History of Scandinavia
Overview
 
The history of Scandinavia is the history of the region of northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

 known in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 as Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, particularly in Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, and Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

.
Little evidence remains in Scandinavia of the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

, the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, or the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 except limited numbers of tools created from stone, bronze, and iron, some jewelry and ornaments, and stone burial cairns
Cairn
Cairn is a term used mainly in the English-speaking world for a man-made pile of stones. It comes from the or . Cairns are found all over the world in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, and also in barren desert and tundra areas...

. One important collection that exists, however, is a widespread and rich collection of stone drawings known as petroglyph
Petroglyph
Petroglyphs are pictogram and logogram images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images...

s.
As the ice receded reindeer
Reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

 grazed on the flat lands of Denmark and southernmost Sweden.
Encyclopedia
The history of Scandinavia is the history of the region of northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

 known in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 as Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, particularly in Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, and Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

.

Pre-historic age

Little evidence remains in Scandinavia of the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

, the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, or the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 except limited numbers of tools created from stone, bronze, and iron, some jewelry and ornaments, and stone burial cairns
Cairn
Cairn is a term used mainly in the English-speaking world for a man-made pile of stones. It comes from the or . Cairns are found all over the world in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, and also in barren desert and tundra areas...

. One important collection that exists, however, is a widespread and rich collection of stone drawings known as petroglyph
Petroglyph
Petroglyphs are pictogram and logogram images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images...

s.

Upper Paleolithic

As the ice receded reindeer
Reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

 grazed on the flat lands of Denmark and southernmost Sweden. This was the land of the Ahrensburg culture
Ahrensburg culture
The Ahrensburg culture was a late Upper Paleolithic culture during the Younger Dryas, the last spell of cold at the end of the Weichsel glaciation. The culture is named after village of Ahrensburg, northeast of Hamburg in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein where wooden arrow shafts and clubs...

, tribes who hunted over vast territories and lived in lavvu
Lavvu
Lavvu is a temporary dwelling used by the Sami people of northern Scandinavia. It has a design similar to a Native American tipi but is less vertical and more stable in high winds. It enables the indigenous cultures of the treeless plains of northern Scandinavia and the high arctic of Eurasia to...

s on the tundra
Tundra
In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

. There was little forest in this region except for arctic white birch
White Birch
White Birch may refer to:* Betula papyrifera* Betula pendula* Shirakabaha, Japanese literary group* The White Birch , Norwegian recording artists...

 and rowan
Rowan
The rowans or mountain-ashes are shrubs or small trees in genus Sorbus of family Rosaceae. They are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest species diversity in the mountains of western China and the Himalaya, where numerous apomictic microspecies...

, but the taiga
Taiga
Taiga , also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests.Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States and is known as the Northwoods...

 slowly appeared.

Mesolithic

In the 7th millennium BC, when the reindeer and their hunters had moved for northern Scandinavia, forests had been established in the land. The Maglemosian culture
Maglemosian culture
Maglemosian is the name given to a culture of the early Mesolithic period in Northern Europe. In Scandinavia, the culture is succeeded by the Kongemose culture....

 lived in Denmark and southern Sweden. To the north, in Norway and most of southern Sweden, lived the Fosna-Hensbacka culture
Fosna-Hensbacka culture
The Fosna/Hensbacka ,or , were two very similar Late Palaeolithic/early Mesolithic cultures in Scandinavia, and are often subsumed under the name Fosna-Hensbacka culture. This complex includes the Komsa culture that, notwithstanding different types of tools, is also considered to be a part of the...

, who lived mostly along the edge of the forest. The northern hunter/gatherers followed the herds and the salmon runs, moving south during the winters, moving north again during the summers. These early peoples followed cultural traditions similar to those practised throughout other regions in the far north — areas including modern Finland, Russia, and across the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

 into the northernmost strip of North America.

During the 6th millennium BC, southern Scandinavia was covered in temperate broadleaf and mixed forests
Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests
Mixed forests are a temperate and humid biome. The typical structure of these forests includes four layers. The uppermost layer is the canopy composed of tall mature trees ranging from 33 to 66 m high. Below the canopy is the three-layered, shade-tolerant understory that is roughly 9 to...

. Fauna included aurochs
Aurochs
The aurochs , the ancestor of domestic cattle, were a type of large wild cattle which inhabited Europe, Asia and North Africa, but is now extinct; it survived in Europe until 1627....

, wisent
Wisent
The wisent , Bison bonasus, also known as the European bison or European wood bison, is a species of Eurasian bison. It is the heaviest surviving land animal in Europe; a typical wisent is about long, not counting a tail of long, and tall. Weight typically can range from , with an occasional big...

, moose
Moose
The moose or Eurasian elk is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic configuration...

 and red deer
Red Deer
The red deer is one of the largest deer species. Depending on taxonomy, the red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Asia Minor, parts of western Asia, and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains region between Morocco and Tunisia in northwestern Africa, being...

. The Kongemose culture
Kongemose culture
The Kongemose culture was a mesolithic hunter-gatherer culture in southern Scandinavia ca. 6000 BC–5200 BC and the origin of the Ertebølle culture. It was preceded by the Maglemosian culture...

 was dominant in this time period. They hunted seals and fished in the rich waters. North of the Kongemose people lived other hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s in most of southern Norway and Sweden called the Nøstvet and Lihult cultures
Nøstvet and Lihult cultures
The Nøstvet culture and the Lihult culture are two very similar Mesolithic cultures in Scandinavian prehistory derived from the earlier Fosna-Hensbacka cultures...

, descendants of the Fosna and Hensbacka cultures. Near the end of the 6th millennium BC, the Kongemose culture was replaced by the Ertebølle culture
Ertebølle culture
The Ertebølle culture is the name of a hunter-gatherer and fisher, pottery-making culture dating to the end of the Mesolithic period. The culture was concentrated in Southern Scandinavia, but genetically linked to strongly related cultures in Northern Germany and the Northern Netherlands...

 in the south.

Neolithic

During the 5th millennium BC, the Ertebølle people learnt pottery from neighbouring tribes in the south, who had begun to cultivate the land and keep animals. They too started to cultivate the land, and by 3000 BC they became part of the megalith
Megalith
A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. Megalithic describes structures made of such large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or cement.The word 'megalith' comes from the Ancient...

ic Funnelbeaker culture
Funnelbeaker culture
The Funnelbeaker culture, short TRB from Trichterbecherkultur is the principal north central European megalithic culture of late Neolithic Europe.- Predecessor and successor cultures :...

. During the 4th millennium BC, these Funnelbeaker tribes expanded into Sweden up to Uppland
Uppland
Uppland is a historical province or landskap on the eastern coast of Sweden, just north of Stockholm, the capital. It borders Södermanland, Västmanland and Gästrikland. It is also bounded by lake Mälaren and the Baltic sea...

