Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 348,580 and an area of 103,000 km2, making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country being home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is geologically active; the interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields and glaciers, many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle, its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate. According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island. In the following centuries, to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls of Gaelic origin.
The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the Althing, one of the world's oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Following a period of civil strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century; the establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway and Sweden. Iceland thus followed Norway's integration into that union, coming under Danish rule after Sweden's secession from the union in 1523. Although the Danish kingdom introduced Lutheranism forcefully in 1550, Iceland remained a distant semi-colonial territory in which Danish institutions and infrastructures were conspicuous by their absence. In the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Iceland's struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918 and the founding of a republic in 1944; until the 20th century, Iceland relied on subsistence fishing and agriculture. Industrialisation of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity and Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world.
In 1994, it became a part of the European Economic Area, which further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance and manufacturing. Iceland has a market economy with low taxes, compared to other OECD countries, it maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. Iceland ranks high in economic, social stability, equality ranking first in the world by median wealth per adult. In 2018, it was ranked as the sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations' Human Development Index, it ranks first on the Global Peace Index. Iceland runs completely on renewable energy. Hit hard by the worldwide financial crisis, the nation's entire banking system systemically failed in October 2008, leading to a severe depression, substantial political unrest, the Icesave dispute, the institution of capital controls; some bankers were jailed. Since the economy has made a significant recovery, in large part due to a surge in tourism.
A law that took effect in 2018 makes it illegal in Iceland for women to be paid less than men. Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation's Scandinavian heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old West Norse and is related to Faroese and West Norwegian dialects; the country's cultural heritage includes traditional Icelandic cuisine, Icelandic literature, medieval sagas. Iceland has the smallest population of any NATO member and is the only one with no standing army, with a armed coast guard; the Sagas of Icelanders say that a Norwegian named Naddodd was the first Norseman to reach Iceland, in the 9th century he named it Snæland or "snow land" because it was snowing. Following Naddodd, the Swede Garðar Svavarsson arrived, so the island was called Garðarshólmur which means "Garðar's Isle". Came a Viking named Flóki Vilgerðarson; the sagas say that the rather despondent Flóki climbed a mountain and saw a fjord full of icebergs, which led him to give the island its new and present name.
The notion that Iceland's Viking settlers chose that name to discourage oversettlement of their verdant isle is a myth. According to both Landnámabók and Íslendingabók, monks known as the Papar lived in Iceland before Scandinavian settlers arrived members of a Hiberno-Scottish mission. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed the ruins of a cabin in Hafnir on the Reykjanes peninsula. Carbon dating indicates that it was abandoned sometime between 770 and 880. In 2016, archeologists uncovered a longhouse in Stöðvarfjörður, dated to as early as 800. Swedish Viking explorer Garðar Svavarsson was the first to circumnavigate Iceland in 870 and establish that it was an island, he built a house in Húsavík. Garðar departed the following summer but one of his men, Náttfari, decided to stay behind with two slaves. Náttfari settled in what is now known as Náttfaravík and he and his slaves became the first permanent residents of Iceland; the Norwegian-Norse chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson built his homestead in present-day Reykjavík in 874.
Ingólfr was followed by many other emigrant settlers Scandinavians and their thralls, many of whom were Irish or Scottish. By 930, most arable land on the island had been claimed. Lack of arable land al
A hagiography is a biography of a saint or an ecclesiastical leader. The term hagiography may be used to refer to the biography of a saint or developed spiritual being in any of the world's spiritual traditions. Christian hagiographies focus on the lives, notably the miracles, ascribed to men and women canonized by the Roman Catholic church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Church of the East. Other religious traditions such as Buddhism, Islam and Jainism create and maintain hagiographical texts concerning saints and other individuals believed to be imbued with sacred power. Hagiographic works those of the Middle Ages, can incorporate a record of institutional and local history, evidence of popular cults and traditions. However, when referring to modern, non-ecclesiastical works, the term hagiography is used as a pejorative reference to biographies and histories whose authors are perceived to be uncritical of or reverential to their subject. Hagiography constituted an important literary genre in the early Christian church, providing some informational history along with the more inspirational stories and legends.
