Early inhabitants of Norway had a trading relationship with Roman-occupied Gaul in the first few centuries AD. But no written history of Norway emerged until the 8th century. Vikings from Norway looted and terrorized the North Sea and settled in France, England, Russia and even in 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. After the civil strife subsided, Norway united itself to Denmark from 1381 to 1814, then to Sweden from 1814 to 1905. Norway became independent in 1905 and became one of the most socially advanced nations in Europe. Norway was neutral during World War I, but its neutrality was violated in 1940 when the Nazis invaded and occupied the country until 1945. After WWII, Norway abandoned neutrality policies in world affairs by joining NATO in 1949. Today, King Harald V reigns in Norway, and Jens Stoltenberg serves as Prime Minister.
Christian missionaries arrived in Norway as early as 825 AD. 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 to Oslo (then Christiania) the following month where he held meetings in a large gymnasium, preaching the Pentecostal message. Since Norwegian believers experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the 20th century similar to 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 2001, the Pentecostals claimed 250 churches, 28,571 members, and 44,000 adherents.
Additional Facts About Norway
- Capital: Oslo
- Area: 148,718 square miles
- Population: 5.1 million
- Urbanization: 79%
- Language: Norwegian (official)
- Ethnic Groups: Germanic (Nordic, Alpine, Baltic) and Lapps (minority)
- Agriculture: Grains and oats
- Industry: Wood and paper products, shipbuilding, metals, chemicals, food processing, fishing, oil and gas