. The Nøstvet and Lihult tribes learnt new technology from the advancing farmers (but not agriculture) and became the Pitted Ware culture
Pitted Ware culture
The Pitted Ware culture was a hunter-gatherer culture in southern Scandinavia, mainly along the coasts of Svealand, Götaland, Åland, north-eastern Denmark and southern Norway. Despite its Mesolithic economy, it is by convention classed as Neolithic, since it falls within the period in which...

s towards the end of the 4th millennium BC. These Pitted Ware tribes halted the advance of the farmers and pushed them south into southwestern Sweden, but some say that the farmers were not killed or chased away, but that they voluntarily joined the Pitted Ware culture and became part of them. At least one settlement appears to be mixed, the Alvastra pile-dwelling
Alvastra pile-dwelling
The Alvastra pile-dwelling is a pile dwelling from ca 3000 BC in Ödeshög Municipality, Östergötland County, Sweden....

.

It is not known what language these early Scandinavians spoke, but towards the end of the 3rd millennium BC, they were overrun by new tribes who many scholars think spoke Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

, the Battle-Axe culture. This new people advanced up to Uppland and the Oslofjord
Oslofjord
The Oslofjord is a bay in the south-east of Norway, stretching from an imaginary line between the Torbjørnskjær and Færder lighthouses and down to Langesund in the south to Oslo in the north....

, and they probably provided the language that was the ancestor of the modern Scandinavian languages. They were cattle herders, and with them most of southern Scandinavia entered the Neolithic.

Nordic Bronze Age

Even though Scandinavians joined the European Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 cultures fairly late through trade, Scandinavian sites present rich and well-preserved objects made of wool, wood and imported Central European bronze and gold. During this period Scandinavia gave rise to the first known advanced civilization in this area following the Nordic Stone Age. The Scandinavians adopted many central European and Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 symbols at the same time that they created new styles and objects. Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

, the Villanovan Culture
Villanovan culture
The Villanovan culture was the earliest Iron Age culture of central and northern Italy, abruptly following the Bronze Age Terramare culture and giving way in the 7th century BC to an increasingly orientalizing culture influenced by Greek traders, which was followed without a severe break by the...

, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

 and Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 have all been identified as possible sources of influence in Scandinavian artwork from this period. The foreign influence is believed to be attributed to amber
Amber
Amber is fossilized tree resin , which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry. There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents...

 trade, and amber found in Mycenaean graves from this period originates from the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. Several petroglyphs depict ships, and the large stone formations known as stone ship
Stone ship
The Stone ship or ship setting was an early Germanic burial custom, characteristically Scandinavian but also found in Germany and the Baltic states. The grave or cremation burial is surrounded by tightly or loosely fit slabs or stones in the outline of a ship...

s indicate that shipping played an important role in the culture. Several petroglyphs depict ships which could possibly be Mediterranean.

From this period there are many mounds and fields of petroglyphs, but their signification is long since lost. There are also numerous artifacts of bronze and gold. The rather crude appearance of the petroglyphs compared to the bronze works have given rise to the theory that they were produced by different cultures or different social groups. No written language existed in the Nordic countries during the Bronze Age.

The Nordic Bronze Age was characterized by a warm climate (which is compared to that of the Mediterranean), which permitted a relatively dense population, but it ended with a climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 consisting of deteriorating, wetter and colder climate (sometimes believed to have given rise to the legend of the Fimbulwinter
Fimbulwinter
In Norse mythology, Fimbulvetr , commonly rendered in English as Fimbulwinter, is the immediate prelude to the events of Ragnarök.-Summary:...

) and it seems very likely that the climate pushed the Germanic tribes southwards into continental Europe. During this time there was Scandinavian influence in Eastern Europe. A thousand years later, the numerous East Germanic tribes that claimed Scandinavian origins (Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

, Burgundians
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

, Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 and Heruls) rendered Scandinavia (Scandza
Scandza
Scandza was the name given to Scandinavia by the Roman historian Jordanes in his work Getica, written while in Constantinople around AD 551. He described the area to set the stage for his treatment of the Goths' migration from southern Sweden to Gothiscandza...

) the name "womb of nations" in Jordanes
Jordanes
Jordanes, also written Jordanis or Jornandes, was a 6th century Roman bureaucrat, who turned his hand to history later in life....

' Getica.

Pre-Roman Iron Age

The Nordic Bronze Age ended with a deteriorating, colder and wetter climate. This period is known for being poor in archaeological finds. This is also the period when the Germanic tribes became known to the Mediterranean world and the Romans.

Initially iron was valuable and was used for decoration. The oldest objects were needles, but swords and sickles are found as well. Bronze continued to be used during the whole period but was mostly used for decoration. The traditions were a continuity from the Nordic Bronze Age, but there were strong influences from the Hallstatt culture
Hallstatt culture
The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Central European culture from the 8th to 6th centuries BC , developing out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th century BC and followed in much of Central Europe by the La Tène culture.By the 6th century BC, the Hallstatt culture extended for some...

 in Central Europe. They continued with the Urnfield culture tradition of burning corpses and placing the remains in urns. During the last centuries, influences from the Central European La Tène culture
La Tène culture
The La Tène culture was a European Iron Age culture named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland, where a rich cache of artifacts was discovered by Hansli Kopp in 1857....

 spread to Scandinavia from northwestern Germany, and there are finds from this period from all the provinces of southern Scandinavia. From this time archaeologist
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

s have found swords, shieldbosses, spearheads, scissors, sickles, pincers, knives, needles, buckles, kettles, etc. Bronze continued to be used for torques and kettles, the style of which were a continuity from the Bronze Age. One of the most prominent finds is the Dejbjerg wagon from Jutland
Jutland
Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...

, a four-wheeled wagon of wood with bronze parts.

Roman Iron Age

While many Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 tribes sustained continued contact with the culture and military presence of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, much of Scandinavia existed on the most extreme periphery of the Latin world. With the exception of the passing references to the Swedes (Suiones
Suiones
The Swedes e, "one's own [tribesmen/kinsmen]"; Old English: Sweonas; , Suehans or Sueones) were an ancient North Germanic tribe in Scandinavia...

) and the Geats (Gautoi), much of Scandinavia remained unrecorded by Roman authors.

In Scandinavia, there was a great import of goods, such as coin
Coin
A coin is a piece of hard material that is standardized in weight, is produced in large quantities in order to facilitate trade, and primarily can be used as a legal tender token for commerce in the designated country, region, or territory....

s (more than 7 000), vessels
Packaging and labelling
Packaging is the science, art, and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of design, evaluation, and production of packages. Packaging can be described as a coordinated system of preparing goods for transport,...

