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Historical Timeline

Go to: 1500   1800    1850  1900

500 B.C. - 800 A.D The Iron Age. The Greek sea-captain Pytheas of Massilia wrote that the Scandinavians "live on oats and the like, namely greens, wild fruits and roots". The Roman Empire was the economic and political center of power during the first four centuries A.D.

400 AD - 800 AD The farms of Dale, Såheim, and Bøen of Tinn, Telemark record signs of life during the pre-viking years.

800-1100 The age of the Vikings. Voyages set off and reached as far east as the Russian plains, as far south as the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and Caspian Sea, as far north as the Barents Sea and as far west as America. The term Viking can be related to the Norwegian work vik meaning "bay" or "cove". Many of those that had no farm to inherit chose to seek their fortunes as Vikings on voyages to foreign countries. They used a special variety of ship, the knarr, which was especially well-suited to the transport of goods. They worshiped Odin, the god of war. The Vikings believed that if they were killed in battle, Odin would immediately transport them to Valhalla, the heavenly kingdom of death. Here they would fight all day and in the evenings, beautiful maidens would serve them meats and mead.  Eric Raude of Rogaland (Eric the Red) settled Greenland. His son, Leiv Ericsen, went to America about the year 1000. He wintered near the northern tip of Newfoundland. Harald Fairhair set about unifying Norway. Accompanied by his warriors, the hind, he traveled about the kingdom on veitsle, or journeys of state. Harald died about 930 and his son Håkon the Good inherited the kingdom. He built a great navy for defense. Olav Haraldsson, also of the Fairhair (Håfagr) line,  was killed at the battle of Stiklestad on July 29, 1030, and is revered as "St. Olav." Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 36. Norsemen have left a deep and lasting imprint on Scotland - on the race, language, literature, art customs, beliefs. Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 40. William the Conqueror was the great-grandson of Rolf Ganger, the Norwegian founder of Normandy. Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 48.

874 Iceland is occupied by the Norsemen. Anderson, Rasmus, Norwegian Immigration, p. 15.

876 Greenland was seen for the first time by Gunnbjorn Ulfson from Norway. Anderson, Rasmus, Norwegian Immigration, p. 17. Also see Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 56.

983 Eric the Red rediscovered Greenland. Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 96.

986 Bjarni Herjulfson discovered the coast of New England but did not land. Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 96.

1000 Leif Ericksen discovers the new world. Anderson, Rasmus, Norwegian Immigration, p. 15. See also Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 54.  The Norse expedition to America was mentioned for the first time more than two generations later by a German historian, Adam from Breman in what is the oldest appearance of America in literature. Skard, Sigmund, The United States in Norwegian History, p. 3.

1130-1217 The Civil War period. With the establishment of the archbiship at Nidaros in 1152, the Norwegian Church gained a strong leadership. Under Archbishop Østein (1161-1188), attempts were made to create a monarchy that could be controlled and influenced by the church.

1217-1263 Haakon Haakonsson reigns over Norway's era of greatness, including commerce and expansive territorial possessions.

1349-1400 The Black Death takes a third of population of Norway. By 1400, half the population was gone. After 1350, the survivors were able to take over the best farms, leading to properity. It was 1500 before all the farms were reclaimed. Most of the land was farmed by free tenants who paid rent to the landowner in the form of corn, butter, furs, hides, and fish.

Top of Page1500-1600
Norway's population increased from 150,000 to 900,000 with 90% getting their livelihood from the land. Epidemic plaques no longer raged but infant mortality was still high.

1537-1814 Norway unites with Denmark as the inferior. The Lutheran Reformation reduced Norway to dependency upon Denmark. Danish became the written language. Norwegian dialects and customs survived. Semmingsen, Ingrid, Norway to America, p. 5.

1570-1670 Time of the Witch Craze in Norway. Approximately 2000 were tried and 500 put to death.

1630-1674 About 60 Norwegians settled in the state of New York, mostly after service in the British or Dutch navy. Skard, Sigmund, The United States in Norwegian History, p. 9.

1660 The absolute monarchy was established with only 20% of the land was owned by peasants. A crofter (husmann) family was permitted to clear and rent land on a larger farm.