A hagiographic account of an individual saint can consist of a biography, a description of the saint's deeds or miracles, an account of the saint's martyrdom, or be a combination of these. The genre of lives of the saints first came into being in the Roman Empire as legends about Christian martyrs were recorded; the dates of their deaths formed the basis of martyrologies. In the 4th century, there were three main types of catalogs of lives of the saints: annual calendar catalogue, or menaion, biographies of the saints to be read at sermons. In Western Europe hagiography was one of the more important vehicles for the study of inspirational history during the Middle Ages; the Golden Legend of Jacob de Voragine compiled a great deal of medieval hagiographic material, with a strong emphasis on miracle tales. Lives were written to promote the cult of local or national states, in particular to develop pilgrimages to visit relics; the bronze Gniezno Doors of Gniezno Cathedral in Poland are the only Romanesque doors in Europe to feature the life of a saint.
The life of Saint Adalbert of Prague, buried in the cathedral, is shown in 18 scenes based on a lost illuminated copy of one of his Lives. The Bollandist Society continues the study, academic assembly and publication of materials relating to the lives of Christian saints. Many of the important hagiographical texts composed in medieval England were written in the vernacular dialect Anglo-Norman. With the introduction of Latin literature into England in the 7th and 8th centuries the genre of the life of the saint grew popular; when one contrasts it to the popular heroic poem, such as Beowulf, one finds that they share certain common features. In Beowulf, the titular character battles against Grendel and his mother, while the saint, such as Athanasius' Anthony or the character of Guthlac, battles against figures no less substantial in a spiritual sense. Both genres focus on the hero-warrior figure, but with the distinction that the saint is of a spiritual sort. Imitation of the life of Christ was the benchmark against which saints were measured, imitation of the lives of saints was the benchmark against which the general population measured itself.
In Anglo-Saxon and medieval England, hagiography became a literary genre par excellence for the teaching of a illiterate audience. Hagiography provided priests and theologians with classical handbooks in a form that allowed them the rhetorical tools necessary to present their faith through the example of the saints' lives. Of all the English hagiographers no one was more prolific nor so aware of the importance of the genre as Abbot Ælfric of Eynsham, his work Lives of the Saints contains set of sermons on saints' days observed by the English Church. The text comprises two prefaces, one in Latin and one in Old English, 39 lives beginning on December 25 with the nativity of Christ and ending with three texts to which no saints' days are attached; the text spans the entire year and describes the lives of many saints, both English and continental, hearkens back to some of the earliest saints of the early church. There are two known instances; these are the Cornish-language works Beunans Meriasek and Beunans Ke, about the lives of Saints Meriasek and Kea, respectively.
Other examples of hagiographies from England include: the Chronicle by Hugh Candidus the Secgan Manuscript the list of John Leyland the book Life by Saint Cadog Ireland is notable in its rich hagiographical tradition, for the large amount of material, produced during the Middle Ages. Irish hagiographers wrote in Latin while some of the saint's lives were written in the hagiographer's native vernacular Irish. Of particular note are the lives of St. Patrick, St. Columba /Colm and St. Brigit/Brigid—Ireland's three patron saints. Additionally, several Irish calendars relating to the feastd
Heimskringla is the best known of the Old Norse kings' sagas. It was written in Old Norse in Iceland by the poet and historian Snorri Sturluson c. 1230. The name Heimskringla was first used in the 17th century, derived from the first two words of one of the manuscripts. Heimskringla is a collection of sagas about Swedish and Norwegian kings, beginning with the saga of the legendary Swedish dynasty of the Ynglings, followed by accounts of historical Norwegian rulers from Harald Fairhair of the 9th century up to the death of the pretender Eystein Meyla in 1177; the exact sources of his work are disputed, but included earlier kings' sagas, such as Morkinskinna and the twelfth century Norwegian synoptic histories and oral traditions, notably many skaldic poems. Snorri had himself visited Norway and Sweden. For events of the mid-12th century, Snorri explicitly names the now-lost work Hryggjarstykki as his source; the composition of the sagas is Snorri's. The name Heimskringla comes from the fact that the first words of the first saga in the compilation are Kringla heimsins, "the orb of the Earth".
