Scandinavia, Estonia and Iceland 2018 travel blog


Saturday night in oslo is busy! At least along the streets around the hotel.

Oh well, up at 0700 and off to breakfast about 0730.

Day 2 Oslo

Lecture “Norway, Past and Present”

(up in the 7th floor of the hotel)

10-12000 years ago, Scandinavia and most of Europe was covered in thick ice (up to 1 mile). The weight of the mass of ice pushed the earth underneath way down. During the melting process, 2 different processes were going on.

From the stone age to the Viking raids. Became hunters and gatherers. Migration between Scandinavia countries. People started to settle; needed to be able to grow grain, etc. Migrated from south to north. Groups settled first along the coast; this area was ice free first. Slowly the populations grew.

The first period that we know a lot about, the Viking era. Started in 793; from Denmark or Norway. Robbed the monestery off the NE coast of England. Raids. Leiv Eriksson discovered America from Greenland. 1066 Standford bridge.

The Viking boats could land on the coast and even go up river; they were robbers. Their shape of the boat allowed them to move quickly and easily.

Robbed the churches because the churches had many items. Over the next centuries until 1066, we talk about Vikings. They went to Iceland to Greenland to America. Archeiologists have found items that were distinct to the Vikings (in Greenland).

How long were they in America? Who knows? The Kensington stone has some inscriptions; is it fake or real????

Traveled to France, occupied Paris; the king offered them Normandy to leave Paris. Went to the Mediterranean. Went up the rivers of Russia to the black sea to Istanbul. Did not go to the far east.

The Vikings went out for the adventure, due to population growth, there were fights between kings, there were unions between kings, etc. Harold the fair-haired united the country, Olaf the holey, christianized Norway.

York and Dublin were found by the Vikings. Those living in Denmark went south. Those in Norway went went north.

Tribes of Vikings cooperated in attacks. Many times we only hear about the Vikings who attacked others. They brought back many valuables; became tradesman and not just warriors. Settles and became part of the culture where they settled.

For several hundred years, 900-1300’s, there were Norse settlements on Greenland. Due to climate deterioration, they disappeared.

The end of the error is linked to a battle in England at the Standford bridge. Lost to William the conquorer. After this we don’t hear about Vikings.

After this period, was the middle ages.

Epidemic/pandemic 1348-1350, the black death. Killed half of the population in Norway. Not as strong as they used to be. Before this all scandinavian countries were in a union. After the black death, Norway was weaker/subordinate under the Danish king. For 1400 years until 1814.

Norway has only 3 %; 70% is above the timberline. Denmark is flat vs Norway, have the sea for fishing; and could hunt but not much land to cultivate. Population of Norway was smaller. Became the servants of the Danish king……taxes collected by the Danish king.

Kalmar Union 1397 A union between Sweden and Norway?

Catholic church was dominant until Martin Luther came along and many became Lutheran

1814…….at the end of the middle ages. Napoleonic ward in Europe. Blockade by the british after confiscating the Danish and Norwegian fleet in 1807. Grain could not be shipped. When Napolean we defeated, as part of the surrender, Norway not belongs to Sweden (Denmark lost control of Norway)

Norway wanted to become independent.

Norwegian constitution 17 May 1814. Sweden was among the enemies (with Russia and England). All officials from Norway worked on the constitution. They looked at constitutions from America, England, etc. “cut and pasted” their own constitution. Declared independence from Sweden. There were fights on the border east of Oslo. Just for a short period as Sweden was much stronger. Sweden took over for a short time. The king of Sweden could veto some decisions made by Norway. Independence became stronger and stronger.

Bu the end of the 19th century, the king was Oscar II, the Norwegian officials were in conflict with the Swedish king; several times there was almost a war….Norwegians demanded more freedoms. In 1905, the conflict peaked and forces on each side of the border almost started to fight. Sweden let Norway go…..This was a very poor country.

There were many americans who volunteered to fight the swedes if needed.

