Norway’s varied nature and climate change after the recent ice age led to significant regional differences in industries and settlements.
Mesolithic time (ca. 9000–4000 BC)
Hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering were unmistakable. In southern and central Norway, the early Mesolithic finds belong to the Fosna complex, while the younger ones are considered part of the northwestern tradition; In Northern Norway, the finds are attributed to the Koma culture. Most traces of people originate from coastal areas. The oldest known settlements are found in Østfold, Rogaland and Finnmark. an 11,000-12,000 year old residence in the Northern Cape municipality in Finnmark. With an increasing population, the catch settlements became more and more varied and the central base settlements larger; In northern Norway, trails for huts are common. To see more information other than history, please visit Abbreviationfinder to learn more about climate, population, government, and economy for the country of Norway. The rock carving tradition goes back to this time.
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Neolithic times (about 4000-1800 BC)
Seed cultivation and livestock management made their entry, initially only in the area around the Oslo Fjord. In the rest of the country, hunting and gathering economies continue to dominate, possibly extended by some domestic animals in the west and in parts of northern Norway; In Troms and Finnmark county, fishing and fishing culture prevailed throughout the Stone Age. Towards the end of the period, agriculture got its real breakthrough, right up to Troms. However, livestock management with the addition of hunting and fishing seems to have played a greater role than crop cultivation. During the Late Politics, contacts with southern Scandinavia were maintained, which is evident in numerous finds of imported flint objects, mainly daggers.
The Bronze Age (1800–500 BC)
As in other parts of Scandinavia, the period is characterized by burials in large piles or cairns. During the older Bronze Age, the dead were burnt unburned, while fire burial conditions prevailed during the younger Bronze Age, when tomb gifts were also simpler. Rich tombs are mainly found in southwestern Norway; probably only this area had a sufficiently large population to support an upper class. From the younger Bronze Age, the finds are more evenly distributed. Eastern Norway in particular has more bargains than before. Sacrifice finds of bronze objects in springs and marshes, together with rock carvings, provide an insight into the religious conceptions and cult of the time, where the plant and reproductive forces appear to have been central. In recent years, especially in Rogaland, house foundations of the same type as in Denmark have been found. Bargain and bargain findsrather (ie caves and rock overhangs), as well as from open places in most of the country, testify that hunting and fishing together with livestock management continue to be of great importance.
Iron Age Iron Age (ca. 500 BC – BC)
The period is characterized by a simple finding material. The objects are few because the grave finds are few, probably due to the fact that tombs were not marked with piles or cows, but perhaps also because grave gifts were sparse or did not occur. Paleobotanical surveys show that agriculture expanded; as far as up to Lofoten seed was grown. The reason was probably population increase. In Rogaland, which has the most bargains, the house grounds are smaller than in the previous and subsequent periods. In Trøndelag, iron extraction sites date back to about 300 BC. found; falling bronze imports during the 500s BC however, indicates that iron was produced locally already then. The cessation of bronze imports probably contributed to a more egalitarian social structure than during the Bronze Age; Neither settlement nor grave finds indicate social differences.
Roman Iron Age (AD – 400 AD)
Grounding of the dead became common again, and weapons began to appear as grave gifts. Most weapons excavations are found in areas in eastern Norway, with favorable conditions for grain cultivation. Probably farms with large grain production have been able to change, among other things. fur; large facilities testify to well-organized reindeer and moose catches. Furs and horns were exchanged for Roman luxury goods such as bronze vessels, glass and weapons. In the development of the runes and in the measurement and weight system, impulses from the Roman Empire can be traced. Iron production expanded greatly, and in Trøndelag large iron extraction facilities were demonstrated. Large house foundations and rich burial finds now again indicate social strata in society.
The migration period (400–550 AD)
meant a further development of the prevailing conditions. In the coastal area the number of finds increases. In southwestern Norway there are many desert farms, often in the marginal agricultural land: they testify that the good soil was now occupied. Lista and Jæren on the coast at the far south-west were probably particularly densely populated, and this led to the forest being forced back. Small house grounds along the coast testify that fishing was the most important industry for many. Caves and rock overhangs are still used during the fishing and hunting seasons. The findings of the tomb testify to clear social differences, indirectly also to specialization, as several groups of objects require different kinds of craftsmanship. Tax finds and countryside towns, ie archipelagoers, may indicate that the migration period, as in Sweden, was uneasy, but it is uncertain whether it was due to internal strife or external threats.
Merovingian times (550–800 AD)
characterized by several changes. A significant decline in the number of finds has been interpreted as a sign of population decline caused by war or epidemic, possibly also the result of changed trade relations, with the emphasis shifting from western Norway to eastern Scandinavia. The changes are also noticeable in jewelry, weapons and in the characteristic Germanic animal style. Yet another feature is that tools and tools are left as grave gifts; the graves are otherwise dominated by weapons. The finds from Åker at Mjøsa in eastern Norway bear similarities to those from the rich upland tombs at Vendel and Valsgärde.
Viking Age (approx. 800 – approx. 1050)
The Viking Age is often said to have begun with the looting of the monastery on Holy Island off the east coast of England 793. However, the Viking trains to the west did not only consist of pirate and trade voyages but also included colonization. From Norway, this targeted Iceland and Greenland, the Faroe Islands, the Shetland and Orkney Islands as well as the Hebrides, Ireland and the Isle of Man.
There is a causal link between the Viking trains and Norway’s unification. The coastal Viking chiefs often returned home with rich prey. They could use their new resources to increase their power and become “little kings”. Parallel herewith went on i.e. Trøndelag a political gathering, with the thing as governing body. Extensive expansion also took place inland. In southern and central Norway they settled in the valleys and in the mountains, as well as along the fjords in northern Norway. In Kaupang in Vestfold, excavations have shown trade activity from the late 700s. This settlement, known during the Viking Age as Skiringsal, can be said to have been the first seed for Norway’s urbanization.
