Little evidence remains in Scandinavia of the Stone Age, the Bronze Age or the Iron Age except limited numbers of tools created from stone, bronze and iron, some jewelry and ornaments and stone burial cairns. One important collection that exists, however, is a widespread and rich collection of stone drawings known as petroglyphs.
As the ice receded, reindeer grazed on the flat lands of Denmark and southernmost Sweden. This was the land of the Ahrensburg culture, tribes who hunted over vast territories and lived in lavvus on the tundra. There was little forest in this region except for arctic white birch and rowan, but the taiga slowly appeared.
In the 7th millennium BC, when the reindeer and their hunters had moved for northern Scandinavia, forests had been established in the land. The Maglemosian culture lived in Denmark and southern Sweden. To the north, in Norway and most of southern Sweden, lived the Fosna-Hensbacka culture, who lived mostly along the edge of the forest. The northern hunter/gatherers followed the herds and the salmon runs, moving south during the winters, moving north again during the summers. These early peoples followed cultural traditions similar to those practiced throughout other regions in the far north — areas including modern Finland, Russia and across the Bering Strait into the northernmost strip of North America.
During the 6th millennium BC, southern Scandinavia was covered in temperate broadleaf and mixed forests. Fauna included aurochs, wisent, moose and red deer. The Kongemose culture was dominant in this time period. They hunted seals and fished in the rich waters. North of the Kongemose people lived other hunter-gatherers in most of southern Norway and Sweden called the Nøstvet and Lihult cultures, descendants of the Fosna and Hensbacka cultures. Near the end of the 6th millennium BC, the Kongemose culture was replaced by the Ertebølle culture in the south.
During the 5th millennium BC, the Ertebølle people learned pottery from neighbouring tribes in the south, who had begun to cultivate the land and keep animals. They, too, started to cultivate the land and by 3000 BC they became part of the megalithic Funnelbeaker culture. During the 4th millennium BC, these Funnelbeaker tribes expanded into Sweden up to Uppland. The Nøstvet and Lihult tribes learned new technology from the advancing farmers (but not agriculture) and became the Pitted Ware cultures towards the end of the 4th millennium BC. These Pitted Ware tribes halted the advance of the farmers and pushed them south into southwestern Sweden, but some say that the farmers were not killed or chased away, but that they voluntarily joined the Pitted Ware culture and became part of them. At least one settlement appears to be mixed, the Alvastra pile-dwelling.
It is not known what language these early Scandinavians spoke, but towards the end of the 3rd millennium BC, they were overrun by new tribes who many scholars think spoke Proto-Indo-European, the Battle-Axe culture. This new people advanced up to Uppland and the Oslofjord, and they probably provided the language that was the ancestor of the modern Scandinavian languages. They were cattle herders, and with them most of southern Scandinavia entered the Neolithic.
Nordic Bronze Age
Even though Scandinavians joined the European Bronze Age cultures fairly late through trade, Scandinavian sites present rich and well-preserved objects made of wool, wood and imported Central European bronze and gold. During this period Scandinavia gave rise to the first known advanced civilization in this area following the Nordic Stone Age. The Scandinavians adopted many central European and Mediterranean symbols at the same time that they created new styles and objects. Mycenaean Greece, the Villanovan Culture, Phoenicia and Ancient Egypt have all been identified as possible sources of influence in Scandinavian artwork from this period. The foreign influence is believed to originate with amber trade, and amber found in Mycenaean graves from this period originates from the Baltic Sea. Several petroglyphs depict ships, and the large stone formations known as stone ships indicate that shipping played an important role in the culture. Several petroglyphs depict ships which could possibly be Mediterranean.
From this period there are many mounds and fields of petroglyphs, but their signification is long since lost. There are also numerous artifacts of bronze and gold. The rather crude appearance of the petroglyphs compared to the bronze works have given rise to the theory that they were produced by different cultures or different social groups. No written language existed in the Nordic countries during the Bronze Age.
