A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for "dynasty" may include "family" and "clan", among others; the longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC. The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a "noble house", which may be styled as "royal", "princely", "ducal", "comital" etc. depending upon the chief or present title borne by its members. Historians periodize the histories of numerous nations and civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Imperial China, using a framework of successive dynasties; as such, the term "dynasty" may be used to delimit the era during which a family reigned, to describe events and artifacts of that period. The word "dynasty" itself is dropped from such adjectival references; until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty: that is, to expand the wealth and power of his family members.
Prior to the 20th century, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. In nations where it was permitted, succession through a daughter established a new dynasty in her husband's ruling house; this has changed in some places in Europe, where succession law and convention have maintained dynasties de jure through a female. For instance, the House of Windsor will be maintained through the children of Queen Elizabeth II, as it did with the monarchy of the Netherlands, whose dynasty remained the House of Orange-Nassau through three successive queens regnant; the earliest such example among major European monarchies was in the Russian Empire in the 18th century, where the name of the House of Romanov was maintained through Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna. In Limpopo Province of South Africa, Balobedu determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mother's dynasty when coming into her inheritance.
Less a monarchy has alternated or been rotated, in a multi-dynastic system – that is, the most senior living members of parallel dynasties, at any point in time, constitute the line of succession. Not all feudal states or monarchies were/are ruled by dynasties. Throughout history, there were monarchs. Dynasties ruling subnational monarchies do not possess sovereign rights; the word "dynasty" is sometimes used informally for people who are not rulers but are, for example, members of a family with influence and power in other areas, such as a series of successive owners of a major company. It is extended to unrelated people, such as major poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team; the word "dynasty" derives from Latin dynastia, which comes from Greek dynastéia, where it referred to "power", "dominion", "rule" itself. It was the abstract noun of dynástēs, the agent noun of dynamis, "power" or "ability", from dýnamai, "to be able". A ruler from a dynasty is sometimes referred to as a "dynast", but this term is used to describe any member of a reigning family who retains a right to succeed to a throne.
For example, King Edward VIII ceased to be a dynast of the House of Windsor following his abdication. In historical and monarchist references to reigning families, a "dynast" is a family member who would have had succession rights, were the monarchy's rules still in force. For example, after the 1914 assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg, their son Duke Maximilian was bypassed for the Austro-Hungarian throne because he was not a Habsburg dynast. Since the abolition of the Austrian monarchy, Duke Maximilian and his descendants have not been considered the rightful pretenders by Austrian monarchists, nor have they claimed that position; the term "dynast" is sometimes used only to refer to agnatic descendants of a realm's monarchs, sometimes to include those who hold succession rights through cognatic royal descent. The term can therefore describe distinct sets of people. For example, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth II through her sister Princess Margaret, is in the line of succession to the British crown.
On the other hand, the German aristocrat Prince Ernst August of Hanover, a male-line descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom, possesses no legal British name, titles or styles. He was born in the line of succession to the British throne and was bound by Britain's Royal Marriages Act 1772 until it was repealed when the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 took effect on 26 March 2015. Thus, he requested and obtained formal permission from Queen Elizabeth II to marry the Roman Catholic Princess Caroline of Monaco in 1999. Yet, a clause of the English Act of Settlement 1701 remained in effect at that time, stipulating that dynasts who
Eric IV of Denmark
Eric IV known as Eric Ploughpenny or Eric Plowpenny, was king of Denmark from 1241 until his death in 1250. He was the son of Valdemar II of Denmark by his wife, Berengaria of Portugal, brother of King Abel of Denmark and King Christopher I of Denmark Eric was born in 1216 as the second legitimate son of King Valdemar II by his second wife Berengária of Portugal. In 1218, when his older half-brother Valdemar was crowned king as their father's co-ruler and designated heir, he was created Duke of Schleswig. After the premature death of Valdemar in 1231, Eric in his turn was crowned king at Lund Cathedral 30 May 1232 as his father's co-ruler and heir. Subsequently, he ceded the Duchy of Schleswig to his younger brother Abel; when his father died in 1241, he automatically ascended to the throne. His rule was marked by civil wars against his brothers, he fought his brother, Duke Abel of Schleswig who seems to have wanted an independent position and, supported by the counts of Holstein. Eric fought the Scanian peasants, who rebelled because of his hard taxes, among other things, on ploughs.