, bronze images, glass beakers, enameled buckles, weapons, etc. Moreover, the style of metal objects and clay vessels was markedly Roman. For the first time appear objects such as shears and pawns. In the 3rd century and 4th century, some elements were imported from Germanic tribes that had settled north of the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

, such as the runes.

There are also many bog bodies
Bog body
Bog bodies, which are also known as bog people, are the naturally preserved human corpses found in the sphagnum bogs in Northern Europe. Unlike most ancient human remains, bog bodies have retained their skin and internal organs due to the unusual conditions of the surrounding area...

 from this time in Denmark, Schleswig
Schleswig
Schleswig or South Jutland is a region covering the area about 60 km north and 70 km south of the border between Germany and Denmark; the territory has been divided between the two countries since 1920, with Northern Schleswig in Denmark and Southern Schleswig in Germany...

 and southern Sweden. Together with the bodies, there are weapons, household wares and clothes of wool. Great ships made for rowing have been found from the 4th century in Nydam mosse in Schleswig. Many were buried without burning, but the burning tradition later regained its popularity.

Through the 5th century and 6th century, gold and silver became more common. Much of this can be attributed to the ransacking of the Roman Empire by Germanic tribes, from which many Scandinavians returned with gold and silver.

Germanic Iron Age

The period succeeding the fall of the Roman Empire is known as the Germanic Iron Age
Germanic Iron Age
The Germanic Iron Age is the name given to the period 400–800 in Northern Europe and it is part of the continental Age of Migrations.-Germanic Iron :...

, and it is divided into the early Germanic Iron and the late Germanic Iron Age, which in Sweden is known as the Vendel Age, with rich burials in the basin of Lake Mälaren
Mälaren
Lake Mälaren is the third-largest lake in Sweden, after Lakes Vänern and Vättern. Its area is 1,140 km² and its greatest depth is 64 m. Mälaren spans 120 kilometers from east to west...

. The early Germanic Iron Age is the period when the Danes
Daner
The Danes were a North Germanic tribe residing in modern day Denmark. They are mentioned in the 6th century in Jordanes' Getica, by Procopius, and by Gregory of Tours....

 appear in history, and according to Jordanes
Jordanes
Jordanes, also written Jordanis or Jornandes, was a 6th century Roman bureaucrat, who turned his hand to history later in life....

, they were an offshoot of the Swedes (suehans, suetidi) who had replaced the Heruls.

During the fall of the Roman empire, there was an abundance of gold that flowed into Scandinavia, and there are excellent works in gold from this period. Gold was used to make scabbard
Scabbard
A scabbard is a sheath for holding a sword, knife, or other large blade. Scabbards have been made of many materials over the millennia, including leather, wood, and metals such as brass or steel.-Types of scabbards:...

 mountings and bracteate
Bracteate
A bracteate is a flat, thin, single-sided gold medal worn as jewelry that was produced in Northern Europe predominantly during the Migration Period of the Germanic Iron Age...

s; notable examples are the Golden horns of Gallehus
Golden horns of Gallehus
The Golden Horns of Gallehus were two horns made of sheet gold, discovered in Gallehus, north of Møgeltønder in South Jutland, Denmark.The horns date to the early 5th century, i.e. the beginning of the Germanic Iron Age....

.

After the Roman Empire had disappeared, gold became scarce and Scandinavians began to make objects of gilded bronze, with decorations of interlacing animals in Scandinavian style. The early Germanic Iron Age decorations show animals that are rather faithful anatomically, but in the late Germanic Iron Age they evolve into intricate shapes with interlacing and interwoven limbs that are well-known from the Viking Age
Viking Age
Viking Age is the term for the period in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history, spanning the late 8th to 11th centuries. Scandinavian Vikings explored Europe by its oceans and rivers through trade and warfare. The Vikings also reached Iceland, Greenland,...

.

Viking Age


During the Viking Age, the Vikings (Scandinavian warriors and traders) raided, colonized and explored large parts of Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa, and North America, more specifically the modern area identified as Newfoundland.

The beginning of the Viking Age is commonly given as 793, when Vikings pillaged the important British island monastery of Lindisfarne
Lindisfarne
Lindisfarne is a tidal island off the north-east coast of England. It is also known as Holy Island and constitutes a civil parish in Northumberland...

, and its end is marked by the unsuccessful invasion of England attempted by Harald Hårdråde in 1066 and the Norman conquest.

Age of settlement

The age of settlement began around 800 AD. The Vikings invaded and eventually settled in Scotland, England, Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

, the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, Ireland, Livonia
Livonia
Livonia is a historic region along the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It was once the land of the Finnic Livonians inhabiting the principal ancient Livonian County Metsepole with its center at Turaida...

, Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

, the Shetland Islands, Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, Rus' and Vinland
Vinland
Vinland was the name given to an area of North America by the Norsemen, about the year 1000 CE.There is a consensus among scholars that the Vikings reached North America approximately five centuries prior to the voyages of Christopher Columbus...

, on what is now known as the Island of Newfoundland. Swedish settlers were mostly present in Rus, Livonia, and other eastern regions while the Norwegians and the Danish were primarily concentrated in western and northern Europe. These eastern-traveling Scandinavian migrants were eventually known as Varangians
Varangians
The Varangians or Varyags , sometimes referred to as Variagians, were people from the Baltic region, most often associated with Vikings, who from the 9th to 11th centuries ventured eastwards and southwards along the rivers of Eastern Europe, through what is now Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.According...

 (væringjar, meaning "sworn men"),and according to the oldest Slavic sources, these varangians founded Kievan Rus, the major East European state prior to the Mongol invasions. The western-led warriors, eventually known as Vikings, left great cultural marks on regions such as French Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

, England, and Ireland, where the city of Dublin was founded by Viking invaders. Iceland first became colonized in the late 9th century.

Christianization

Viking religious beliefs were heavily connected to Norse mythology
Norse mythology
Norse mythology, a subset of Germanic mythology, is the overall term for the myths, legends and beliefs about supernatural beings of Norse pagans. It flourished prior to the Christianization of Scandinavia, during the Early Middle Ages, and passed into Nordic folklore, with some aspects surviving...

. Vikings placed heavy emphasis on battle, honor and focused on the idea of Valhalla
Valhalla
In Norse mythology, Valhalla is a majestic, enormous hall located in Asgard, ruled over by the god Odin. Chosen by Odin, half of those that die in combat travel to Valhalla upon death, led by valkyries, while the other half go to the goddess Freyja's field Fólkvangr...

, a mythical home with the gods for fallen warriors.

