Calling code: +47
Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK)
Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a
sovereign State of northern Europe, whose form of government is the
parliamentary democratic monarchy. Its territory is organized in
eighteen provinces or fylker and its capital is Oslo.
Together with Sweden, Finland and a part of Russia, it forms the
Scandinavian peninsula. On the other hand, Norway,
Denmark make up Scandinavia. The islands of Svalbard and Jan Mayen
are also part of the Norwegian national territory. The sovereignty
over Svalbard was established by the Treaty of Svalbard, signed in
1920, and has its capital in Longyearbyen. The island of Bouvet, in
the South Atlantic, and the island of Pedro I, in the south of the
Pacific Ocean, are considered dependencies and therefore do not make
up part of the Kingdom as such. Norway is one of the countries that
claims Antarctic territory: the Land of Queen Maud.
Its territory, located between the parallels 57 ° and 71 ° north latitude and between the meridians 4 ° and 31 ° east longitude, has borders to the north with the Barents Sea, to the northeast with Russia and Finland, to the east with Sweden, to the south with the Strait of Skagerrak and to the west with the Atlantic Ocean. Along its extensive Atlantic coast, Norway has numerous fjords, glacial valleys that are an icon of the country.
Since the Second World War, the country has experienced rapid economic growth and is currently one of the richest countries in the world, ranked third according to its GDP per capita. Due to the Scandinavian model of welfare, its system is qualified as a socialist state, since despite its level of economic freedom the state owns the key industrial sectors such as oil (Statoil) or hydroelectric power (Statkraft) and is involved in the organization and financing of social welfare available to citizens to a greater extent than other European countries, accompanied by a broad-based progressive tax system aimed at the redistribution of income from the richest sectors of society to the poorest .
The social equity values of Norwegian society have kept the pay gap between the lowest paid worker and the CEOs of most companies much smaller compared to Western economies possessing one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
|Southern towns and suburbs
|Mo i Rana
Møre og Romsdal (Norway)
Sogn og Fjordane (Norway)
Jan Mayen (Norway)
The name of the country comes from the Old Norse Norreweg - the “northern route”, which originally referred to the coastal sea route through which the Normans went to the northern seas. Subsequently, this name began to designate the western coast of the Scandinavian peninsula along the sea route, and then the state that arose here. The country has two names, on both versions of the Norwegian language.
In the era of the early Mesolithic, two related cultures of hunters and gatherers, subsequently named after the main monuments of Fosna and Komsa, entered the territory of Norway after the glacier retreating north. The climate in Norway after the end of the ice age was extremely favorable, and Norway was one of the most densely populated areas at that time in Earth's history.
During the Neolithic period in the south of Norway there was a megalithic, presumably pre-Indo-European culture of funnel-shaped goblets, and in the east there was a culture of dimple-comb ceramics (the latter was supposedly Finno-Ugric).
The ancestors of modern Norwegians, pushing the nomadic Finnish tribes to the north, belonged to a separate Scandinavian tribe, related to the Danes and Angles.
It is not completely clear how exactly Norway was settled. According to one version, Norway was settled from the north, but then settlers settled on the west bank and in the center. Some historians, by contrast, suggest that settlement occurred from south to north - an opinion confirmed by archaeological excavations. It is even possible that the settlement occurred on several sides at once, as the migrant tribes spread very quickly throughout Norway. It is reliably known that the very first people came to Norway more than 10,000-9,000 years ago, having settled in the area of the village of Komsa in Finnmark and Fosna in Nurmör. These places gave the name to the first Norwegian cultures of hunters and gatherers. According to the sagas, the Norwegians occupied the area from the southern part of the Vike Gulf to Drontheim, (formerly Nidarose), but, like the Goths and Swedes, did not have a centralized authority. The population was divided into 20-30 separate groups called Fylk (Nor. Fylke, people). Each fylka had its own king, or jarl. In order to create a single state, several fülks were combined into one general assembly - Thing. Ting convened in a particular place, and all the free members of society attended, but the affairs were handled by the commissioners appointed by each king, who made up the supreme assembly, or the supreme court. Persons dependent on the king were not allowed into the ranks of the commissioners.
Later, the country was divided into four large districts, each with its own separate thing, with its own separate laws and customs; namely: Frosting, which included a fülke located north of Sognefjord; Goulating, encompassing the southwestern fühlke; The Oppland and Wick tings, located south and east of the Central Mountain Range, first gathered together in Eizating, but later Wiek County separated and became a separate ting.
Inside the fülk there was a division into hundreds (herad); at the head of the herad was hersir, who held this position under the law of succession. He was in charge of the civil and religious affairs of the district. The kings, called yngling, were considered descended from God and were representatives of the fülks in foreign affairs and the leaders of the troops during the wars, but their rights were determined by their personal qualities and the size of their personal possessions; the most important matters were decided by the people themselves on the ting.
The peasants paid the king a virus in case of violation of the world and brought him voluntary gifts. If the king “promoted violence instead of law”, then an arrow was sent to all inhabitants of the fulka in a sign that the king should be captured and killed. If it was not possible to kill, the king was forever banished from the country. The right to the throne was, along with the legitimate, and illegitimate children, whose origin was proved by a test of iron.
Thus, the ancient Norwegian society consisted of two classes: princes and free villagers, or peasants. Non-free people, or slaves with whom they were treated, were, however, severely dependent on them. These were, for the most part, captives. The two free estates did not constitute separate castes. The title of peasant was considered honorable. Joining the king was considered shameful for the peasants and was imposed in some cases in the form of punishment.
The king was the largest landowner and managed his lands with the help of persons called armadr. At the court of the king lived a detachment of warriors - hirdmanns. They were dependent on the king, although they enjoyed complete personal freedom. The activities of the warriors were wars, predatory raids, military exercises and hunting. They had banquets, which were attended by women, loved to have fun, but at the same time longed to die a heroic death. Faith in fate, which no one can escape, exalted the courage of the Norwegians. They believed that Odin gives victory, and therefore boldly went into battle.