The number of ploughs a man owned was used as a measure of his wealth. This gave the king the epithet "plough-penny". Eric had only been king for about a year when he first came into conflict with his brother, Duke Abel of Schleswig, in 1242; the conflict lasted for two years before the brothers agreed on a truce in 1244 and made plans for a joint crusade to Estonia. At the same time Eric faced trouble from the religious orders who insisted that they were immune from taxes that Eric might assess. Eric wanted; the pope sent a nuncio to negotiate between the king and the bishops at Odense in 1245. Excommunication was threatened for anyone, great or small who trespassed upon the ancient rights and privileges of the church, it was a clear warning to Eric that the church would not tolerate his continued insistence at assessing church property for tax purposes. Infuriated, in 1249 King Eric directed his rage at Niels Stigsen, Bishop of the Diocese of Roskilde who fled Denmark the same year. Eric confiscated the bishopric's properties in Zealand, including the emerging city of Copenhagen, as compensation for his troubles with Abel.
In spite of intervention from Pope Innocent IV who advocated the reinstatement of the bishop and the return of the properties to the diocese, the dispute could not be resolved. Niels Stigsen died in 1249 in the Clairvaux Abbey and the properties were not restored to the diocese until after the death of King Eric in 1250. In the meantime, the conflict between King Eric and his brothers had broken out again in 1246; the conflict started when Eric invaded Holstein in an attempt to restore his father's control of the county. Duke Abel of Schleswig, himself married to a daughter of Adolf IV, Count of Holstein and former guardian of his brothers-in-law, the two young counts of Holstein John I and Gerhard I, forced King Eric to abandon his conquest; the following year and the Holsteiners stormed into Jutland and Funen and pillaging as far north as Randers and Odense. Abel was supported by the Hanseatic League city of Lübeck, as well as by his brothers Christopher, Lord of Lolland and Falster and Canute, Duke of Blekinge.
King Eric retaliated reconquering the city of Ribe and occupying Abel’s patrimonial city of Svendborg the same year. In 1247, he captured the castle of Arreskov on Funen, as well as taking Christopher and Canute prisoners. A truce was arranged by Eric's sister Sophie of Denmark, the wife of John I, Margrave of Brandenburg; the terms of the accord left Eric in firm control of all of Denmark. In 1249 the peasants in Scania rose in rebellion against the plow tax; the king restored order with help from Zealand, but the church, Duke Abel, the German counts in southern Jutland were pushed into an erstwhile alliance against the king. Erik raised an army and sailed to Estonia to secure his base there in 1249. On his way home in 1250 he took his army to Holstein to prevent the capture of the border fortress of Rendsburg and to teach the German counts, still king, his brother, Duke Abel of Southern Jutland offered him hospitality at his house at Gottorp in Schleswig. While they sat in the great hall, Duke Abel reminded Erik of the attacks that he had endured early in Erik's reign.
That evening as the king gambled with one of the German knights, the duke's chamberlain and a group of other men rushed in and took the king prisoner. They bound him and dragged him out of the duke's house and down to a boat and rowed out into the Schlien, they were followed out onto the water by a second boat. When King Erik heard the voice of his sworn enemy, Lave Gudmundsen, he realized; the king asked for a priest to hear his last confession, the conspirators agreed to Erik's request. The king was rowed back to shore. One of the captors was paid to deliver the king's death blow with an ax. Erik was beheaded and his body dumped into the Schlien; the next morning two fishermen dragged the king's headless body up in their net. They carried the body to the Dominican Abbey in Schleswig, his brother Abel was sworn in as the successor king. Abel contended. Few Danes believed Abel and within a year and a half, Abel himself was killed, he was succeeded as king of Denmark by his younger brother Christopher.
Eric was married on 17 November 1239 with Jutta of Saxony daught
Store norske leksikon
Store norske leksikon, abbreviated SNL, is a Norwegian language online encyclopedia. The SNL was created in 1978, when the two publishing houses Aschehoug and Gyldendal merged their encyclopedias and created the company Kunnskapsforlaget. Up until 1978 the two publishing houses of Aschehoug and Gyldendal, Norway's two largest, had published Aschehougs konversasjonsleksikon and Gyldendals konversasjonsleksikon, respectively; the respective first editions were published in 1907–1913 and 1933–1934. The slump in sales for paperbased encyclopedias around the turn of the 21st century hit Kunnskapsforlaget hard, but a fourth edition of the paper encyclopedia was secured by a grant of 10 million Norwegian kroner from the foundation Fritt Ord in 2003; the fourth edition consisted of a total of 12,000 pages and 280,000 entries. First edition, 1978-1981, 12 volumes. Chief editors Olaf Kortner, Preben Munthe, Egil Tveterås Second edition, 1986-1989, 15 volumes. Chief editors Olaf Kortner, Preben Munthe, Egil Tveterås.
