Two centuries of
Viking raids into Europe tapered off following the adoption of
Christianity by King Olav Tryggvason in 994. Conversion
of the Norwegian kingdom occurred over the next several decades.
Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark that was to last
for more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians resisted the
cession of their country to Sweden and adopted a new constitution.
Sweden then invaded Norway but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution
in return for accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising
nationalism throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum
granting Norway independence. Norway remained neutral in World
War I and proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of World War
II. Nevertheless, it was not able to avoid a five-year occupation
by Nazi Germany (1940-1945). In 1949, neutrality was abandoned
and Norway became a member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas in
adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway's economic fortunes.
The current focus is on containing spending on the extensive welfare
system and planning for the time when petroleum reserves are depleted.
In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the
EU. . LOCATION:
Northern Europe, bordering the
North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Sweden CLIMATE: Temperate
along coast, modified by North Atlantic Current; colder interior
with increased precipitation
and colder summers; rainy year-round on west coast BORDERS:
Finland 729 km, Sweden 1,619 km,
Russia 196 km Norway
has produced its fair share of artistic sons including the painter
Edvard Munch, composer Edvard
Grieg, and playwright Henrik Ibsen. The country holds strong to
many of its cultural traditions and traditional folk dancing, singing
and storytelling are very popular. Sights to see when in Norway
include its capital, Oslo, the oldest of the Scandinavian capitals.
Founded in 1050, it is Norway’s largest city and home to
the spectacular Akershus Fortress – a medieval castle and
fortress built in 1300. Its banquet halls and staterooms and chapel
are still used for royal functions today. The historic city of
Bergen is ideal for exploring nearby natural attractions such as
Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, the breathtaking
waterfalls at Geirangerfjord and the enormous Jostedalsbreen glacier.
The northern town of Tromso is known as the - Gateway to the Artic
- and is a lively town with street music and more pubs than any
other place in the country. For a really spectacular experience,
journey north to Hammerfest to see the Northern Lights. Known as
the aurora borealis, they are a natural phenomenon characterized
by the appearance of streamers of coloured light in the sky caused
by the interaction of charged particles from the sun with atoms
in the upper atmosphere.