you're ever fortunate enough to travel to this "Land of the Vikings" and the "Midnight Sun," you will quickly discover for yourself why Norwegians are so proud and so determined not to change a thing.
|Land Area||304,282 km2|
|Water Area||19,520 km2|
|Total Area||323,802km2 (#67)|
|Government Type||Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy|
|GDP (PPP)||$365.00 Billion|
|GDP Per Capita||$69,300|