Due to the scarcity of soil, with a thirst for fame and fortune, the passion for expeditions to foreign lands increased, so that already in the VIII century, the Norwegians began to terrify neighboring countries with their raids. When at the end of the 9th century, large states began to form in Norway, the kings of which constrained the freedom of individual districts, the number of those who went on long voyages increased even more. Sometimes they went on a campaign, for conquest or robbery, the kings themselves, wanting to glorify their name. Only those expeditions that were undertaken under the command of the princes who were called sea kings were called honorary. Two periods of Viking expeditions are distinguished: in the first, the Norwegians sail overseas in small units, attack only the shores and islands, and retire when winter comes; in the second period they gather with large troops, go far from the coast, stay in the country for the winter, which they rob, take control of it, build fortifications there, settle in them. This period begins in some of the lands visited by the Vikings earlier, in others later - in Ireland in 835, at the mouth of the Loire - about the same time, in England and the lower Seine - in 851.
Norwegians even attacked the territory of present-day Turkey, where they were attracted by the riches of Constantinople, which they called Mücklgård. At the end of the 9th century, Norway rallied into one kingdom, and since then there is more reliable information about its fate. On the west bank of Vic, the present-day Christiansfjord, there was a small area of Westerfield, ruled by the descendants of the kings, who, according to popular tradition, once reigned in Uppsala. The first king of Westerfjord, who left a memory of himself, was Halvdan the Black, who, partly due to family ties, partly through conquest, annexed to his kingdom all the areas near the upper tip of the bay and stretching inland to Lake Miezen. Halvdan died early, leaving his ten-year-old son, Harald (c. 860). The latter continued the work begun by his father, subordinating neighboring jarls and kings to his power and establishing autocracy in Norway. He succeeded, but the proud ancestors reluctantly obeyed the king, whom they had previously been equal to; so many noble people were expelled by Harald for resisting him and sailed to seek new lands. Later, the area lying south of Sognefjord was subordinated. Her leaders gathered a significant army, but Harald defeated (872) in the fierce battle of Havrsfjord. Harald made a complete revolution in the economic and social system of the country. Masses dissatisfied with the destruction of old liberties left for Iceland, on the Shetland, Hebrides and Orkney islands. From there, they often raided the shores of Norway, but Harald defeated them and placed Norwegian jarls on the islands. Harald at the end of his life changed the principle of autocracy: he divided the country between his sons, each having a kingdom, and gave the descendants of the female line the county along with the title of jarl. Only 16 kingdoms were formed, the relationship between which Harald was thinking of preserving, declaring his eldest son Eirik the elder king. Harald was still alive when Eirik made an attempt to reaffirm the unified monarchy and received the nickname Bloody Ax for exterminating his brothers. His stern, tyrannical character revived the reaction excited by the strict management of Harald. In the year of the death of the latter (934), his youngest son, Hakon the Good, returned from Norway to England and was brought up for education to Ethelstan the English. Haakon was elected king after he solemnly promised the peasants to restore their ancient rights and return their tribal lands. Eirik was forced to flee to England. Hakon the Good kept his promises. Baptized at the court of Ethelstan, Hakon made an attempt to introduce Christianity to Norway, too, but the peasants sharply refused and persistently insisted that the king consistently perform pagan rites, so that there was almost a gap between him and the people. Hakon died in the battle of Fityar, after which power passed to the son of Eirik the Bloody Ax, Harald II, and then became dependent on the kings of Denmark.
After Hakon, a number of kings, of whom the most famous — Olaf I Tryggvason (995-1000) and Olaf II the Fat (1015-1028), tried to introduce Christianity, enduring a stubborn struggle with the people. Due to his personal qualities, Olaf Tryggvason became a favorite hero of Norwegian history. Olaf II the Fat, nicknamed the Saint after his death and regarded as the patron of Norway, was the great-great-grandson of Harald the fair-Haired. He United all Norway under his rule, rebuilt Nidaros, founded by Olaf Tryggvason and then destroyed, and made it the capital of the state. He was a devout Christian; the age-old resistance of the people to the new faith was suppressed. Having established Christianity, Olaf changed the laws of the country according to the new conditions of life and made the Church code. The powerful families, who had enjoyed complete independence under his ancestors, had to submit to him. He abolished the hereditary posts of Linderman and bersirov. Even the title of Jarl was abolished; Jarl became the name of the king's closest aide in war and peace. Under other kings, jarls came into conflict with the Royal power and received great importance, which most often happened in the infancy of kings. The neighboring kings, Swedish and Danish, did their best to harm the king of Norway. Although king Olaf of Sweden, the Beloved, was finally forced to reconcile with him at the insistence of his peasants, and even to give him his daughter, but Knud of Denmark constantly stirred up rebellions against him and supported the insurgents. Olaf took advantage of Knud's departure for Rome to attack his state, but Knud returned, drove the enemies away, and the following year sailed himself to Norway. The people, exasperated against Olaf for his high-handed government, swore an oath to Knud. Olaf was forced to flee and found shelter with Yaroslav in Kievan Rus. In 1029 he gathered an army and sailed to Norway, but at Stiklestad he was met by a Norwegian army, three times as numerous, and he was killed. Knud appointed his son Sven as Governor in Norway; but the intolerable oppression which the Norwegians had to endure under the Danish yoke excited their irritation, and all remembered Olaf with bitter regret. The very people who killed Olaf brought his ten-year-old son Magnus from Russia and proclaimed him king. Sven fled to Denmark, with which a Treaty was made: Magnus was to become king of Denmark after Hardeknud's death. When the latter died, Magnus ' power was indeed recognized in Denmark. He appointed Sven as his Deputy, but after a year Sven refused to obey him. Magnus won in several battles, but, after victory in big battle on the island Zealand (1047) was assassinated. His successor, Harald the Stern, waged incessant wars with the Danes: he was called the Northern lightning, the destroyer of the Danish Islands. He was