Christianity in Scandinavia came later than most parts of Europe. In Denmark Harald Bluetooth Christianized the country around 980. The process of Christianization began in Norway during the reigns of Olaf Tryggvason (reigned 995 AD-c.1000 AD) and Olaf II Haraldsson (reigned 1015 AD-1030 AD). Olaf and Olaf II had been baptized voluntarily outside of Norway. Olaf II managed to bring English clergy to his country. Norway's conversion from the Norse religion
Norse mythology
Norse mythology, a subset of Germanic mythology, is the overall term for the myths, legends and beliefs about supernatural beings of Norse pagans. It flourished prior to the Christianization of Scandinavia, during the Early Middle Ages, and passed into Nordic folklore, with some aspects surviving...

 to Christianity was mostly the result of English missionaries. As a result of the adoption of Christianity by the monarchy and eventually the entirety of the country, traditional shamanistic practices were marginalized and eventually persecuted. Völva
Völva
A vǫlva or völva is a shamanic seeress in Norse paganism, and a recurring motif in Norse mythology....

s, practitioners of seid, a Scandinavian pre-Christian tradition, were executed or exiled under newly Christianized governments in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

The Icelandic Commonwealth
Icelandic Commonwealth
The Icelandic Commonwealth, Icelandic Free State, or Republic of Iceland was the state existing in Iceland between the establishment of the Althing in 930 and the pledge of fealty to the Norwegian king in 1262...

 adopted Christianity in 1000 AD, after pressure from Norway. The Goði-chieftain Þorgeirr Ljósvetningagoði
Þorgeirr Ljósvetningagoði
Þorgeir Þorkelsson Ljósvetningagoði was an Icelandic lawspeaker in Iceland's Althing from 985 to 1001.In the year 999 or 1000, Iceland's legislative assembly was debating which religion they should practice: Norse paganism, or Christianity...

 was instrumental in bringing this about.

Sweden required a little more time to transition to Christianity, with indigenous religious practices commonly held in localized communities well until the end of the eleventh century. A brief Swedish civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

 ensued in 1066 primarily reflecting the divisions between practitioners of indigenous religions and advocates of Christianity; by the mid-twelfth century, the Christian faction appeared to have triumphed; the once resistant center of Uppsala
Uppsala
- Economy :Today Uppsala is well established in medical research and recognized for its leading position in biotechnology.*Abbott Medical Optics *GE Healthcare*Pfizer *Phadia, an offshoot of Pharmacia*Fresenius*Q-Med...

 became the seat of the Swedish Archbishop in 1164. The Christianization of Scandinavia occurred nearly simultaneously with the end of the Viking era. The adoption of Christianity is believed to have aided in the absorption of Viking communities into the greater religious and cultural framework of the European continent.

Kalmar Union

The Kalmar Union (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: Kalmarunionen) was a series of personal union
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

s (1397–1520) that united the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden under a single monarch. The countries had given up their sovereignty but not their independence, and diverging interests (especially Swedish dissatisfaction over the Danish and Holstein
Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

ish dominance) gave rise to a conflict that would hamper it from the 1430s until its final dissolution in 1523.

The Nordic Seven Years' War is said to have finally broken the union and established Sweden's status as one of Europe's great powers.

Reformation

The reformation came to Scandinavia in the 1530s. Scandinavia soon became one of the heartlands of lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

.

Thirty Years War

The Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 was a conflict fought between the years 1618 and 1648, principally in the Central European territory of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 but also involving most of the major continental powers. Although it was from its outset a religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics, the self-preservation of the Habsburg dynasty was also a central motive. The Danes and then Swedes intervened at various points to protect their interests.
The Danish intervention began when Christian IV
Christian IV of Denmark
Christian IV was the king of Denmark-Norway from 1588 until his death. With a reign of more than 59 years, he is the longest-reigning monarch of Denmark, and he is frequently remembered as one of the most popular, ambitious and proactive Danish kings, having initiated many reforms and projects...

 (1577–1648) the King of Denmark-Norway, himself a Lutheran, helped the German Protestants by leading an army against the Holy Roman Empire, fearing that Denmark's sovereignty as a Protestant nation was being threatened. The period began in 1625 and lasted till 1629. Christian IV had profited greatly from his policies in northern Germany (Hamburg had been forced to accept Danish sovereignty in 1621, and in 1623 the Danish heir apparent was made Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Verden. In 1635 he became Administrator of the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen
Archbishopric of Bremen
The Archdiocese of Bremen was a historical Roman Catholic diocese and formed from 1180 to 1648 an ecclesiastical state , named Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen within the Holy Roman Empire...

 too.) As an administrator, Christian IV had done remarkably well, obtaining for his kingdom a level of stability and wealth that was virtually unmatched elsewhere in Europe, paid for by the Øresund toll and extensive war reparations from Sweden. It also helped that the French regent Cardinal Richelieu was willing to pay for a Danish incursion into Germany. Christian IV invaded at the head of a mercenary army of 20,000 men, but the Danish forces were severely beaten, and Christian IV had to sign an ignominious defeat, the first in a series of military setbacks to weaken his kingdom.

The Swedish intervention began in 1630 and lasted until 1635. Some within Ferdinand II
Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand II , a member of the House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor , King of Bohemia , and King of Hungary . His rule coincided with the Thirty Years' War.- Life :...

's court believed that Wallenstein wanted to take control of the German princes and thus gain influence over the emperor. Ferdinand II dismissed Wallenstein in 1630. He later recalled him after Gustavus Adolphus attacked the empire and prevailed in a number of significant battles.

Gustavus Adolphus, like Christian IV before him, came to aid the German Lutherans to forestall Catholic aggression against their homeland and to obtain economic influence in the German states around the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. Also like Christian IV, Gustavus Adolphus was subsidized by Richelieu, the Chief Minister of King Louis XIII of France, and by the Dutch. From 1630–1634, they drove the Catholic forces back and regained much of the occupied Protestant lands.

Rise of Sweden and the Swedish Empire

The Swedish power began under the rule of Charles IX. During the Ingrian War
Ingrian War
The Ingrian War between Sweden and Russia, which lasted between 1610 and 1617 and can be seen as part of Russia's Time of Troubles, is mainly remembered for the attempt to put a Swedish duke on the Russian throne...

 Sweden expanded its territories eastward. Several other wars with Poland, Denmark-Norway, and German countries enabled further Swedish expansion, although there were some setbacks such as the Kalmar War
Kalmar War
The Kalmar War was a war between Denmark–Norway and Sweden. Though Denmark soon gained the upper hand, she was unable to defeat Sweden entirely...

. Sweden began consolidating its empire. Several other wars followed soon after including the Northern Wars
Northern Wars
Northern Wars is a term used for a series of wars fought in northern and northeastern Europe in the 16th and 17th century. An internationally agreed nomenclature for these wars has not yet been devised...

 and the Scanian War
Scanian War
The Scanian War was a part of the Northern Wars involving the union of Denmark-Norway, Brandenburg and Sweden. It was fought mainly on Scanian soil, in the former Danish provinces along the border with Sweden and in Northern Germany...