The earliest parchment copy of the work is referred to as Kringla, now catalogued as Reykjavík, National Library, Lbs fragm 82. This is now a single vellum leaf from c. 1260. Heimskringla consists of several sagas thought of as falling into three groups, giving the overall work the character of a triptych; the saga narrates the contests of the kings, the establishment of the kingdom of Norway, Viking expeditions to various European countries, ranging as far afield as Palestine in the saga of Sigurd the Crusader. The stories are told with a freshness, giving a picture of human life in all its reality; the saga is a prose epic, relevant to the history not only of Scandinavia but the regions included in the wider medieval Scandinavian diaspora. The first part of the Heimskringla is rooted in Norse mythology; the first section tells of the mythological prehistory of the Norwegian royal dynasty, tracing Odin, described here as a mortal man, his followers from the East, from Asaland and Asgard, its chief city, to their settlement in Scandinavia.
The subsequent sagas are devoted starting with Halfdan the Black. A version of Óláfs saga helga, about the saint Olaf II of Norway, is the main and central part of the collection: Olaf's 15-year-long reign takes up about one third of the entire work. Thereafter, the saga of Harald Hardrada narrates Harald's expedition to the East, his brilliant exploits in Constantinople and Sicily, his skaldic accomplishments, his battles in England against Harold Godwinson, the son of Godwin, Earl of Wessex, where he fell at the battle Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 only a few days before Harold fell at the Battle of Hastings. After presenting a series of other kinds, the saga ends with Magnus V of Norway. Heimskringla contains the following sagas: Ynglinga saga Saga of Halfdanr svarti Saga of Haraldr hárfagi Saga of Hákon góði Saga of King Haraldr gráfeldr Saga of King Óláfr Tryggvason Saga of King Óláfr Haraldsson, excerpt from conversion of Dale-Gudbrand Saga of Magnús góði Saga of Haraldr harðráði Saga of Óláfr Haraldsson kyrri Saga of Magnús berfœttr Saga of Sigurðr Jórsalafari and his brothers Saga of Magnús blindi and of Haraldr Gilli Saga of Sigurðr, Eysteinn and Ingi, the sons of Haraldr Saga of Hákon herðibreiðs Saga of Magnús Erlingsson Snorri explicitly mentions a few prose sources, now lost in the form that he knew them: Hryggjarstykki by Eiríkr Oddsson, Skjǫldunga saga, an unidentified saga about Knútr inn gamli, a text called Jarlasǫgurnar.
Snorri may have had access to a wide range of the early Scandinavian historical texts known today as the'synoptic histories', but made most use of: Ágrip af Nóregs konunga sǫgum. Morkinskinna. Fagrskinna, itself based on Morkinskinna, but the much shorter, his own Separate saga of St Óláfr, which he incorporated bodily into Heimskringla. This text was based on a saga of Olaf from about 1220 by Styrmir Kárason, now lost. Oddr Snorrason's Life of Óláfr Tryggvason, a Latin life of the same figure by Gunnlaugr Leifsson. Snorri made extensive use of skaldic verse which he believed to have been composed at the time of the events portrayed and transmitted orally from that time onwards, made us of other oral accounts, though it is uncertain to what extent. Up until the mid-19th century, historians put great trust in the factual truth of Snorri's narrative, as well as other old Norse sagas. In the early 20th century, this trust was abandoned with the advent of saga criticism, pioneered by Curt and Lauritz Weibull.
