On May 17th 1814 Norway’s equivalent of America’s Founding Fathers took advantage of the turbulence created in Europe by the Napoleonic wars to declare a free and independent nation and pass a new constitution, much based on the American and French constitutions of recent and general Enlightenment philosophy. Oddly enough they elected as their new King the next in line of their previous usurper for 400 years, Crown Prince Christian Frederik (already viceroy of Norway) of Denmark.
The bliss lasted only a few months until the French king-in-waiting of Sweden (it’s complicated, read the full version of events on Wikipedia, or buy a book) came to claim his prize for being on the right side of said Napoleonic wars according to the terms of the treaty of Kiel. The Norwegian peasant army was no match for the battle hardened troops of Jean Bernadotte, formerly Marshal of France under Napoleon-turned-traitor*, soon to become King Karl Johan of Sweden and Norway. (Fun fact: Jean Bernadotte/King Karl Johan (the conqueror of the budding Norwegian nation fighting for freedom, and, I’m sure, the last Norwegian king to kill a man in formal duel) is immortalized in an equestrian statue smack in front of the Royal Palace in Oslo. How fucked up is that? The main drag in Oslo, leading up to the palace, is Karl Johans Gate (Karl Johan’s Street.)
Anyhoo, to make a long story short, the Norwegians got spanked and were forced into a union with Sweden for the next 91 years until they finally managed to wrangle out of it using a dubious legal constitutional argument in 1905 (the Norwegian Storting (parliament) unilaterally declared the union dissolved on June 7th and the Swedish monarch King Oscar II begrudgingly renounced his claim to the Norwegian throne and recognized Norway’s status as an independent and sovereign nation on October 26th) when they became free and independent for real (and promptly proceeded to elect yet another Danish princeling to be their next king—in fact the newly imported Prince Christian Frederik Carl Georg Valdemar Axel/King Haakon VII’s great-granduncle was the very same Christian Frederik from 1814) without so much as a shot fired from either side of the conflict, though there were troop buildups on both sides of the border and a vocal faction of Swedes called for war.
I hope I got this right. If not you can blame my history teacher and a poor educational system in Norway. In any case, happy birthday Norway (technically, not really—Norway was an established nation-state, both ethnically and politically since the mid middle ages); may your nation prosper and not succumb to the multi-cultural, mostly Muslim threat you are facing. (Not necessarily agreeing with this assessment of the current state of affairs in Norway, but I have it on good authority that this is a fear held by a not insignificant portion of ethnic Norwegians.) This year being the 200th anniversary of your founding document, I suppose you will make something extra out of it. More drunken people passed out on park benches from Lindesnes to Nordkapp than usual, I’m sure.
*So yes, the progenitor of the modern Swedish royal family was an opportunistic, in no way of royal blood, treasonous French military officer of the late 18th/early 19th centuries who never even bothered to learn Swedish. [By the same token, Prince Valdemar/King Haakon never bothered to learn proper Norwegian, but Norwegian and Danish being so similar, I guess most Norwegians could understand him if he slowed down and enunciated properly (problem is Danes don’t enunciate at all; it’s like listening to a Norwegian talking with a small potato lodged in the back of his throat, but I digress)]. Guess how I feel about the institution of monarchy? I think the Russkies and the Frogs got it right, that’s what I think!
For those interested in the truly bizarre entanglement of what’s left of the inbred bevy of European monarchy, I suggest going to Wikipedia and just start with one article and follow the links for a mind-boggling and never-ending read. The institution is so outdated, and now, watered out with commoners, reality- and talk-show hosts, and plain attention seekers (gold diggers/media whores (and other kinds of whores)), that it clearly has outlived any justification to society it once may have had. Norway/Sweden/Denmark/England/Holland/Belgium/Spain/Monaco (I think that’s it, and Monaco isn’t even a real country); GET WITH THE PROGRAM ALREADY AND DUMP THOSE PARASITIC CHUMPS AND JOIN THE MODERN WORLD AND ITS PROPER FORM OF GOVERNANCE. PROMOTING A SINGLE FAMILY AS HEAD OF STATE/GOVERNMENT/CHURCH(!) SIMPLY FOR BEING BORN INTO THAT FAMILY IS SO FUCKING… MEDIEVAL!
Edit 8-10-15: Part of this article is historically incorrect. I’m just too lazy to fix it. Cite the information given here at your own peril.