Third edition, 1995-1998, 16 volumes. Chief editor Petter Henriksen. Fourth edition, 2005-2007, 16 volumes. Chief editor Petter Henriksen; the online edition of SNL was launched in 2000, had both private and institutional subscribers. The paywall was removed on 25 February 2009, the online encyclopedia became free. On 12 March 2010, Kunnskapsforlaget announced that they would close the online encyclopedia because of lacklustre sales and failing revenue, it was announced that the articles would not be given to the Wikimedia Foundation, with chief-editor Petter Henriksen stating that: "It is important that the people behind the articles remain visible". In 2011, the foundations Fritt Ord and Sparebankstiftelsen DNB acquired the encyclopedia, hired Anne Marit Godal as the new chief editor and established a new organisation, assisted by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers and Translators Association. In 2014 the Great Norwegian Encyclopedia Association took over the encyclopedia.
In 2016 Erik Bolstad became the new chief editor. As of 2018, the SNL has around 200,000 articles online, updated by 750 affiliated academics; the SNL accepts contributions from users, but all changes to the articles are verified by a topic expert before publication. The online encyclopedia are among the most-read Norwegian published sites, with around 2 million unique visitors per month; the online version of Store norske leksikon
Ingeborg of Norway
Ingeborg of Norway, was a Norwegian princess and by marriage a Swedish royal duchess with a position in the regency governments in Norway and Sweden during the minority of her son, King Magnus of Norway and Sweden. In 1318–1319, she was Sweden's de facto ruler, from 1319 until 1326, she was Sweden's first de jure female regent. Ingeborg was born as the only legitimate daughter of King Håkon V of Norway from his marriage with Euphemia of Rügen; as a child, she was first betrothed to Magnus Birgerson, the son and designated heir of Birger, King of Sweden. Soon afterwards the engagement was however broken for altered political reasons, in 1305 she was betrothed to Eric, Duke of Södermanland, a younger brother of King Birger, thus uncle of her first betrothed. In 1312, Ingeborg and Eric were formally married in a double wedding in Oslo. At her wedding, her mother Queen Euphemia had published the translated famous poems, the Euphemia songs; the couple had two children. Upon the imprisonment of her spouse and her brother-in-law and her cousin and sister-in-law, Ingeborg Eriksdottir, became the leaders of their spouses' followers.
On 16 April 1318, the two duchesses Ingeborg made a treaty in Kalmar with the Danish duke Christoffer of Halland-Samsö and archbishop Esgar of Lund to free their husbands and not to make peace with the kings of Sweden and Denmark before they agreed to this, the two duchesses promised to honor the promises they gave in return in the names of their husbands. The same year, their husbands were confirmed to have died, her son Magnus VII of Norway, at the age of 3, was proclaimed king of Norway upon her father's death, in rights devolved from her. Ingeborg was recognized as formal regent of her son in Norway. Soon, the Swedish nobility elected young Magnus king of Sweden after deposing Birger, Ingeborg was made nominal regent of Sweden and given a seat and vote in the Swedish government and the title: Ingeborg, by the Grace of God, daughter of Haakon, duchess in the Kingdom of Sweden. Duchess Ingeborg held her own court at her residence in Varberg. Letters 1318-1321 reveal that powerful Swedish men took advantage of the young dowager duchess by having her issue and over her own seal, documents to their advantage as compensation for their support of the murdered dukes Eric and Waldemar and of little Magnus's right to the throne.
The exact position of Ingeborg in the regency council is hard to define properly due to the documentation. Mats Kettilumndsson, her ally, presided over the Swedish regency council "alongside" the two "duchesses Ingeborg". Magnus King of Norway, was elected King of Sweden with the approval of the Norwegian council in her presence. Ingeborg was the only one with a seat in both the Swedish and the Norwegian minor regency and council of state, she was duchess of her own fiefs, which were autonomous under her rule, a large number of castles which controlled big areas thanks to their strategic positions. "Ingeborg's position at court was not well-defined: she was the king's mother, but without being a dowager queen." She was criticized for her way of conducting her own politics without the counsel of the Swedish and Norwegian councils, for using the royal seal of her son for her own wishes. 1 October 1320, she liberated Riga from its debts in her name on behalf of her son. She was known to make large donations to her supporters.