Such was the situation when one of the little kings, Harald Hårfager, became lord over the whole of Western Norway, according to tradition through the sea battle in Hafrsfjorden near Stavanger, probably about 885. By sound kings Harald seems to have gained some control over Trøndelag and Østlandet. In the 9th century, the establishment of leadership and laying contributed to the national unit’s strengthening. In the struggle against, above all, the Ladejarlarna in Trøndelag, who fought for local autonomy, and Danish kings, who at times ruled the Viken, the coastal area between the Göta River and Lindesnes, fought Harald’s descendants with varying success for their kingdom. First Olav II Haraldsson (1015-28) was also recognized in the country’s interior. When his son Magnus I in good 1035 was hailed as king, Norway’s unification was basically completed.
The ships were a basic prerequisite for trade as well as looting and colonization trips. The excavators at Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune testify to the highly developed shipbuilding art and to the upper strata of society. The majority of graves, however, belong to the free peasantry, and here the weapons dominate: at least 4,000 Viking-era swords and spearheads are preserved. Both weapons and jewelery have a uniform character, which indicates good contacts between different parts of the country. Import items in grave and tax finds tell about long-distance contacts and about participation in trips on the west and east.
The Viking trains also contributed to the Christianity of the country by baptizing the chiefs Olav Tryggvason and Olav Haraldsson in the West Viking with the help of Anglo-Saxon missionaries, the subjects forced the new faith since they became kings. Olav Haraldsson established law in the 1020s the position of the church in the kingdom, and at the same time it was joined to the archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen. The participation of kings in the introduction of Christianity certainly had political causes. For their efforts to consolidate the national unity, they needed the support of the well-organized church, which the missionaries gladly provided in exchange for, among other things. donations of chieftainships that were withdrawn at the national assembly. The launch of Olav Haraldsson as a martyr and national saint is a clear expression of the church-royal interest of interest.
The Middle Ages (c. 1050–1536)
The Viking Age had been a period of population growth and new cultivation in Norway, and the trend continued until the end of the 13th century. But natural conditions nevertheless set tight limits for agricultural expansion. They also made scattered farm buildings the country’s normal form of settlement, and as always, fishing and livestock farming played an important role in the livelihood of the population alongside agriculture. However, forestry was still underdeveloped. The importance of Norwegian commercial shipping was of great importance through the coastal route from Viken to Northern Norway, where a large part of the population was Sami. In the early Middle Ages, the first cities were built: Oslo, Konghelle (Kungahälla), Bergen, Tønsberg.
During the Viking Age, a land-owning peasant class constituted a large majority of the population of Norway. However, it contained many social strata, from chieftains and downwards, and the individual’s position was largely determined by the power and wealth of the family. Unarmed farm workers, free or semi-free, formed a subclass, and at the very bottom of the scale were the lawless thralls. But during the Middle Ages, bondage disappeared – about 1200 it had largely ceased – and also in other ways then changed the social structure of Norway. By means of privilege legislation, certain social groups were separated from the peasant population, mainly the priesthood but also worldly great men and the foreign merchants of the few cities. Among the peasants, the proportion of tenants (renters) grew) as the Church in particular became increasingly submerged by the earth. But their personal freedom clearly protected the Norwegian renters better than Denmark’s peasants.
Norway’s political unity did not mean that the central government immediately took a firm hold on the entire kingdom. But in the 12th and 13th centuries, royal power, great men and the church built a nationwide administration apparatus. Nidaros (Trondheim), Bergen, Oslo and Stavanger became bishop’s seats early, and in 1152–53 Norway was made with subordinate British archipelago groups, the Faroe Islands and Greenland to an archbishopric directly under the Pope. Like Sweden and Denmark, however, the country was shaken by these struggles during these centuries; they filled the time from the 1130s to the 1220s. One basic reason was that all Norwegian royal sons, married or not, were considered to be inherited to the crown. Major groups or church leaders could therefore launch such – real or pretended, often children – as throne candidates (royal subjects)) to try to take power themselves with them as bullies.
Parallel to this was a transformation of the main man class from a local anchored aristocracy to a service part recruited from different parts of the country. With the chieftain or national assembly, towards the end of the 13th century replaced by the national council, aristocracy and church sought to create bodies for permanent participation in the central power. In one view, the kings subordinated themselves with few exceptions and became tools for the interests of the highest classes without their own influence on the national board. Others believe that at least in the era of the Sverreättens (c. 1180–1319), the kings’ personal power was generally greater than that, and that the then domestic politics always applied to the utmost if the leaders or the highest classes were to dominate the national government.
After the end of the civil war, the central power was stabilized under Håkon IV Håkonsson’s government. Under him and his son Magnus VI Law fines important reforms were implemented. A succession law established, in order to avoid future “royal issues”, that Norway was an heirloom with birthright among married royal sons. Furthermore, a national team and a city team were already granted in the 1270s, and the same decade extended the rights of the city to both the chiefs of the shepherd and the church.
Norway’s relations with the outside world during the period were characterized by still lively contacts to the west: political, economic and cultural. Initially, as in the Viking era, they mostly applied to the British Isles, but gradually they expanded to the continent. The Norwegian empire in the west reached its peak when Greenland in 1261 and Iceland in 1262 recognized Håkon Håkonsson as ruler and Magnus Lagaböter in 1266 got the Scottish king to accept the Norwegian empire over the Orkney and Shetland Islands against Magnus renouncing his claims on the Hebrides and the Isle of Man. But from the middle of the 13th century, Norway began to turn to the south and east. Politically, relations with Denmark and Sweden became increasingly dominant, while relations with the Hanseatic cities came to the fore in the economic field.
The Late Middle Ages became a severe downturn. One basic reason was that the prolonged population increase of about 1300 was changed in population reduction. It was an international trend, which increased at the turn of the century, mainly due to the death of the poet, and which then continued until the beginning of the new era. The country was hit hard by the plague with a loss according to some estimates of about half the population. The population decline triggered a 200-year agricultural crisis, leaving about 60% of the farms deserted. However, the increased grazing supply that followed resulted in a certain boost for livestock management. Likewise, fish, especially dried cod, was an important export commodity. The Norwegian foreign trade during the late Middle Ages was mainly handled by German merchants. Their privileges had widened as the country’s dependence on grain imports for its supply increased,
Through the devastation of the agricultural crisis and declining lease income, the main man class was further weakened, both numerically and economically, and its decline favored the peasants. In addition, as landlords on church land did not tend to be particularly hard pressed, during the late Middle Ages and the 16th century the worst threat to the peasant class as a whole became the foreign bailiffs who guarded the crown’s tax interests in the service of the Union kings. Calculations of the land distribution towards the end of the Middle Ages give an idea of the relative strength of social classes. The church’s holdings were greatest by about 48%, the nobility’s share was about 13%, the farmland’s about 29% and the crown’s about 10%.
