Norway and 1905

Stuart Burch considers the significance to Norway – both in terms of the past and the present – of the anniversary of 1905, when the country at last won its independence from Sweden.

Exactly one hundred years ago the people of Norway were going through a momentous period in their history. The dramatic events pivoted around June 7th, 1905. On that day the parliament in Kristiana (Oslo) instigated what might be termed a revolution when they voted to dissolve the union with Sweden that had been forced upon Norway by the Treaty of Kiel (1814). A plebiscite later that summer confirmed massive public support for independence and, following successful negotiations in the Swedish town of Karlstad, military conflict was averted. When a rueful Oscar II abdicated the throne on October 26th, Norway was able to fully savour complete independence for the first time in four centuries of almost unbroken foreign influence, firstly from Denmark and then Sweden.

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