Norwegians - History and Cultural Relations



Norway was populated by people who are the forerunners of today's Norwegian ethnics as early as 10,000 B.C. Stone Age subsistence in southern Norway was characterized both by foraging and farming. The Bronze Age (1500-500 B.C. ) and Iron Ages (500 B.C. - A.D. 400) are clearly demarcated in the archaeological record, the former characterized by rock art, the latter by expanded agriculture and population and by contact with the culture of the Roman Empire. The Germanic migrations of A.D. 500-800 affected primarily the coastal Norwegian population. The Viking Age ( A.D. 800-1100), one of exploration, was accompanied by political unification of Norway under a line of kings and the arrival of Catholicism, although growing cultural unification of Norway was interrupted in the fourteenth century by the Black Death. Norway was politically unified with Denmark, as one of its provinces, from 1380 to 1814. Thereafter, it was politically unified with Sweden until 1905, when it gained independence. Norway experienced substantial emigration to North America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Norway is traditionally an ethnically homogeneous Society, with the notable exceptions of the Saami and Finnish Immigrants in the north and of recent urban immigrants in the south. Cultural and economic conflict characterizes Saami-Norwegian relations, with language use and resource use and allocation being commonly contested issues. Despite substantial cultural similarities with Sweden and Denmark, the colonial history that Norway has experienced with both has strained its relationships with them.


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