The economic recession restricted the great men’s ability to assert themselves politically, without this significantly favoring the royal power. Instead, the result was a general weakening of central power from the latter part of the 13th century. The former tendency for stronger national unity under at least formal royal leadership was now reversed in its opposite. Parts of the countryside’s self-government were reintroduced, at the same time as the national administration fell apart in castle counties (Akershus, Bohus, Bergenhus and Trondheims county).
The internal weakness made a priori Norway inferior Denmark in the more than 400-year-old union between the kingdoms as the basis of dynastic relations were established in 1380 and at the end of the Middle Ages at times also included Sweden (see the Kalmar Union). The country was mainly governed by the Danish royal office without the participation of the Norwegian Council of Ministers, and locally foreign county governors and bailiffs, usually Danes or Germans, represented the Union King. As an indirect consequence of the Union, Norway also suffered a territorial loss; In 1468–69, the heavily indebted Kristian of the Orkney and Shetland Islands pledged to the Scottish King, and the mortgages were never redeemed.
The times 1536–1814
In connection with a general European economic upswing at the beginning of the new era, a long-term economic upturn began in Norway. Until the middle of the 17th century, most of the farms were decommissioned during the agricultural crisis, and the Netherlands’ growing dominance in shipbuilding and shipping led to a considerable increase in demand for Norwegian shipbuilding. This in turn stimulated the introduction of an important technical news in southern Norway’s forestry around 1520, the water saw, and soon timber was the country’s leading export commodity. Fishing exports also increased in the 16th century, when the herring went into larger shoals than before off the coast of Vestland.
When the general economic situation in the 1600s turned again downwards, this did, to a certain extent, affect fish exports, but not the management of wood. England, which then assumed the role of leading shipping nation, had at least as much need of ship timber as the Netherlands had. In addition, with the support of the English Navigation Act in 1651, the Norwegians were able to increase their own commercial shipping at the expense of the Dutch. As part of Kristian IV ‘s mercantilist politics, mining was also developed; to those already built in the 16th century, although small but numerous ironworks now came mining in Røros (copper) and Kongsberg (silver).
The prosperity of the export industries was an important prerequisite for the strong population increase, which from the beginning of the new era to about 1660 doubled the population of the kingdom to more than 400,000 and up to the census in 1801 it once again doubled to just under 900,000, about the same as Denmark. However, during the 18th century, the increase in the population caused great supply problems at times, especially inland. The new rise for shipping and wood handling consisted of the middle of the century until a naval blockade during Denmark’s war against Britain in 1807–14 completely crippled Norway’s foreign trade.
During the Reformation in 1536, the crown withdrew most of the church’s estate and thus became the owner of about half of Norway’s cultivated land. Among other things, therefore, the position of the higher priesthood was particularly weakened. As far as the petty nobility is concerned, it never recovered from its late medieval regress, neither to the numeric nor in terms of social position. The weakness of the aristocracy and the reduction of church property favored the peasants. After 1536, close to 40% of the land became farmer-owned. The boom in the timber management created resources for the Crown’s leasehold landlords to redeem their farms. By the middle of the 18th century, about 60% of Norway’s farmers were self-sufficient. Especially in the rural areas, however, during the same century the number of farmworkers (homemakers) increased the most, so that the overall result was socially a proletarization of the rural population.
An indigenous bourgeoisie first emerged in the 17th century. Initially, it consisted of well-ordered immigrants and was largely favored by Christian IV ‘s mercantilist policies. In line with the continued expansion of commercial shipping, the upper class was expanded to include, in addition to a number of landlords and senior officials, the trade patrician (large merchants, sawmill owners and shipowners). The United Kingdom, together with the Netherlands, was the main consumer for its goods and services. Therefore, the devastation was hit by the blockade in 1807-14, and little to the surprise came many of the leaders of the strong growing independence movement during these years just out of its ranks.
From being a self-governing state, Norway was wiped out as a “kingdom” and formally a Danish province through Kristian III ‘s fortification in 1536. The national council was abolished, the church lost its independence, and county governors and bailiffs were subordinated to the royal administration in Copenhagen. But as early as 1572 a central governing body in Norway was re-established by the county governor at Akershus became the country’s governor, and in 1642 a Norwegian was formed here.
After the introduction of the one-world government in Denmark in 1661, the Danish central government again increased, even though Norway then regained formal status as a kingdom equal to Denmark. Throughout the Danish empire, effective bureaucracy was created by experts in various administrative fields, directly responsible to the central colleges in Copenhagen. The system restricted the powers of the governor and other high officials in Norway – they were very rarely Norwegians but usually Danes or Germans – and finally the governor’s office was abolished in 1771. Both before and during the monarchy, both the rulers in Denmark and their local representatives in Norway were abolished. his duties are to take into account specific Norwegian conditions and requirements: one example is Kristian V’s national legislation, which included not only the Danish Law (1683) but also the Norwegian Law (1687).
That the administrative alignment in the Danish empire did not completely break through in Norwegian cases should have had two basic causes. First, it was impossible to ignore the large differences between the countries’ business and social conditions, based on nature and climate. But from the latter part of the 16th century came the threat from Sweden to conquer Norway as part of the then long-standing Danish-Swedish struggle for hegemony in the Nordic countries. In order not to promote anti-Danish Swedish propaganda in the country, more than before, administrative and political measures that were perceived to conflict with Norwegian interests and could cause dissatisfaction among the Norwegians must now be avoided. This became especially important after the middle of the 17th century, when Norway’s loss of Bohuslän and Denmark’s of Halland and Skåne cut off the previously almost unbroken land connection between the kingdoms and referred them to the sea road over the Skagerrak for mutual communications. Not least the Norwegian peasant population benefited from this; Compared to the Danish, it was treated mildly by the governing body.
However, the negative effects of the new geopolitical situation on the Danish-Norwegian Union only became noticeable until 1807-14, when the naval blockade completely prevented the board of Norway from Copenhagen. A government commission must therefore be set up in Kristiania. It was replaced in 1810 by a deputy governor, who in 1813 was followed by the cousin Kristian Fredrik, Fredrik VI ‘s cousin.