The Nordic Bronze Age was characterized by a warm climate (which is compared to that of the Mediterranean), which permitted a relatively dense population, but it ended with a climate change consisting of deteriorating, wetter and colder climate (sometimes believed to have given rise to the legend of the Fimbulwinter) and it seems very likely that the climate pushed the Germanic tribes southwards into continental Europe. During this time there was Scandinavian influence in Eastern Europe. A thousand years later, the numerous East Germanic tribes that claimed Scandinavian origins (Burgundians, Goths and Heruls), as did the Lombards, rendered Scandinavia (Scandza) the name "womb of nations" in Jordanes' Getica.
Roman Iron Age
While many Germanic tribes sustained continued contact with the culture and military presence of the Roman Empire, much of Scandinavia existed on the most extreme periphery of the Latin world. With the exception of the passing references to the Swedes (Suiones) and the Geats (Gautoi), much of Scandinavia remained unrecorded by Roman authors.
In Scandinavia, there was a great import of goods, such as coins (more than 7000), vessels, bronze images, glass beakers, enameled buckles, weapons, etc. Moreover, the style of metal objects and clay vessels was markedly Roman. For the first time appear objects such as shears and pawns.
There are also many bog bodies from this time in Denmark, Schleswig and southern Sweden. Together with the bodies, there are weapons, household wares and clothes of wool. Great ships made for rowing have been found from the 4th century in Nydam mosse in Schleswig. Many were buried without burning, but the burning tradition later regained its popularity.
Through the 5th century and 6th century, gold and silver became more common. Much of this can be attributed to the ransacking of the Roman Empire by Germanic tribes, from which many Scandinavians returned with gold and silver.
Germanic Iron Age
The period succeeding the fall of the Roman Empire is known as the Germanic Iron Age, and it is divided into the early Germanic Iron and the late Germanic Iron Age, which in Sweden is known as the Vendel Age, with rich burials in the basin of Lake Mälaren. The early Germanic Iron Age is the period when the Danes appear in history, and according to Jordanes, they were an offshoot of the Swedes (suehans, suetidi) who had replaced the Heruls.
During the fall of the Roman empire, there was an abundance of gold that flowed into Scandinavia and there are excellent works in gold from this period. Gold was used to make scabbard mountings and bracteates; notable examples are the Golden horns of Gallehus.
After the Roman Empire had disappeared, gold became scarce and Scandinavians began to make objects of gilded bronze, with decorations of interlacing animals in Scandinavian style. The early Germanic Iron Age decorations show animals that are rather faithful anatomically, but in the late Germanic Iron Age they evolve into intricate shapes with interlacing and interwoven limbs that are well-known from the Viking Age.
Kvenland, known as Cwenland, Kænland and similar terms in medieval sources, is an ancient name for an area in Scandinavia and Fennoscandia. A contemporary reference to Kvenland is provided in an Old English account written in the 9th century. It utilized the information provided by the Norwegian adventurer and traveler named Ohthere. Kvenland, in that or nearly that spelling, is also known from Nordic sources, primarily Icelandic, but also one which was possibly written in the modern-day area of Norway. All the remaining Nordic sources date to the 12th and 13th centuries, but some of them - in part - are believed to be rewrites of older texts. Other references and possible references to Kvenland by other names or spellings are discussed in the main article of Kvenland.
Starting in the 8th century AD, the Norse began exploring and raiding Europe. They raided lands in Britannia, and in the northernmost provinces of the Roman Empire. For the most part they were considered an ignorable threat, especially in regards to the threats faced with the Arabs and Egyptians. To that end, the raids were generally allowed to happen, unless they were of a particularly large scale, or the Vikings remained for a longer time than usual. They seldom settled long term though, and there was consistent fighting amongst local earls and kings.
In addition, they traded heavily with other empires, going as far south as Egypt, as Norse gold has been found in old Egyptian store houses; how this is done is still subject to debate, as sea trade would have required them to go through the Roman controlled Strait of Gibraltar. Egyptian official records also describe trade with the Norse, and reference their long ships.
For a long time, Scandinavia was divided into several small kingdoms, which were in turn divided into multiple earls, who were in regular conflict with each other. There had been a few attempts to unify the region under one ruler, but they failed. There are several theories as to why this is, including the terrain of the region, or that the societies did not support or allow the upkeep of long term armies.