Canute Porse was appointed governor of Varberg. Ingeborg surrounded herself with young foreign men, thought to affect her politics, of which Canute was the most known. 12 April 1321, the Swedish council, after receiving complaints from the Norwegian council regarding a rumour of crimes and disturbances in Ingeborg's lands made by foreigners, told the Norwegian council to advise Ingeborg to listen more to the advice of the old experienced men in the councils rather than to young unexperienced foreign men. Ingeborg and Canute had the ambition to make the Danish Scania a part of her possessions. In 1321, Ingeborg arranged a marriage with Albert II, Duke of Mecklenburg; the marriage was arranged with the terms that Mecklenburg, Holstein and Schleswig would assist Ingeborg in the conquest of Scania. This was approved by the council of Norway but not Sweden. To finance the invasion, Ingeborg took a loan from Stralsund with free trade in Sweden and Norway as security; when Ingeborg's forces under command of Canute invaded Scania in 1322-23, Mecklenburg betrayed her to Denmark and the alliance was broken.
In 1322, open conflict broke out between the Swedish regency council. In 1323, Ingeborg was forced to accept the terms and give up several of her strategical castles and fiefs. 20 February 1323 the Norwegian regency council rebelled against Ingeborg. She was accused of misusing the royal seal, to have broken the peace with Denmark and for greater costs, was replaced as head of the regency. After 1323, Ingeborgs power was limited to what was approved by votes in the councils, which in practice had deposed her. 14 February 1326, in exchange for having her debts paid, Ingeborg gave up several fiefs and wa
Haakon the Good
Haakon Haraldsson Haakon the Good and Haakon Adalsteinfostre, was the king of Norway from 934 to 961. He was noted for his attempts to introduce Christianity into Norway. Haakon is not mentioned in any narrative sources earlier than the late 12th century. According to this late saga tradition, Haakon was the youngest son of King Harald Fairhair and Thora Mosterstang, he was born on the Håkonshella peninsula in Hordaland. King Harald determined to remove his youngest son out of harm's way and accordingly sent him to the court of King Athelstan of England. Haakon was fostered by King Athelstan, as part of an agreement made by his father, for which reason Haakon was nicknamed Adalsteinfostre. However, Haakon is not mentioned in any contemporary Anglo-Saxon sources, historians of Athelstan, such as William of Malmesbury, make no reference to Haakon. According to Norwegian royal biographies from the late 12th century, the English court introduced him to the Christian religion. On the news of his father's death, King Athelstan provided Haakon with ships and men for an expedition against his half-brother Eric Bloodaxe, proclaimed king of Norway.
At his arrival back in Norway, Haakon gained the support of the landowners by promising to give up the rights of taxation claimed by his father over inherited real property. Eric Bloodaxe soon found himself deserted on all sides, saved his own and his family's lives by fleeing from the country. Eric fled to the Orkney Islands and to the Kingdom of Jorvik meeting a violent death at Stainmore, Westmorland, in 954 along with his son, Haeric. In 953, Haakon had to fight a fierce battle at Avaldsnes against the sons of Eric Bloodaxe. Haakon won the battle. One of Haakon's most famous victories was the Battle of Rastarkalv near Frei in 955 at which Eric's son, died. By placing ten standards far apart along a low ridge, he gave the impression that his army was bigger than it was, he managed to fool Eric's sons into believing. The Danes were slaughtered by Haakon's army; the sons of Eric returned in 957, with support from King Gorm the Old, King of Denmark, but were again defeated by Haakon's effective army system.
Three of the surviving sons of Eric Bloodaxe landed undetected on the coast of Hordaland in 961 and surprised the king at his residence in Fitjar. Haakon was mortally wounded at the Battle of Fitjar after a final victory over Eric’s sons; the King’s arm was pierced by an arrow and he died from his wounds. He was buried in the burial mound in the village of Seim in Lindås municipality in the county of Hordaland. Upon his death his court poet, Eyvindr Skáldaspillir, composed a skaldic poem Hákonarmál about the fall of the King in battle and his reception into Valhalla. After Haakon's death, Harald Greycloak, the eldest surviving son of Eric Bloodaxe, ascended the throne as King Harald II, although he had little authority outside western Norway. Subsequently, the Norwegians were tormented by years of war. In 970, King Harald was tricked into coming to Denmark and killed in a plot planned by Haakon Sigurdsson, who had become an ally of King Harald Bluetooth. Haakon's Park is the location of a statue of King Haakon sculpted by Anne Grimdalen.
During 1961, the statue was erected opposite Fitjar Church for the one thousand-year commemoration of the Battle of Fitjar. Håkonarspelet is a historical play written by Johannes Heggland in 1997. Haakon is a major character in Mother of Kings by Poul Anderson. Haakon is the protagonist in God's Hammer by Eric Schumacher; this article contains information from "Haakon". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. Birkeli, Fridtjov Norge møter kristendommen fra vikingtiden til ca. 1050 ISBN 9788203087912 Enstad, Nils-Petter Sverd eller kors? Kristningen av Norge som politisk prosess fra Håkon den gode til Olav Kyrre ISBN 9788230003947 Krag, Claus Vikingtid og rikssamling 800–1130 ISBN 9788203220159 Sigurdsson, Jon Vidar and Synnøve Veinan Hellerud Håkon den gode ISBN 9788243005778 van Nahl, Jan Alexander. "The Medieval Mood of Contingency. Chance as a Shaping Factor in Hákonar saga góða and Haralds saga Sigurðarsonar". In: Mediaevistik, International Journal of Interdisciplinary Medieval Research 29. Pp. 81–97.
Saga Hákonar góða Hákonarmól
Denmark the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, is bordered to the south by Germany; the Kingdom of Denmark comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand and the North Jutlandic Island; the islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2, land area of 42,394 km2, the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2, a population of 5.8 million. The unified kingdom of Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea. Denmark and Norway were ruled together under one sovereign ruler in the Kalmar Union, established in 1397 and ending with Swedish secession in 1523.
The areas of Denmark and Norway remained under the same monarch until Denmark -- Norway. Beginning in the 17th century, there were several devastating wars with the Swedish Empire, ending with large cessions of territory to Sweden. After the Napoleonic Wars, Norway was ceded to Sweden, while Denmark kept the Faroe Islands and Iceland. In the 19th century there was a surge of nationalist movements, which were defeated in the 1864 Second Schleswig War. Denmark remained neutral during World War I. In April 1940, a German invasion saw brief military skirmishes while the Danish resistance movement was active from 1943 until the German surrender in May 1945. An industrialised exporter of agricultural produce in the second half of the 19th century, Denmark introduced social and labour-market reforms in the early 20th century that created the basis for the present welfare state model with a developed mixed economy; the Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, ending the absolute monarchy, which had begun in 1660.
It establishes a constitutional monarchy organised as a parliamentary democracy. The government and national parliament are seated in Copenhagen, the nation's capital, largest city, main commercial centre. Denmark exercises hegemonic influence in the Danish Realm, devolving powers to handle internal affairs. Home rule was established in the Faroe Islands in 1948. Denmark negotiated certain opt-outs, it is among the founding members of NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD, OSCE, the United Nations. Denmark is considered to be one of the most economically and developed countries in the world. Danes enjoy a high standard of living and the country ranks in some metrics of national performance, including education, health care, protection of civil liberties, democratic governance and human development; the country ranks as having the world's highest social mobility, a high level of income equality, is among the countries with the lowest perceived levels of corruption in the world, the eleventh-most developed in the world, has one of the world's highest per capita incomes, one of the world's highest personal income tax rates.
The etymology of the word Denmark, the relationship between Danes and Denmark and the unifying of Denmark as one kingdom, is a subject which attracts debate. This is centered on the prefix "Dan" and whether it refers to the Dani or a historical person Dan and the exact meaning of the -"mark" ending. Most handbooks derive the first part of the word, the name of the people, from a word meaning "flat land", related to German Tenne "threshing floor", English den "cave"; the -mark is believed to mean woodland or borderland, with probable references to the border forests in south Schleswig. The first recorded use of the word Danmark within Denmark itself is found on the two Jelling stones, which are runestones believed to have been erected by Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth; the larger stone of the two is popularly cited as Denmark's "baptismal certificate", though both use the word "Denmark", in the form of accusative ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚢᚱᚴ tanmaurk on the large stone, genitive ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚱᚴᛅᚱ "tanmarkar" on the small stone.
The inhabitants of Denmark are there called "Danes", in the accusative. The earliest archaeological findings in Denmark date back to the Eem interglacial period from 130,000–110,000 BC. Denmark has been inhabited since around 12,500 BC and agriculture has been evident since 3900 BC; the Nordic Bronze Age in Denmark was marked by burial mounds, which left an abundance of findings including lurs and the Sun Chariot. During the Pre-Roman Iron Age, native groups began migrating south, the first tribal Danes came to the country between the Pre-Roman and the Germanic Iron Age, in the Roman Iron Age; the Roman provinces maintained trade routes and relations with native tribes in Denmark, Roman coins have been found in Denmark. Evidence of strong Celtic cultural influence dates from this period in Denmark and much of North-West Europe and is among other things reflected in the finding of the Gundestrup cauldron; the tribal Danes came from the east Danish islands and Scania and spoke an early form of North Germanic.
