Norway (Norwegian: Norge (bokmål) or Noreg (nynorsk)), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe that occupies the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, stretching from its northern extremity to its southern one. The majority of the country shares a border to the southeast with Sweden and its northern region is bordered by Finland to the south and east. The United Kingdom and the Faroe Islands lie to its west across the North Sea, and Denmark lies south of its southern tip across the Skagerrak Strait. Norway's extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean, is home to its famous fjords.
On June 7, 1905 Norway claimed their independence from the personal union with Sweden, becoming the first European nation to declare independence in the 20th century. During both World Wars, Norway claimed neutrality, but it was invaded by German forces during World War II on 9 April 1940. The Allies also had plans in mind for an invasion of the country and a British fleet mined Norwegian territorial waters, also in April 1940. Norway was unprepared for the German surprise attack, but military resistance continued for two months until they were forced to surrender on June 10. On the day of the invasion, the collaborative leader of the small National-Socialist party Nasjonal Samling — Vidkun Quisling — seized power and formed a collaborationist government under German control with himself as minister president. Following the German's withdrawal from Norway in 1946, Quisling was arrested and tried for high treason and subsequently executed by firing squad.
In the 1920s, Norway annexed Jan Mayen and was given the sovereignty over the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard under the Svalbard Treaty. The polar territories of Bouvet Island, Peter I Island and Queen Maud Land are external dependencies, but not parts of Norway. In 1940, Island changed their head of state from the Danish monarch Christian X to the Norwegian monarch Haakon VII. In 1946, Norway was given the sovereignty of the Faroe Islands and Greenland by the United Nations and secretly by the Danish government.
Since the end of the Second World War Norway has experienced rapid economic growth, and is now amongst the wealthiest countries in the world. Norway is the world's fourth largest oil exporter and the petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of GDP. The oil industry is mainly situated outside and controlled from the oil capital Stavanger.
Norway also has rich resources of gas fields, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals. Norway is the largest exporter of seafood. Other main industries include food processing, shipbuilding, metals, chemicals, mining, fishing and pulp and paper products. Norway has a Scandinavian welfare model and the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation.
Norway is officially a neutral country, with long term German naval bases leased from its government and German naval exercises taking place off its shores. It has however maintained secret links with the United Nations.
The Norwegian government has allowed the use of bases on Greenland by the U.S. armed forces, who uses the Thule base for their B-52 strategic bombers.
Svalbard is not a county and is not usually considered part of northern Norway. The governor of Svalbard (sysselmannen) reports to the Department of Justice, whereas the county governors (fylkesmenn) report to the Department of Administration. Also, Jan Mayen is an integrated geographical body of Norway. Since 1995, it has been administered by the county governor (fylkesmann) of Nordland.
Bouvet Island in the south Atlantic Ocean, Queen Maud Land, and Peter I Island in Antarctica are Norwegian dependencies.
Greenland and the Faroe Islands are also parts of the Kingdom of Norway, as members of Riksfellesskapet, but have autonomous status and are largely self-governing, and are each represented by two seats in the Parliament. As according to the Act of Union, Norway recognizes Iceland as a fully sovereign state united with Norway under a common king. Iceland is independent in internal matters while Norway represent its foreign affairs and defense interests.
|Kingdom of Norway|