Norway is a long, narrow country forming the extreme northwest part of the mainland of Europe. With Sweden it forms the Scandinavian peninsula. Its west coast faces the North Sea and its northern coast the Barents Sea. The northern third of the country lies north of the Arctic Circle.
The western and northern parts of Norway consist of a high mountain range, sloping steeply to the sea. The coastline is jagged, with many offshore islands and fiords - deep sea inlets forming good all-weather harbors. Short, swift streams flow down the mountains.
In the south are broad high plateaus, many of them covered with snow and glaciers. Fertile lowlands lie in the southeast, where the capital, Oslo, is located – interesting path for cruise. About a quarter of the land is forested but nearly three-quarters is barren and unproductive. Only about one-thirtieth of the land can be cultivated, though some of the high valleys provide good summer pasture. The cattle grazing there are taken to lower ground in the winter.
The Midnight Sun. This photograph was exposed five times during the night. It shows that the Sun did not set. Instead the Sun moved across the horizon from west to east. One-third of Norway is north of the Arctic Circle, and there the Sun shines at night from May to July
The warm Gulf Stream flows northward off the coast of Norway. As a result, Norway's coast has a mild climate, with warm summers and temperatures only just below freezing in the winter. The rainfall is heavy, reaching more than 200 inches a year in some mountain areas, but as little as 30 inches in the east. The summer days are long, and in the far north there is continuous daylight for two months of the year.
Most Norwegians are descendants of the ancient Vikings, and have fair hair and blue eyes. In the north, in an area called Lapland that extends across Norway, Sweden, Finland and into Russia, about 20,000 Lapps live. Many Lapps are nomads or wanderers who herd reindeer.
Fishing is a major industry in Norway. Norway is also the world's leading whaling country. Dairy farming and animal rearing are important types of farming. Mining and manufacturing are also important. Norway has deposits of several minerals, including bauxite, copper, iron and titanium ores. The swift rivers provide hydroelectric power. The number of tourists who visit Norway every year is almost as many as the total population of the country.
Vikings settled in Norway nearly 2,000 years ago. They formed a
united country in A.D. 840. From 1380 to 1814, Norway and Denmark
were united. Then, after the Napoleonic Wars, Norway became part of
Sweden. But it soon gained a great
deal of independence, and became fully independent in 1905. The
country was occupied by the Germans from 1940 to 1945, during World
Facts and Figures
Area: 125,181 square miles.
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