Early inhabitants of Norway traded with Roman-occupied Gaul in the first few centuries A.D., but no written history of Norway emerged until the eighth century. Vikings from Norway looted and terrorized the North Sea and settled in France, England, Russia, and even North America by way of Iceland and Greenland.
The first powerful king to emerge and begin unifying the Norwegian Viking tribes was King Harald I. After his death, however, his sons broke up the kingdom and infighting was rampant. When the civil strife subsided, Norway united itself to Denmark from 1380 to 1814, then to Sweden from 1814 to 1905. Norway became independent in 1905 and developed into one of the most socially-advanced nations in Europe. Norway had adopted a policy of neutrality in 1905, but during World War I, its merchant marine was largely used in support of the British, resulting in Norway being classified as “The Neutral Ally.” Its neutrality was violated in 1940 when the Nazis invaded and occupied the country until 1945. After World War II Norway abandoned neutrality policies in world affairs by becoming a founding member of NATO in 1949. Today King Harald V reigns in Norway, and Erna Solberg serves as Prime Minister.
Christian missionaries arrived in Norway as early as 825 A.D. Saint Anskar worked among Viking tribes but found very few people willing to convert. Later some kings tried to force Christianity upon the people. Norway first experienced the Pentecostal movement through the ministry of an English-born Norwegian, Thomas Ball Barratt. Baptized in the Holy Spirit in New York in 1906, he returned the following month to Oslo (then named Christiania), where he held meetings in a large gymnasium, preaching the Pentecostal message. Because Norwegian believers experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the twentieth century like that in the United States, the Assemblies of God did not establish a presence there.
The Movement Today
The Pentecostal fellowship in Norway continues to grow. The Pentecostal World Conference was held in Oslo, the capital, in 1992. In 2009 Pentecostals claimed over 280 churches, 39,590 members, and over 44,000 adherents.
Additional Facts About Norway
Area: 125,020 square miles
Population: 5.3 million
Urbanization: 82.2 percent
Ethnic Groups: Norwegian 83.2 percent (includes about 60,000 Sami), other European 8.3 percent, other 8.5 percent
Agriculture: barley, wheat, potatoes; pork, beef, veal, milk; fish
Industry: petroleum and gas, shipping, fishing, aquaculture, food processing, shipbuilding, pulp and paper products, metals, chemicals, timber, mining, and textiles