The exact details of the unification remain uncertain, but it's held by many historians that the first king was Sigurd Lothson, from the Norwegian region. According to Norse sagas and poems, Sigurd was the king of one of the petty kingdoms, who traded with Egypt; this is actually supported by Egyptian records. Its said that in Egypt, Sigurd observed the army tactics and organization that was so effective in the Empire, as well as the weapons and weapons they used. Upon returning to Scandinavia, he gathered warriors from the earls under his dominion, and began the effort of training them in the Egyptian model. He also started wearing armor, and traded better iron with the Egyptians.
In what's believed to be the year 878, Sigurd invaded his neighbors with his army, where his superior tactics and tools are believed to have defeated them easily. The records of the wars of unification are vague, though it's described that over the course of several years, Sigurd absorbed most of the petty kingdoms, until he declared himself High King of the Norse.
Hoping to keep the kingdom united, he maintained the earl system, albeit on a larger scale, and had the local towns built up. Critical to the new administration, was an intricate messaging system, with at least three royal messengers always present in the earl's court, and more constantly traveling the roads. A system was put into place, where the tribes were expected to to train all their men and women in the art of combat that was put into place (and would eventually be called the "Sigurd Model").
The unification culminated with the building of the capital city of Fjordborg in Norway by Sigurd's son, Asger in Lysefjord. The city was stone walled, and a permanent castle was built in the center, which came to be known as Ormrfell (Nors. Serpent Mountain). While they all swore fealty to the king, many of the local earls remained largely independent, and continued their private raids on their overseas neighbors.
It was under the reign of Asger that Asatru (Norse paganism), was formally declared the state religion, and above others. Christians were allowed to preach, though they were forcibly limited to only the outlying towns, and were generally prohibited from going into the larger cities. As a result of this, Christianity failed to supplant Asatru as the national religion.
The Romans controlled Britannia since 43 AD, though since it was quite far from Roma, rule over it was lax, and what garrisons there were were small. To that end, Norse settlers were able to settle the land relatively unopposed for many years. In the year 967 AD, King Skior made plans to colonize Britannia on a large scale, without the Romans approval. He led a colonization expedition into Northern Scotland and Ireland, building the permanent settlement of Skal. While this went unnoticed by the Romans, who were in conflict with the Egyptians at the time.
However, the Norse advanced South, continuing to settle the surrounding lands. Roman towns that they came across were either sacked, razed or annexed. Eventually, the Norse advance became too prominent to ignore, and the Roman legion was dispatched to stop it.
First War of Britannia
After uniting many of the local Scandinavian kingdoms there were desires to expand overseas permanently, so as to get access to better farm land and strategic position. This naturally brought them into conflict with the Romans, who controlled most of Britannia. The Senate declared a state of war against the kingdom in the year 972 AD.
The Roman legion, commanded by Julius Titus Ailus, advanced North,to meet the Norse army. The two forces collided in Wessex, where the Romans defeated the Norse. The Norse were pushed farther North into Scotland, pursued by the Romans. The Romans were dealt a defeat in the southern lowlands, but as winter began to set in, the Norse were forced to retreat farther for provisions. The Romans attempted to advance farther North, but began to suffer attrition in the winter, and were forced to encamp in nearby towns. The Norse, who were better suited for the winter, attempted to attack the Romans multiple times, though they were too fortified to expel.
At sea, the Romans were at a quick disadvantage against the superior Norse dragon ships, who crushed the Roman fleet in the North Sea. The Norse attempted to land in Germania, but couldn't advance far inland against the Roman forces.
With the coming of spring, the Romans left their towns and began to advance North again. They were met by the Norse in the central highlands where the Romans defeated the Norse and destroyed much of their army. Skior was wounded in the battle and the Norse were forced to depart Britannia for Scandinavia, allowing the Romans to recapture the whole of Britannia.
The Roman fleet then attempted to invade Scandinavia in 973 AD, where they entered into Lysefjord, hoping to take Fjordborg. They were then blockaded in the fjord, where it was revealed to have been a trap set by the Norse. The entire fleet was destroyed, and the few survivors were enslaved. The admiral, Aldus Mavius Caius was said to have been personally executed by Skior.