In Kielfreden in January 1814 Fredrik VI resigned Norway to the King of Sweden. But Kristian Fredrik refused to accept the resignation and, as the nearest heir to the throne, demanded the crown in an independent Norway. Later, however, for obvious reasons, he joined the people sovereignty principle and on May 17 he was elected king by a people-elected national assembly at Eidsvoll, after it had first drafted and adopted a constitution for free Norway. But Sweden’s Crown Prince Karl Johan demanded the fulfillment of the Kiel Treaty, and without foreign support Kristian Fredrik and the Norwegians must give way after a short war. In November, the Storting and Swedish negotiators agreed on the terms of the Union, and after Sweden had accepted the Eidsvoll Constitution revised by the Storting, Karl XIII was elected King of Norway.
The significance of the events in 1814 is disputed within Norwegian history research. According to one opinion, the revolt against Kielfreden was the culmination of a domestic development process, where vague national currents in the 18th-century bourgeois and civil servants’ circles matured into a conscious, active independence movement during the isolation and emergency years of 1807-14. In this view, the real leaders, both at Eidsvoll and later, were native Norwegians such as CM Falsen and Georg Sverdrup, not Kristian Fredrik. But according to another view, the rise was primarily a by-product of the then dynamic superpower policy, and Kristian Fredrik’s active role and decisive importance for development is emphasized. However, there is no denying the existence of strong domestic support for the pursuit of liberty, especially within the urban population.
Norway during the Union period (1814-1905)
Free Norway, which emerged from the events of 1814, was, in its economic and social structure, essentially a traditional society, which has since long lived by self-sustaining agriculture and livestock management, usually in combination with fishing, shipping, mining, timber production or transport. A commodity-producing sector in this economy gradually gained importance and became increasingly export-oriented. Exports suffered during the global recession that followed in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars, including due to the fact that the UK imposed protection duties on Norwegian timber to favor its colony Canada. Since the timber trade and industry were mainly located in Østlandet and Trøndelag, it was mainly these regions that were affected by the depression. Inflation, another consequence of the war, and the fight to restore currency stability through the creation of a silver fund in Norges Bank also pushed up the tax burden. It aroused the dissatisfaction of the peasants and reinforced their traditional distrust of the bureaucracy and inclination for frugality with government spending.
The 19th century became a time of strong population growth for Norway. The number of residents increased between 1801 and 1900 from about 883,500 to about 2,240,000, in parallel with the fact that 632,000 Norwegians emigrated during the years 1865-1900, mainly to the United States and Canada. For those who remained, livelihoods were opened partly through a change of agriculture towards animal production and partly through the industrialization that started around the turn of the century with culmination points in the 1870s and 1890s.
Exports of sawn timber increased thanks to the steam saw’s breakthrough and Britain’s transition to free trade in the 1840s. Somewhat later, there was an upswing for the paper and pulp industry, mainly thanks to the introduction of sulfate and sulfite methods in the 1890s. The breakthrough of electricity as a power source made it possible to utilize Norway’s hydropower assets and thus gave new impetus to the industrial expansion around the turn of the century. Alongside industry, commercial shipping developed, which was favored by the abolition of the British navigation act in 1849. Between 1850 and 1890, the Norwegian tonnage six-fold.
During the decades around 1900, a gradual transition from sailing to steam and from tramping to linering took place. This laid the foundation for the modern Norwegian merchant fleet and prepared a provision for an expanding shipbuilding industry. The rapid development of industry, commerce and the communications system created new middle groups of entrepreneurs and officials, who demanded influence and formed organizations for this purpose; In 1899 the National Organization (LO) was founded, 1900 Norwegian Employers’ Association (NAF). Also of great importance was the rapidly growing social life from the 1840s: mission and sobriety associations, savings banks, insurance associations, song associations and social organizations. Here, many politicians on both the national and local levels received a basic education.
Political life took place within the framework of the Eidsvoll Constitution of 1814. The right to vote was not universal but more extensive than in any other European country. In the event of a conflict between the king and the parliament, the former had only postponed veto. The real power lay until 1884 with the officials, who mastered not only the central and local government but also the Storting. As the Constitution of 1814 constituted the legal basis for their power, the officials came to act as its defender against attempts by both the King and the Parliament to change it. They also showed great openness to economic liberalism. Inclinations and nutritional privileges were abolished, and in 1842 a tariff reduction policy was initiated which gradually made Norway a free trade country. In 1854, the country’s first railway from Kristiania to Lake Mjøsa was opened.
After 1830, a new political force emerged based on the self-sufficient peasants under the leadership of OG Ueland. The program included frugality with public funds, the elimination of the burdens that rested solely on the peasants and expanded municipal self-government. The government met with the opposition through the bill to the 1837 Municipal Act (Presidency Act). However, this former “peasant communalism” never sought to deprive the officials of power on the national level, nor did it demand parliamentarianism. The larger peasants received support during the unrest of 1848 and then the officials’ support against an opposition of workers and housemates who threatened their own power in the countryside, for example. the movement under Marcus Thrane that demanded universal suffrage.
In the 1850s, in the Storting, a more radical opposition group was led by the lawyer Johan Sverdrup in collaboration with the farmer friends’ associations under Søren Jaabæk. This group paved the way for parliamentarism. A first interim goal was achieved when it was decided in 1869 that the Storting would meet every year instead of every third and in its own house on Karl Johans gate. This increased its ability to control the government. The next objective of the parliamentary opposition was to involve the government in the activities of the Storting by explicitly allowing the Cabinet of Ministers to participate in the negotiations of the thing; In doing so, they would be transformed from leaders of the central government into politicians who must cooperate with the Storting’s majority. In that case, they could only remain there as long as they enjoyed their trust. II, to use his right of veto.
