Norway

Norway

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a sovereign state and unitary monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula plus the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the Kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land. Until 1814, the kingdom included the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland. It also included Bohuslän until 1658, Jämtland and Härjedalen until 1645, Shetland and Orkney until 1468, and the Hebrides and Isle of Man until 1266.

Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) and a population of 5,258,317 (as of January 2017). The country shares a long eastern border with Sweden (1,619 km or 1,006 mi long). Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, and the Skagerrak strait to the south, with Denmark on the other side. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea.

King Harald V of the Dano-German House of Glücksburg is the current King of Norway. Erna Solberg became Prime Minister in 2013, replacing Jens Stoltenberg. A constitutional monarchy, Norway divides state power between the Parliament, the Cabinet and the Supreme Court, as determined by the 1814 Constitution. The kingdom is established as a merger of several petty kingdoms. By the traditional count from the year 872, the kingdom has existed continuously for 1,145 years, and the list of Norwegian monarchs includes over sixty kings and earls.

Norway has both administrative and political subdivisions on two levels: counties and municipalities. The Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and the Finnmark Act. Norway maintains close ties with both the European Union and the United States. Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the Council of Europe, the Antarctic Treaty, and the Nordic Council; a member of the European Economic Area, the WTO, and the OECD; and a part of the Schengen Area. LGBT rights in the country are very progressive; same-sex marriage has been legal in Norway since 2009.

The country maintains a combination of market economy and a Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system. Norway has extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood, fresh water, and hydropower. The petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). On a per-capita basis, Norway is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside the Middle East.

The country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world on the World Bank and IMF lists. On the CIA's GDP (PPP) per capita list (2015 estimate) which includes territories and some regions, Norway ranks as number eleven. It has the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, with a value of 960 billion USD. Since 2009, Norway has the highest Human Development Index ranking in the world, a position also held previously between 2001 and 2006. It also has the highest inequality-adjusted ranking. Norway ranks first on the World Happiness Report, the OECD Better Life Index, the Index of Public Integrity, and the Democracy Index.