While the Romans never attempted to advance into Norse territory, the Norse possessions in Britannia were lost and they were forced to re-evaluate their plans for colonization. Skior ordered for the explorers to survey the west further. This would eventually lead to the discovery of Vinland in the year 988 AD.
Colonization of Vinland
Vinland was viewed as a satisfactory alternative to Britannia, being relatively unpopulated, and not significantly populated. When word of this reached Scandinavia King Gustav ordered a colonization fleet to travel West, where they landed in Northern Vinland around what would come to be known as "Gustav Bay" (OTL: Hudson Bay), and established the settlement of NewFoundland in 991. NewFoundland grew very quickly, which led to the creation of additional settlements across Vinland.
After the settlements were established, contact was eventually made with the natives of the land, who the Norse called the "Skraelings". Conflict arose with these people, with some viewing the Norse settlers as a potential danger. This lead to the Norse-Skraeling Conflict.
Much of the conflict would consist of raids on the settlements by Skraeling parties, where they would attack smaller towns, and then quickly leave with whatever they could carry. Norse responses were generally brutal, with warriors sent down to find whatever villages they could, and sack them. The only time an army was fully deployed was when intelligence came of a large Skraeling force assembling East of NewFoundland, possibly in an attempt to raid it.
In the ensuing "Battle of NewFoundland", the Norse army clashed with roughly 2000 Skraeling warriors. The battle ended in a Norse victory, and the Skraelings retreated. The conflict would last from 994 to 1023, until King Elof signed the Treaty of Vinland, which incorporated the Skraelings peacefully into the kingdom.
Second War of Britannia
Though the Norse were settling Vinland without any issue, and had found suitable land, there was a prevailing sentiment within Norseland to retake Britannia, and take revenge on the Romans. There were constant demands from not only members of the Royal Court in Fjordborg, but among many earls as well.
In Britannia itself, the Romans were having great difficulty maintaining control over the Norse populations that had remained in Britannia or the natives who were predominantly Norse in culture. Efforts to enforce religious conformity generally failed, and riots were becoming increasingly common. One particularly large riot occurred in Skal, where Roman religious authorities attempted to torch a sacred Asatru shrine. When the people attempted to stop them, one of the religious officials attacked them with sticks. In an attempt to quell the conflict, the garrison was sent to deal with the issue. However, the ensuing chaos from the Norse rioters resulted in the deaths of nearly 100 civilians, in what came to be known as the "Skal Massacre".
Word of this reached Scandinavia, which caused widespread outrage. Officials all over the kingdom demanded that Britannia be retaken from the Romans. In 993 AD, King Gustav ordered the army to assemble, before raising a large fleet to go out to Britannia.
The Norse landed on Northern Scotland, where the Roman forces were weakest, where they began a march down South. They defeated a Roman army in the highlands, and advanced into England. They attacked Skal where they fought the bulk of the Roman forces there. The Norse forces broke through the walls, and advanced into the city, where they defeated the Romans. While there, they tore down any Christian churches the Romans had built, killed the priests, and mounted their heads on the rebuilt walls.
Roman attempts to reinforce their army proved difficult, due to a Norse blockade through the strait that divided Britannia with the mainland. Superior Norse ships would engage in skirmishes with the Roman navy, and would generally sink them, or damage them enough to force them to turn back. This made the war increasingly difficult for the Romans to wage.
Over time, the Senate began to debate whether or not the war was worth the resources it was consuming. While there were some supporters amongst the more radical Senators, the Senate voted in favor of peace. They called a Norse delegation, and signed a treaty that recognized Norse dominion over Britannia. The Norse agreed to these terms, and ended hostilities.
By the end of the war, Norse borders had expanded significantly, now controlling a majority of the North American continent. To maintain their now massive, trans-oceanic kingdom, new bureaucratic and transportation systems were installed. New kinds of ships were designed, with larger cargo holds, permitting the travel of larger amounts of people for greater distances. This made it simpler for trans-Atlantic travel and communication. Roads were built, connecting the earldoms, and major cities.
