Norwegian history | the Iron age | Norway

In Norway, the first traces of iron date back to 400-300 BC. The country has significant iron resources, and making tools and weapons from this new metal was a significant step forward.
LA Dahlmann | talk NORWAY
A Viking and a Viking ship. | © Corey Ford - stock.adobe.com.
A Viking and a Viking ship. | © Corey Ford - stock.adobe.com.

The iron age | 500 BC – AD 1050

The Scandinavians traded with its neighbours to the east, and the Europeans to the south, including the Romans. During the iron age, the farming communities became more structured and socially divided.

It was probably during this period that people started thinking in terms of land ownership. The rune alphabet appeared, and rune inscriptions contribute greatly to our modern-day understanding of the Iron age language, mindset, and religious beliefs.

The climate worsened and plagues and other illnesses haunted the population. Old Norse myths about fimbulwinter (the great winter) and ragnarok (the end of the world) may have their roots in Iron age events.

During the AD 700s, the characteristics of the Viking age emerged, with maritime and settlement expansion, increased trade, and the founding of more established trading locations. One distinct feature was the typical Viking ship. It was fast and able to sail across vast oceans. The raid on the island monastery of Lindisfarne in AD 793, off the coast of Northumbria in England, is often defined as the start of the Viking era. The Vikings are known as aggressive and murderous brutes, but back home they were also farmers, hunters and fishermen, and excellent traders and explorers. The Vikings kept slaves – in Norwegian known as treller.

Written sources emerged during the latter part of the iron age, and the population increased. Laws and the concept of government developed, and regional assemblies – things – were established. Harald Hardråde – Harald Hardrada – is regarded as the last Viking king. He fell during a battle at Stamford Bridge in AD 1066, when attempting to conquer England. It was also towards the end of this era that the Christian Catholic faith expanded and gradually replaced the old Norse beliefs. The total population around year AD 1000 was an estimated 100,000 – 200,000.

Norwegian history timeline

  1. The latest ice age
    115,000-10,000 BC
  2. The Stone age
    10,000-1800 BC
  3. The Bronze age
    1800-500 BC
  4. The Iron age
    500 BC-AD 1050
  5. The High middle ages
    AD 1050-1350
  6. The Late middle ages
    AD 1350-1537
  7. The Early modern period
    AD 1537-1814
  8. Norway reborn as a sovereign state
    AD 1814
  9. Norway in union with Sweden
    AD 1814-1905
  10. Full independence at last
    AD 1905
  11. Prosperity, war and depression
    AD 1905-1940
  12. World War 2 and occupation
    AD 1940-1945
  13. The post World War 2 era
    AD 1945-1970
  14. Transformation and neoliberalism
    AD 1970-1990
  15. Technology and globalisation
    AD 1990-today

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

Our most recent posts

My Norwegian heritage

A kipe is a tall, woven basket, often made of twigs from the birch tree. It was carried on the back, and typically used when carrying loads in a landscape full of steep fields and paths.
In this video-collection of historical photos, we reminisce about the dairy cow on the old Norwegian farm. We recommend that you watch with the sound on. Enjoy!
In a cold country like Norway, warm clothing is essential. This is a refined and old version of a woollen sweater from the district of Setesdal.
The first Norwegian Buhund breed-standard came in 1926, based on a dog that had evolved, lived, and worked with the Norwegians since time immemorial.
Old objects tell stories, silent stories about a time gone by.
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.
The Stone age people were master hunters, fishers, and gatherers. The lived with the seasons and followed the prey.
Bondegård is a Norwegian noun that means farm. In informal speech and in many dialects, people only use the single word gård or gard.
In this post you will find a list of Norway’s 15 main historical eras - from the ice age to our modern day.
Norway's mainland coastline, with its many fjords and islands, is the second longest in the world - next only to Canada. Here are some more facts for you.
When there were no makeshift or permanent dwellings nearby, the Sami hunters and herders sometimes slept under the open sky.
Like all buildings on the old Norwegian farm, the stabbur had a clear purpose: it was a building designed for the storage of food.
Myrmelk is a Norwegian noun that means milk conserved in a container buried in a mountain peat bog, left there for herders or others to drink at a later stage.
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.
With Christmas comes the turning of the sun, and the promise of a new year. Enjoy these traditional and vintage Norwegian Christmas cards - 24 in all.
The majestic Norwegian mountains can be treacherous - and they steal human lives every year. Study the Norwegian mountain code - and be prepared for your next journey.
Do you have trouble sleeping? Here are some examples of how the old Norwegians used Mother Nature’s very own remedies to cure their ailments.
Neither the great Atlantic Ocean nor time or social conventions could separate a love that was meant to be.
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.
On the historical Norwegian farm, the skoklefallsday is the last day of planting in the spring. Literally, it means the day that the shafts attached to the workhorse's harness come off.
Folklore and old folk tales often depict The Black Death in the shape of an ashen-faced old woman. Her name was Pesta.

Follow us on social media

Norwegian history