These historians pointed out that Snorri's work had been written sev
Kings' sagas are Old Norse sagas which principally tell of the lives of semi-legendary and legendary Nordic kings known as saga kings. They were composed during the twelfth through the fourteenth centuries in Norway. Included works in Latin, in approximate order of composition A Latin work by Sæmundr fróði, c. 1120, lost. The older version of Íslendingabók by Ari fróði, c. 1125, lost. Hryggjarstykki by Eiríkr Oddsson, c. 1150, lost. Historia Norvegiæ, c. 1170. Historia de Antiquitate Regum Norwagiensium by Theodoricus monachus, c. 1180. Skjöldunga saga, c. 1180, badly preserved. Oldest Saga of St. Olaf, c. 1190 lost. Ágrip af Nóregskonungasögum, c. 1190. A Latin Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar by Oddr Snorrason, c. 1190, survives in translation. A Latin Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar by Gunnlaugr Leifsson, c. 1195, lost. Sverris saga, by Karl Jónsson, c. 1205. Legendary Saga of St. Olaf, c. 1210. Morkinskinna, c. 1220 but before Fagrskinna. Fagrskinna, c. 1220. Óláfs saga helga by Styrmir Kárason, c. 1220 lost. Böglunga sögur, c. 1225.
Separate Saga of St. Olaf, by Snorri Sturluson, c. 1225. Heimskringla by Snorri Sturluson, c. 1230. Knýtlinga saga by Ólafr Þórðarson, c. 1260. Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar, by Sturla Þórðarson, c. 1265. Magnúss saga lagabœtis, by Sturla Þórðarson, c. 1280, only fragments survive. Hulda-Hrokkinskinna, c. 1280. Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar en mesta, ca 1300. Jómsvíkinga saga Orkneyinga saga Færeyinga saga Brjáns saga In Norwegian Storm, Gustav.
Snorri Sturluson was an Icelandic historian and politician. He was elected twice as lawspeaker to the Althing, he was the author of the Prose Edda or Younger Edda, which consists of Gylfaginning, a narrative of Norse mythology, the Skáldskaparmál, a book of poetic language, the Háttatal, a list of verse forms. He was the author of the Heimskringla, a history of the Norwegian kings that begins with legendary material in Ynglinga saga and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history. For stylistic and methodological reasons, Snorri is taken to be the author of Egil's saga. Snorri Sturluson was born in Hvammur í Dölum into the wealthy and powerful Sturlungar family of the Icelandic Commonwealth in 1179, his parents were his second wife, Guðný Böðvarsdóttir. He had two older brothers, Þórðr Sturluson and Sighvatr Sturluson, two sisters and nine half-siblings. Snorri was raised from the age of three by Jón Loftsson, a relative of the Norwegian royal family, in Oddi, Iceland; as Sturla was trying to settle a lawsuit with the priest and chieftain Páll Sölvason, Páll's wife lunged at him with a knife — intending, she said, to make him like his one-eyed hero Odin — but bystanders deflected the blow to his cheek instead.
The resulting settlement would have beggared Páll, but Jón Loftsson intervened in the Althing to mitigate the judgment and, to compensate Sturla, offered to raise and educate Snorri. Snorri therefore received an excellent education and made connections that he might not otherwise have made, he attended the school of Sæmundr fróði, grandfather of Jón Loftsson, at Oddi, never returned to his parents' home. His father died in his mother as guardian soon wasted Snorri's share of the inheritance. Jón Loftsson died in 1197; the two families arranged a marriage in 1199 between Snorri and Herdís, the daughter of Bersi Vermundarson. From her father, Snorri inherited an estate at a chieftainship, he soon chieftainships. Snorri and Herdís were together for four years at Borg, they had Hallbera and Jón. The marriage succumbed to Snorri's philandering, in 1206, he settled in Reykholt as manager of an estate there, but without Herdís, he made significant improvements including a hot outdoor bath. The bath and the buildings have been preserved to some extent.
