Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Scandinavians

Scandinavians

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Scandinavians'
Start a new discussion about 'Scandinavians'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Scandinavians are a group of Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 peoples, inhabiting Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 and to a lesser extent countries associated with Scandinavia, and speaking Scandinavian languages. The group includes Danes, Norwegians
Norwegians
Norwegians constitute both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway. They share a common culture and speak the Norwegian language. Norwegian people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in United States, Canada and Brazil.-History:Towards the end of the 3rd...

 and Swedes
Swedes
Swedes are a Scandinavian nation and ethnic group native to Sweden, mostly inhabiting Sweden and the other Nordic countries, with descendants living in a number of countries.-Etymology:...

, and additionally the descendants of Scandinavian settlers such as the Icelandic and Faroese people
Faroese people
The Faroese or Faroe Islanders are a Germanic ethnic group native to the Faeroe Islands. The Faroese are of mixed Norse and Gaelic origins.About 21,000 Faroese live in neighbouring countries, particularly in Denmark, Iceland and Norway....

. A Scandinavian minority is also found in Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, and descendants of Scandinavians are found in large numbers in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 (which has the largest Scandinavian population worldwide), and to a lesser extent in other countries. Scandinavians were known as Norsemen
Norsemen
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

 during the Middle Ages. Scandinavians are descendents of Germanic tribes which inhabited northern Germany and southern Scandinavia. Until the 9th century, the Scandinavian people lived in small petty kingdom
Petty kingdom
A petty kingdom is one of a number of small kingdoms, described as minor or "petty" by contrast to an empire or unified kingdom that either preceded or succeeded it...

s and chiefdoms, which were then unified into the three kingdoms known as Denmark
Kingdom of Denmark
The Kingdom of Denmark or the Danish Realm , is a constitutional monarchy and sovereign state consisting of Denmark proper in northern Europe and two autonomous constituent countries, the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic and Greenland in North America. Denmark is the hegemonial part, where the...

, Norway and Sweden. Formerly adherents of Norse mythology
Norse mythology
Norse mythology, a subset of Germanic mythology, is the overall term for the myths, legends and beliefs about supernatural beings of Norse pagans. It flourished prior to the Christianization of Scandinavia, during the Early Middle Ages, and passed into Nordic folklore, with some aspects surviving...

, a subset of Germanic paganism
Germanic paganism
Germanic paganism refers to the theology and religious practices of the Germanic peoples of north-western Europe from the Iron Age until their Christianization during the Medieval period...

, Christianity was adopted between the 8th and the 12th centuries.

The term Scandinavians may in a modern context also be used to refer to the inhabitants of the three Scandinavian countries, not including Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 and the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
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...

, both of which are usually not considered to be part of Scandinavia. Faroese and Icelandic people are largely ethnically Scandinavian,Largely from Western Norway, far smaller amounts from other parts of Norway and Scandinavia. being descendants of Norsemen,Many of the settlers of Iceland and the Faroes were of Gaelic
Gaels
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

 and Pictish
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 (Irish, Scottish) origin —(see ). The genes of an average Icelander
Icelanders
Icelanders are a Scandinavian ethnic group and a nation, native to Iceland.On 17 June 1944, when an Icelandic republic was founded the Icelanders became independent from the Danish monarchy. The language spoken is Icelandic, a North Germanic language, and Lutheranism is the predominant religion...

 are therefore around 60 to 80 percent Scandinavian, the rest matching with the before-mentioned Celtic origin. In Faroese people
Faroese people
The Faroese or Faroe Islanders are a Germanic ethnic group native to the Faeroe Islands. The Faroese are of mixed Norse and Gaelic origins.About 21,000 Faroese live in neighbouring countries, particularly in Denmark, Iceland and Norway....

, it is similar, but the Celtic side is believed to be slightly stronger.
who settled in Iceland during the 9th and 10th centuries and the Faroes from the 7th century onwards. However, their languages, despite similarities, lost their mutual intelligibility with the continental Scandinavian dialects by the 15th century.

