Norway or Norga (North Sami) (officially the Kingdom of Norway) is a country in Northern Europe occupying the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, as well as Jan Mayen and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard under the Spitsbergen Treaty. The majority of the country shares a border to the east with Sweden; its northernmost region is bordered by Finland to the south and Russia to the east. The United Kingdom and Faroe Islands lie to its west across the North Sea, Iceland and Greenland lies to its west across the Norwegian Sea, and Denmark lies south of its southern tip across the Skagerrak Strait. Bouvet Island and Peter I Island are dependent territories (Norwegian: biland) of Norway, but not considered part of the Kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land, a claim that has been recognised by Australia, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom Norway’s extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea, is home to its famous fjords.
The area currently constituting Norway has been inhabited since at least the 10th millennium BC. The indigenous people of Northern Norway and Central Norway are the Sámi people, though Norse culture arrived very early on the scene here also. The current monarch of Norway, representing Government, has stated that the kingdom was founded upon the territories of two peoples – the Norwegians and the Sámi.
Norway has rich resources of gas fields, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals. The country was the second largest exporter of seafood (in value, after the People’s Republic of China) in 2006. Other main industries include shipping, food processing, shipbuilding, metals, chemicals, mining, fishing and pulp and paper products. Norway maintains a Scandinavian welfare model with universal healthcare, free higher education and a comprehensive social security system. Norway was ranked highest of all countries in human development from 2001 to 2006. It was also rated the most peaceful country in the world in a 2007 survey by Global Peace Index.
A unitary state with administrative sub-divisions on two levels known as counties (fylker) and municipalities (kommuner), Norway is a constitutional, hereditary monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with King Harald V as its Head of State. The Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and the Finnmark Act. It is a founding member of UN, NATO, the Council of Europe and the Nordic Council, and member of the European Economic Area, WTO and OECD.