During the initial years at Reykholt he fathered five children by three different women: Guðrún Hreinsdóttir, Oddný, Þuríður Hallsdóttir. Snorri became known as a poet, but was a lawyer. In 1215, he became lawspeaker of the Althing, the only public office of the Icelandic commonwealth and a position of high respect. In the summer of 1218, he sailed to Norway, by royal invitation. There he became well acquainted with the teen-aged King Hákon Hákonarson and his co-regent, Jarl Skúli, he spent the winter as house-guest of the jarl. They showered gifts upon him, including the ship in which he sailed, he in return wrote poetry about them. In the summer of 1219 he met his Swedish colleague, the lawspeaker Eskil Magnusson, his wife, Kristina Nilsdotter Blake, in Skara, they were both related to royalty and gave Snorri an insight into the history of Sweden. Snorri was interested in history and culture; the Norwegian regents, cultivated Snorri, made him a skutilsvein, a senior title equivalent to knight, received an oath of loyalty.
The king hoped to extend his realm to Iceland, which he could do by a resolution of the Althing, of which Snorri had been a key member. In 1220, Snorri returned to Iceland and by 1222 was back as lawspeaker of the Althing, which he held this time until 1232; the basis of his election was his fame as a poet. Politically he was the king's spokesman, supporting union with Norway, a platform that acquired him enemies among the chiefs. In 1224, Snorri married Hallveig Ormsdottir, a granddaughter of Jón Loftsson, now a widow of great means with two young sons, made a contract of joint property ownership with her, their children did not survive to adulthood, but Hallveig's sons and seven of Snorri's children did live to adulthood. Snorri was the most powerful chieftain in Iceland during the years 1224–1230. Many of the other chiefs found his position as royal office-holder contrary to their interests the other Sturlungar. Snorri's strategy was to consolidate power over them, at which point he could offer Iceland to the king.
His first moves were civic. On the death in 1222 of Sæmundur, son of Jón Loftsson, he became a suitor for the hand of his daughter, Sólveig. Herdís' silent vote did nothing for his suit, his nephew, Sturla Sighvatsson, Snorri's political opponent, stepped in to marry her in 1223, the year before Snorri met Hallveig. A period of clan feuding followed. Snorri perceived that only resolute, saga-like actions could achieve his objective, but he proved unwilling or incapable of carrying them out, he raised an armed party under another nephew, Böðvar Þórðarson, another under his son, Órækja, with the intent of executing a first strike against his brother Sighvatur and Sturla Sighvatsson. On the eve of battle he dismissed those offered terms to his brother. Sighvatur and Sturla with a force of 1000 men drove Snorri into the countryside, where he sought refuge among the other chiefs. Órækja undertook guerrilla operations in the fjords of western Iceland and the war was on. Haakon IV made an effort to intervene from afar, inviting al
Sigurd II of Norway
Sigurd II redirects here. There was a Sigurd II Digri. Sigurd II Haraldsson was king of Norway from 1136 to 1155, he was king of Norway and his mistress Tora Guttormsdotter. He served as co-ruler with Inge Haraldsson and Eystein Haraldsson, his epithet Munn means "the Mouth" in Old Norse. He was killed in the power-struggle against his brother, Inge, in an early stage of the civil war era in Norway. Sigurd was fostered by Sådegyrd Bårdsson in Trøndelag; when his father was murdered by the pretender Sigurd Slembe in 1136, Sigurd was made king at the thing of Eyrathing. At the same time, his brothers Inge and Magnus were made kings and co-rulers, their respective guardians joined forces against Sigurd Slembe and his ally, the former king Magnus the Blind. The battles against these pretenders dominated the early years of Sigurd's reign. In 1139, they were defeated and slain at the Battle of Holmengrå. After this followed a period of peace. During the minority of the brothers, Sigurd and Magnus, the Norwegian nobility cooperated to rule the kingdom and advise the kings.
