Norwegian history | the Early modern period | Norway

In the year AD 1537, King Christian 3 of Denmark-Norway embraced the Lutheran Reformation, and the Norwegians went from being Catholics to Protestants. The king confiscated the Catholic Church’s considerable wealth, a welcomed addition to the royal coffers. Norway more or less ceased to exist as a sovereign state and became a province under Denmark.
LA Dahlmann | talk NORWAY
Rollag stave church in Rollag, Buskerud, Norway. Sections estimated built in late 1200s. | Photo: Dagfinn Rasmussen - kulturminnebilder.ra.no Rollag_169_DSC5291_DxO - CC BY.
Rollag stave church in Luster went from being Catholic to Protestant. | © Rui Baião - stock.adobe.com.

The Early modern period | AD 1537 – 1814

During the AD 1500s, the authorities worked hard to stem the outbreaks of plague and disease. Gradually, the population started to grow, and people returned to areas that had lain fallow since The Black Death.

There was an increased trade during the Early modern period. Fish and timber were two important commodities, and different types of mines were established, with the silver mine at Kongsberg being the most significant.

In AD 1660, after political unrest, the Danish King Frederik 3 declared himself an absolute monarch of both Denmark and Norway, weakening the position of the nobility and transferring more of the day-to-day running of the country to bureaucrats, answerable to the king only. Power was increasingly centralised in the Danish capital Copenhagen, widening the gap between the bodies of government and the local communities of Norway. In AD 1665, the total population was an estimated 440,000.

During the AD 1600s and the AD 1700s, there was great unrest in the Nordics and the whole North-European region. The Denmark-Norway crown covered the expenses of war by drastically increasing the level of taxes. Norwegian men were ordered to partake as soldiers. Sweden was on the opposite side, and gradually strengthened its position. During the AD 1700s, with the crown’s constant need for resources – and reduced profitability seen by the large landowners – there was a gradual change in the structure of land ownership. Tenant farmers started to buy out the farms their families lived on, and became self-owners.

In AD 1769, Denmark-Norway carried out its first complete population count. The total Norwegian population was 723,618 – and the largest town was Bergen, with 13,735 citizens. 91% of the population lived in rural areas.

During the AD 1700s, there was a growing patriotic sentiment among the Norwegians – and a longing for independence was slowly brewing.

Next period: Norwegian history | reborn as a sovereign state | Norway

Or see the full: History timeline | from stone age to modern era | Norway

BC = before Christ | AD = anno domini = after Christ
Main source: Store norske leksikon – snl.no

Our most recent posts

My Norwegian heritage

Uekte and ekte are Norwegian adjectives that in one context means illegitimate and legitimate - as in a child born outside or inside a marriage.
1769 was the year of the first complete Norwegian census. Today, Norway has a population of more than 5 million, in 1769 the number was 723,618.
One of the oldest Norwegian instruments is the birch trumpet. But is it really an instrument at all - or did it originally have a completely different purpose?
What beautiful needlework. A bonnet from the collections of Slottsfjellsmuseet - in the city of Tønsberg.
Kantslått is a Norwegian noun that means (1) the grass that is cut along the edges of a field, a road, etc. or (2) the actual process of cutting this grass. Traditionally, the grass was used as animal fodder.
A loved child goes by many names, says a Norwegian expression. This certainly applies to the country Norway. But what does the name really mean?
In the old Norwegian farming society, a husmann was a man who was allowed to build his home on a small section of a farm’s land, and pay with his labour instead of rent.
The Norwegians rarely allow alien species into their fauna. With one notable exception, the muskox - first welcomed in from Greenland in 1924.
The old Norwegian farming society was a self-sufficient and balanced world. Coins and notes were all but an alien concept.
Do you know the name of Norway’s capital city? Test yourself, friends, and family in this 10 multiple-choice questions quiz vol. 1. See the correct answer below each photo.
In the olden days, people dressed up warmly and got out onto the fjord or lake to catch their Sunday dinner. Enjoy!
Skårfast is a Norwegian adjective that means that a person or an animal is stuck on a steep mountain- or cliff-side shelf, and in need of being rescued.
The hour of twilight is when the daylight starts to disappear – before it is completely dark. In the old Norwegian farming society, this was a time for rest.
In the old farming society, nature dictated the flow of the working year. And farmworkers could only leave their jobs on 2 specific days during the year.
Are you hailing from Sykkylven in Møre og Romsdal, Norway? Well, then you might be related to the great film and television icon that was James Arness.
In my childhood, life was simple. And the small joys of Christmas lifted our spirits - and delivered us safely into the new year.
The word ski comes from the Old Norse language, with the meaning cleft wood. The old Norwegians were master hunters, and have been skiing for over 5000 years.
Here are 12 historical photos representing the fascinating Sami culture - with deep roots in the Norwegian and Nordic landscape.
For the old Norwegians, making butter was simply a way of preserving the fresh summer milk - turning it into a type of food that could be stored.
Budrått is a Norwegian noun that means the output of milk products on a farm - such as cheese and butter. The word is often associated with what was produced during the summer on the seasonal mountain or forest pasture farm - the seter.
For many, it may come as a surprise that the history of rose painting and its place in Norwegian folk art is not as old as one might think.

Follow us on social media

Norwegian history