On four occasions, the Storting decided that the Prime Minister should be present in the Storting, but at all times the King refused on the advice of the Prime Minister to sanction the decisions. The veto battle divided the Storting into two parties, the ministerial, which supported the government, and those who supported Sverdrup. From this contradiction, the Norwegian party system emerged with Høyre and Venstre as the main parties. After a recent election in 1882, which gave a clear left majority, Sverdrup realized that the opposing ministers were brought before national law and sentenced to provision for having acted against the Constitution. Oscar IImust bow down and allow Sverdrup to form a pure left-wing government (1884). Thus, parliamentarism had prevailed in Norway, the first parliamentary breakthrough in any Nordic country. In the 1890s, Venstre also raised the demand for universal suffrage and in 1898 was able to enforce universal suffrage for men. Women were granted municipal voting rights in 1900 and general voting rights in 1913.
In the face of parliamentarism, the question of union with Sweden was at the center of politics. Since Karl XIV Johan had given up his plans for a merger of the two peoples in 1830, the union relationship developed fairly harmoniously, and some reforms in Norwegian favor could be implemented, such as when it was decided in 1835 that a Norwegian government minister would participate in the so-called ministerial consulate, where foreign policy issues were addressed. Scandinavianism made the Union in Norway valued higher than before, and in the same direction the Crimean War seemed, as the threat of a Russian attack on Northern Norway (see the Varanger issue) created a sense of fate between the Scandinavian kingdoms. By contrast, the governor’s struggle of 1859–60 meant a setback. Karl XVhad promised to abolish the governor’s office in Kristiania but could not fulfill his promise due to the opinion of the Swedish knight’s house. The matter itself was soon resolved by a Swedish concession, since the vacant governor’s office vacant in 1860 in 1873 was replaced by a Norwegian Prime Minister’s office in Kristiania. But the governor’s struggle showed that the Union issue was pushing for a crisis with deep roots in cultural, social and political development. Of fundamental importance was the national revival during the decades around the middle of the century, when artists and writers took up national and popular motifs and historians sought back to the time when Norway was a free and strong kingdom.
Another basic prerequisite for the Union crisis was the social and political development which, from the 1870s, increasingly distanced the kingdoms from each other. While official Sweden was still conservative and bureaucratic, developments in Norway went in a radical and democratic direction. Norway therefore came to be regarded with rising suspicion in Swedish conservative circles. An influential Swedish opinion began in the 1880s to demand an end to the “unilateral concessions” to Norway. On the Norwegian side, opinions about the future of the Union were shared. Høyre, who saw a defense political value in the Union, wanted to maintain it with the joint foreign minister, Norwegian or Swedish, but gradually developed a deeper distrust of Oscar II ‘s tendency to assert a personal royal power.
Venstre, whose goal was full foreign political independence, gathered in 1892 about the requirement for a separate Norwegian consulate (compare the consulate matter). Repeated parliamentary decisions on this were met by the royal sanction refusal, and Sweden threatened with war if the decisions were implemented without sanction. In 1895, the Swedish Parliament repealed the last of the important interstate laws that were important to Norwegian business. Norway must strike a retreat and enter into negotiations with Sweden, while at the same time strengthening its position through a significant upgrading. The fear of Russian expansion in northern Norway created a more conciliatory atmosphere towards the Union around the turn of the century, and a negotiation solution seemed to be on the way. Then in the autumn of 1904 came the Swedish Prime Minister EC Boström’s proposal for the laws that, according to previous agreement, would regulate the position of the Norwegian consulates vis-à-vis the Foreign Minister.
The resentment in Norway was great, and the nation agreed behind the demand for union break. To this also probably contributed to the fact that the Russian danger after the defeat of Russia in the war against Japan no longer appeared as acute. A new government was formed under Christian Michelsen, and the Storting unanimously decided to introduce its own Norwegian consulate. When Oscar II refused sanction, the government demanded a resignation, which was denied. The Storting then stated on June 7, 1905 that “the king ceased to function as a Norwegian king”. The war risk was once again acute, but after hard negotiations in Karlstad in August – September, the Union could be dissolved peacefully. Since Oscar IIdeclined the offer to give the Norwegian throne to a prince of the house Bernadotte, this was conquered after a referendum by the Danish prince Carl under the name Håkon VII.
The years 1905–40
The dissolution of the Union did not constitute a crime in the development of society, which proceeded towards industrialization and technological modernization. Progress was made in the electrochemical and metallurgical sector, largely thanks to foreign capital investment. The fears of overly strong foreign influence propelled restrictive concession legislation with provisions that waterfalls and power stations would accrue to the state after a certain period of time. Society was increasingly organized with increased influence, mainly for LO and NAF. At the 1912 elections, the Labor Party received 26.5% of the vote and became the second largest party after Venstre, who was driven by social pressure in the social liberal direction and carried out certain social reforms (health insurance 1909, normal working day ten hours 1915, eight hours 1919).
During the First World War, Norway, led by Gunnar Knudsen’s left government, successfully asserted its neutrality, but the Norwegian merchant navy was hit hard by the German naval war. More than 2,000 Norwegian sailors were killed by explosions and torpedoes. At the same time, commercial shipping and the shipbuilding industry were booming, and stock speculation flourished along with eye-catching luxury consumption; however, wage earners were affected by commodity shortages and price increases. The result was growing class contradictions, which led to radicalization in the labor movement. After a few years, the Labor Party chose a revolutionary line with the division of the labor movement as a result. In 1927, however, the reformist groups were united in the Labor Party. A small group of Moscow faithful had formed the Communist Party of Norway in 1923.
The interwar period was dominated by economic difficulties, which had its basis in that changing bourgeois governments, with heroic consistency, sought to restore the par value of the krone after the fall in prices in the early 1920s. When this finally succeeded in 1928, the result was that the business sector could not take advantage of the cyclical improvement of the outgoing twenty-something economy to the same extent as in Denmark and Sweden. Deflation policy affected workers with high and persistent unemployment, but also debt-ridden farmers and small businesses. The class contradictions hardened with a series of strikes and lockouts, including a major lockout in 1931 that threatened to trigger a violent conflict.
When the world depression reached Norway in 1930, it was fought by the left-wing government Mowinckel mainly with tax relief and savings, while the Labor Party demanded an expansive fiscal policy, among other things. Swedish pattern. When unemployment reached a peak of 33.4% in 1933, dissatisfaction grew, and the Labor Party made a very good choice that year, which provided the basis for the crisis settlement that Party leader Johan Nygaardsvold met in 1921 with the Peasant Party founded. With a series of measures to devote to agriculture, Nygaardsvold won the farmers’ support for a comprehensive social policy program, financed with tax increases. He was then able to form a pure workers’ party government and thus initiated a social democratic power hold that with a shorter stay lasted until 1965.