In 1142, their brother Eystein came to Norway from Scotland. His parentage was accepted. Eystein thus became co-ruler together with Sigurd and Inge. Magnus, of whom little more is known, died of natural causes at some point in the 1140s. In 1152, Norway was visited by the papal legate Nicholas Breakspear. During his visit, the church in Norway was organised into a separate archbishopric, with its seat at Nidaros; as they grew up, their old advisors died, hostility began to grow among the brothers. In 1155, all three of them were set to meet in Bergen in an effort to keep the peace. Inge accused Eystein of planning to have him dethroned. Sigurd denied the accusations, but a few days one of Inge's guards was killed by one of Sigurd's. At the advice of his mother Ingrid and his senior advisor, Gregorius Dagsson, Inge ordered his men to assault the house where Sigurd was residing. Sigurd had but few men, no mercy was given. King Sigurd fell on 6 February 1155, he was buried by the old cathedral of Bergen, in what is today Bergenhus Fortress This cathedral was demolished and replaced by a larger cathedral soon after.
King Eystein was late in arriving for the meeting, only approached the city after Sigurd was dead. An uneasy settlement was reached between Inge and Eystein; as it turned out, the killing of king Sigurd started the second phase of the Norwegian civil war era, with fighting continuing with only short let-ups until 1208. The reasons for the fighting in Bergen remain disputed. According to the sagas and Sigurd had plotted to strip Inge of his royal title and divide his share of the kingdom between them; some modern historians doubt this version, seeing it as Inge’s excuse for his own aggressive actions. During the following civil wars, several royal pretenders claimed to be the son of King Sigurd. For some, this was mostly a political statement, as royal lineage was necessary to be a candidate for the throne. Sverre Sigurdsson was the most successful by far of these claimants, succeeded in becoming king of Norway. Sigurd never married; the sagas draw a rather negative picture of both Sigurd and his brother Eystein choosing to portray Inge as the just ruler of the three brothers.
Heimskringla writes of Sigurd: When King Sigurd grew up he was a ungovernable, restless man in every way. King Sigurd was a strong man, of a brisk appearance, he was polite in his conversation beyond any man, was expert in all exercises. Haakon II Sigurdsson, known as Haakon the Broadshouldered. Made king by Sigurd and Eystein's supporters after Eystein's fall in 1157, in opposition to Inge Haraldsson. Killed in battle against Inge's old supporters and their new king Magnus Erlingsson. Mother: Tora. Sigurd Sigurdsson Markusfostre, known as Sigurd Markusfostre. Proclaimed king by Haakon the Broadshouldered's followers in 1162, captured and decapitated by king Magnus' supporters in 1163. Harald. Captured and executed by king Magnus' supporters, because his parentage made him a potential threat to Magnus' rule. Mother: Kristin Sigurdsdotter. Cecilia. Married Folkvid the Lawspeaker, marriage annulled. Mother of Haakon the Crazy. Remarried Bård Guttormsson Sverre Sigurdsson. Ruled as king of Norway from 1184 until his death.
Mother: Gunnhild. Whether he was in fact a son of Sigurd is dubious. Sverris saga, the saga of Sigurd's alleged son draws a somewhat unfavourable picture of Sigurd, contrasting him with the positive qualities of Sverre. Eirik?. Made jarl by king Sverre. Poisoned. Whether he was in fact a son of Sigurd is unknown; the main sources to Sigurd’s reign are the kings’ sagas Heimskringla, Morkinskinna and Ágrip. The three former base at least part of their account on the older saga Hryggjarstykki, written some time between 1150 and 1170, was thus a near-contemporary source; this saga. Matthew James Driscoll. Agrip Af Noregskonungasogum. Viking Society for Northern Research. ISBN 0-903521-27-X Kari Ellen Gade & Theodore Murdock Andersson.
History of Norway
The history of Norway has been influenced to an extraordinary degree by the terrain and the climate of the region. About 10,000 BC, following the retreat of the great inland ice sheets, the earliest inhabitants migrated north into the territory, now Norway, they traveled northwards along the coastal areas, warmed by the Gulf Stream, where life was more bearable. In order to survive they hunted reindeer. Between 5,000 BC and 4,000 BC the earliest agricultural settlements appeared around the Oslofjord. Between 1500 BC and 500 BC, these agricultural settlements spread into the southern areas of Norway - whilst the inhabitants of the northern regions continued to hunt and fish; the Neolithic period started 4000 BC. The Migration Period caused the first chieftains to take the first defenses to be made. From the last decades of the 8th century Norwegians started expanding across the seas to the British Isles and Iceland and Greenland; the Viking Age saw the unification of the country. Christianization took place during the 11th century and Nidaros became an archdiocese.
