Norway

 

Two centuries of Viking raids into Europe tapered off following the adoption of Christianity by King Olav TRYGGVASON in 994. Conversion of the Norwegian kingdom occurred over the next several decades. In 1397, Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians resisted the cession of their country to Sweden and adopted a new constitution. Sweden then invaded Norway but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising nationalism throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum granting Norway independence.

 

Although Norway remained neutral in World War I, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping. Norway proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of World War II, but was nonetheless occupied for five years by Nazi Germany (1940-45). In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas in adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway’s economic fortunes. The current focus is on containing spending on the extensive welfare system and planning for the time when petroleum reserves are depleted. In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the EU.

 

Geography:
Location: Northern Europe, bordering the North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Sweden
Geographic coordinates: 62 00 N, 10 00 E
People:
Population: 4,707,270 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 18% (male 431,111/female 412,864)

15-64 years: 66% (male 1,568,729/female 1,529,799)

65 years and over: 16% (male 326,711/female 422,635) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Norway

conventional short form: Norway

local long form: KongeriketNorge

local short form: Norge

Government type: constitutional monarchy
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 1.702 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular:  5.525 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 98 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 67

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 12

1,524 to 2,437 m: 11

914 to 1,523 m: 19

under 914 m: 24 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Norwegian Army (Haeren), Royal Norwegian Navy (Kongelige Norske Sjoeforsvaret, RNoN; includes Coastal Rangers and Coast Guard (Kystvakt)), Royal Norwegian Air Force (Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret, RNoAF), Home Guard (Heimevernet, HV) (2011)
Military service age and obligation: 18-44 years of age for male compulsory military service; 16 years of age in wartime; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women; 12-month service obligation, in practice shortened to 8 to 9 months; although all males between ages of 18 and 44 are liable for service, in practice they are seldom called to duty after age 30; reserve obligation to age 35-60; 16 years of age for volunteers to the Home Guard, who serve 6-month duty tours (2009)

Economy:

The Norwegian economy is a prosperous bastion of welfare capitalism, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector, through large-scale state enterprises. The country is richly endowed with natural resources – petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals – and is highly dependent on its oil production and international oil prices, with oil and gas accounting for one-third of exports. Only Saudi Arabia and Russia export more oil than Norway. Norway opted to stay out of the EU during a referendum in November 1994; nonetheless, as a member of the European Economic Area, it contributes sizably to the EU budget.

Transnational Issues:

Norway asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica (Queen Maud Land and its continental shelf); despite dialogue, Russia and Norway continue to dispute their maritime limits in the Barents Sea and Russia’s fishing rights beyond Svalbard’s territorial limits within the Svalbard Treaty zone.

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