Historians believe that before their arrival, most of Jutland and the nearest islands were settled by tribal J
Monarchy of Norway
The Norwegian monarch is the monarchical head of state of Norway, a constitutional and hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary system. The Norwegian monarchy can trace its line back to the reign of Harald Fairhair and the previous petty kingdoms which were united to form Norway; the present monarch is King Harald V, who has reigned since 17 January 1991, succeeding his father, Olav V. The heir apparent is Crown Prince Haakon; the crown prince undertakes various public ceremonial functions, as does the king's wife, Queen Sonja. The crown prince acts as regent in the king's absence. There are several other members of the Royal Family, including the king's daughter and sister. Since the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden and the subsequent election of a Danish prince as King Haakon VII in 1905, the reigning royal house of Norway has been a branch of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg branch of the House of Oldenburg. Whilst the Constitution of Norway grants important executive powers to the King, these are always exercised by the Council of State in the name of the King.
Formally the King appoints the government according to his own judgement, but parliamentary practice has been in place since 1884. Constitutional practice has replaced the meaning of the word King in most articles of the constitution from the king to the elected government; the powers vested in the monarch are significant, but are treated only as reserve powers and as an important security part of the role of the monarchy. The King does, he ratifies laws and royal resolutions and sends envoys from and to foreign countries and hosts state visits. He has a more tangible influence as the symbol of national unity; the annual New Year's Eve speech is one occasion. The King is Supreme Commander of the Norwegian Armed Forces and Grand Master of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav and of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit; the King has no official role in the Church of Norway, but is required by the Constitution to be a member. The position of King of Norway has been in continuous existence since the unification of Norway in 872.
Although Norway has been a hereditary kingdom throughout that time, there have been several instances of elective succession: most in 1905 Haakon VII was elected by the people of Norway to the position of king through a plebiscite. In recent years members of the Socialist Left party have proposed the abolition of the monarchy during each new session of parliament, though without any likelihood of success; this gives the Norwegian monarchy the unique status of being a popularly elected royal family and receiving regular formal confirmations of support from the Storting. Prior to and in the early phase of the Viking Age Norway was divided into several smaller kingdoms; these are thought to have followed the same tradition as other Germanic monarchies of the time: the king was elected by the high-ranking farmers of the area and served as judge at popular assemblies, as a priest on the occasion of sacrifices and as a military leader in time of war. Harald Fairhair was the first king of Norway; the date of the first formation of a unified Norwegian kingdom is set as 872, when he defeated the last petty kings who resisted him at the Battle of Hafrsfjord.
The boundaries of Fairhair's kingdom were not identical to those of present-day Norway, upon his death the kingship was shared among his sons. Some historians emphasise the actual monarchial control over the country and assert that Olaf II, alias Saint Olaf, who reigned from 1015 to 1028, was the first king to control the entire country. Olaf is held to have been the driving force behind Norway's final conversion to Christianity. Furthermore, he was in 1031 revered as Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae, subsequently the 1163 Succession Law stated that all kings after Olaf II's son, Magnus I, were not independent monarchs, but vassals holding Norway as a fief from Saint Olaf. In the 12th and 13th centuries the Norwegian kingdom was at its cultural peak; the kingdom included Norway, the Faroe Islands, Shetland and other smaller areas in the British Isles. The king had diplomatic relations with most of the European kingdoms and formed alliances with Scotland and Castile, among others. Large castles such as Haakon's Hall and cathedrals, the foremost being Nidaros Cathedral, were built.
In the tradition of Germanic monarchy the king had to be elected by a representative assembly of noblemen. Men eligible for election had to be of royal blood. During the civil war era the unclear succession laws and the practice of power-sharing between several kings gave personal conflicts the potential to become full-blown wars. Over the centuries kings consolidated their power, a strict succession law made Norway a principally hereditary kingdom. In practice the king was elected by the Riksråd in a similar way to Denmark, he adhered to a håndfæstning and governed in the council of Norwegian noblemen according to existing laws. After the death of Haakon VI of Norway in 1380, his son Olav IV of Norway succeeded to the thrones of both Norway and Denmark and was elected King of Sweden. After his death at th