11 Norway History Facts That You May Not Have Known Before | Kidadl


11 Norway History Facts That You May Not Have Known Before

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

The official name of Norway is the Kingdom of Norway.

Norway ranks highest in the world for its standard of living. The country of Norway is known for its culture, northern lights, and fjords.

Norway is a narrow country situated in northern Europe. The country achieved its independence in 1814. The country has a government system of constitutional monarchy. Norway has two official languages, namely Norwegian and Sami. The language spoken by a majority of the people of this country is the official language of Norwegian. The currency used in the Kingdom of Norway is the Norwegian krone.

Oslo is the capital of Norway, and the previous name of Oslo was Kristiania. The city of Oslo is also the economic center of Norway. Oslo is known for its museums and green spaces. Norway is also famous for its fjords along its coastline. Fjords are sea inlets nestled between sharp cliffs. These fjords, along with the mountains of Norway, were carved out by the glaciers.

Another exciting phenomenon to experience while in Norway are the northern lights. These lights are known as Aurora Borealis, which are formed due to the wind slamming into the upper atmosphere of the world. The northern lights can be enjoyed in northern Norway.

If you find this fun facts article interesting, you might also enjoy learning Haiti history facts and Ghana history facts here at Kidadl.

Norway In The Iron Age

The Iron Age is the period that followed the Stone Age and the Bronze Age. Generally, this age is calculated between 1200 BC and 6oo BC. Most people in Europe, along with those in Asia and Africa, started creating tools from metals such as iron and steel during the Iron Age. Norway experienced this period of time too.

The country of Norway, much like the rest of the Scandinavian region, was covered in ice up until 14,000 years ago. It was only when the ice of the glaciers started melting that people came to this land to live in 10,000 BC. People came to this region due to the high opportunity the long coastline provided for fishing, hunting, and sealing.

During the Iron Age, there was population growth. More areas had to be cleared to create shelters and farming land for the growing population. The tools developed by the people during the Iron Age aided in making cultivation a little easier. This era also noted the creation of an entirely new social structure.

This social structure involved the sons of the families remaining with the family even when they got married. Living in the same house created an extended family setup, which was then called a clan. Due to this new social system, families could protect themselves from other enemy clans.

Later on, as the era was on the verge of ending and a new era was beginning, the Roman Empire which was expanding itself, had a significant cultural influence on the surrounding European regions. Moreover, a new runic alphabet was added to the script by Norwegians. Along with this, Norwegians also started trading skin and fur for various luxury items from other lands.

From Vikings To Christianity

Norway is situated in the Scandinavian region. Along with Sweden and Denmark, it forms Scandinavia, which is the term used for the northern part of Europe. The Viking Age is widely considered to be the most famous time period in Norwegian history.

Vikings are known in history as extremely fearsome beings that mostly believed in violence. The first-ever record of Vikings in history was of the raid of Lindisfarne in the latter half of the eighth century. The accounts of their invasion portray them as beasts and giants. Vikings were indeed known to be violent, and part of this was influenced by their belief that being killed in battle helped them go to Valhalla.

These people had excellent training in terms of weapons and fighting. Moreover, a female Viking would also join the battles when she wasn't looking after the family. The Red Maiden was one of the most formidable woman commanders. Interestingly the image of Vikings wearing helmets with horns is a myth that was created as a result of the romanticism of the 19th century. More misconceptions about the Vikings are still prevalent in the world.

This era of Vikings invading several parts of Europe also led to the expansion of various regions, including the Norwegian region. When the Vikings came down to Scandinavia and settled here for some time, they brought wealth and slaves along with them. The slaves were made to work on the farms in Norway and in other parts around the north of Europe. As the Vikings continued to raid the neighboring regions of Norway too, a scarcity of farmlands arose.

Unrest increased amongst the population, and several chieftains of the most prominent clans started a civil war. This civil war came to a complete end when King Harald Fairhair was able to create a union of the country, and the first Norwegian state was created. He is considered to be the first king of Norway and a founding member too.

Although it was Olav Tryggvason who started to promote Christianity in Norway and other Scandinavian regions, not much information about him is available. It is believed that he built the first church in Norway. However, details about this have not been found. After Olav Tryggvason died, it was the son of King Harald, Olav Haraldsson, who continued the mission of spreading Christianity through Scandinavia. He created church laws, appointed priests, built new churches, and destroyed pagan temples.

Nordic Bronze Age

In the history of Norway, there is an era called the Nordic Bronze Age. It was an era in Scandinavian prehistory that took place between 1700-500 BC.

This era arose due to the continuation of Battle Axe culture and the influence from the central part of Europe. It was considered to be the wealthiest culture in European history when it was happening. This is because there was a significant amount of trading occurring during this period. People exported amber and imported various metals. It is also known that people of this era were expert metalworkers.

Apart from trade and metallurgical influence, this era also brought cultural changes. This included rock carvings and creating some of the most well-known historical rock carvings in the world. Scandinavian countries have the most significant number of rock carvings from this era in Europe. In this era, agriculture and animal husbandry were practiced too. Apart from this, the population of Norway also participated in occupations such as fishing and hunting to provide food sources for their families.

During this era, there was a cultural aspect too. It was the warrior ethos. The people followed this ethos and practiced weapons. Archaeologists have found various metal weapons such as swords and daggers in burial sites. The population also focused on creating and wearing metal helmets. However, historians have stated that these weapons were not all used for war and battles. It is believed that some of them held ceremonial value, especially the helmets.