. Denmark suffered many defeats during this period. Finally under the rule of Charles XI
Charles XI of Sweden
Charles XI also Carl, was King of Sweden from 1660 until his death, in a period in Swedish history known as the Swedish empire ....

 the empire was consolidated under a semi-absolute monarchy.

Great Northern War

The Great Northern War
Great Northern War
The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in northern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of...

 was fought between a coalition of Russia, Denmark-Norway and Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

-Poland (from 1715 also Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 and Hanover
Electorate of Hanover
The Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg was the ninth Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation...

) on one side and Sweden on the other side from 1700 to 1721. It started by a coordinated attack on Sweden by the coalition in 1700 and ended 1721 with the conclusion of the Treaty of Nystad
Treaty of Nystad
The Treaty of Nystad was the last peace treaty of the Great Northern War. It was concluded between the Tsardom of Russia and Swedish Empire on 30 August / 10 September 1721 in the then Swedish town of Nystad , after Sweden had settled with the other parties in Stockholm and Frederiksborg.During...

 and the Stockholm treaties
Treaty of Stockholm (Great Northern War)
With the death of Charles XII of Sweden in 1718 it was obvious that the Great Northern War was coming to a close. His successor Frederick I began negotiating the Treaty of Stockholm, which refers to the two treaties signed in 1719 and 1720 that ended the war between Sweden on one side and Hanover...

. As a result of the war, Russia supplanted Sweden as the dominant power on the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 and became a major player in European politics.

Colonialism

Both Sweden and Denmark-Norway maintained a number of colonies outside Scandinavia starting in the 17th century lasting until the 20th century. Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

 and Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 in the North Atlantic were Norwegian dependencies that were incorporated into the united kingdom of Denmark-Norway. In the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, Denmark started a colony on St Thomas in 1671, St John in 1718, and purchased Saint Croix from France in 1733. Denmark also maintained colonies in India, Tranquebar
Tranquebar
Tharangambadi is a panchayat town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 15 km north of Karaikal, near the mouth of a distributary of the Kaveri River. Its name means "place of the singing waves"...

 and Frederiksnagore. The Danish East India Company
Danish East India Company
The Danish East India Company was a Danish chartered company.-History:It was founded in 1616, following a privilege of Danish King Christian IV....

 operated out of Tranquebar
Tranquebar
Tharangambadi is a panchayat town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 15 km north of Karaikal, near the mouth of a distributary of the Kaveri River. Its name means "place of the singing waves"...

. Sweden also chartered a Swedish East India Company
Swedish East India Company
The Swedish East India Company was founded in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1731 for the purpose of conducting trade with the Far East...

. During its heyday, the Danish and Swedish East India Companies imported more tea than the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 – and smuggled 90% of it into Britain where it could be sold at a huge profit. Both East India Companies folded over the course of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

. Sweden had the short lived colony New Sweden
New Sweden
New Sweden was a Swedish colony along the Delaware River on the Mid-Atlantic coast of North America from 1638 to 1655. Fort Christina, now in Wilmington, Delaware, was the first settlement. New Sweden included parts of the present-day American states of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania....

 in Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

 in North America during the 1630s and later acquired the islands of Saint-Barthélemy (1785–1878) and Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and a population of 400,000. It is the first overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe...

 in the Caribbean.

Napoleonic Wars

Scandinavia was divided during the Napoleonic Wars. Denmark-Norway tried to remain neutral but became involved in the conflict after British demands to turn over the navy. Britain thereafter attacked the Danish fleet at the battle of Copenhagen (1801)
Battle of Copenhagen (1801)
The Battle of Copenhagen was an engagement which saw a British fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker fight and strategically defeat a Danish-Norwegian fleet anchored just off Copenhagen on 2 April 1801. Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack. He famously disobeyed Parker's...

 and bombarded the city during the second battle of Copenhagen (1807)
Battle of Copenhagen (1807)
The Second Battle of Copenhagen was a British preemptive attack on Copenhagen, targeting the civilian population in order to seize the Dano-Norwegian fleet and in turn originate the term to Copenhagenize.-Background:Despite the defeat and loss of many ships in the first Battle of Copenhagen in...

. The Danish fleet was destroyed in 1801 but was rebuilt and captured or destroyed again in 1807. The bombardment of Copenhagen led to an alliance with France and outright war with Britain, whose navy blockaded Denmark-Norway and severely impeded communication between the two kingdoms and caused a famine in Norway. Sweden, allied with Britain at the time, seized the opportunity to invade Norway in 1807 but was beaten back. The war with Britain was fought at sea in a series of battles, Battle of Zealand Point
Battle of Zealand Point
The Battle of Zealand Point was a naval battle of the English Wars and the Gunboat War. It was fought off Zealand Point by ships of the Danish and British navies on 22 March 1808 and was a British victory.-Prelude:...

, Battle of Lyngør
Battle of Lyngør
The Battle of Lyngør was a naval battle fought between Denmark-Norway and Britain in 1812 on the southern coast of Norway, effectively concluding the Gunboat War in Britain's favour and putting Denmark-Norway out of the war.-Background:...

, and Battle of Anholt
Battle of Anholt
The Battle of Anholt occurred during the Gunboat War, a war between the United Kingdom and Denmark-Norway. It was an attempt by the Danes to recapture Anholt, a small Danish island off the coast of Jutland, which the British had captured in 1809...

, by the remnants of the Danish fleet in the ensuing years, as the Danes tried to break the British blockade, in what became known as the Gunboat War
Gunboat War
The Gunboat War was the naval conflict between Denmark–Norway and the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. The war's name is derived from the Danish tactic of employing small gunboats against the conventional Royal Navy...

. After the war, Denmark was forced to cede Heligoland
Heligoland
Heligoland is a small German archipelago in the North Sea.Formerly Danish and British possessions, the islands are located in the Heligoland Bight in the south-eastern corner of the North Sea...

 to Britain.

Sweden joined the Third Coalition against Napoleon in 1805, but the coalition fell apart after the peace at Tilsit in 1807, forcing Russia to become the ally of France. Russia invaded Finland in 1808 and forced Sweden to cede that province at the peace of Fredrikshamn in 1809. The inept government of King Gustav IV Adolf
Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden
Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden also Gustav Adolph was King of Sweden from 1792 until his abdication in 1809. He was the son of Gustav III of Sweden and his queen consort Sophia Magdalena, eldest daughter of Frederick V of Denmark and his first wife Louise of Great Britain. He was the last Swedish...

 led to his deposition and banishment. A new constitution was introduced, and his uncle Charles XIII
Charles XIII of Sweden
Charles XIII & II also Carl, , was King of Sweden from 1809 and King of Norway from 1814 until his death...

 was enthroned. Since he was childless, Sweden chose as his successor the commander in chief of the Norwegian army, Prince Christian August of Augustenborg. However, his sudden death in 1810 forced the Swedes to look for another candidate, and once more they chose an enemy officer. Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte
Charles XIV John of Sweden
Charles XIV & III John, also Carl John, Swedish and Norwegian: Karl Johan was King of Sweden and King of Norway from 1818 until his death...