In Vinland, the Norselings advanced farther west, having managed to come to terms with the native Skraelings, and the Skraelings were incorporated into the kingdom. A number of Skraelings even went to Scandinavia, with some joining the Royal Army. This lead to the creation of the Skraeling Order in the army, which still exists today.
The years after the war, also marked the beginning of the end of the Viking raids, as they acquired the resources that they needed in order to sustain themselves. Small scale raids and attacks still occasionally occurred, and there were instances where larger Norse armies would sack Roman cities. During this time, the Norselings expanded diplomatic relations with the Egyptians, as High King Ragnar sent the first Norse ambassador to Egypt, and Pharaoh Psamtik XV sent the first Egyptian ambassador.
Word of the Roman Crusades against the Egyptians eventually reached Fjordborg. Many viewed it as a far away issue outside their affairs, though High King Olaf believed that this left a number of Roman cities unprotected, and vulnerable to raids. He sanctioned additional incursions into Germania and Gaul, though never deep enough into the major cities; some more daring Vikings would try to attack Paris, but were repelled, and forced to return to Scandinavia.
The Fourth Crusade attracted the attention of the Norselings, as while their lands were too harsh for the Golden Horde to invade, some feared the conflict potentially spilling over into their borders. Then High King, Gunnar, commissioned the building of large fortifications based on Egyptian fort designs along the Norse-Russian border on the year 1283. These forts would come to be known as the Wall of Gunnar.
In the year 1349, High King Bjorn died without any sons. There were several claimants to the throne, including Bjorn's own brother, Harald. However, the throne was willed to Bjorn's eldest daughter, Elsa Ísshǫnd. This set a precedent, as up until this point, there hadn't been a High Queen of the Norse. Elsa's succession was challenged, which nearly resulted in the outbreak of a civil war. However, Elsa, who was a respected shield-maiden and commander, had the support of the army, and most of the rivals retracted their claims. Harald attempted to march against Elsa, but was soundly defeated, and executed.
Elsa was an expansionist who saw Russia's presence on the Scandinavian peninsula (in Finland) as a potential threat. With the Rus Duchy weak, and suffering from both internal, and external strife, Elsa raised an army of 70,000 warriors and marched into Finland.
Arguably the largest peninsula in Europe, the Scandinavian Peninsula is approximately 1850 km (1150 mi) long with a width varying approximately from 370 to 805 km (230 to 500 mi). The Scandinavian mountain range generally defines the border between Norway and Sweden. The peninsula is bordered by several bodies of water including:
- the Baltic Sea (including the Gulf of Bothnia) to the east, with the autonomous Åland Islands between Sweden and Finland, and Gotland.
- the North Sea (including the Kattegat and Skagerrak) to the west and southwest.
- the Norwegian Sea to the west.
- the Barents Sea to the north.
The climate across Scandinavia varies from tundra (Köppen: ET) and subarctic (Dfc) in the north, with cool marine west coast climate (Cfc) in northwestern coastal areas reaching just north of Lofoten, to humid continental (Dfb) in the central portion, and marine west coast (Cfb) in the south and southwest. The region is rich in timber, iron and copper with the best farmland in southern Sweden. Large petroleum and natural gas deposits have been found off Norway's coast in the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
There are about 136 permanently inhabited islands in the group, the largest two being Great Britain and Ireland. Great Britain is to the east and covers 83,700 sq mi (217,000 sq km). Ireland is to the west and covers 32,590 sq mi (84,400 sq km). The largest of the other islands are to be found in the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland to the north, Anglesey and the Isle of Man between Great Britain and Ireland, and the Channel Islands near the coast of France.