carried away by the hope of conquering England, sailed thither, and perished. After this came the more peaceful reign of Olaf the Calm, who ruled Norway peacefully for 27 years. During his reign, Norway achieved considerable prosperity. After the death of Olaf, in 1095, Norway again divided into two States, and again began strife, until one of the kings, Magnus Barfud, did not again become the sovereign of the United Norway. He made expeditions to foreign lands, conquered The Hebrides and Orcades and the English Isle of man, and fell in Ireland in 1103. He was succeeded by his sons, Erich and Sigurd. The first wise management contributed to the peaceful accession of new areas to Norway, built churches, monasteries, etc., D. Sigurd on the contrary, was distinguished by the brave, restless spirit of the ancient Vikings. In 1107-1111 he undertook a crusade to the Holy Land and returned with many looted treasures. In Jerusalem he undertook to the Patriarch to establish a bishopric in Norway and to establish a Church tithe, which he did. After his death (1130) begins a long period of internecine wars. The state was sometimes divided between several sovereigns, sometimes United under the rule of one. The clergy were able to take advantage of the time of troubles to expand their rights and privileges. This greatly weakened the Royal power, which in Norway could never have gained so much importance as in the rest of Europe, because the rights of the Norwegian people were very extensive, and they stubbornly defended them against all attempts to subjugate them. The aristocracy of Norway became more and more distant from the people, and after the introduction of Christianity began to draw near to the clergy, seeking, together with them, to concentrate in their hands the government of the country. In 1161, in the reign of Haakon II the broad-Shouldered, Norway was visited by the papal legate, who forced the prohibition of marriages of priests to be recognized and introduced various other reforms. In Bergen, he anointed the reign of 8-year-old Magnus, elected king in 1162 Magnus descended from Harald the Fair-haired on his mother; the Church, having consecrated his hereditary rights, enabled a number of descendants of the Royal daughters to make claims to the Norwegian throne. King Magnus in 1174, according to Archbishop Eystein of Nidaros, promulgated a law called the Charter of the Golden pen and granted the Norwegian clergy very great rights. Magnus, who called himself in this Charter the king of God's grace, promised to establish tithes in favor of the Church, refused all interference in the election of bishops and other Church dignitaries, and gave the Archbishop of Nidaros and his spiritual advisers the predominant influence in deciding which of the sons or relatives of the king should be given the crown. Thus the appointment of the king by the people's Assembly was replaced in Norway by the influence of the clergy and the coronation. This was explained by the fact that each king received Norway as if in flax from St. Olaf. Such a violation of their rights the people could not quietly endure and rebelled under the leadership of Eystein Moyle, who called himself the grandson of one of the Norwegian kings, Harald Gille. There was a struggle between two parties, of which one was called the Birchbills (birkebeiners) and the other the crooked Rod (baglers), from the crooked Bishop's rod. Berezhnoye opposed the empowerment of the clergy and championed the rights of the people, and krivousova were clerics. The struggle lasted more than a century and caused a number of coups. The birkebeiners were about to die when they were led by the ex-priest Sverrir, an Icelander by birth who posed as the son of king Sigurd Munds. In 1184 Magnus was assassinated and Sverrir elected king. His reign is a new era in the history of Norway; he dealt a decisive blow to both allies-the clergy and the aristocracy - and established the democratic principles on which the Norwegian state was based. He destroyed the power of the nobility, appointing to govern the country new persons who depended solely on him; the titles remained, but they were now nothing more than empty words. He also destroyed the preponderance of the clergy, on the ground that the king received his title from God, and held sway over all his subjects. The clergy rebelled against him, Pope innocent III excommunicated him, all the bishops left Norway, but Sverrir remained adamant. If he did not succeed in carrying the centralization to the end, it was because he had to fight all the time not only internal but also external enemies. The struggle continued after his death (1202), both under his son Haakon III and during the ensuing interregnum, when the birkebakers appointed one king and the ecclesiastical party appointed the other, until Sverrir's collateral grandson, Haakon, was recognized as king by both parties at a meeting in Bergen attended by the high clergy, jarls and peasants. A period of peaceful development has come for Norway. Haakon did not agree to accept the Golden pen's letters, but at the same time he acted as a conciliator between the peasants and the clergy. In the matter of jurisdiction, the clergy were granted complete independence from the civil court; they elected their dignitaries without Royal interference, and the ecclesiastical estates were declared free from military service. In gratitude for that, the clergy helped Haakon conquer almost all of Iceland and Greenland. His son Magnus VI ascended the throne (1263), no longer at the request of ting, but at the desire of his father, who proposed to the people to swear allegiance to him before the proposed campaign in Denmark and promulgated in 1257 the law of succession, destroying the influence of bishops in this matter and preventing the fragmentation of the state into parts. Magnus maintained tranquillity within the state and peace with his neighbors, and earned the title of law Improver (Laegebaetr); he established a General law for the whole Kingdom, laying in its Foundation the old legislation of the country, gulating, frostating, etc. The penalties were mitigated, more precise rules of succession were established, completely eliminating the election of the king. The essential changes effected in the state system consisted in the increase of the importance of the Royal servants and the elevation of the power of the king himself.
King Hakon V the Saint (1319) completely destroyed
the title of Lendermen, without meeting any resistance: the
Lendermen ceased to be the leaders of the people, representing only
large free landowners. Norway remained a country of peasants - small
landowners. Hakon died without male heirs, and since the minor
Swedish king Magnus Eriksson was Hakon's grandson by his mother, the
Norwegians elected him their king: the throne of Norway passed to
the Swedish line, and both countries retained their laws and their
supreme councils. In Norway there were 4 local councils (Orething)
and one general council, which met mostly in Bergen. Larger cities
had their own self-government.
Union with Denmark and Sweden
Since the election of Magnus Eriksson, the history of Norway is inseparably linked with the history of other Scandinavian states and is losing its independent significance. Norway is being towed by Sweden, participating, among other things, in the wars between Sweden and the Hansa, which strengthened the latter's domination and delayed the development of Norwegian trade for a long time. In Norway, all power was concentrated in the hands of officials; there was no aristocracy, no permanent assembly of the people that could resist them, although the peasants and cities retained their primordial liberties. In 1349, a plague broke out, claiming more than a third of the country's population. The Norwegians insistently demanded the presence of the king, and Magnus sent his youngest son Gakon, 12 years old, as king in 1350. In 1376, the Swedish State Council, after the termination of the male line of the reigning dynasty, elected four-year-old Olaf, the son of the Norwegian king Gakon and his wife Margarita, as king, and Margaret was appointed regent. Following this, the Hansa recognized Olaf as the Danish king. Thus, all 3 Scandinavian states merged into one. When Gakon of Norway died in 1380, Margaret of Denmark was recognized as the Norwegian regent. But her power in Denmark and Norway was very weak. In 1387, Olaf died, and both the Danish and Norwegian Seimas elected Margaret queen, and in 1388 the Swedes also elected her queen of Sweden. When electing Margarita, the Norwegian Sejm recognized her as the heir to her sister's grandson, Erich Pomeranian. In July 1396, the Danish and Swedish Sejms promised that Erich, upon reaching adulthood, would be given control of their states and that the Scandinavian states would not wage war among themselves. To strengthen the position of her heir, Margarita convened the councils of state of all three kingdoms in Kalmar; in June 1397 they worked out a law called the squid union. On the basis of it, Denmark, Norway and Sweden were to have always one king, elected from the Erich dynasty along the line of the primogeniture; the Scandinavian states should not fight among themselves, but should defend each other when attacked by enemies; treaties with foreign states must be common to all three states; declared a rebel in one of them should be prosecuted in the other two, but each of the three Scandinavian states retains its own special laws.
The Kalmar Union brought little benefit to the
Scandinavian states; they were involved in the conquest policy that
the reigning dynasty adhered to and which did them much harm. Norway
had to make sacrifices for several decades for purposes completely
unknown to it, to pay huge taxes for the costs of wars that were
foreign to its interests. The Norwegians never saw the king, and his
officials oppressed the people, pulled all the juices out of the
country, forced them to take a bad coin at a nominal price.
Norwegians asked to send them the governor if the king could not
come by himself; having neither an aristocracy, nor a general Sejm,
they needed the king’s immediate concern for their state affairs -
but they did not pay attention to their requests. “We are ruled by
foreign cruel fochts, we have no coin order, no governor, or even a
seal, so the Norwegians must run abroad to get their stamp,” the
Norwegians complained in 1420. From here came a hostile attitude
towards the dominion of foreign kings and a whole series of unrest
arose; the people refused to obey the strangers and energetically
resisted all kinds of attempts at local laws and customs. The unrest
in Denmark gave the Norwegians the opportunity to defend their
independence and turn the union into a personal and equal (1450).
Each state retained its separate name and its laws, was governed by
its compatriots, had its own separate finances and treasury. Karl
Knudson, chosen by the Norwegians as king, ceded his rights to King
Danish Christian I. It was decided that Norway would always have a
king in common with Denmark; the choice of the king should take
place in Halmstad, and if the king of Christians leaves behind his
sons, then they must first be subjected to election. From then until
1814, Norway and Denmark shared kings.
Throughout the 15th century and until 1536, when the liberties of Norway were finally suppressed, the Norwegians did not cease to worry and resent against any encroachment on their rights. They recognized Danish kings only after much hesitation and resistance. The Norwegians were particularly indignant at the fact that their most important and oldest colonies, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, were pledged by the Christian I in 1468 to the Scottish king and have not been redeemed since, so they remained in Scotland. Constantly there were armed uprisings against strangers.
After the Danish King Christian II, expelled from
Denmark and supported by Norway, was captured by the Danes and
deposed, the Danish Rigdsdag in 1536, contrary to the Union of
Kalmar, turned Norway from an equal member of the union into a
subject province. A separate Norwegian Sejm, separate army and navy,
separate finances, etc. were destroyed. The Supreme Norwegian court
was destroyed; all processes were decided in Copenhagen by Danish
judges; bishops ordained there, youth studied there, who devoted
themselves to state and church services. Norwegian soldiers and
sailors joined the ranks of the Danish fleet and troops. The
administration of Norway was entrusted to the Danish Vogts, sent by
the Danish government and completely independently disposed of it.
The only thing that the Danes did not dare to touch upon was the
rights to the land of the peasants, “odelsret”. The loss of
political independence had a depressing effect on the development of
Norway. It seemed to freeze in place, especially after the
reformation, which was introduced in Norway in almost the same
violent ways as Christianity. Norwegian trade was destroyed by the
almighty Hansa; industry has not developed. Both the country's
finances and its population suffered from constant wars with Sweden,
whose soldiers devastated its border regions. At the same time,
Sweden captured three Norwegian regions: Jämtland, Herjedalen and
Bohuslän. In mental life, complete stagnation took place. Even the
rewriting of ancient manuscripts has ceased; one might have thought
that the Norwegians even forgot to read, says one writer. But if in
these respects the domination of Denmark had an adverse effect on
Norway, then in others it acted beneficently, directing the life of
Norway along the line in which it began to go, and strengthening the
democratic principles underlying its political system. The last
vestiges of feudalism disappeared in the XVII century, and a new
aristocracy could not be formed due to the absence of a court, the
absence of a king and the constant change of officials, who were an
alien element and could not take strong roots in the country. After
the abolition of dependence on the Hansa, in 1613, Norwegian trade
developed rapidly, as well as shipping, fishing and forestry, and
the population increased significantly, with all the population
growth rushing to the cities, contributing to their prosperity. At
the end of the XVIII century, when Norway had to suffer a lot during
the wars of Denmark with England, the spirit of nationality and a
love of freedom awoke from the Norwegians. The British cruisers and
the fleet interrupted the communication between Denmark and Norway
for whole years, and the latter would have separated from Denmark if
it had not been for the attachment to the staffler, Prince Augustus
Christian Holstein-Glucksburg, who managed to win popular love with
his management. After his death, in 1809, the idea of restoring
independence manifested itself again. A society was formed for the
benefit of Norway, actively working in this direction. He succeeded
in 1811, after long resistance from the Danes, to establish a
university in Christiania, thanks to which Copenhagen ceased to be
the center of Norwegian culture. The spirit of national independence
spoke with particular force when the Norwegians learned that the
Danish king, forced by Sweden, after a bitter struggle, had ceded
his rights to Norway to the Swedish king under the Kiel treaty of
The Kiel Treaty was signed in 1814. He decided the following: "Norway must belong to the king of Sweden and make up the kingdom united with Sweden, and the new king is obligated to rule Norway as an independent state, according to its own laws, liberties, rights and privileges." Norwegian historians pay particular attention to the fact that Denmark did not cede its rights to Norway to Sweden, because the Danish state did not have any rights to Norway that it could cede: Norway and Denmark were twin brothers, legally constituted equal parts of the same monarchy. The King of Denmark ruled in Norway not by someone else's will, but by virtue of the ancient inheritance law of Norway. He could dispose of it as her legitimate sovereign, but only within the limits of legality, therefore, he did not have the right to transfer it to anyone without her consent. He could do only one thing - to abandon the throne, and then Norway received the right to independently control its fate. For such reasons, the Norwegians opposed the Kiel Treaty. In 1814, thus, Norway entered into a personal union with Sweden.