, Marshal of France
Marshal of France
The Marshal of France is a military distinction in contemporary France, not a military rank. It is granted to generals for exceptional achievements...

, would be named the next king. Baron Karl Otto Mörner, an obscure member of the Diet, was the one who initially extended the offer of the Swedish crown to the young soldier. Bernadotte was originally one of Napoleon's eighteen Marshals.

Sweden decided to join the alliance against France in 1813 and was promised Norway as a reward. After the battle of Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 in October 1813, Bernadotte abandoned the pursuit of Napoleon and marched against Denmark, where he forced the king of Denmark-Norway to conclude the Treaty of Kiel
Treaty of Kiel
The Treaty of Kiel or Peace of Kiel was concluded between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Kingdom of Sweden on one side and the Kingdoms of Denmark and Norway on the other side on 14 January 1814 in Kiel...

 on 14 January 1814. Norway was ceded to the king of Sweden, but Denmark retained the Norwegian Atlantic possessions of the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

, Iceland, and Greenland. However, the treaty of Kiel never came into force. Norway declared her independence, adopted a liberal constitution, and elected Prince Christian Frederik
Christian VIII of Denmark
Christian VIII , was king of Denmark from 1839 to 1848 and, as Christian Frederick, king of Norway in 1814. He was the eldest son of Hereditary Prince Frederick of Denmark and Norway and Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, born in 1786 at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen...

 as king. After a short war with Sweden, Norway had to concede to a personal union with Sweden at the Convention of Moss
Convention of Moss
The Convention of Moss was a cease fire agreement, signed August 14, 1814, between the Swedish King and the Norwegian Storting. It followed the Swedish-Norwegian War due to Norway's claim to sovereignty...

. King Christian Frederik abdicated and left for Denmark in October, and the Norwegian Storting (parliament) elected the Swedish king as King of Norway, after having enacted such amendments to the constitution as were necessary to allow for the union with Sweden.

Sweden and Norway

On 14 January 1814, at the Treaty of Kiel
Treaty of Kiel
The Treaty of Kiel or Peace of Kiel was concluded between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Kingdom of Sweden on one side and the Kingdoms of Denmark and Norway on the other side on 14 January 1814 in Kiel...

, the king of Denmark-Norway ceded Norway to the king of Sweden. The terms of the treaty provoked widespread opposition in Norway. The Norwegian vice-roy and heir to the throne of Denmark-Norway, Christian Frederik
Christian VIII of Denmark
Christian VIII , was king of Denmark from 1839 to 1848 and, as Christian Frederick, king of Norway in 1814. He was the eldest son of Hereditary Prince Frederick of Denmark and Norway and Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, born in 1786 at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen...

 took the lead in a national uprising, assumed the title of regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

, and convened a constitutional assembly
Norway in 1814
1814 was a pivotal year in the history of Norway. It started with Norway in a union with the Kingdom of Denmark subject to a naval blockade being ceded to the king of Sweden. In May a constitutional convention declared Norway an independent kingdom. By the end of the year the Norwegian parliament...

 at Eidsvoll
Eidsvoll
is a municipality in Akershus county, Norway. It is part of the Romerike traditional region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Sundet.-Name:...

. On 17 May 1814 the Constitution of Norway
Constitution of Norway
The Constitution of Norway was first adopted on May 16, 1814 by the Norwegian Constituent Assembly at Eidsvoll , then signed and dated May 17...

 was signed by the assembly, and Christian Frederik was elected as king of independent Norway.

The Swedish king rejected the premise of an independent Norway and launched a military campaign on 27 July 1814, with an attack on the Hvaler
Hvaler
Hvaler is a municipality that is a group of islands in the southwestern part of Østfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Skjærhalden, on the island of Kirkeøy. The only police station in the municipality is located in Skjærhalden...

 islands and the city of Fredrikstad
Fredrikstad
is a city and municipality in Østfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Fredrikstad....

. The Swedish army was superior in numbers, was better equipped and trained, and was led by one of Napoleon's foremost generals, the newly elected Swedish crown prince, Jean Baptiste Bernadotte. Battles were short and decisively won by the Swedes. Armistice negotiations concluded on 14 August 1814.

In the peace negotiations, Christian Frederik agreed to relinquish claims to the Norwegian crown and return to Denmark if Sweden would accept the democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 Norwegian constitution and a loose personal union
Union between Sweden and Norway
The Union between Sweden and Norway , officially the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, consisted of present-day Sweden and Norway between 1814 and 1905, when they were united under one monarch in a personal union....

. On 4 November 1814, the Norwegian Parliament adopted the constitutional amendments required to enter a union with Sweden, and elected king Charles XIII as king of Norway.

Following growing dissatisfaction with the union in Norway, the parliament unanimously declared its dissolution on 7 June 1905. This unilateral action met with Swedish threats of war. A plebiscite on 13 August confirmed the parliamentary decision. Negotiations in Karlstad
Karlstad
Karlstad is a city, the seat of Karlstad Municipality, the capital of Värmland County, and the largest city in the province Värmland in Sweden. The city had 61,685 inhabitants in 2010 out of a municipal total that during the first quarter 2010 was 84,885 inhabitants...

 led to agreement with Sweden on 23 September and mutual demobilization. Both parliaments revoked the Act of Union 16 October, and the deposed king Oscar II of Sweden
Oscar II of Sweden
Oscar II , baptised Oscar Fredrik was King of Sweden from 1872 until his death and King of Norway from 1872 until 1905. The third son of King Oscar I of Sweden and Josephine of Leuchtenberg, he was a descendant of Gustav I of Sweden through his mother.-Early life:At his birth in Stockholm, Oscar...

 renounced his claim to the Norwegian throne and recognized Norway as an independent kingdom on 26 October. The Norwegian parliament offered the vacant throne to Prince Carl of Denmark, who accepted after another plebiscite had confirmed the monarchy. He arrived in Norway on 25 November 1905, taking the name Haakon VII
Haakon VII
Haakon VII may refer to:People* Haakon VII of Norway , King of Norway Ships* HNoMS King Haakon VII, a Royal Norwegian Navy escort ship in commission from 1942 to 1951...

.

