History of Denmark, Norway and Sweden Explained

You have probably met the word Nordics, Scandinavia and the specific countries that fall within the regions. It may be a little confusing to understand what really the distinction could be but some careful look will bring it out pretty easily. One thing that must be pointed out is that the mere fact that a handful of countries fall within the regions shows that they have something in common. No wonder we go all out of our way to clearly cut out for you the common history of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

This may help anyone harbouring animosity with the colonizers for having created artificial boundaries in lets say Africa. We will here get to notice that people who once considered themselves one were separated into distinct countries but still have very close relationships across the borders of their countries.  

Getting to connect the common history of Denmark, Sweden and Norway can be so refreshing

To start off, we may argue about it but Scandinavia is a great destination thanks to its architectural marvel, nature and welfare states. Sweden, Denmark and Norway are popular around the world as the three Scandinavian countries. If you have done your research on Scandinavia then you have probably come across the words Nordic and Northern Europe. 

Distinguishing History of Denmark, Norway and Sweden

The three names always interchange since they describe these three distinct regions of Europe. They bring together Norway, Sweden and Denmark which are basically countries that  not only have a common history but also languages and culture. However, their history stems from the fact that they were once joined in what was known as the Kalmar Union

Also keep in mind that Denmark once ruled Norway before entering a similar arrangement with Sweden. Similarly, the three countries are part of the Nordic region which include Finland and Iceland. Nevertheless, though they work together politically, they still have various differences that separate them. 

Background to the Common History of the Three Countries 

The common history of the Nordic region can be traced back as far as Leif Erikson to the creation of the Nordic Council. Leif Erikson is considered a symbol of the Nordic Region that has strengthened the bond of the region since the Vikings. This implies that it can be traced back to more than a millennium.

Leif Erikson (the Fortunate) is said to have left the west coast of Greenland in the year 1002. At the time, no one, not even him would have known how much this sail would impact history. Though Iceland-born, he grew up in Greenland, and spent part of his youth in Norway.

He is linked to the Norwegian Realm since it was during his time that the region first came together. The United Kingdom allowed kings from Norway to associate with the Viking kings of Sweden and Denmark. Luckily, the Vikings were not only good farmers but also seafaring traders. 

Their ability to till land and rear livestock quickly intensified the modernization of the region. It wasn’t long before Christianity spread in the region and increased the region’s cultural bond with Europe. So, as you can see, the three countries have undergone periods of both strife and friendship.  

Over the years, they have continued to grow closer thanks to their ability to understand their differences and cross-cultural understanding. 

Christianity and Unity in the Nordic Region 

The introduction and spread of Christianity in the region came with advanced cultural drift. It led to the construction of churches and cathedrals as well as monasteries and bishoprics. Subsequently, the region was filled with market towns, and today’s attractions such as castles. 

As one would expect, people adopted new and new eating habits and fashion trends. It was mostly due to the increased contacts they had with southern towns and countries through trade. Unfortunately, it also came with diseases such as the infamous the Black Death that led to the death of many people. 

By the Middle Ages, the region had become a major cultural, economic, and political center. It contributed to the 1397 formation of the Kalmar Union where Denmark, Norway, and Sweden united. While the union started off strong, it slowly weakened thanks to the beef between Denmark and Norway and Finland and Sweden. 

The 19th Century Nordic Region 

Following the period of unrest after the split of the Kalmar Union, Denmark and Sweden finally ended their quarrel.  Sweden and Denmark were characteristically smaller than other European countries. However, the main European powers saw their independence as a strategic advantage. 

They considered them a buffer from other main powers including Russia, Prussia, France, and Britain. The century was also characterized by major emigration thanks to the poverty that hit the region. Norway finally gained its independence in 1905 and chose to become a constitutional monarchy like Sweden and Denmark. 

Another key to the history of the three countries is Industrialization and the two world wars. Luckily, they managed to remain neutral through the First World War thanks to the spread of democracy. Trouble came during the 2nd world war when Denmark and Norway were forced to join the war. 

Despite Germany invading the two countries, Sweden remained neutral throughout the war. Norway suffered tremendous losses in the war though was restored by economic development that the US Marshall Plan came with. Eventually, Denmark and Norway joined the Atlantic military pact NATO in 1949 while Sweden remained neutral.

Creation of the Nordic Council 

Internal calls for bilateral cooperation between the three countries led to the creation of the Nordic Council in 1952. Its formation was also promoted by the cultural ties and their shared interest in social, environmental, and fiscal policy. As a result, the region experienced significant economic growth during the 2nd half of the twentieth century. 

They managed to increase their exports and fast-tracked the mining of raw materials such as oil and natural gas. The North Sea oil deposits ensured that Norway’s economy grew significantly. Denmark joined the European Community in 1973 and later the EU. Subsequently, Sweden joined in 1995, while Norway remained  Independent.