The three countries in Scandinavia, however, share a mutually intelligible dialect continuum
Dialect continuum
A dialect continuum, or dialect area, was defined by Leonard Bloomfield as a range of dialects spoken across some geographical area that differ only slightly between neighboring areas, but as one travels in any direction, these differences accumulate such that speakers from opposite ends of the...

 and close cultural and historical bonds. The Faroese
Faroese language
Faroese , is an Insular Nordic language spoken by 48,000 people in the Faroe Islands and about 25,000 Faroese people in Denmark and elsewhere...

 and Icelandic
Icelandic language
Icelandic is a North Germanic language, the main language of Iceland. Its closest relative is Faroese.Icelandic is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the...

 languages are mutually intelligible to some extent with one another as well as with the Old Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

 language and some Western Norwegian dialects (Nynorsk
Nynorsk
Nynorsk or New Norwegian is one of two official written standards for the Norwegian language, the other being Bokmål. The standard language was created by Ivar Aasen during the mid-19th century, to provide a Norwegian alternative to the Danish language which was commonly written in Norway at the...

).

Distribution



Country Scandinavian population Proportion of inhabitants
 Australia 122,977 0.6%
 Canada 1,223,370 3.6%
 Denmark 5,051,256 91%
 Faroe Islands 48,743 99,8%
 Finland 322,000 5.6%
 Greenland 6,912 12%
 Iceland 302,093 95%
 New Zealand 4,410 0.1%
 Norway 4,455,163 91%
 Sweden 8,260,987 88%
 United Kingdom 109,892 0.18%
 United States 11,269,320 3.64%
 Åland Islands 25,262 90.2%

See also

  • Scandinavian prehistory
  • Scandinavia
    Scandinavia
    Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

  • Viking Age
    Viking Age
    Viking Age is the term for the period in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history, spanning the late 8th to 11th centuries. Scandinavian Vikings explored Europe by its oceans and rivers through trade and warfare. The Vikings also reached Iceland, Greenland,...

  • Viking
    Viking
    The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

  • Norsemen
    Norsemen
    Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

  • Norwegians
    Norwegians
    Norwegians constitute both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway. They share a common culture and speak the Norwegian language. Norwegian people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in United States, Canada and Brazil.-History:Towards the end of the 3rd...

  • Danes
    Danes
    Danish people or Danes are the nation and ethnic group that is native to Denmark, and who speak Danish.The first mention of Danes within the Danish territory is on the Jelling Rune Stone which mentions how Harald Bluetooth converted the Danes to Christianity in the 10th century...

  • Swedes
    Swedes
    Swedes are a Scandinavian nation and ethnic group native to Sweden, mostly inhabiting Sweden and the other Nordic countries, with descendants living in a number of countries.-Etymology:...

  • Gutes
  • Icelanders
    Icelanders
    Icelanders are a Scandinavian ethnic group and a nation, native to Iceland.On 17 June 1944, when an Icelandic republic was founded the Icelanders became independent from the Danish monarchy. The language spoken is Icelandic, a North Germanic language, and Lutheranism is the predominant religion...

  • Faroese
    Faroese people
    The Faroese or Faroe Islanders are a Germanic ethnic group native to the Faeroe Islands. The Faroese are of mixed Norse and Gaelic origins.About 21,000 Faroese live in neighbouring countries, particularly in Denmark, Iceland and Norway....

  • Proto-Norse language
    Proto-Norse language
    Proto-Norse was an Indo-European language spoken in Scandinavia that is thought to have evolved as a northern dialect of Proto-Germanic over the first centuries AD...

  • Old Norse
    Old Norse
    Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

  • North Germanic languages
    North Germanic languages
    The North Germanic languages or Scandinavian languages, the languages of Scandinavians, make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages, along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages...