The Kingdom of Norway (Norwegian: Kongeriket Norge - bokmål; Kongeriket Noreg - nynorsk) is a Nordic country on the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, located in Europe, and bordering Sweden, Finland and Russia. Norway has a very elongated shape; the country's extensive coastline along the North Atlantic Ocean is home to its famous fjords. The Kingdom of Norway also includes the Arctic island territories of Svalbard and Jan Mayen. The Norwegian sovereignty on Svalbard is based upon the Svalbard Treaty, but this does not apply to Jan Mayen. Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic Ocean and a claim for Peter I Island in the South Pacific Ocean are also external dependencies, but these are not part of the Kingdom. Norway also claims Queen Maud Land in Antarctica where it has established the Troll permanent research station.**********************In 1349, the Black Death wiped out between 40% and 50% of the Norwegian population, causing a decline in both society and economics. During this decline, the Fairhair dynasty died out in 1387. Royal politics at the time resulted in several personal unions between the Nordic countries, eventually bringing the thrones of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden under the control of Queen Margrethe when the country entered into the Kalmar Union with Denmark and Sweden. Sweden declared its independence in 1523, but Norway remained under the Oldenburg dynasty for 434 years until 1814. During the national romanticism of the 19th century, this period was by some referred to as the "400-Year Night", since all of the kingdom's royal, intellectual, and administrative power was centered in Copenhagen, Denmark. However, it must be said that the common people of Norway had more freedom and paid lower taxes than the Danish people because it was difficult for royal bureaucracy to have strict control over its distant Norwegian provinces. Other factors also contributed to Norway's decline in this period. With the introduction of Protestantism in 1537, the archbishopry in Trondheim was dissolved, and the church's incomes were distributed to the court in Copenhagen in Denmark instead. Norway lost the steady stream of pilgrims to the relics of St. Olav at the Nidaros shrine, and with them, much of the contact with cultural and economic life in the rest of Europe. Additionally, Norway saw its land area decrease in the 17th century with the loss of the provinces Bohuslän, Jemtland, and Herjedalen to Sweden, as a result of the wars between Denmark-Norway and Sweden.********After Denmark-Norway was attacked by Britain, it entered into an alliance with Napoleon, and in 1814 found itself on the losing side in the Napoleonic Wars and in dire conditions and mass starvation in 1812. The Dano-Norwegian Oldenburg king was forced to cede Norway to the king of Sweden. Norway took this opportunity to declare independence, adopted a constitution based on American and French models, and elected the Danish crown prince Christian Fredrik as king on May 17, 1814. However, Sweden militarily forced Norway into a personal union with Sweden, establishing the Bernadotte dynasty as rulers of Norway. Under this arrangement, Norway kept its liberal constitution and independent institutions, except for the foreign service. See also Norway in 1814. ************************* This period also saw the rise of the Norwegian romantic nationalism cultural movement, as Norwegians sought to define and express a distinct national character. The movement covered all branches of culture, including literature (Henrik Wergeland, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, Jørgen Moe, Henrik Ibsen), painting (Hans Gude, Adolph Tiedemand), music (Edvard Grieg), and even language policy, where attempts to define a native written language for Norway led to today's two official written forms for Norwegian; Bokmål and Nynorsk. ******************************* Christian Michelsen, a Norwegian shipping magnate and statesman, was Prime Minister of Norway from 1905 to 1907. Michelsen is most known for his central role in the peaceful separation of Norway from Sweden on June 7, 1905. Norway's growing dissatisfaction with the union with Sweden during the late 19th century, combined with nationalism contributed to the dissolution of the union. After a national referendum confirmed the people's preference for a monarchy over a republic, the Norwegian government offered the throne of Norway to the Danish Prince Carl. Parliament Stortinget unanimously elected him king. He took the name of Haakon VII, after the medieval kings of independent Norway. In 1898 all men were granted universal suffrage, and in 1913, Norwegian women too suffrage.**************Norway was a neutral country during World War I. Norway also attempted to claim neutrality during World War II, but was invaded by German forces on April 9, 1940 (Operation Weserübung). The Allies also had plans to invade Norway, in order to take advantage of her strategically important Atlantic coast, but were thwarted by the German operation. Norway was unprepared for the German surprise attack, and military resistance in Norway went on for two months, longer than both Poland and France. The battle of Vinjesvingen eventually became the last stronghold of Norwegian resistance in southern Norway in May, while the armed forces in the north launched an offensive against the German forces in the Battles of Narvik, until they were forced to surrender June 8 after the fall of France. King Haakon and the Norwegian government continued the fight from exile in Rotherhithe, London. On the day of the invasion, the collaborative leader of the small National-Socialist party Nasjonal Samling — Vidkun Quisling — tried to seize power, but was forced by the German occupiers to step aside. Real power was wielded by the leader of the German occupation authority, Reichskommissar Josef Terboven. Quisling, as minister president, later formed a government under German control. During the five years of Nazi occupation, Norwegians built a strong resistance movement which fought the German occupation forces with both armed resistance and civil disobedience. But more important to the Allied war effort was the role of the Norwegian Merchant Navy. At the time of the invasion Norway had the third largest, fastest and the most effective Merchant Navy in the world. It was led by the Norwegian shipping company Nortraship under the allied force throughout the war and took part in every war operation from the evacuation of Dunkirk to the Normandy landings. ****************************** Following the war, the Social Democrats came to power and ruled the country for much of the cold war. Norway joined NATO in 1949, and became a close ally of the United States. Two plebiscites to join the European Union failed by narrow margins. Large reserves of oil and gas were discovered in the 1960s, which lead to a continuing boom in the economy.