Norway (Norweg. Norge), the western division of the Scandinavian peninsula, extends from lat. 57° 59' N. in the south-west to 71° 11'in the north-east, overlapping Sweden and Lapland on the N. Quite 1160 miles in length (coast-line 3000 miles), it varies in width from 20 to 100 miles north of 63° N. lat. ; below that line it swells out to 260 miles. Area, 124,495 sq. m. Norway is separated from Sweden by the Kjolen Mountains (3000 to 6000 feet), the backbone of the peninsula, which bifurcate south of 63°; the western branch widens out into a broad plateau, undulating between 2000 and 4000 feet and embossed with mountain-knots - Dovre, Jotun, Lang, Fille, Hardanger Fjelde (fells) - the separate peaks of which shoot up to 6000 feet and higher (Galdhoppigen, 8399 feet). Norway presents a bold front to the Atlantic ; on the inner or eastern side - the 'Eastland ' - the slope is more gradual. Finmark, which is inhabited chiefly by Lapps, is a monotonous undulating plateau (1000 to 2000 feet). The greater part of the country lies between the same degrees of latitude as Greenland, and it is mainly owing to the Gulf Stream that Norway is habitable. In winter the west coast districts are the warmest, and the cold increases in intensity according to the distance inland. The places that have the lowest winter mean (11.8°) are all inland (where mercury sometimes freezes at - 40" F.). The prevalent south-west winds bring considerable rainfall, 40 to 70 inches in the year, to the west coast of southern Norway; in the interior only 12 to 16 inches fall. The pop. has much more than doubled since 1820, when it was 977,500; in 1901 it was 2,239,880. There is one town with over 100,000 - Christiania (227,626); four above 20,000 - Bergen (72,251), Trondhjem (38,180), Stavanger (30,613),and Drammen(23,093); eightabove 10,000, and nine above 5000. The density of the population is only 18 per sq. m. ; but then fully 70 per cent. of the total area is wholly uncultivable, and 24 per cent. is forest.
From the North Cape to below 59° N. lat., to the point nearest Scotland (280 miles distant), the precipitous coast is protected from the Atlantic waves by a belt of rocky islands, called the SkjAergaard (' Skerry Fence'). The outermost are the mountainous Lofoten and Vesteraalen chains, where 30,000 fishermen congregate in winter to prosecute the herring and cod fisheries. All the islands of the SkjAergaard are frequented by enormous quantities of sea-birds. The peninsular rampart is crowned with several gigantic glaciers - the shores (6000 feet) of Lyngen Fjord in the north are lined with them, besides great snowfields ; south Norway possesses the second largest glacier in Europe (Vatnajokull in Iceland being the largest), the roof-shaped Justedal (4600 to 5400 feet), which has an area of 580 sq. m. (87 miles long by 6 to 22 miles wide). Throughout Norway the limit of perpetual snow ranges from 3100 feet on Justedal to 5150 on the Dovre Fjeld. The lofty west coast region is everywhere cleft by gigantic fissures, very narrow and winding, into which the sea-water flows - the fjords. In some cases they are of great depth, much deeper than the sea outside (200 fathoms): Sogne Fjord, for instance, is 2820 feet deeper; Hardanger Fjord, 930 feet. Sogne Fjord cuts its way to the foot of the Jotun Fjeld, 106 miles from the ocean, and Hardanger Fjord is 68 miles long. The finest of the valleys stretching inland from the fjords is Romsdal, where the rounded, pure gneiss mountains tower up to 6000 feet with almost perpendicular walls. The steep sides and extremities (2000 to 4000 feet) of these fjords and valleys are braided with waterfalls. The only considerable break in the lofty coast-wall is the basin of Trondhjem. The southern coast-lands, bordering the Skagerrack and the wide Christiania Fjord, are comparatively low and tame. East of the peninsular rampart the valleys converge upon Christiania Fjord. Most of these valleys are traversed by mountain torrents and streams, the longest being the Glommen (350 miles) and Drammen (163). Some of these streams in their lower courses expand into long narrow lakes. The coast of northern Norway is estimated to have risen between 400 and 600 feet.
