Norway Separates From Sweden


Skien Norway

Norway's Parliament, the Storting, voted to declare the dissolution of the Union with Sweden. A plebiscite was held and the Norwegian people approved the dissolution. The Swedes went along with the decision. Haakon VII became the new King of Norway.

Norway lost a brief war with Sweden in 1814 and was forced to enter into a Union with Sweden. The Swedes tried to give Norway a sense of independence. The Norwegians were allowed to maintain their parliament, and their own army and judiciary. However, they shared one monarch and had a single foreign policy run by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The two groups began to divulge on some crucial areas. Norway's economy was more dependent on trading and thus preferred lower tariffs while Sweden which to have higher duties. In addition, Norway had stronger ties with England as well as countries outside Europe while Sweden’s relations were much more focused on Germany. Finally, Norway was becoming increasingly liberal, limiting the powers of the King as much as possible, while that was not happening in Sweden.

The separation was prompted by the creation of a coalition government in Norway whose expressed purpose was to dissolve the union. A law to that fact passed the Norwegian parliament the Sorting. When Sweden Kings Oscar II refused to accept the new law the Norwegian government resigned. Oscar was unable to form an alternative government. The existing cabinet then issued the following declaration on June 7, 1905:
Since all the members of the cabinet have resigned their positions; since His Majesty the King has declared his inability to obtain for the country a new government; and since the constitutional monarchy has ceased to exist, the Storting hereby authorizes the cabinet that resigned today to exercise the powers held by the King in accordance with the Constitution of Norway and relevant laws - with the amendments necessitated by the dissolution of the union with Sweden under one King, resulting from the fact that the King no longer functions as a Norwegian King.

The King of Norway demanded that the Norwegian people vote on the dissolution, something that the government had anticipated by scheduling a plebiscite for August 9th. Dissolution passed by 99.95% of the vote.

On September 23, 1905, the Union between Norway and Sweden was formally dissolved.