Development of a Nation
How Norway became
and how the Norwegians became Norwegian.
the Norwegians as a people, and the country of Norway as a nation-state,
evolved and materialized into current form, in terms of ancestral
bloodlines, the Norwegian language, borders, culture, and even how they
received their name.
Development of Language
Formation of Borders
Etymology (How Name Received)
Norway in 2008
- Began with the Germanic people which originated in
Scandinavia. Those that remain in the north after the Germanic
migrations into mainland Europe (Scandinavia: modern Norway, Sweden,
Denmark) comprise the North Germanic tribes. The North Germanic
tribes splinter into the Swede and Geat tribes scattered throughout
modern Norway and Sweden.
- By the 9th century, the homogenous
Swede and Geat tribes throughout Scandinavia begin to subdivide into
an eastern group (Norway) and western group (Sweden). The
Scandinavian Mountains, which form the modern boundary between
Norway and Sweden, served as a partition for the two groups, as the western group
(Norse) became more closely affiliated due to more accessibility to one
another, and a common interest in the fishing trade. This would serve as
the beginnings of distinct Norwegian and Swedish nationalities, homogenous
but decentralized tribes that were largely subdivided by a mountain
range running north-south, laying the
groundwork for two separate “nations”.
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Development of Norwegian Language:
Proto-Germanic (direct branch from
- Proto-Norse, a branch from Proto-Germanic,
spoken in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark) in the 3rd
– 7th centuries.
- Evolved into Old Norse, spoken in Scandinavia
through 13th century.
- Old East Norse develops largely in Sweden and
Denmark, while Old West Norse develops largely in Norway and
Iceland. Danes and Swedes share common/similar language at this
- Even as Old Norse branches off from
Proto-Norse, the Norwegian and Icelandic languages begin diverging
from one another in the 13th century, developing into the
modern, distinct languages they are today. All Scandinavian
languages (Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish) are mutually
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Formation of Norwegian Borders:
North Germanics in Scandinavia (Norway and
Sweden) are a largely homogenous, yet highly decentralized network of
tribes throughout the region, known as Swedes and Geats.
- In the 9th century, the
Scandinavian Mountains, which serve as the basis for the modern
Norway-Sweden border, cause a barrier between Swedes on the east and
west sides. Consequently, two distinct nationalities materialize,
with the Norse on the west, and the Swedes on the east side of the
mountain range. Those on the west side are more accessible to one
another, developing a common interest in the fishing industry, while developing an
offshoot language distinct from the Swedes from who they splintered
- Queen Margaret of Denmark marries the King of
Norway, joining the two kingdoms under personal union in 1380. The
kingdoms were autonomous, but combined their respective foreign
policies. Sweden was mired by civil war, and the nobles sided with
Queen Margaret (King of Norway husband had since died), in joining
Sweden to the personal union as well, forming a pan-Nordic kingdom.
This was finalized as the Kalmar Union in 1397. Each kingdom was
autonomous, but foreign policy was dictated by the monarch. Norway
included Iceland and Greenland, and Sweden included western Finland.
The union was dominated by Denmark.
- The Swedes grew unhappy with the
Danish-dominated government, and the frequent wars they were dragged
into, compelling them into an armed revolt. Independence of Sweden
(and their territory in Finland) was achieved in 1523. Denmark and
Norway remain under personal union, as the Kingdom of
- After Denmark-Norway was defeated by France in
the Napoleonic Wars, Denmark was forced to cede Norway to Sweden in 1814. However,
Denmark kept Iceland and Greenland, as they were considered property
of the monarch of Denmark-Norway, the monarch being Danish, as had
always been the case in the Danish-dominated union. Norway is now
under Swedish rule.
- Norway remained under personal union with
Sweden until the union was peacefully dissolved in 1905, making
Norway a sovereign nation with its modern borders, which has
remained unchanged ever since, with the exception of the Nazi
occupation during WWII.
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Norway means “northward
route” or “way to the north” (anglicized). This term would have begun to be used
sometime before the 9th century.
It’s long coastal territories, and lack of natural resources in its
interior, has always compelled the Norse to maintain a culture closely
linked with the sea, with fishing being a mainstay of Norwegian culture
throughout history and into modern times.
Like other Scandinavian
countries, Norway has evolved into a neo-liberal society, with
egalitarian ideals such as equality, and acceptance of all cultures and
lifestyles that do not impose harm or oppression upon others. Along
these lines, Norway has risen to the status of a peacemaker in the
world, offering its services to nations in need of mediation.
Norway in 2008:
Economy: Welfare capitalism. A
welfare state with a free market economy. Rich in natural resources,
including fish and oil. World’s third largest exporter of oil (next to
Saudi Arabia and Russia). Strong, highly advanced economy, due to
characteristics of a Nordic/western economy (service-oriented), but with
fortune of massive oil reservoirs. Most western economies are net
importers of oil and natural gas (by a large margin), while most oil
production economies are not very advanced. Norway has the best of both
worlds, putting it in a premium position for the modern global economy.
Government: Constitutional monarchy (democracy with monarch still
Religion: Church of Norway is the state religion, 86% belong,
most of the rest belong to other Christian churches. Survey: 32% believe
in God, 47% in some other form of intelligent design, 17%
atheist/agnostic. Low religious activity as becoming much more secular
like other Nordic/western nations. Church membership primarily used for
life/traditional events such as baptism, marriage, funerals.
Demographics: Vast majority (85+%) are Norwegian.
Foreign Policy: Fostering cooperation among Nordic nations,
participating and supporting EU and UN, serving as 3rd party mediator
among warring nations/factions.
Population: 4,644,457 (2008)
For females, use maiden name
(last name before marriage)