1716-1718 The Great Northern War (1700-1721). King Karl XII of Sweden invaded Norway in 1716. The invasion was ended when he was shot at Halden and his troops withdrew.

1736 The introduction of confirmation meant that all children learned to read.

1750 Around this time, a small group of Norwegian Herrnhutians settled at Bethlehem, Pa. Skard, Sigmund, The United States in Norwegian History, p.15.

1783 January, George Washington is honorary member of the Society "Societies Scandinaviensis" of Philadelphia because of his Norse ancestry. Norwegian Immigration to the United States, Flom, George, p. 42.

1801 The first Norwegian national census tallies 883,487individuals. Cultivation of potatoes with herring replaced barley porridge as the most common daily food. Nutrition improved and infant mortality dropped. Smallpox vaccination began. It was 1810 before it was mandatory whereby no person could be confirmed or married before showing their vaccination record, then 1812 when the vaccination records began in the parish records. It was then that the records became standardized.

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1801-1835 The potato infusion delayed the consequences of this rapid rise in population. Farms were divided between brothers and marginal land was cultivated higher on the mountain sides. The lower, or landless, classes grew the fastest. Before 1850, people were not driven out by poverty and hunger but by a hope for a better future and an improved social status. The early pioneers were people who had sufficient resources to finance their own move.

1801 Elling Eielsen Syndve, later the famous lay preacher in America was born in Voss and this was the same year that Hauge was imprisoned in Norway for violation of the Conventicle Act. Anderson, Rasmus, Norwegian Immigration 1821-1840, p. 411.

1809-12 Famine in Norway

1807 Norway, as an ally of Napolean, was forced into war with Great Britain. Semmingsen, Ingrid, Norway to America, p. 8.

1808 The Swedes attacked Norway but were driven back.

1811 Norway establishes its first University and the sons of the upper classes attend it. Blegen, The American Transition, p. 278.

1812 Both America and Norway are at war with Great Britain. Skard, Sigmund, The United States in Norwegian History, p.26.

1814 Denmark is forced by the outcome of the Napoleonic wars to cede Norway to Sweden; Norway enters into the union with Sweden, and begins a period of 50 years called embetsmannsstaten, or government by elite (top 1,000 families). The Norwegians organized a Constitutional Assembly that worked out a Constitution (Grunnlov) that was signed on May 17, beginning the return to independence that had been lost in 1533.  After 1814 Norway never experienced years when the country as a whole had more deaths than births. Semmingsen, Norway to America, p. 100. One factor was the potato, another was the return of the herring. Herring and potatoes were the staples in the diet, especially the poor.

1815 Mass emigration from Europe begins with America a preferred destination because of an almost unlimited need to populate the "west". Ole Haugen becomes the first Norwegian in Massachusetts. Norwegian Immigration to the United States, Flom, George, p. 197.

1818 Illinois becomes a state.

1819 Fort Snelling is built at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. Hansen, Carl, My Minneapolis, p. 13.

1821 Cleng Peerson (Klein Pedersen Hesthammer) goes to America from farm Hesthammer, Tysver Parish, Stavanger along with Knude Olsen Eide of the small island near Stavenger called Fogn. Flom, George, p. 49. See also Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 114.

1824
Cleng Peerson returns to Norway from America in 1824 and causes quite a stir. He returned immediately, the same year, and was there to greet the Sloopers when they arrived in America.

1825 The Erie Canal is completed for 363 miles and opened up the upper Mississippi to settlers. Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 148. This gave the pioneers access to the upper Mississippi lands. Odd Lovoll, The Promise of America, p. 44.  On July 4 or 5, 1825 the Restauration sailed from Stavanger with 52 aboard.  Norwegian Migration to America, p. 24. Norwegian Immigration to the United States, Flom, George, p. 46.

1825 First Norwegian settlement in America in Kendall Township, on the shores of Lake Ontario, at Orleans County, New YorkTop of Page

1825-1836 No more ships arrive with Norwegian immigrants. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, p. 57.

1830 May 29: The Preemption Act allows pioneers first shot at the land they are living on as the government opens up that land. The price is $1.25 per acre. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, p. 67.