The ruler of Norway at that time was Prince
Christian-Friedrich, a 28-year-old man who was distinguished,
according to his contemporaries, with determination and energy.
Convinced of the Norwegians' unshakable determination to prevent the
country from going to the Swedish province, the prince convened the
highest dignitaries of Norway, provided them with all the documents
regarding the Swedish-Danish agreement, declared himself regent for
the period of the interregnum, and invited the Norwegians to elect
representatives to the Eidswold Diet, authorized to draft a new
constitution. After that, the troops and the civil guard in the
square solemnly vowed to defend the independence of Norway: this
oath was repeated by the people and the Prince Regent, who swore
allegiance to the churches. Elections to the national constituent
assembly were held. On April 10, the meeting was opened, and a
15-member committee, chaired by Falsen, drafted a constitutional
bill, which was then adopted by the general meeting. As its main
provisions, the following can be distinguished:
Norway forms a free, independent and inseparable kingdom. Legislative power belongs to the people, who send it through representatives.
Taxation is the exclusive right of representatives of the people.
The right to declare war and make peace belongs to the king.
The judiciary is separate from the legislative and executive.
Freedom of the press.
The Evangelical Lutheran faith is recognized as the state religion, but complete freedom of religion is allowed; only Jesuits are not allowed to enter the state; monastic orders and Jews are also not allowed.
The king may, for outstanding services to the state, give orders, but he does not have the right to elevate himself to any rank or rank unrelated to the position held by that person. No personal and hereditary benefits can be provided to anyone. This was a preparation for the complete destruction of the nobility, since the hereditary nobility turned into a personal one. Falsen said at the same time that, not wanting to have, even by name, any advantage over his fellow citizens, he for himself and his descendants renounced his nobility and all the advantages associated with it.
The king is given veto suspensivum, but not absolutum.
The king does not have the right to accept any other crown without the consent of the ⅔ Storting.
The king must live within the present borders of the state.
On May 19, 1814, Prince Regent Christian-Friedrich was unanimously elected king of Norway. The Swedish government did not obey the decision of the Norwegian people; Swedish troops were ordered to march to take control of Norway. On the part of foreign powers, attempts were made to settle the matter through diplomatic means, but they did not lead to anything. Inexperienced people led the Norwegian forces, as a result of which the Norwegian soldiers soon began to lose confidence in victory and talk about treason. On the other hand, the Swedish Crown Prince Karl John acted with extreme caution and, after much hesitation, agreed to enter into direct relations with the Norwegian people, to negotiate with him, as with a completely independent nation. The offer was accepted; The Maritime Convention was signed on August 14, and the Kiel Treaty was destroyed by the Swedish government itself. The King of Christians convened the Storting on October 7, 1814. During the debate, the need for unification became increasingly clear, as Norway was unable to continue the costly struggle. The King of Christ gave the assembly a message in which he finally renounced his authority and freed Norway from the oath. Swedish commissioners were sent to negotiate with the Storting regarding the connection between Norway and Sweden, with instructions to show the greatest possible courtesy and compliance. The following agreement was worked out: Norway forms a free and independent kingdom, which has a king in common with Sweden. In all its own affairs, Norway should be governed independently, and in general should have equal influence with Sweden. The same idea lay at the basis of the structure of external relations. Norway should have had its own management of external affairs, but external affairs concerning both states should have been decided in a joint Norwegian and Swedish state council, according to the principle: equal influence or complete equality. Norway could, in the person of two members of the state council, who were attached to the king, participate in the Swedish state council whenever a question of national importance was discussed in it. In this case, to resolve it, the consent of the Norwegian government was also required. Only when the commissioners agreed on behalf of the king to the terms of the connection set by the Storting did the Storting accept the resignation of King Christian and elect Charles XIII as constitutional king of Norway, not by virtue of the Kiel Treaty, but by virtue of the Norwegian constitution. The Crown Prince handed over the king's written oath to “govern Norway in accordance with its constitution and its laws”; the Storting members, for their part, took an oath of allegiance to the constitution and the king, and the debate ended in dignity with a speech by the president in which he expressed the hope that the sacred bonds connecting the two nations would increase common good and security and that “the day of unity will be celebrated by our descendants. "
Beautiful hopes were not to be realized. Sweden began to pursue its favorite idea-the conquest of Norway, and Norway-to defend its independence. At first the Swedes were fervently glad of an agreement with Norway; most were convinced that Norway had already been conquered, others hoped for a voluntary merger of the two nationalities. But as things did not go well, discontent and disappointment began to arise in Sweden. Norway's first clash with Sweden broke out in 1815, when the Storting destroyed the nobility and hereditary privileges. Karl-John did not agree with the decision of the Storting. The law has passed through three Waterhouse and become binding without the sanction of the king, that scary resented the latter. One threatening rescript was sent to the Storting after another; even an attempt was made to restrict the freedom of the press, foreign powers were threatened with interference, but democratic Norway insisted. The Norwegian people's representatives continued to act in the same spirit. The king proposed, in 1824, a series of restrictive changes to the Constitution. All these proposals were rejected by the Storting. The question of Norway's external representation posed great difficulties. After a series of increasingly heated negotiations in 1836, it was established that a Norse member of the Council of state was "present" whenever General diplomatic Affairs were discussed; in discussing purely Norwegian Affairs, he expressed his opinion, but his voice was not decisive. This concession satisfied no one. Several unionskomité were convened to discuss the matter and revise the act