Norway profile

A chronology of key events:

Circa 800-1050 - Viking Age, in which Scandinavians go on plundering expeditions abroad. Some Norwegians settle at their destinations, including Scotland and Greenland.

Capital: Oslo

Oslo has Norway's largest, busiest harbour

  • 9th century AD: Founded by King Harald Hardraade
  • 1925: Renamed Oslo from Kristiania
  • Population (metro area): 784,000

Circa 900 - Norway unified into one kingdom.

1030 - Christianity adopted.

1536 - Norway becomes a dependency of Denmark.

1814-1905 - Union with Sweden.

1905 - Norwegian parliament, the Storting, proclaims independence from Sweden. Norwegian people endorse decision in plebiscite. Prince Carl of Denmark becomes King.

1913 - Universal suffrage for women introduced. Norwegian women begin to play greater role in politics.

1914 - Norway, Sweden and Denmark agree to remain neutral during World War I.

1920 - Norway joins the League of Nations.

1929 - Norway suffers considerably as a result of the world economic depression. Trade, shipping and banks all post heavy losses. The value of the krone falls. Unemployment becomes severe and lasts until the beginning of World War II in 1939.

German tanks in Norway German tanks patrol the streets of Oslo
The war years

1939 - Norway declares its neutrality at the outbreak of World War II, but this position becomes increasingly difficult to maintain.

1940 - German forces invade Norway in April, attacking important ports. Resistance last for two months. The Royal Family and the government flee to Britain in June. A government-in-exile is set up in London. Vidkun Quisling proclaims himself head of government in Norway.

1941 - Quisling introduces martial law due to widespread resistance and acts of sabotage by the Norwegian people.

Recovery and prosperity

1945 - German forces in Norway surrender in May. The King returns to Norway in June. Quisling is tried and executed for treason. Norway becomes a charter member of the United Nations. Reconstruction begins, with Norway's gross national product reaching pre-war levels within three years.

Quisling on trial Vidkun Quisling was tried and executed for treason. His name has become another word for traitor

1949 - Norway joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato).

1959 - Norway becomes founder member of the European Free Trade Association (Efta).

1967 - The Storting votes 136 to 13 to renew a previous Norwegian application to join the EEC.

Late 1960s - Oil and gas deposits discovered in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

1970s - Exploitation of oil and gas deposits begins. By the early 1980s they constitute nearly one-third of Norway's annual export earnings.

1972 - Norwegian voters reject the Labour government's recommendation on EEC membership by a margin of 6%. The government resigns.

Oil and gas facility in Norway Norway began exploiting oil and gas reserves in the 1970s

1973 - Norway signs a free trade agreement with the EEC.

1986 - International Whaling Commission imposes moratorium on whaling. Norway registers objections.

1991 - King Olaf V dies. He is succeeded by his son, Harald V.

1993 - Norway brokers peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which lead to the Oslo accords.

Norway resumes commercial whaling despite international moratorium.

Norwegian King Harald King Harald took over from his father Olaf

1994 - Norwegians again reject membership of the European Union in a referendum, by a margin of about 5%.

2000 - Norway begins mediation between the government of Sri Lanka and Tamil separatists.

2000 March - Conservative government of Kjell Magne Bondevik resigns over question of how Norway should generate its power. He is succeeded by Labour leader Jens Stoltenberg who favours gas-powered generating plants, despite Norway's strict environmental laws.

2001 January - Tens of thousands protest in Oslo against the murder of a black teenager for which three neo-Nazi youths are subsequently jailed.

Environmentalists angered by decision to lift ban on export of whale meat and blubber. Controversy deepens when government orders cull of grey wolves, an endangered species in Europe, which it accuses of causing serious damage to livestock.

2001 September - Labour government of Jens Stoltenberg suffers heavy defeat in general election in which no single party wins enough votes to form a majority government.

2001 October - Conservatives, Christian People's Party and Liberals agree to form coalition government with support from far-right Progress Party and with Kjell Magne Bondevik as prime minister.

2003 May - Discovery of high levels of chemicals in whale meat leads to pregnant women being warned not to eat it.

Arctic oil exploration

2003 December - Plans to explore for oil and gas in the Barents Sea spark criticism from environmentalists and fishing industry.

2004 June - Government intervenes to end week-long strike by oil workers seeking better pension rights and job security after employers threaten lock-out.

2005 September - PM Bondevik loses general election to centre-left alliance led by Labour Party's Jens Stoltenberg, which wins more than half of seats in parliament.

2005 October - Two Norwegian fisheries inspectors are released having been held for five days against their will on board a Russian trawler which fled while they were inspecting it for suspected illegal activity.

Mourners in Norway Mourners commemorate victims of the worst massacre in Norway's history

2007 February - Constitution amended to abolish bicameral division of Storting parliament after next elections.

2009 September - Centre-left coalition of PM Jens Stoltenberg narrowly wins re-election in parliamentary elections.

2010 September - China warns that Norwegian Nobel committee's decision to award Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo will harm relations between Norway and China.

2011 July - Extreme right-winger Anders Behring Breivik carries out a bomb attack and mass shooting, killing more than seventy people in the worst massacre in Norway's modern history.

2012 July - The government uses emergency powers to force offshore oil and gas workers back to work after a 16-day strike over pensions.

2012 August - A Norwegian court finds mass killer Anders Behring Breivik sane and sentences him to 21 years in jail.

2013 January - Norway and the EU reach a new agreement on fishing quotas.

2013 February - A Norwegian court jails a Rwandan man for his role in the genocide in his homeland in 1994.

2013 September - Parliamentary elections. Centre-right bloc led by Erna Solberg's Conservative party wins.

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