1832 Chicago consists of five log cabins. Odd Lovoll, The Promise of America, p. 47.

1833 Cleng Peerson, with two companions, sets out on foot to explore the great west and started a second colony, the Fox River Colony in La Salle County, Illinois in 1834 (below). Peerson is said to have walked 2,000 miles in this adventure. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, p. 61. Peerson left from the 1st settlement at Kendall, New York. Flom, Norwegian Immigration to the United States, p. 53.

1834 The Kendall colony reaches 400 families, and the crowding is in part relieved when the second Norwegian settlement in America is formed at Fox River, Mission, La Salle County, Illinois, not far from Ottawa.

1836 The Norwegian government begins to collect statistics on emigration. Anderson, Rasmus, Norwegian Immigration, p. 38.  Wisconsin becomes a territory. The third Norwegian-American settlement is founded in Chicago by Halstein Torrison and Johan Larson. Anderson, Rasmus, Norwegian Immigration, p. 38. Emigration from Norway totaled 6,200 with 2,800 (45.1 per cent) coming from Bratsberg, Amt, now called Telemark. Lars Larson begins to welcome the thousands of new immigrants from Norway that would eventually stay at his home in Rochester, New York. His house is the oldest in America built by an immigrant from Norway. Anderson, Rasmus, Norwegian Immigration, p. 60.   Ole Nattestad became the first Norwegian settler in Wisconsin.  Clausen, C. A., A Chronicler of Immigrant Life, p. 50. Annual emigration begins. Knud Andersen Slogvig leads the first group on the Norden. Lovell, Odd, The Promise of America, p. 13.

1837 Ole Rynning and his life story appear in Norway. Anderson, Rasmus, Norwegian Immigration, p. 202.  Snowshoe Thompson comes to America with his mother, Widow Rue. The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 141. The local administrative unit of Kommune is now formed from the previous "herred" or herad (plural herader).  Cleng Peerson founds a third settlement, in Shelby County, Missouri. It did not thrive and the settlers moved to Sugar Creek in Lee County, Iowa. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, p. 112. Bishop Neumann called upon people to stay in Norway.Bishop Jacob Neumann pictured the desire to emigrate as a contagious disease.. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, p. 154.

1838 Upper Telemark suffers from hungersnød, or famine, and the people were forced to share in the food with their cattle as a result of theTop of Page bad years. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, p. 168. Fourth settlement in America is at Clinton, Rock County, WI and is called the Jefferson Prairie settlement.

1839 The fourth Norwegian-American settlement is founded at Muskego. "Most of the first Norwegian settlers at Muskego came from Tinn, Telemark, in 1839." Rønning, N. N. The Saga of old Muskego, p. 7. Johannes Johansen and Soren Tollefsen Bache are considered its leaders.   "America Letters" begin to flow with accounts of freedom and equality. The letters were copied and sent from farm to farm. community to community, or were reprinted in newspapers. Elling Eielsen emigrated to the Fox River settlement. Lovoll, Odd, The Promise of America, p. 78 and carried the word of Hans Nielsen Hauge (Haugean gospel or Haugeanism) throughout the western settlements.  Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, p. 167. Also, see Flom, Norwegian Immigration to the United States, p. 75.

1840 Some from Muskego move on to Racine County, Wisconsin, a little south of Muskego. They moved into Norway, Waterford, Raymond, and Yorkville townships of Racine County. Also, the greatest of the early settlements, Koshkonong in Dane County was established. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, p. 126.  The first immigrants arrive in Iowa, Lee County, the Sugar Creek settlement.

1841 Seventy persons die at Muskego. Muskego had only 500-600 inhabitants, so that 140 deaths meant that nearly ¼ of the population was taken. Semmingsen, Norway to America, p. 67.
Preemption Law of 1841, allowed anyone to buy up to 160 acres of land at $1.25 per acre, upon occupying the land and making necessary improvements. Johnson, Millicent, Let's Have Harmony, p. 1.

1843 The first ever public ski meet was held in Tromsø. The people of Telemark, led by Sondre Norheim (1825-1897) who are considered the pioneers of modern skiing. Telers moved into Koskonong, 35 families of 182 people led by Olav Knutson Trovaten moved from Telemark to Koshkonong. , p. 130. Reverend C. L. Clausen arrived in America with his bride and became the pastor in the Muskego settlement. The first Lutheran Church in America is set up on Even Heg's land at Muskego. Elling Eielsen was ordained on October 3 at Fox River as the first Norwegian minister in America, and, along with Clausen, ordained on October 13. Anderson, Rasmus, Norwegian Immigration 1821-1840, p. 418. The second settlement in Iowa was made at Ft. Atkinson at Winneshiek County. Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 172.