Crisis policy was accompanied by good economic growth, to which the international armor economy also contributed. However, unemployment was not overcome, which in 1939 still represented 18.3% of the union members.
A good part of the political interest was occupied during the interwar period by the prohibition issue, which triggered three government crises. The ban on spirits and sometimes even strong wines introduced after the war led to extensive illegal trade and was abolished after a referendum in 1927. Instead, a state wine monopoly was introduced.
Norway during the Second World War
At the outbreak of the war in 1939, Norway declared itself neutral, despite strong economic and ideological ties uniting the country with Britain. The defense was mainly designed for surveillance tasks, as the geographical location was regarded as a guarantee against large-scale invasion attempts. Soon, however, Norway was drawn into the great political power game. Convinced that Norway lacked the will and ability to reject British neutrality violations (compare the Altmark deal), Hitler ordered the execution of Operation Weserübung, which meant occupation of Denmark and Norway. At the same time, the Allies made the decision to implement a plan drawn up by Churchill to mine the Norwegian waters within the three-mile boundary. On April 8, 1940, the minute strike began (in the Vestfjord at Narvik), and on April 9 came the German attack. A nightly ultimatum to the Norwegian government to cooperate with the German armed forces was rejected. During the course of April 9, the Germans managed to conquer the most important port cities. Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Narvik. However, because the German cruiser Blücher was lowered by the Norwegian coastal defense at Oscarsborg at the entrance to Oslo, however, the capital’s conquest was delayed, and the royal family, the government and the Storting could depart by extra train north.
At new negotiations in Elverum, the Norwegian government once again rejected the German requirements, since the leader of the Norwegian Nazi Party National Collection (NS) Vidkun Quisling in Norwegian radio on the evening of April 9 declared that he formed a “national” government. The uneven fight continued. In low numbers, unexperienced and ill-equipped, the Norwegians, after hard fighting, mainly in Gudbrandsdalen and Valdres, must give up the resistance in southern Norway at the beginning of May. In Northern Norway, the battle continued for another month, with Narvik being withdrawn for a time with the help of Allied forces. However, war developments in France soon forced the Allies to withdraw their troops, and the Norwegians had to capitulate. The king and the government departed June 7 from Tromsø to London to continue the resistance.
The situation in occupied Norway was initially unclear. Quisling is for the time being managed aside by the German authorities. Instead, at the initiative of the Supreme Court, an administrative council was set up for the occupied territories, independent of the royal government. On April 19, a German national commissioner, Josef Terboven, was appointed who began negotiations with the aim of replacing the London government with a cooperative Norwegian so-called national council. However, the negotiations were based on Hitler supporting Quisling’s claim to power. On September 25, the Germans set up a government of their own, consisting mainly of NS members. By a so-called state act at Akershus in 1942, Quisling was placed with the title of prime minister at the head of a nominally independent Norwegian government, which in practice was, however, completely subordinate to the national commissioner.
Under the leadership of the Quisling regime, a nationwide Nazi campaign was soon launched that aimed to turn Norway into a corporatist state, based on the principle of leadership. Against the Nazi equality, a strong passive resistance was erected, which was based on different sectors of society (school, church, university, trade union movement) and which the Germans, despite harsh reprisals, failed to exert. Gradually, active resistance also emerged, both in civilian and in military forms. An illegal news agency was organized, and military resistance groups were set up. People threatened by arrest were helped to escape, among other things. to Sweden, where many of the 43,000 refugees joined the Norwegian police forces that had been trained there since the end of 1943. In the meantime, the London exile government sought the resources available to it to contribute to the Allied cause. Norwegian military forces were built up in the UK by young Norwegians who managed to escape, a total of 15,000 men. On the other hand, about 6,000 Norwegians did military service on the German side. The most important asset of the exile government was the merchant navy, which, at the time of the occupation, was outside the German sphere of power and could now be deployed in the Allied Atlantic maintenance service.
Norway’s liberation began in the fall of 1944 by Soviet troops occupying Kirkenes. Finnmark and northern Troms were hardened according to the tactics of the burnt earth of the 200,000 retiring Germans from Finland. The Soviet troops remained there until September 1945. For fear of a similar development in the rest of the country, the government therefore began negotiations with Sweden on military aid in the event of continued German resistance at a future capitulation on the continent. But when the German capitulation came in May 1945, it turned out to be true also of the forces that were in Norway, and the occupation could then be wound up under peaceful forms.
After the war, the settlement followed with the Norwegians who in various ways proceeded with the occupation powers. About 18,000 were given custodial sentences, 28,000 fines and/or loss of civil rights. Slightly more than 5,000 were indicted, mostly passive members of NS, while 30 were sentenced to death and 25 executed, including Quisling and two of his ministers.
Almost after the liberation, Norway was ruled by a unity government led by Einar Gerhardsen of the Labor Party. Since the parliamentary elections in the autumn of 1945 gave the Labor Party its own majority, a purely social democratic government was formed, whose first tasks were to lead the reconstruction after the war and to lay the foundations for a new Norwegian security policy.
The reconstruction was carried out in the spirit of consensus across party borders that was a legacy of the war, despite the fact that it still required a few years to maintain the harsh crisis management with rationing, import control and state regulation of business. The result was also good; industrial production and GDP had already passed 1938 levels in 1946, and at the turn of the year 1948-49, Norway’s real capital was larger than before the war.
It was in Norway’s interest that the good relationship between the Soviet Union and the Western powers existed, and Norwegian foreign policy therefore worked actively to bridge the gap that opened up between the great powers during the first post-war years. Only when this failed did Norway choose to join NATO rather than embark on a Swedish proposal for a neutral Scandinavian defense union.
With the experiences of the war in fresh memory, it was not considered possible to escape the support of the Western powers. At the same time, however, Norway sought to contribute to international relaxation and to maintaining the so-called Nordic balance through the so-called basic policy, which meant that NATO was not allowed to build air bases or store nuclear weapons on Norwegian territory in peace time. As part of the new alliance policy, extensive military upgrades were carried out.