of Union; but the revision met with unfavorable treatment in the Norwegian Storting. The July revolution had earlier had a reviving effect on Norway's democratic aspirations. In 1836 the last land tax was abolished. In 1838, the rural self-government was transformed, the influence of the administration on it was eliminated. The government's proposals to replace the Royal veto with an absolute one were rejected in 1839, to limit the Storting's right to naturalization, etc.in 1842, the Storting decided that the naturalization of foreigners in Norway did not require the sanction of the king. In the 1840s, the same years arose and the struggle for statalist. § 14 of the Constitution determined that the stadtholder in Norway could be indifferently Norwegian or Swedish. Soon the Norwegians felt all the inconvenience of this decree and began to ask for the abolition of the post of stadtholder. Charles XV, on his accession to the throne in 1859, promised to grant their wish, but the Swedish rigsdag opposed this, and the king confirmed the decision of the rigsdag. This greatly angered the Norwegians; the Storting protested against the interference of the Swedish rigsdag in purely Norwegian Affairs. Since the rigsdag in its address to the king proposed to revise the Constitution, in order to expand the scope of issues considered by the General Council, and therefore increase the Supreme power of Sweden, the Storting protested against this kind of revision of the Constitution, violating its basic principle-equality. Nevertheless, the unionskomité was convened and decided to establish a new Union Council, and with it General Ministers for both States, with a General Constitution superior to the separate constitutions of either Kingdom, and with a General circle of action very extensive and embracing the most significant issues concerning both Nations. The Storting continued to stand for the former state of Affairs, but 17 votes were in favor of the new one: this was the first indication that Norwegian officials, so staunch in the old days, could no longer be relied upon during the struggle with the government for independence. On his accession to the throne in 1872, king Oscar II was able to arrange in his favor the Norwegian Storting different concessions, so that the latter agreed to the transformation of customs (1874), the introduction of a common Scandinavian coin (1875) , etc.in 1880, the struggle again broke out. As early as 1872, a bill was introduced in the Storting that Ministers, at its first request, should appear in its meetings. In 1880, the Storting began to insist on the implementation of this law; the Stang Ministry did not agree and was forced to resign. Then new reasons for dissent came on the scene: the government demanded an increase in the Navy and army, the Storting rejected this demand and adopted a project to establish a militia like the Swiss. The king did not approve the project. The Storting was subjected to trial of Ministers, and they were convicted, but the king annul the sentence. After the resignation of the Ministry of Selmer, the radical Ministry of Sverdrup was formed, which, yielding to the king questions about the absolute veto, etc., achieved the adoption by the king of the law on the right of the Storting to demand Ministers in its meetings, the reorganization of the army, the expansion of electoral rights, etc. The question of Union resurfaced again in 1885, when Sweden independently changed its Department of foreign Affairs, without seeking the consent of Norway. The king has ceased to be the head of Sweden's foreign policy: it is governed by the Minister of foreign Affairs, who has constitutional responsibility. But as the Swedish foreign Minister was at the same time the head of Norwegian foreign Affairs, the right of the Norwegian king to direct the foreign policy of Norway thus passed to Sweden. In addition to its ideological significance, the issue seemed very important from a practical point of view: an awkward step in foreign policy could threaten the political and national existence of the country. Foreign policy was particularly important for Norway, as a predominantly commercial country, as opposed to Sweden, a predominantly agricultural country. Negotiations began between the Norwegian Ministry of Sverdrup and the Swedish. The result was a Protocol of 15 may 1885: it was decided that the Ministerial Council should consist of as many Norwegian officials as Swedish; Norwegian would participate in the decision of Affairs and be responsible to the Storting, but in return Norway must recognize that the leadership of foreign policy belongs to Sweden. The Storting became so indignant that Sverdrup was forced to resign, and negotiations ceased. At the next election, both the right and left parties of the Norwegian Storting introduced the question of foreign policy to the house. The left won, but as its two groups, the pure and the moderate, could not come to an agreement, the right took charge of the administration, forming The Stang Ministry, and negotiations with Sweden were resumed, but to no avail. The fruitlessness of all negotiations and all kinds of joint political action became more and more apparent and things moved to a new stage, expressed in the program for the elections of January 30, 1891: "a new order of management of diplomatic Affairs, which would place a more thorough constitutional responsibility on the Norwegian state authorities." The left won the election, and the office was headed by the Minister of Finance, who made a direct demand for the appointment of a separate Norwegian Minister of foreign Affairs. The Storting, not wishing to act too harshly, confined itself for the present to the establishment of separate Norwegian consulates, of great practical importance to a country living almost exclusively in shipping and trade. On 10 June 1892, the Storting appointed money to effect the required changes, but the king refused to approve the decision and dismissed the Ministry of Finance, which had a majority of 64 votes; Stang was appointed Minister, which was in itself a violation of the parliamentary regime. The radicals passed a decree in 1893 to reduce the civil list of the king and the maintenance of Ministers; the majority of the Storting appointed a period for the separation of the Norwegian consulates from the Swedish on January 1, 1895, and determined on the maintenance of their 340 450 crowns. The government replied by refusing to separate the consulates, and used for the General consulates the money assigned to the separate ones. The country is divided between two parties: the right and the left. The right wants the principle of equality within the limits of the existing agreement, but this from the point of view of the left is nothing more than a Chimera; the left sees only one way out of the humiliating and unsatisfactory state of Affairs for Norway — the separation of the two countries, the abolition of the Union with respect to everything that did not enter into the Treaty.