1814-1905

The king of norway……become a republic or become a monachay. Many wanted to have a king but the king was just a figurehead representing the country. Norway did not have anyone who could be king…so they asked a prince from Denmark to be the king of Norway. Married to the granddaughter of queen Victoria. The had a son named alexander (2 years old). He became the king; could not have a king carl! So became king Holkon the 7th; the wife was Maude. No crown prince name alexander; he became Olaf (1951-1991). Now king Harold (since 1995).

Karl Yohan (spelling). This was the Swedish king; he was French general under Napoleon. Changes and left Napoleon and went to Sweden.

(Now maybe I understand why Sweden items were not welcome in our home when I was growing up)

More than ½ of the Norwegian population left for America; it was a hard life in Norway, poor health conditions, not enough food, etc. Industrialization came late to Norway; more incentive to go to the promised land. Large pop of Norwegians in America than are in Norway now.

Border between Norway and Sweden……much is related to geography, mountain ranges and rivers.

Some of Sweden used to be part of Norway. During the Viking areas, they may have changed.

Many Norwegians settled in the Midwest; could get farmland; homestead act. From northern Norway, many went to the west coast. Sailors went everywhere (new York, seattle). Midwest was the core area for Scandinavians.

Based on water power, they could use it to produce electricity and used in the industrial period. Foreign countries bought rights for the power.

Norway build ships; had lots of sailors. Wood for boats.

Culture; polar expeditions

Literature and art; monk, henry Gibson, painters, authors, etc. The golden era of Norwegian culture. Self confidence built up.

Religious life; known for their strict view on religion. Focused on the sins and duties. “piotisest”.

WWII

Neutral; suffered blockades of all trade. Poor. September 1939, Germans occupied Poland; WWKK started. Decision to be neutral. During the winter of 1940, there was a German ship with POWs forced to go into a Norwegian harbor and Britians’ liberated POWs from this ship. Germany wanted to control the coastline of Norway. Control would be an advantage.

9 April 1940; Germany occupied Denmark and during the night Germany used the Navy, Army and Airforce along the coast of Norway. Norway became par tof the war and were occupied. Fought back but the forces were weak. Fought for a few weeks, but had no chance. A small success up near a town called Narvik (thinnist area of Norway); there was a railway that carried a lot of iron. A lot of fighting in this area. Germany essentially needed to pull out of Norway to help with other european battels.

7 June 1940 Norwegian family left; stayed as long as they could but then went to England. Some royalty came to America and stayed in a home of one of the presidents.

Traitor = quesling. On 9 April 1940, talked about control of Norway and he wanted to become the prime minister. He had met with Hitler. He was executed after the war for their war crimes (traitors).

There were many heroes of the war.

(story about the red hats; I remember reading that story about people who resisted the war; helped the people during the war)

After the war, Norway was economically challenges. Sweden was productive and wealthier. Now Norways’ economy is booming.

1500 Jews lived in Norway before the war; many fled during the first 2 years of the war. 1943, Jews rounded up; all were registered. Some were able to hid their background; those who had not left were rounded up. Many helped the Jewish people. Sent to Oslo and then to on the ship the Danube and taken to Poland. Only 30+ returned after the war to Norway.

The king was very important. A movie, about the first 2 weeks after the occupation. “the “No” of the King”. He did not step down; only the people can ask me to step down. He went to London and gave speeches during the war. Left 7 June 1940 and returned 7 June 1945. The kings No; “the Kings choice”

The 12th Man is also a good movie

Oil. December 1969 oil found in the north sea. This has changed Norway for ever…..some good, some bad. Money from the oil has been used wisely. Created a pension fund.

The welfare state. The pension fund. Any person from Europe can come here to work. Maternity leave, healthcare (except glasses and dental).

Working on new sources of energy. Want to “go green”.

Need to write about the art gallary; leaving to go to the multicache early. Unable to find any thing about Hans Dahl.

Need to write about lunch at the Bistro, walking to the caches.

Walking and the afternoon tour group activities to the lions, the city hall, the nobel prize, and then caches as we went home. Supper at the herford steak house. After coming out of the steakhouse, there was Ms Videmsick walking on the side walk. She was going to her hotel (the bristol). She is on a cruise.

walked to the palace and saw the changing of the guard. Saw the statues of Maud and Ibsen.....Walked home and to bed!

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