Finnish War

The Finnish War
Finnish War
The Finnish War was fought between Sweden and the Russian Empire from February 1808 to September 1809. As a result of the war, the eastern third of Sweden was established as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian Empire...

 was fought between Sweden and Russia from February 1808 to September 1809. As a result of the war, Finland which formed the eastern third of Sweden proper
Sweden proper
Sweden proper, , is a term used to distinguish those territories that were fully integrated into the Kingdom of Sweden, as opposed to the dominions and possessions of, or states in union with, Sweden....

 became the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland
Grand Duchy of Finland
The Grand Duchy of Finland was the predecessor state of modern Finland. It existed 1809–1917 as part of the Russian Empire and was ruled by the Russian czar as Grand Prince.- History :...

 within Imperial Russia. Finland remained as a part of Russian Empire until 1917 at which point it became independent. Another notable effect was the Swedish parliament's adoption of a new constitution and a new royal house, that of Bernadotte
Bernadotte
The House of Bernadotte, the current royal house of Sweden, has reigned since 1818. Between 1818 and 1905, it was also the royal house of the Norway...

.

Industrialization

Industrialisation
Industrialisation
Industrialization is the process of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society into an industrial one...

 began in the mid 19th century in Scandinavia. In Denmark industrialisation began, and was confined to, Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 until the 1890s, after which smaller towns began to grow rapidly. Denmark remained primarily agricultural until well into the 20th century, but agricultural processes were modernized and processing of dairy and meats became more important than the export of raw agricultural products.

Industrialization of Sweden
Industrialization of Sweden
The industrialization of Sweden began in earnest after 1870. By the late 19th century, the first multinational companies based on advanced technology had emerged....

 experienced a boom during the First World War. The construction of a railway connecting southern Sweden and the northern mines was of primary importance.

Scandinavism

The modern use of the term Scandinavia rises from the Scandinavist political movement, which was active in the middle of the 19th century, chiefly between the First war of Schleswig
First War of Schleswig
The First Schleswig War or Three Years' War was the first round of military conflict in southern Denmark and northern Germany rooted in the Schleswig-Holstein Question, contesting the issue of who should control the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. The war, which lasted from 1848–1851,...

 (1848–1850), in which Sweden and Norway contributed with considerable military force, and the Second war of Schleswig
Second War of Schleswig
The Second Schleswig War was the second military conflict as a result of the Schleswig-Holstein Question. It began on 1 February 1864, when Prussian forces crossed the border into Schleswig.Denmark fought Prussia and Austria...

 (1864) when Sweden's parliament
Parliament of Sweden
The Riksdag is the national legislative assembly of Sweden. The riksdag is a unicameral assembly with 349 members , who are elected on a proportional basis to serve fixed terms of four years...

 denounced the king's promises of military support for Denmark.

Emigration

Many Scandinavians emigrated to Canada, the United States, Australia, Africa, and New Zealand during the later nineteenth century. The main wave of Scandinavian emigration occurred in the 1860s lasting until the 1880s, although substantial emigration continued until the 1930s. The vast majority of emigrants left from the countryside in search of better farming and economic opportunities. Together with Finland and Iceland, almost a third of the population left in the eighty years after 1850. Part of the reason for the large exodus was the increasing population caused by falling death rates, which increased unemployment. http://www.migrationinstitute.fi/nordic/Text/Emistory.htm Norway had the largest percentage of emigrants and Denmark the least.

Between 1820 and 1920 just over two million Scandinavians settled in the United States. One million came from Sweden, 300,000 from Denmark, and 730,000 from Norway. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAEdenmark.htm The figure for Norway represents almost 80% of the national population in 1800. The most popular destinations in North America were Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Michigan, the Canadian prairies and Ontario.

Monetary Union

The Scandinavian Monetary Union
Scandinavian Monetary Union
The Scandinavian Monetary Union was a monetary union formed by Sweden and Denmark on May 5, 1873, by fixing their currencies against gold at par to each other...

 was a monetary union formed by Sweden and Denmark on 5 May 1873, by fixing their currencies against the gold standard
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

 at par to each other. Norway, which was in union with Sweden entered the union two years later, in 1875 by pegging its currency to gold at the same level as Denmark and Sweden (.403 grams http://www.nationalbanken.dk/dnuk/hist.nsf/side/From_silver_standard_to_gold_standard). The monetary union was one of the few tangible results of the Scandinavian political movement of the 19th century.

The union provided fixed exchange rates and stability in monetary terms, but the member countries continued to issue their own separate currencies. Even if it was not initially foreseen, the perceived security led to a situation where the formally separate currencies were accepted on a basis of "as good as" the legal tender virtually throughout the entire area.

The outbreak of World War I in 1914 brought an end to the monetary union. Sweden abandoned the tie to gold on 2 August 1914, and without a fixed exchange rate the free circulation came to an end.

First World War

All three Scandinavian countries remained neutral throughout the First World War. The war did have a significant impact on the economy of the area, primarily as a result of the British blockade of Germany. However, they were able to work around that with trade agreement with Britain. Norway's large merchant marine delivered vital supplies to Britain but suffered huge losses in ships and sailors because of indiscriminate attack by the German navy. Denmark called up much of its military, but Germany still violated Danish sovereignty to some extent, for example by mining the Øresund. A relatively large number of ethnic Danes from southern Jutland fought in the German army.

Development of the welfare state

All three countries developed social welfare states in the early to mid-20th century. This came about partially because of the domination of the social-democrats in Sweden and Denmark, and the Labour party in Norway.

Second World War

Near the beginning of World War II, both the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 and the Axis Powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 feared their enemies gaining power in Scandinavia. Britain believed Germany was planning to invade and was not eager to do battle there. At the same time, Germany feared that Britain could gain bases in the area and claimed they suspected an outright invasion. In addition, Germany highly valued the iron ore they received through Norway and could not afford to lose it. They also desired Norway for its ice-free ports. This made it a primary target, with Denmark a secondary goal mainly needed for facilitating the Norwegian invasion. After planning for months, Germany invaded both Denmark and Norway the same day, 9 April 1940.

The nations reacted quite differently. Denmark surrendered two hours after invasion, having lost just sixteen men. They sought to avoid civilian casualties and receive favourable treatment from Germany. Norway however, refused to give in and fought valiantly and with the full strength of her limited and badly prepared forces. The Western allies sent military assistance, but the campaign was not effectively run. By 10 June 1940, Norway's official military had surrendered to the attackers, while King Haakon VII
Haakon VII of Norway
Haakon VII , known as Prince Carl of Denmark until 1905, was the first king of Norway after the 1905 dissolution of the personal union with Sweden. He was a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg...

 and his legal government fled to exile in Britain.

Denmark's strategy proved the more beneficial in the short run. It was one of the factors that led Germany to grant the Danes a high degree of autonomy. Another reason was that they had no real agenda in Denmark. After invading, they simply did not want to relinquish it, seeing it as a permanent part of their empire. Also, Danes were considered fellow Nordics and Aryans by Nazi ideologues, which further helped the country. For all these reasons, Denmark was able to retain their parliament, king, and much of their normal domestic function. However, bitterness towards Germany grew, and small sabotages directed against Germany became commonplace. Germany eventually reacted by eliminating Denmark's representative government and imposing martial law.