The hope of Stang’s conservative cabinet to achieve a majority in the Storting elections in 1894 was in vain: the left lost a few seats, but still had a majority of 59 in the new Storting against 55 moderates and conservatives. The Stang cabinet filed a resignation letter on January 31, 1895. The king entered into negotiations with the left side of the parliament, demanding from her some obligations regarding her further course of action, and when such obligations were not given, categorically refused to accept Stang's resignation (April 3, 1895). As a result, the opposition of the left side of the Storting has become extremely aggravated; speeches were so harsh in tone and content that had never been heard in it before. However, Stang’s cabinet succeeded in obtaining the Storting’s agreement to negotiate with Sweden, for which an agreement committee of 7 Swedes and 7 Norwegians was elected by parliaments (in November 1895). Even earlier, in October, the Stang ministry finally resigned, giving way to the Gagerup coalition cabinet, which consisted of representatives of all the Storting parties. However, the cause of reconciliation went badly. In 1896, the Storting, by an insignificant majority of votes (41 versus 40), decided to replace the Swedish-Norwegian flag with an exclusively Norwegian one. The decision was made a second time, and the king again refused his sanction. In response to this, the Storting, again, by an insignificant majority (58 against 56) rejected the proposal made by the conservatives to again raise the civil sheet of the king and crown prince to the previous level of 326,000 crowns to the first and 88,000 crowns to the second, on which he stood until 1893. The participation of Norway in the Stockholm exhibition, proposed by the Swedish government, was also accepted by an insignificant majority (58 vs. 56). The discussion of the Swedish-Norwegian trade agreement with Japan gave rise to sharp attacks against Gagerup, who, according to the radicals, neglected the interests of Norway in favor of Sweden; nevertheless, the agreement was approved, albeit by an insignificant majority of votes. At a time when conservatives usually supported the strengthening of the army in other European countries, while liberals and radicals were fighting against it, the opposite happened in Norway: the reinforcement and rearmament of the army proposed by the Gagerup government was not only accepted by the Storting, but even reform costs were significantly increased in comparison with the demand of the government, because Norway seriously considered the possibility of war with Sweden. In the years 1896-1897, the Storting held several important bills in the field of constitutional and social legislation. The right to vote in elections to the Storting is granted to persons outside Norway. Significantly expanded suffrage in elections to local governments. The demand of the radicals to extend the right to vote on women was rejected. A law of 1897 imposed a criminal sanction in addition to the constitutional order, by virtue of which the Storting has the right to call every person on state affairs, with the exception of the king and members of the royal family. Persons thus summoned and not appearing to call the Storting are subject to a fine of 1,000 to 10,000 kroons; any statement made by the summoned is, by its legal consequences, equal to a statement made under oath. This law was already voted in 1894, but then the king refused his sanction; this time he gave it. In 1897, it was decided to close a significant number of commercial and industrial enterprises during the holidays. In the same 1897, a novel was developed for the law of 1894 on insurance of workers against accidents.
The Storting elections in 1897 gave the left a
triumph, which held 79 of its representatives, while the number of
members of the right fell from 55 to 35. Thus, the left had a
sufficient majority for both a constitutional review and a guilty
verdict against members of the state council (ministry) . The first
result of the election was the resignation of the Gagerup Ministry.
On February 18, 1898, a radical cabinet was formed, chaired by
former Prime Minister Steen. In 1898, a reform of the electoral law
was carried out. The number of voters, which did not exceed 6% of
the population in the 1880s, rose to 11% by 1897; this reform
immediately raised to 20%. In March 1898, the Swedish-Norwegian
agreement committee submitted its report to the parliaments of both
countries, from which it turned out that the agreement did not
follow. The Swedes insisted on maintaining the common
Swedish-Norwegian foreign minister. Disagreements were revealed
among the Norwegian members; the majority (moderate) agreed to the
temporary preservation of general consuls, so that after a few years
separate Norwegian consuls were appointed; the minority (radical),
which was influenced by the triumph of the radicals in the
elections, insisted on the immediate appointment of the Norwegian
Foreign Minister and the Norwegian consuls. In November 1898, the
Storting for the third time adopted a resolution to replace the
Swedish-Norwegian flag with the Norwegian flag. The king again
refused to authorize this law, and the project became law without
its authorization, as adopted in a row by three Storting. The
members of the Norwegian State Council (ministry) strongly advised
the king not to undermine his authority by refusing to sanction this
project, which was practically completely useless; but the king
stubbornly stood his ground, referring to the fact that the
Swedish-Norwegian flag was received at one time by the Norwegian
people with enthusiasm and that it waved with honor on all the
oceans. On February 15, Gustav announced that at the Hague Peace
Conference, Sweden and Norway would be represented by one joint
delegate, and not two delegates, as the Norwegian Storting wishes.
This decision was one of the immediate reasons that at the entrance
of Gustav to Christiania he was greeted by a hostile manifestation
on the part of the people; on the contrary, upon returning to
Stockholm, he was enthusiastically received by the Swedish people.
Sharper than ever, it was here that the struggle between Sweden and
Norway is waged not only by governments, but also by peoples, of
which each was almost unanimous on this issue. In May 1899, the
Storting without debate unanimously voted for an extraordinary loan
of 11.5 million kroons for the army and navy. On May 11, King Oscar
again took control of the country.
In early 1905, Hagerup retired and was replaced by
Mickelsen. In may 1905, a new electoral law passed through the
Storting, which introduced direct elections, established individual
election by district and increased the number of members of the
Storting from 114 to 123. The division into districts, however, is
not made with complete correctness, owing to the desire to give as
much as possible to each city (over 2,000 inhabitants) a separate
Deputy; consequently, towns with 2,000 inhabitants have a Deputy,
and Christiania with a population of over 200,000-only 5 deputies.
