Kingdom of Norway
The Kingdom of Norway is located on the western most part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Geographically, it extends northward from the North Sea over 1,000 miles along the Norwegian Sea and into the Arctic Circle, farther north than any other European country. Norway shares its east and northeast borders with Sweden, Finland, and Russia. With a total area of over 124,000 square miles, Norway is slightly larger than New Mexico however the majority of the land has very little vegetation, is covered by mountains, rivers, and glaciers, and for the most part is uninhabitable. Its numerous deep fjords give it over 12,000 miles of oceanfront and its tens of thousands of islands, provide many safe and sheltered harbors. Norway also has sovereignty over five other islands; the largest is Spitsbergen in the Arctic Ocean. (CIA World Factbook) 2
Deep valley and fjord (Stock Photo)
Norse Vikings raided the northwestern coast of Europe repeatedly from the 8th to 11th century. However they were more than just pillagers, the Vikings explored Iceland, Greenland, and North America extensively. In 872 the first ruler of a united Norway, Harold the Fairhaired, came to power. Norway was part of the Danish kingdom for almost 500 years until Sweden won control in 1814. The country became officially independent in 1905 with a Danish prince on the Norwegian throne (King Olav V). Norway was committed to neutrality in World War I. The Germans occupied the country for five years during World War II. Abandoning its neutrality. (Storing 1963, 12-14, 27-30, 35-38)
Norway has been a member of NATO since the alliance was established in 1949 and was integral in its creation.3 In a controversial referendum from 1972, that divided the country, Norway decided not to join the European Common Market. This was again a major debate in 1994, but Norway surprised the world by once again by voting not to join the European Union.4 Norway's...