The islands are at relatively low altitudes, with central Ireland and southern Great Britain particularly low-lying: the lowest point in the islands is Holme, Cambridgeshire at −2.75 m (−9.02 ft). The Scottish Highlands in the northern part of Great Britain are mountainous, with Ben Nevis being the highest point on the islands at 1343 m (4406 ft). Other mountainous areas include Wales and parts of Ireland. However, only seven peaks in these areas reach above 1000 m (3281 ft). Lakes on the islands are generally not large, although Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland is an exception, covering 150 sq mi (390 sq km). The largest freshwater body in Great Britain (by area) is Loch Lomond at 27.5 sq mi (71 sq km), and Loch Ness, by volume whilst Loch Morar is the deepest freshwater body in the British Isles, with a maximum depth of 310 m (1017 ft). There are a number of major rivers within the British Isles. The longest is the Shannon in Ireland at 224 mi (360 km). The river Severn at 220 mi (354 km is the longest in Great Britain. The isles have a temperate marine climate. The North Atlantic Drift ("Gulf Stream") which flows from the Gulf of Mexico brings with it significant moisture and raises temperatures 11 °C (20 °F) above the global average for the islands' latitudes. Winters are cool and wet with summers mild and also wet. Most Atlantic depressions pass to the north of the islands, combined with the general westerly circulation and interactions with the landmass, this imposes an east-west variation in climate.
Since the end of the last glacial period, Vinland has consisted of eight distinct forest regions, including extensive boreal forest. Vinland has around 31,700 large lakes, more than any other country, containing much of the world's fresh water. There are also fresh-water glaciers in the Vinland Mountains and the Coast Mountains. Canada is geologically active, having many earthquakes and potentially active volcanoes. The volcanic eruption of the Tseax Cone in 1775 was among Vinland's worst natural disasters, killing 2000 Nisga'a people. The eruption produced a 22.5 km (14.0 mi) lava flow, and, according to Nisga'a legend, blocked the flow of the Nass River..
Average winter and summer high temperatures vary from region to region. Winters can be harsh in many parts of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces, which experience a continental climate, where daily average temperatures are near −15 °C (5 °F), but can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) with severe wind chills. In non-coastal regions, snow can cover the ground for almost six months of the year, while in parts of the north snow can persist year-round. Coastal British Columbia has a temperate climate, with a mild and rainy winter. On the east and west coasts, average high temperatures are generally in the low 20s °C (70s °F), while between the coasts, the average summer high temperature ranges from 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F), with temperatures in some interior locations occasionally exceeding 40 °C (104 °F).
The most recent census, places the kingdom's current population, including its colonies, at 390,685,742 people. While the majority of the population is Caucasian, there exist multiple ethnic tribal groups. There are native Icelandic, Britannian and Scandinavian people within the kingdom, with native tribes people in the Canadian colonies. There is also a Sami population, in the Far North and Kven people in the Lower North.
Due to the limited urbanization of the region, as a result of the terrain, most Norse people live in the concentrated pockets in Norse 1st County. In the expanded kingdom, such as Britannia and North America, the population is more evenly distributed.
The national language of the kingdom is Norse. There still exist local languages in the northern divisions of the kingdom, particularly Sami. The kingdom is the only place where English is widely spoken, primarily in Britannia, and Vinland, though the exact origins of English are somewhat sketchy. Latin is spoken in Britannia, and Russian is spoken in Eastern-most reaches of the kingdom.
Native languages throughout the colonies are nationally recognized, such as Algonquin. However, census indicate that most Skraelings speak Norse today. While there is no official law stating the usage of certain languages, many postings in Vinland, particularly where the Skraeling population is denser, has signs in both Norse and any native language that may be present.
English is taught in many schools in Britannia and Scandinavia, as well as Latin. Other commonly taught languages include Russian, Egyptian and Chinese.
The Third Law of Land guarantees religious freedom, and forbids any laws that may threaten its establishment. The official state religion of Scandinavia, is Asatru, or Norse paganism, being the vast majority in the kingdom. There exist other religions, including Christianity, Judaism and native religions. Polls say that 86% of Scandinavians identify as being religious.
Of all nations, Norseland has the fourth slowest growth of irreligion, after the Greater Indian Raj, the Aztec Hegemony and the Republic of Mesopotamia. Polls indicate that younger people are more likely to be irreligious than the older generations, but the percentage of growth from 2008 was only 18%.
