(Norwegian: Norge)

A country in north-west Europe, on the Scandinavian Peninsula, bounded to the east by Sweden, to the north-east by Finland and the Russian Federation, to the south by the North Sea, to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the north by the Atlantic Ocean.

Norway was originally inhabited by the Saami (Lapps) and other nomads and was gradually invaded by the Goths. It was ruled by local chieftains until unified by Harald Fairhair (r. 872-933), as a feudal country. Norway's Vikings raided and settled in many parts of Europe in the 8th-11th Centuries. Christianity was introduced by Olaf II in the 11th Century; he was defeated in 1030 by rebel chieftains backed by Canute (Knut), but his son Magnus I regained the throne in 1035. Haakon IV (1217-1263) established the authority of the crown over the nobles and the church and made the monarchy hereditary.

Denmark and Norway were united by marriage in 1380, and in 1397 Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, became united under one sovereign, the so-called Kalmar Union. Sweden broke away in 1523, but Norway remained under Danish rule until January 1814, when it was ceded to Sweden by the Treaty of Kiel. Tired of forced Unions, Norway rebelled on 17 May 1814, adopting her own constitution. Sweden, however, invaded, yet a compromise was reached whereby Norway kept its own parliament but was united with Sweden under a common monarch.

With rising conflict between the Norwegian Parliament and the Swedish Crown, the country declared itself independent in 1905, and confirmed this by a national plebiscite.

Norway declared her neutrality in World War II, but the country fell to German forces, after a two-month struggle in the spring of 1940. The country is a member of EFTA, and the Nordic Council, but is not a member of the European Union, its citizens having rejected membership several time in national referenda.