Until the mid-1960s, Norwegian domestic politics was dominated by the Labor Party, whose main goal was to promote economic growth, primarily by investing in the large industry, while seeking to achieve as equitable a distribution as possible, both through wage movements and the state’s social and regional policy.. The idea of socialization had been abandoned, but the state nevertheless played a key role in the growth process, both as entrepreneurs and through indirect control methods, primarily monetary and fiscal policy, in close cooperation with business and labor market organizations.
The result was rapid production growth and structural transformation. Agriculture and forestry and fishing employed a relatively smaller proportion of the population, while the industrial and, above all, the services sector grew. The settlement pattern was changed by moving from sparsely populated to urban areas. The level of living rose in a way that was observable for all. The education system was expanded; Among other things, new universities were founded in Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø. A large part of the resources were used for various types of welfare measures, such as child benefits and health insurance.
A summary social legislation on social security was created in 1966 by consensus over party borders. The difficulties that the structural transformation entailed for sparsely populated areas were sought to be alleviated by a regional policy that was far more ambitious than Sweden and Finland and which can be explained by the traditionally decentralized structure of Norwegian business and industry with a focus on raw materials and semi-finished products, further strengthened by the oil boom of the 1970s.
The Labor Party lost its parliamentary majority in 1961. At this year’s election, a new opposition party, the Socialist People’s Party, emerged, which mainly criticized the government’s NATO policy. It won two terms and became the tongue on the balance in the Storting. Their key position was to use the party to trap the government on the issue of an accident in the state-owned Kings Bay mine in Svalbard in 1963. The subsequent, bourgeois coalition government was only a month old, but the ice was broken, and in the 1965 elections, the bourgeois majority for the first time in the postwar period. A bourgeois coalition government was formed under Per Borten, leader of the Center Party. Admittedly, the value community was so large that no substantial course changes took place; yet the shift was significant, insofar as the Labor Party’s monopoly of power was broken and had left room for a political system in which social democratic and bourgeois governments regularly replaced each other.
In the early 1970s, Norway became an oil nation with new prosperity opportunities, but also with a new exposure to oil price fluctuations, which was made clear by the international oil crisis of 1973-74. Furthermore, European market issues brought hot substance with a great explosive effect to the political debate. A referendum on Norwegian membership in the EC (Norwegian EF) in 1972 resulted in victory for the down side, despite the jealousy being backed by the Labor Party government under Trygve Bratteli, the trade union, business, the Right and most of the press.
The opposition came from the radical left, the Center Party and the agricultural and fisheries organizations. The “People’s Movement Against EF” became a catalyst for the civilization-critical flow that emerged around 1970 in response to established politicians and the negative consequences of structural change. This developed into a general crisis of authority, which manifested itself in a number of well-known extra-parliamentary actions.
The EC vote had far-reaching parliamentary consequences. Bratteli resigned and left room for Lars Korvald (Christian People’s Party), who negotiated a trade agreement with the EC. The ancient Venstre was divided and threatened with extinction. A newly formed tax-negative party, Anders Lange’s party (later the Progress Party), managed to enter the Storting in 1973. In the same election, the Labor Party lost big to the Socialist Electoral Union (SV), a newly formed joint organization of several left parties (from the 1975 Socialist Left Party). Despite the 1977 election, the Labor Party renewed its government mandate under Odvar Nordli, political instability continued.
Problems with oil and gas recovery, including a couple of serious accidents, disrupted public confidence in the oil industry and the government. Plans for hydropower development intensified the contradiction between industry and environmental interests. Presumably unnecessary concessions to the Soviet Union over the border crossing in the Barents Sea exposed the government to criticism from the right. From the left, it was criticized for giving NATO the right to pre-stock military equipment in Trøndelag during the Afghan crisis.
In the late 1970s, Norway was reached by the right-wing wave, the neoliberal movement that emerged in international economic and political debate. It achieved parliamentary impact through great successes for the Høyre and the Progress Party in the 1981 election. Kåre Willoch formed a government with liberalization of the program. After falling oil revenues made it impossible to meet the tax cut promises, he was dismissed in 1986 by the Progress Party. He was succeeded by the Labor Party’s Gro Harlem Brundtland.
Norway, since 1960 a member of EFTA, signed in 1993 under the EEA Agreement and began the same year negotiations on the conditions for EU membership. However, in a referendum in the autumn of 1994, the Norwegians once again showed their independence by rejecting the Maastricht Treaty by 52.4 percent against 47.4 percent and thus standing outside the European Union.
However, the fears that this would negatively affect the country’s economy have so far not been true. Gro Harlem Brundtland, who at the beginning of his career supported many as a hard-line politician, resigned in 1996 as a devoted country mother. However, her Social Democratic successor Thorbjørn Jagland was forced to leave the Christian People’s Party Kjell Magne Bondevik already the following year.
In March 2000, the minority government asked a cabinet question about no for the expansion of gas power plants. The Labor Party and Høyre voted for expansion. Bondevik was then forced to resign, and a new Social Democratic government was formed with Jens Stoltenberg as prime minister. However, the 2001 election became a historic social democratic defeat, and Bondevik came back at the head of a new bourgeois coalition.
Four years later, public opinion had swung without any major political issue on the ground, and Stoltenberg returned as Social Democratic Prime Minister in a coalition with the Socialist Left Party and the Center Party. It was the first time in two decades that Norway gained a government of its own in the Storting and also the first time in peacetime that the Labor Party entered into a coalition. The red-green government coalition could remain even after the 2009 parliamentary elections.
The red-green government, and especially the Labor Party, began the term of office with continued wind in the sails. Norway had done well in the international financial crisis that swept across Europe at the end of the 1990s and the general confidence in Prime Minister Stoltenberg was high. This confidence grew further following the national trauma that followed the terrorist attacks in Norway in 2011.
Stoltenberg’s crisis management and his statement that Norway would meet the terror with more democracy, openness and humanity gave him a status as a secure country father and also resulted in temporary record figures for the Labor Party. Stoltenberg’s popularity, however, was not enough to resist the Norwegian public opinion that wanted to see a renewal of government power. Since the 2009 election, Høyre had continued to increase in opinion polls and the party’s leader Erna Solberg soon emerged as a given challenger to the Prime Minister’s post, with a high level of confidence among Norwegian voters.