Norway's natural wealth lies in her fisheries (especially for cod and herring), her forests, and her shipping; her manufactures, her mines, and her agriculture are all unable to meet the home demands. Salted fish and cod-liver oil are largely exported. Over 100,000 are engaged in the cod and herring fisheries. The forests, their sawmills, and wood-pulp factories employ some 12,000 men. The rearing of cattle, sheep, and goats - in the north reindeer - constitutes important branches. The area under cultivation is only 2 per cent. of the entire surface of the country, and meadows and grazing land add another 2.8 per cent. The output of the copper and iron mines of Roros and the silver-mines of Kongsberg have greatly declined. The total mineral output of Norway (iron pyrites, silver, copper, apatite, nickel)has an average yearly value of £300,000, and employs some 3500 men. The purely industrial establishments are grouped mainly around Christiania, include textile factories, machine-shops, chemical works, flour-mills, breweries, etc, and do not employ more than 80,000 persons altogether. The Norwegians rank amongst the busiest sea-carriers of the world, the Norwegian mercantile marine ranking third among maritime nations, or first in proportion to population. The number of ships is about 7200, the tonnage 1,450,000 tons. The total exports of Norwegian goods amount annually to from £8,500,000 to £10,700,000 (about £5,500,000 to Britain), the chief being fish, timber, and wood-pulp, minerals, oils, tallow, tar, hides, horns, textiles, paper, and dyestuffs. The imports have an annual value of from £15,500,000 to £16,200,000 (about £3,000,000 from Britain), and include grain, textiles, bacon, butter, iron, coffee, coals, wines, tobacco, etc.
The Norwegians share with the Swiss the distinction of being the most democratic people in Europe; all titles of nobility were abolished in 1821. During the 19th century large numbers of the population emigrated, mostly to the United States. In 1897 the number fell to 4669, but in 1900 increased to 10,931, in 1903 to 26,831. Since 1871 earnest endeavours have been made to diminish the consumption of spirituous liquors, the agency chiefly relied upon being the Gothenburg licensing system. The railway lines radiate chiefly from Christiania, and have a total length of nearly 1500 miles. Norway is now visited in summer by large numbers of tourists. Attendance at school is free and compulsory. Besides primary schools, there are 84 secondary schools, 10 normal schools, and the university of Christiania.
Except 52,700 persons (including 10,286 Methodists, 5674 Baptists, 1969 Roman Catholics, Jews, Mormons, &c), the entire population belong to the Lutheran Church (8000 Lutheran nonconformists). The language of the educated is Danish, the pronunciation diverging slightly; the dialect of the people is substantially similar. The Storthing or parliament consists of 117 (paid) members; and divides for legislative purposes into two chambers. The national expenditure averages slightly over five and a half millions per annum, and is just balanced by the revenue. The national debt amounted in 1905 to £14,500,000. There is an army of about 30,000 (including reserves), raised by universal military service; and a navy serviceable only for coast defence.
When we first hear of Norway it was occupied by Lapps and by several Gothic tribes. Harold Haarfager (863-930 a.d.) unified the country by making himself over-king over numerous minor kings or chiefs as far north as Trondhjem. Many of these, refusing to become his vassals, emigrated with their followers to Orkney, Shetland, the Hebrides, Ireland, and Iceland. Olaf Tryggveson (991-994), a typical viking, yet made his people Christian at least in name; Olaf, saint and king, welded the country into a united Christian kingdom (c. 1015). Canute the Great sought to incorporate Norway with his Danish kingdom (1028). Harold Hardraada, who died at Stamford Bridge near York in 1066, conquered Denmark. Magnus Barefoot waged war in the Orkneys and Hebrides, and fell in Ireland in 1103. Iceland acknowledged the supremacy of Haco, who died at Kirkwall in 1263, after his defeat at Largs. In 1319 the crown passed through a female heir to the Swedish royal house, and again through marriage to the Danish (1380). The great Queen Margaret of Denmark united all three kingdoms (1383). The Hebrides had been ceded to Scotland in 1266; the Orkneys and Shetlands were pledged to Scotland in 1468. From 1536 Denmark treated Norway as a conquered province; and it was not till 1814 that the cession of Norway to Sweden gave the Norwegians (who at first opposed the transference) their national rights again, with a free constitution, under the Swedish king. In 1821 the Norwegians abolished all titles of nobility; and the union of democratic - almost republican - Norway with aristocratic Sweden never worked smoothly. The nationalist movement became pronounced in 1890. A movement for an even larger measure of home rule, and diplomatic representation distinct from that of Sweden, ended in the refusal by Sweden to grant the concessions asked and in the formal proposal by Norway, in 1905, to withdraw from the union with Sweden. After some negotiations and the meetings of Swedish and Norwegian parliaments, a separation was amicably agreed to, and in October Norway was again a distinct and independent state. By a vast majority, the Norwegians agreed to ask Prince Carl, second son of the Crown-prince of Denmark, to become their king; and the new king was welcomed, as Haakon VII. (Haco), in December.
See books on Norway by Mary Wollstonecraft (1796), J. D. Forbes (1853), Wood (1880), Du Chaillu (1881), Vincent (1881), Lovett (1885), besides guidebooks by Nielsen, Baedeker, Tonsberg, Bennett, Jorgensen, and Wilson ; and for the history, Laing's Heimskringla (1833 ; new ed. 1890), Car-lyle's Early Kings of Norway (1878), Boyesen's History of Norway (new ed. 1890), and Nisbet Bain in the ' Cambridge History' (1905).