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History of Norway

Human settlements in Norway date back to more than 100 centuries. The first settlers were hunters and gatherers who arrived at the end of the last Ice Age. Norway’s most powerful impact on history came much later- during the 9th century, when the Vikings made their mark, travelling across the length and breadth of Europe, and even venturing as far as North America. Norway was first unified under Harald Fairhair in about 900 AD, and Christianity came to the country about a century later.

By the mid-eleventh century, the Vikings had ceased to exist as a formidable power, and by the 14th century, Norway was forced into a union with Denmark. It remained a part of this union for 4 centuries, and was ceded to Sweden in 1814. Norwegian nationalists tried, unsuccessfully, for nearly a century to free Norway from Swedish rule, but the country’s independence came only in 1905, when the Danish-born Prince Carl was selected as king.

In both world wars, Norway remained neutral, but during World War II, Nazi occupation and widespread destruction, including the flattening of entire villages and towns, resulted in Norway’s shift towards the Allies.

Since the end of World War II, Norway has made considerable progress, particularly as far as its economy is concerned. The discovery of oil and natural gas during the ‘70s has made the country’s economy one of the strongest in the region, but concerns regarding the country’s future- especially with reference to the EU (which Norway has still not joined)- continue to be important issues.

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