The parliamentary elections in September 2013 became a record election for Høyre, which received 26.8 percent of the vote, an increase of 9.6 percentage points from the 2009 election, and Høyre was able to form a government together with the Progress Party that entered the government for the first time.
In the 2017 elections, both the Høyre and the Progress Party, as well as the government’s two bourgeois support parties, the Venstre and the Christian People’s Party, went back somewhat. However, the four bourgeois parties retained a scarce majority in the Storting (88 seats out of a total of 169). Erna Solberg could remain as prime minister at the head of a minority government in which Høyre, the Progress Party and social liberal Venstre were included. The parliamentary cooperation with the Christian People’s Party continued even though the Christian People’s Party, unlike Venstre, chose not to join the government.
In the municipal and county elections in 2019, the largest parties returned sharply. The Labor Party fell by 8.2 percentage points in the municipal elections, while Høyre fell by 3.1 percent compared to the same election in 2015. The Progress Party left the government in January 2020 after Erna Solberg and the rest of the government decided to receive IS returnees, which the Progress Party put forward themselves critical of.
|about 9000–8000 BC||Groups of Mesolithic hunters and collectors spread along the coasts of Norway.|
|about 3000 BC||Cultivation and livestock management make their entry into southeastern Norway.|
|about 1500–1100 BC||Rich bronze age tombs in southwestern Norway.|
|about 500 BC||Declining bronze imports indicate local iron production.|
|Kr.f. – approx. 800 AD||Findings from settlements and tombs indicate an increasing social differentiation during the Iron Age.|
|800-1000 centuries||Viking. National Collection. Christian Spirit.|
|about 885||Battle of the Hafrsfjord: Harald Hårfager defeats the West kings small kings.|
|1020 century||Olav II Haraldsson organizes the church.|
|about 1100||The first cities and bishop’s seats are built.|
|about 1130-1220||Civil war between royal subjects.|
|1153||Nidaros (Trondheim) becomes archbishopric.|
|about 1220–1310||The central power is consolidated.|
|1260||Hereditary birthright to Norway’s crown for married royal sons.|
|1260s||Greenland and Iceland recognize the Norwegian king, and the Norwegian Empire reaches its greatest extent.|
|1270s||Magnus VI National fines legislation.|
|1349-50||Digger death: severe population decline.|
|1300s-1536||Late Middle Ages: agricultural crisis, Hanseatic trade dominance, weak central power.|
|The beginning of time||Economic upturn begins. Hansen’s commercial power ceases. The export industries forestry (timber) and fishing are developing strongly. Long-term population growth period. Land reclamation.|
|1536||Norway will formally become a Danish province. Reformation.|
|1572||The sheriff at Akershus becomes governor of Norway.|
|1642||Norway gets its own here.|
|1645 and 1658 respectively||Norway loses Jämtland and Härjedalen and Bohuslän respectively to Sweden.|
|1661||Monarchy in Denmark – Norway. Norway’s formal status as a kingdom is restored.|
|1687||Kristian V’s Norwegian Law.|
|1807-14||Emergency year due to British trade blockade during the war against Denmark-Norway.|
|1814||Through the Moss Convention, Karl Johan acknowledges the Eidsvoll Constitution.|
|1835||The Norwegian Council of Ministers is granted access to the ministerial consulate.|
|1837||The foundation for municipal autonomy is laid down in the 1837 Presidency Act.|
|1849||The British Navigation Act is repealed. Boost for Norwegian commercial shipping.|
|ca 1850||Norway is starting to industrialize.|
|1865-1900||Emigration reaches its peak.|
|1873||The office of governor is replaced by a Norwegian Prime Minister’s office in Kristiania.|
|1884||Parliamentary breakthrough, the first in the Nordic countries. The veto battle ends with Johan Sverdrup forming a left-wing government.|
|1892||Left requires an independent Norwegian consulate.|
|1895||The Swedish Parliament repeals the inter-state laws.|
|1898||General voting rights for men are introduced.|
|1899||The National Organization (LO) is founded.|
|1900||The Norwegian Employers’ Association (NAF) is founded.|
|1900||Women get the right to vote in municipalities.|
|1904||EG Boströms ‘sound-rich points’ cause a crisis in the Union issue.|
|1905||The Swedish-Norwegian Union is dissolved.|
|1909||Health insurance is introduced.|
|1913||Women receive voting rights to the Storting.|
|1914-19||Successful Norwegian neutrality policy in the First World War.|
|1919||The eight-hour day is implemented.|
|1935||Crisis settlement between the Labor Party under Johan Nygaardsvold and the Farmer Party.|
|1939||Norway declares itself neutral in World War II.|
|1940||The Germans attack, Norway is occupied after about a month’s resistance. King Håkon VII and the government depart for London. The Germans deploy an NS-dominated government under Vidkun Quisling.|
|1942||By the “State Act” at Akershus, Quisling is made prime minister at the head of a nominally independent Norwegian government.|
|1944||Soviet troops occupy the Kirkenes and initiate the liberation of Norway.|
|1945||The Germans capitulate to the “Home Front”.|
|1945||Einar Gerhardsen forms a Labor Party government.|
|1949||Norway joins NATO with certain reservations (basic policy).|
|1963||The Kings Bay accident at Svalbard ends a thirty-year power period for the Labor Party.|
|1966||The National Insurance Act is adopted.|
|1970||Norway becomes an oil nation.|
|1972||In a referendum on Norwegian membership in the EC, the down side wins.|
|1981||The parliamentary election gives the right parties great success. Kåre Willoch forms government with deregulation on the program.|
|1986||The Labor Party under Gro Harlem Brundtland returned to power.|
|1994||In a referendum on Norwegian accession to the EU on the terms of the Maastricht Agreement, the no-side wins.|
|1996||Gro Harlem Brundtland is leaving.|
|2005||The Labor Party forms a coalition government with Jens Stoltenberg as prime minister; the first government with its own majority in the Parliament in two decades.|
|2011||A total of 77 people lose their lives in terror attacks in Oslo and Utøya, carried out by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik.|
|2013||Swinging in Norwegian politics when the Labor Party lost the election and Høyre together with the Progress Party formed government with Erna Solberg as prime minister.|
|2014||Jens Stoltenberg is appointed Secretary General of NATO.|