Norway ranks highest in the world for its standard of living

The Middle Ages

After King Harald had created the Norway state, there was peace in the Norway and other Scandinavian regions for almost a century. However, during the Middle Ages, this peace broke and another civil war took place.

This happened because of vague and uncertain succession rules. The church, Archdiocese of Nidaros, created by Olav Tryggvason, tried to make the appointments of the kings. However, it was noticed that the church took sides and was biased when battles took place. This led to protests from the other contenders.

In 1217, a distinct law of succession was introduced by Haakon Haakonsson. He was also known as Haakon IV or Haakon the Old. He was the King of Norway who ruled from 1217-1263. His reign is considered to be the beginning of the Golden Age of medieval Norwegian history.

The population in Norway increased significantly during the 11th and 12th centuries. Moreover, the farms began to be subdivided too. It is also said that landowners gave up their lands to the throne or the Church when the times required for such actions. The 13th and 14th centuries, considered to be the Golden era, also witnessed peace and increased international trading deals with Germany and Britain.

However, the peace and prosperity of this era in the history of Norway suddenly came to a halt when the Black Death reached Norway and other Scandinavian regions. This was a bubonic pandemic that hit Norway in 1349. Within a year, the pandemic had killed almost a third of Norway's population. A large number of communities were completely finished by this plague which lasted for about five years. Furthermore, the subsequent decrease in tax income led to the weakening of the position of Norway's king. As a result, the church of Norway gained more power.

Norwegian Americans

Another notable moment in the history of Norway is the migration of the population from Norway to North America. The people of Norway who settled in America are known as Norwegian Americans.

In order to live a better life, Norwegians from rural Norway regions started to leave for North America in 1825. After this initial migration, the people of Norway kept settling in America, with large emigrations taking place over the next 100 years. Around 80,000 people from Norway had settled in Midwest America by 1930. They chose this part of America because of the strong Norwegian traditions and heritage prevalent there.

Norwegians typically have tall height, light skin color, and light eye color. Norwegian Americans inherited some of these characteristics too. Currently, there are around 4.5 million Norwegian Americans living in the United States. Norwegian Americans are considered to be the 10th largest ancestry group of European origin living in America. They are mostly found to have settled in the upper Midwest and west coast areas of the United States.

Apart from the reason of finding a better life for themselves, the people of Norway also fled from the country because of poverty, and disagreement regarding religious and cultural beliefs. In America, they found a space where they could be free and continue their farming lifestyle. The immigration and settlement of Norwegian Americans led to an increase in the use of the Norwegian language. During 1900 and World War I, there was a large population using the Norwegian language.

Norway As An Independent Nation

Up until now, we have seen the history of Norway from its earliest settlers that came from northern Europe, the Viking invasion, to the immigration of Norway's people to America. Yet, there is more to the history of Norway that needs to be explored.

How did the country of Norway become an independent nation? The answer is explained below.

In 1830, Olav Haakonsson became the king of both Norway and Denmark, creating a union of Denmark-Norway. This union led to many political alliances as well as wars between Scandinavian countries. Another union called the Kalmar Union was made between Denmark, Norway, and Sweden some 17 years later. However, Margret I, sitting on the throne at that time, proceeded with a centralizing policy that was clearly partial to the greater population of Denmark. Being economically weak, Norway couldn't get out of the unfair alliance.

It wasn't until Sweden broke away and announced its independence in the 1520s that the previous association broke, and a Denmark-Norway nation was created. While the former was partial towards Martin Luther's Reformation, Norway was still Catholic. When Lutheranism was introduced in Norway, the country was reduced to a Danish province.

When territorial wars started between Denmark and Sweden during the 17th century, Norway's economy improved mainly due to the timber trade. The majority of Norway's people became sailors in foreign ships to earn a living, mainly for the ships which arrived at Norway's ports for timber. Norway's economy also developed over the years because of mining, fishing, and shipping.

After the Battle of Leipzig in 1813, Christian Frederik, the viceroy in Norway and the crown prince of Denmark-Norway, started a campaign for Norway's independence. Instead of declaring Frederik as an absolute monarch, the 112 members at the national assembly at Eidsvoll opted to create a constitution. The constitution was written over a rather short period of five weeks and approved on May 17, 1814, which is celebrated as the Norwegian Constitution Day.

Even though the Norway government adopted a neutral position in 1905, Norwegian merchant sailors helped the British later in World War I. Norway suffered greatly in the interim period of the war as economic stability was lost, deflation occurred along with strikes and lockouts.

During World War II, for the whole duration of it, the country of Norway was occupied by the Nazi German forces. They aimed to gain control over the North Sea and the Atlantic Sea through the use of Norway. Later on, at the start of 1945, Norwegians finally returned to take their region back from the Germans and stabilize their economy.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked these Norway history facts, then why not take a look at Ecuador history facts or ancient Egypt history for kids.

<p>Shafaque has a Bachelor's degree in English language and Literature from Sophia Girls' College with a Master's degree in Library and Information Sciences from Shreemati Nasthibai Damodar Thackersey Women's College. She has a strong command of written and verbal English, along with proficiency in Hindi, French, Urdu, and Korean. With extensive knowledge of English literature and creative writing, Shafaque has completed numerous creative writing courses online and has previously worked as a content writer at Scripto.</p>

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?