In early 1905, king Oscar, through illness, ceded the Royal power to
his heir Gustav, an anti-Norwegian. A law passed through the
Storting to divide the Swedish-Norwegian Ministry of foreign Affairs
into two special ones and to create special Norwegian consulates;
Gustav refused to sanction it; Michelsen's Ministry responded by
resigning. The Regent, after unsuccessful attempts to form a new
Cabinet, refused to accept it. Then the Storting unanimously, on
June 7, 1905, adopted a resolution on the dissolution of the Union
with Sweden. Not wishing, however, to bring the matter to war, the
Storting, by a vote of 4 against the social Democrats, decided to
ask Oscar II to allow one of his younger sons to take the place of
king of Norway; the social Democrats, who voted against this
proposal, wished to seize the opportunity to proclaim Norway a
Republic. The resolution adopted by the Storting read: "in view of
the fact that all the members of the Ministry have resigned their
offices; in view of the king's Declaration that he is unable to form
a new government; due to the fact that the constitutional Royal
authority thereby ceased to perform their functions, the Parliament
appoints members of the Ministry who filed is now retired,
temporarily clothed with power belonging to the king and called the
Norwegian government to rule the country based on the Constitution
of Norway and the existing laws, making them the changes that
inevitably are caused by the rupture of the Union linking Norway
with Sweden under one king, who ceased to fulfill the functions of
the Norwegian king". At the same time as this resolution, the
Storting resolved to write an address to king Oscar, insisting that
the character of the Union was misinterpreted by Sweden. Solidarity
of interests and direct Union are more valuable than political ties;
the Union has become a danger to this Union; the destruction of the
Union is not connected with a dislike of either the Swedish people
or the dynasty. In conclusion, Storting expressed the hope that the
new choice of king would prepare for Norway a new era of quiet work
and truly friendly relations with the people of Sweden and its king,
for whose personality the Norwegian people would always retain a
sense of respect and loyalty. The Storting's proclamation to the
Norwegian people expressed the hope that the Norwegian people would
live in peace and harmony with all peoples, especially the Swedish,
with whom they were bound by numerous natural ties. The Ministry
made an address to the king, in which, mentioning his decision not
to accept their resignation, declared that by virtue of the
Constitution the king was obliged to give the country a
constitutional government. From the moment the king forbids the
formation of a responsible Cabinet, the Norwegian Royal authority
ceases to function. The king's policy on the reorganization of
consular legislation is incompatible with the constitutional regime;
no other government can take responsibility for this policy, and the
present Cabinet cannot participate in it. King Oscar protested
against the Storting's course of action and did not agree to the
accession of one of his sons to the Norwegian throne, citing the
Storting's violation of the Constitution. From a formal point of
view, such a violation undoubtedly took place, since the act of
Union with Sweden is a constitutional act in Norway and as such
could only be amended or repealed by double adoption in two
successive stortings and the consent of the crown. On the Norwegian
side, it was answered that the king was the first to take the road
of violating the Constitution, refusing to sanction the law adopted
by the Storting, resigning the Ministry and failing to form a new
one, so that all his activities took place without countersigning
the Ministry responsible to the Storting. In response to this
statement, the king addressed a message to the President of the
Norwegian Storting, in which he argued that he had not gone beyond
the rights granted to him by the Constitution, and the Norwegian
Storting had committed a revolutionary act. At first, after these
negotiations, the king was evidently preparing for war; in turn, the
Norwegian provisional government, headed by Michelsen, was
vigorously preparing for it. The name of the king was no longer
mentioned in the services of the churches; justice was administered
in the name of the provisional government, to which the whole army
was unanimously sworn. All Norwegians in the diplomatic service of
Sweden and Norway retired; only the envoy in Washington, Griep,
remained in office. A Ministry of foreign Affairs was organized by
the provisional government, but it could not appoint consuls until
it was recognized by the European powers. On June 20, the Swedish
Riksdag opened its session. The President of the Swedish Council of
Ministers said that it was not in Sweden's interests to resort to
violence and spoke in favour of negotiations with Norway. The danger
of war was averted. The Norwegian provisional government, wanting to
find support among the people, turned to a referendum, until then
not practiced in Norway. On 13 August 1905 a popular vote was held
to break the Union with Sweden; the referendum was preceded by
passionate campaigning. The result exceeded the most ardent
expectations: 321,197 votes were cast in favor of breaking with
Sweden, only 161 votes against; 81% of all eligible voters took part
in the vote. On August 31, a conference of Swedish and Norwegian
delegates elected by the parliaments of both countries opened. At
the conference, the two sides came to an agreement, on the basis of
which Norway undertook to dig fortifications located near the
border. In the Storting this caused discontent on the extreme left,
but by a majority of votes the Karlstadt Convention was ratified
and, after ratification by the Swedish Riksdag, came into force.
This was followed by the question of whether Norway should be a
monarchy or a Republic. There was a lively agitation in the country;
the establishment of the Republic was supported by the social
Democrats and radicals. The whole right, on the contrary, insisted
on a monarchical form of government, pointing out that the Norwegian
Constitution is the most Republican in the world and even as the
Kingdom of Norway will remain in reality a Republic, only with a
hereditary President whose power is more limited than that of the
English king or the French President of the Republic. A Republic can
seclude Norway politically, while a king, especially if Prince
Charles of Denmark is elected king, will bring with him an Alliance
with a number of powers. This consideration seems to have had a
decisive influence; both the Storting and the people by referendum
established a monarchical form of government and elected Charles,
Prince of Denmark, as king, who ascended the throne under the name
of Haakon VII. In November 1905, Michelsen made a proposal to the
Storting to set the civil list of the Norwegian king at 700,000
kronor for the duration of his reign (until now, the civil list was
set for a year). The extreme left protested both against doubling
the size of the civil sheet and against fixing it for a long time.
However, both measures were passed by a majority of 100 votes to 11.
In international relations, the independence of Norway was finally fixed in the Christian Convention, signed by the representatives of the four great powers, who pledged to respect the borders of the new Kingdom and gave their guarantees of its territorial integrity.