The ancient Norwegians were a seafaring people who lived along the coast. In the third century A.D. they were in contact with the Romans in Britain and Gaul, but became isolated from the rest of Europe when the Germanic tribes swept in. In the fifth and sixth centuries several of the barbarian tribes invaded Norway from the sea, driving the earlier inhabitants inland. The population gradually became organized into many small kingdoms and earldoms. By the eighth century the Norwegians were trading with the Frisians of the northern Netherlands, exchanging furs and ivory for cloth.

Important dates in Norway
c. 870 Norwegian Vikings colonized Iceland.
c. 900 Harald I united Norway.
c. 985 Erik the Red colonized Greenland.
c. 1000 Leif Eriksson sailed to North America.
1349-1350 An epidemic of plague killed about half the people of Norway.
1380 Norway was united with Denmark.
1536 Norway became a Danish province. Lutheranism was made Norway's official religion.
1814 Denmark gave up Norway to Sweden but kept Norway's island colonies.
1884 The cabinet of Norway became responsible to the parliament instead of the king.
1905 Norway became independent.
1940-1945 German troops occupied Norway in World War II.
1945 Norway joined the United Nations.
1949 Norway became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
1957 King Haakon VII died and was succeeded by Olav V.
1960 Norway and six other nations formed the European Free Trade Association.
1967 Norway began its greatest welfare program, which combined many established social security plans under the National Insurance Act.
1970's Norway began producing petroleum and natural gas from North Sea fields, greatly stimulating the economy.
1991 King Olav V died and was succeeded by Harald V.

Important dates in Norway