The population expanded until 1349 when it was halved by the Black Death and successive plagues. Bergen became the main trading port, controlled by the Hanseatic League. Norway entered the Kalmar Union with Denmark and Sweden in 1397. After Sweden left the union in 1523, Norway became the junior partner in Denmark–Norway; the Reformation was introduced in 1537 and absolute monarchy imposed in 1661. In 1814, after being on the losing side of the Napoleanic Wars with Denmark, Norway was ceded to the king of Sweden by the Treaty of Kiel. Norway adopted a constitution. However, no foreign powers recognized the Norwegian independence but supported the Swedish demand for Norway to comply with the treaty of Kiel. After a short war with Sweden, the countries concluded the Convention of Moss, in which Norway accepted a personal union with Sweden, keeping its Constitution and separate institutions, except for the foreign service; the union was formally established after the extraordinary Storting adopted the necessary amendments to the Constitution and elected Charles XIII of Sweden as king of Norway on 4 November 1814.
Industrialization started in the 1840s and from the 1860s large-scale emigration to North America took place. In 1884 the king appointed Johan Sverdrup as prime minister; the union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905. From the 1880s to the 1920s, Norwegians such as Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen carried out a series of important polar expeditions. Shipping and hydroelectricity were important sources of income for the country; the following decades saw the rise of the labor movement. Germany occupied Norway between 1940 and 1945 during the Second World War, after which Norway joined NATO and underwent a period of reconstruction under public planning. Oil was discovered in 1969 and by 1995 Norway was the world's second-largest exporter; this resulted in a large increase of wealth. From the 1980s Norway experienced a banking crisis. Today Norway is one of the world's most prosperous countries, it has reinvested its oil revenues and has the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. Norway's coastline rose from glaciation with the end of the last glacial period about 12,000 B.
C. The first immigration took place during this period as the Norwegian coast offered good conditions for sealing and hunting, they were nomadic and by 9300 B. C they were at Magerøya. Increased ice receding from 8000 B. C. caused settlement along the entire coastline. The Stone Age consisted of the Komsa culture in Troms and Finnmark and the Fosna culture further south; the Nøstvet culture took over from the Fosna culture ca. 7000 BC, which adapted to a warmer climate which gave increased forestation and new mammals for hunting. The oldest human skeleton discovered in Norway was found in shallow water off Sogne in 1994 and has been carbon dated to 6,600 BC. Ca. 4000 BC people in the north started using slate tools, skis and large skin boats. The first farming and thus the start of the Neolithic period, began ca. 4000 BC around the Oslofjord, with the technology coming from southern Scandinavia. The break-through occurred between 2900 and 2500 BC, when oats, pigs, cattle and goats became common and spread as far north as Alta.
This period saw the arrival of the Corded Ware culture, who brought new weapons, tools and an Indo-European dialect, from which the Norwegian language developed. The Bronze Age started in 1800 BC and involved innovations such as plowing fields with ards, permanents farms with houses and yards in the fertile areas around the Oslofjord, Trondheimsfjord, Mjøsa and Jæren; some yields were so high that it allowed farmers to trade furs and skins for luxury items with Jutland. About 1000 BC, speakers of Uralic languages arrived in the north and assimilated with the indigenous population, becoming the Sami people. According to Ante Aikio the formation of the Sámi language was completed in its southernmost area of usage by 500 AD. A climate shift with colder weather started about 500 BC; the forests, which had consisted of elm, lime and oak, were replaced with birch and spruce. The climate changes meant that farmers started building more structures for shelter. Knowledge of ironworking was introduced from the Celts, resulting in better tools.
The Iron Age allowed for easier cultivation and thus new areas were cleared as the population grew with the inc