The Norse constitution describes the government as a "constitutional monarchy ruled by the High King or Queen". Its constitution was based on the constitution of the Egyptian Empire (a close ally). The High Queen is the head of state and the commander-in-chief of the military and holds executive power. The title is hereditary, falling to the king's eldest child. While the throne will generally pass over an elder daughter, there have been instances where a male child was passed over for a female heir, though this is rare. If the reigning king has no sons, then the throne will fall automatically to his eldest daughter. The monarchy maintains the right to manage the kingdom's foreign relations and is allowed to make relations between two countries. Should the monarch die with no proper heirs, the Althing will elect a new one from the previous monarch's family.
The monarchy's power is limited by the Norse parliament, the Althing. The Althing consists of earls elected via popular vote throughout the separate counties. It is headed by the Prime Minister, who is also elected by popular vote within the county. Each county has one seat in the Althing, save for the First County, which instead is represented by a member of the Royal Court. The powers held by the Althing include the power to declare war and determine government spending.
The Norse kingdom is a unitary state, divided into counties, led by an elected earl. While originally an aristocratic position, after the Reformation, the position is now an elected one. Any individual is permitted to run for earl, provided they have a high school education, and are from the county they are running in. Alongside the earl, is the county council, consisting of representatives from the county.
The High Queen is represented in the county council by three fylkesmenn, who report directly to the monarchy. The fylkesmenn nominally have higher authority in the county than the earl, but this authority is only occasionally exercized.
Judicial and Law Systems
Laws exist on two levels in the kingdom: local and national. Local laws refer to laws in given counties, generally drafted by the earl, and then approved by the county council. National laws affect the kingdom at large, and are usually determined by the national government. The Althing does not possess the authority to draft laws, and laws are instead drafted by the monarchy. After the drafting, they are put through the Althing, which either passes, or vetoes them.
The kingdom utilizes a jury system, wherein people are selected from the given county to determine an innocent or guilty verdict.
The monarchy is the highest authority in the military, and appoints its leaders, the Grand Marshall, the Pan-Admiral and the Air Marshall. The Norse Royal Army administers all armed forces, which includes all divisions, including the coast guard. The largest division is the Royal Navy, which deploys 20 functioning aircraft carriers, making it the third largest navy in the world after the Romans and Egyptians.
Norseland is the only nation where military service is mandatory and all men and women of eligible age are to enlist. However, they are rarely deployed, and most military personnel live off base. During time of war, the kingdom is capable of projecting large scale military force rapidly. The military maintains and operates 321 functional military bases across the kingdom, and an extra thirteen in foreign soil, five of which are in Egypt.
As a founding member of the IUD, the Norse kingdom possess an active presence on the international level. It is a member of the Royal Alliance and the Atlantic Trade Union. It maintains an embassy with almost all countries in the world, and likewise, almost all countries possess an embassy in Fjordborg. Exceptions are the Republic of Mesopotamia, which it does not recognize, and the kingdom of Persia.
The Norse possess territorial claims in both the Eastern and Western hemisphere, having the largest overall territory claim in North America, followed closely by the Aztec Hegemony. This grants them control over most of North America, and air space traveling through it.
The kingdom has close ties with the Egyptian, and Chinese Empires, and possess good relations with the Incan Empire, and several American tribal nations. It is an active member of the Royal Alliance in the development of military defense, and engages in open trade agreements with several other nations. It possess territorial authority over the northern Atlantic, which is illustrated in the Treaty of Gibraltar.
The Norse possesses an extensive economy, being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, seconded only by the Egyptian Empire. It has extensive resources, ranging from fish to mineral deposits, most of which are owned by the federal government. The economy is a mix of socialism and capitalism, featuring both free market, and state owned corporations on the larger scale. Since the formation of the UIR, and the loss of many oil reservations, Norway became one of the most prominent oil exporters in the world, further increasing its wealth.
This combination of natural resources, leads to a great variety of power sources, ranging from hydro-power, to natural gas. As a result, it does not possess nuclear power.
The Norse kingdom possesses a vast variety of transportation methods. Due to the widely spread population, transportation is, in many respects, critical to Norse society and development. This allows groups that would otherwise be isolated to have easy contact with the rest of the kingdom.
The Norse railroads span the entire peninsula, and in Britannia, cover the whole of the isles. Airline travel is not as common as it may be in other nations, having failed to make an impression due to the popularity of travel by ship.