History<br /><ul><li>The earliest signs of human settlement in Norway date back to 9000 BC. Norway was united to one kingdom 900 AD. After being part of the Danish autocracy for 400 years, Norway got its own constitution in 1814 and joined into a loose union with Sweden that lasted until 1905.
In 1319, Sweden and Norway were united under King Magnus Eriksson. In 1349, the Black Death killed between 50% and 60% of the population,resulting in a period of decline, both socially and economically.</li></li></ul><li>Norway’s National Day<br /><ul><li>Norwegian’s celebrate their national day differently than in any other country. On the 17th of May, it is the colorful processions of children with their banners, flags and bands that play the main role.
It is the spring celebration from the lowliest backwater of the capital of Oslo.
Another special characteristic that contributes to making this day unique is all the beautiful national costumes that more and more people are wearing in recent years.</li></li></ul><li>Political <br />The Norwegian monarchy is unique in the sense that in 1905, when Norway declared its independence, a referendum was held asking the electorate to vote for either a monarchy or a republic. Even though only men were allowed to vote at the time, women also organized petitions. The referendum (and the petitions) resulted in a majority in favor of a monarchy.<br />
Foreign relations & Military<br /><ul><li>Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO and the Council of Europe.
The Norwegian electorate has twice rejected treaties of accession to the European Union (EU).
The Norwegian Armed Forces currently numbers about 23,000 personnel, including civilian employees.
According to the current (as of 2009) mobilization plans, the strength during full mobilization is approximately 83,000 combatant personnel. Norway has conscription for males (6–12 months of training) and voluntary service for females.</li></li></ul><li>Economy<br /><ul><li>The Norwegian economy is an example of a mixed economy, featuring a combination of free market activity and large state ownership in certain key sectors.
Export revenues from oil and gas have risen to 45% of total exports and constitute more than 20% of the GDP. Only Russia and OPEC member Saudi Arabia export more oil than Norway, which is not an OPEC member</li></li></ul><li>Education <br /><ul><li>Higher education in Norway is offered by a range of seven universities, five specialized colleges, 25 university colleges as well as a range of private colleges.
Public education is virtually free,with an academic year with two semesters, from August to December and from January to June. The ultimate responsibility for the education lies with the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.</li></li></ul><li>Pictures<br />