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Faroe Island

Faroe Island Explanation ::-- || faroe island Geography ||

 

The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland. The total area is approximately 1,400 km² with a 2010 population of almost 50,000.

faroe island

The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing dependency of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. Over the years, the Faroese have been granted control of some matters. Areas that remain the responsibility of Denmark include military defence, police, justice, currency and foreign affairs.
The Faroe Islands were politically associated with Norway until 1380, when Norway entered the Kalmar Union with Denmark and Sweden, which gradually evolved into Danish control of the islands. This association ceased in 1814 when Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden, while Denmark retained control of Norwegian colonies including the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. The Faroe Islands have two representatives on the Nordic Council as members of the Danish delegation.

The early history of the Faroe Islands is not well known, although Gael hermits and monks from a Hiberno-Scottish mission are believed to have settled in the 6th century, introducing sheep and goats and the early Irish language. Saint Brendan, an Irish monastic saint, who is supposed to have lived around 484–578, is said to have visited the Faroe Islands on two or three occasions (512–530), naming two of the islands Sheep Island and Paradise Island of Birds.

Later on (850 ad) Norsemen settled the islands, bringing the Old Norse language that has evolved into the modern Faroese language spoken today.

These settlers are not thought to have come directly from Scandinavia, but rather from Norse communities surrounding the Irish Sea, Northern Isles and Western Isles of Scotland, including the Shetland and Orkney islands, and Norse-Gaels. The old Gaelic name for the Faroe Islands, Na Scigirí, means the Skeggjar and probably refers to the Eyja-Skeggjar (Island-Beards), a nickname given to the island dwellers.

 

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The aforementioned theories are speculative and are not supported by archeological evidence. However, the immigration of Norwegian Vikings is well documented. Thus, according to the Faroe Islands Government, the Nordic language and culture are derived from the Norwegians, or Norsemen, who settled in the Faroe Islands.

 

 

According to Faereyinga Saga, emigrants who left Norway to escape the tyranny of Harald I of Norway settled on the islands around the end of the 9th century. Early in the 11th century, Sigmundur Brestirson – whose clan had flourished in the southern islands but had been almost exterminated by invaders from the northern islands – escaped to Norway. He was sent back to take possession of the islands for Olaf Tryggvason, King of Norway. Sigmundur introduced Christianity and, though he was subsequently murdered, Norwegian supremacy was upheld. Norwegian control of the islands continued until 1380, when Norway entered the Kalmar Union with Denmark, which gradually resulted in Danish control of the islands. The Reformation reached the Faroes in 1538. When the union between Denmark and Norway was dissolved as a result of the Treaty of Kiel in 1814, Denmark retained possession of the Faroe Islands.
The trade monopoly in the Faroe Islands was abolished in 1856, after which the area developed as a modern fishing nation with its own fleet. The national awakening since 1888 was initially based on a struggle to maintain the Faroese language and was thus culturally oriented, but after 1906 it became politically oriented, with the foundation of political parties of the Faroe Islands.

On 12 April 1940, the Faroes were occupied by British troops. The move followed the invasion of Denmark by Nazi Germany and had the objective of strengthening British control of the North Atlantic (see Battle of the Atlantic). In 1942–1943 the British Royal Engineers built the only airport in the Faroes, Vágar Airport. Control of the islands reverted to Denmark following the war, but in 1948 HOME-rule was introduced, with a high degree of local autonomy. In 1973 the Faroe Islands declined to join Denmark in entering the European Community (now European Union). The islands experienced considerable economic difficulties following the collapse of the fishing industry in the early 1990s, but have since made efforts to diversify the economy. Support for independence has grown and is the objective of the Republican Party.

Politics of Faroe island

The Faroese government holds executive power in local government affairs. The head of the government is called the Løgmaður (literally 'law person') or prime minister in English. Any other member of the cabinet is called a landsstýrismaður ('national committee man'). Today, elections are held in the municipalities, on a national level for the Løgting ('law assembly'), and for the Danish Folketing. For the Løgting elections there are seven electoral districts, each one comprising a sýsla, while Streymoy is divided into a northern and southern part (Tórshavn region).

faroe island

The Faroes and Denmark

The Faroe Islands have been under Danish control since 1388. The 1814 Treaty of Kiel terminated the Danish-Norwegian union, and Norway came under the rule of the King of Sweden, while the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland remained Danish possessions. The Løgting was abolished in 1816, and the Faroe Islands were to be governed as an ordinary Danish amt (county), with the Amtmand as its head of government. In 1851 the Løgting was reinstated, but served mainly as an advisory body until 1948.

At the end of World War II some of the population favored independence from Denmark, and on 14 September 1946 an independence referendum was held on the question of secession. It was a consultative referendum: the parliament was not bound to follow the people's vote. This was the first time that the Faroese people had been asked whether they favored independence or wanted to continue within the Danish kingdom. The result of the vote was a narrow majority in favor of secession, but the coalition in parliament could not reach agreement on how this outcome should be interpreted and implemented; and because of these irresoluble differences, the coalition fell apart. A parliamentary election was held a few months later, in which the political parties that favored staying in the Danish kingdom increased their share of the vote and formed a coalition. Based on this, they chose to reject secession. Instead, a compromise was made and the Folketing passed a HOME-rule law that went into effect in 1948. The Faroe Islands' status as a Danish amt was thereby brought to an end; the Faroe Islands were given a high degree of self-governance, supported by a substantial financial subsidy from Denmark.
At present the islanders are about evenly split between those favoring independence and those who prefer to continue as a part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Within both camps there is a wide range of opinions. Of those who favor independence, some are in favor of an immediate unilateral declaration of independence. Others see it as something to be attained gradually and with the full consent of the Danish government and the Danish nation. In the unionist camp there are also many who foresee and welcome a gradual increase in autonomy even while strong ties with Denmark are maintained.
In 2011, a new draft Faroese constitution is being drawn up. However the draft has been declared by the former Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, as incompatible with Denmark's constitution and if the Faroese political parties wish to continue with it then they must declare independence.

 

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