Norway was treated much more harshly throughout their occupation. Opposition parties were eliminated and Nasjonal Samling ("National Unity"), the Norwegian fascist political party, appointed all government officials. Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling was a Norwegian politician. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he seized power in a Nazi-backed coup d'etat that garnered him international infamy. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Minister-President, working with the occupying...

 was installed as Minister-President, a puppet to Berlin's High Command. Labor unions could only exist if they accepted Nazi control. These repressive measures ensured that the cooperation was small. About ten percent supported the Nazi party. Nevertheless, there was a hostile relationship, with an occupation force of almost one German for every ten Norwegians.

In the long run it could be said that Norway benefited most from their "occupation response": During the war the Norwegian civilian fleet were extremely active, this and the reserves brought with the king in exile proved a great asset rebuilding the nation after the war. Many claim this to be the basis for the current infrastructure of the nation's current wealth. And the many sailors are to this date national heroes in Norway.

Denmark and Norway were also unlike in their cooperation with Germany's genocidal policy. Norwegian police, controlled by the Quisling government, aided in the capture of Norwegian Jews in 1942. However, brave Norwegians managed to save over half of the Jewish population from Nazi death camps and help them to escape to safety in Sweden, even though they ran the risk of being severely punished for aiding Jews. The Danish Jews avoided German persecution until 1943, and Denmark was thus better prepared when the Germans struck. Danes were notable for their devoted efforts to protect Danish Jews. More than 96% of the Jewish population was boated to safety in Sweden, while others found refuge with Christian Danish families and organizations.

Alone out of the three Scandinavian countries, Sweden was not invaded and remained nominally neutral during the war. They successfully cultivated peace with the Germans, supplying them with needed raw materials. The Swedish government was very careful to avoid inflaming the Nazis, going so far as to persuade newspaper editors to censor articles, and letting the Nazis move supplies through Sweden and into Norway all the way up to 1943. However, they would occasionally aid the Allies. They granted the Jews that escaped from Denmark asylum and gave notable aid to Finland during the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

.

Post-war

After the war, all of the Scandinavian countries agreed that some form of mutual defense policy was necessary. They began to discuss a Scandinavian defense union. The three Scandinavian countries would, if they had entered into an alliance, have remained separate sovereign countries but acted as a single bloc in foreign policy and security issues. The proposed union was being discussed by a joint Scandinavian committee during the winter of 1948–1949, but the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, and preparations for a western alliance that would result in the North Atlantic Treaty
North Atlantic Treaty
The North Atlantic Treaty is the treaty that brought NATO into existence, signed in Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949. The original twelve nations that signed it and thus became the founding members of NATO were:...

 overshadowed the effort. When it became known that the western alliance would not be able to supply the Scandinavian countries with armaments before meeting their own pressing needs, this issue ultimately proved to be the turning point for Norway, which resigned from the talks. Denmark was still willing to enter into an alliance with Sweden, but the Swedes saw few advantages in this and the proposal fell. Norway and Denmark subsequently became signatory parties of the North Atlantic Treaty and members of NATO. Sweden remained neutral
Neutrality (international relations)
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 after a heated debate.

European integration

The Nordic countries established the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
The Nordic Council is a geo-political, inter-parliamentary forum for co-operation between the Nordic countries. It was established following World War II and its first concrete result was the introduction in 1952 of a common labour market and free movement across borders without passports for the...

 in 1952 and the Nordic passport union
Nordic Passport Union
The Nordic Passport Union allows citizens of the Nordic countries: Denmark , Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland to travel and reside in other Nordic countries without a passport or a residence permit.- Establishment :...

 two years later.
After a 1972 referendum, Denmark became the first Scandinavian member of the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

, which later paved the way for the EU, in 1973. Sweden joined the EU in 1995; after the fall of the Soviet Union, Sweden felt it could do so without being provocative. Norway remains outside the European Union to this day after referendums on membership in 1972
Norwegian EC referendum, 1972
A referendum on whether Norway should join the European Community was held on 25 September 1972. After a long period of heated debate, the "No" side won with 53.5 per cent of the vote. Prime Minister Trygve Bratteli resigned as a result of the defeat...

 and 1994
Norwegian EU referendum, 1994
A referendum on whether Norway should join the European Union was held on 28 November 1994. After a long period of heated debate, the "No" side won with 52.2 per cent of the vote, on a turnout of 88.6 per cent...

, although it is a signatory of the Schengen treaty and a member of the European Economic Area
European Economic Area
The European Economic Area was established on 1 January 1994 following an agreement between the member states of the European Free Trade Association and the European Community, later the European Union . Specifically, it allows Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to participate in the EU's Internal...

. None of the Scandinavian countries (except Finland) have joined the Euro, membership being rejected by referendum in both Denmark and Sweden. Denmark voted no to the Maastricht Treaty
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

 in 1992, but reversed the decision after negotiating opt-outs
Opt-outs in the European Union
In general, the law of the European Union is valid in all of the twenty-seven European Union member states. However, occasionally member states negotiate certain opt-outs from legislation or treaties of the European Union, meaning they do not have to participate in certain policy areas...

.

See also

  • History of Denmark
    History of Denmark
    The history of Denmark dates back about 12,000 years, to the end of the last ice age, with the earliest evidence of human inhabitation. The Danes were first documented in written sources around 500 AD, including in the writings of Jordanes and Procopius. With the Christianization of the Danes c...

  • History of Finland
    History of Finland
    The land area that now makes up Finland was settled immediately after the Ice Age, beginning from around 8500 BCE. Most of the region was part of the Kingdom of Sweden from the 13th century to 1809, when it was ceded to the Russian Empire, becoming the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. The...

  • History of Iceland
    History of Iceland
    -Early history:In geological terms, Iceland is a young island. It started to form about 20 million years ago from a series of volcanic eruptions on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge...

  • History of Norway
    History of Norway
    The history of human settlement in what is present day Norway goes back at least 11,000 years, to the late Paleolithic. Archaeological finds in the county of Møre og Romsdal have been dated to 9,200 BC and are probably the remains of settlers from Doggerland, an area now submerged in the North Sea,...

  • History of Sweden
    History of Sweden
    Modern Sweden started out of the Kalmar Union formed in 1397 and by the unification of the country by King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century. In the 17th century Sweden expanded its territories to form the Swedish empire. Most of these conquered territories had to be given up during the 18th century...


External links


Literature

  • Derry, T.K. A History of Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1979. ISBN 0-8166-3799-7.
  • H. Arnold Barton, Scandinavia in the Revolutionary Era 1760–1815, University of Minnesota Press, 1986. ISBN 0-8166-1392-3.
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