1845 January 6, The Muskego Manifesto was signed by 80 men of Muskego and inserted in Morgenbladet on April 1, 1845.  Blegen, The American Transition, p. 189.

1846 Iowa becomes a state.

1847 Wisconsin becomes a state. Milwaukee now has a population of eleven or twelve thousand. Blegen, Land of Their Choice, p. 207.

1847-1850 The first Norwegian-American newspaper was established by James D. Reymert, a lawyer from Farsund in Norway. The name was Nordlyset (Northern Lights). July 29 marked the first issue which was printed in Even Heg's cabin. The funds came from Heg and Bache. It obtained 200 subscribers and took a strong stance against slavery.

1848-1849 An economic crisis hits Norway when mine and timber owners had problems selling their wares, thus driving down wages.Top of Page Population pressure is now felt in rural areas. It is now hard to become a crofter.

1848-1851 Cholera outbreaks at Muskego in 1849, 1850, 1851 and 1852. "the plague broke out here again in 1851, and raged with frightful violence and fatality". Reverend Stub said 1849, 1850, and 1852. Rønning, N. N., The Saga of Old Muskego, p. 44.

1848 A law was passed in Norway requiring every town to have a common school. Blegen, The American Transition, p. 278. Announcements of the California gold discoveries are reported to Norway. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, p. 268.

1849 The British Navigation Acts were repealed effective January 1, 1850, causing a shift in emigration to Quebec and Montreal in 1850 (emigrants to Quebec, and timber back to Norway). Cleng Peerson moves to Texas. Minnesota obtains territorial status. James Denoon Reymert went to the state Legislature of Wisconsin, the first Norwegian to attain this distinction. Blegen, The American Transition, p. 294. The village of St. Paul, MN Territory has about 30 huts. Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 178. C. L. Clausen took the very first steamboat to St. Paul; there was no Minneapolis.

1850 There are seven Norwegians in Minnesota Territory. Nelson, O. A., History of Scandinavians in the United States, p. 300. Some say thecensus said nine, but there were two soldiers at Ft. Snelling. Qualey, Norwegian Settlement in the United States, p. 111. There are 12,678 Norwegians in the U.S. census of 1850. Blegen, The American Transition, p. 481.Twelve families founded the Washington Prairie settlement in Winneshiek County, Iowa.  Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, p. 364. Also, Lovoll, Odd, The Promise of America, p. 117.

1851 Indian treaties open up the greater portion of Minnesota west of the Mississippi River and into present day Dakotas.. The first Norwegian settlers in Minnesota settle in Houston and Fillmore counties. Blegen, The American Transition, p. 383. Also Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 181. 1851, The famous violinist Ole Bull comes to Muskego. Rønning, N. N. The Saga of old Muskego, p. 41.

1852 Ole Bull founded his "glorious" but unsuccessful settlement at Potter County, Pennsylvania. It was called Oleana.The newspaper "Emigranten", the Emigrant, was founded at Inmansville, Wisconsin, in the heart of Norwegian territory. 1853, mid June, C. L. Clausen leads 40 settlers to Cedar River country in Mitchell County, Iowa. They found St. Ansgar. Clausen remained until 1872. Qualey, Norwegian Settlement in the United States, p.92. This settlement quickly spread into
Worth County. See also Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 160.

1853 Surveying of public land in Minnesota begins.  Nicollet County, in the great bend in the Minnesota River, with 78 miles of river frontage, is organized. Gresham, Nicollet and Le Suer Counties Minnesota, p.59. It is a time of famine in Norway. Nelsen, David, The Diary of Elisabeth Koren, p. 213. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" becomes a best seller in Norway. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, p. 346. Ft. Ridgely was commenced as a protection to settlers along the frontier. Gresham, Nicollet and Le Suer Counties Minnesota, p.82.

1854 July 7, at Jackson, Michigan the Republican party was born. Since the Norwegians did not feel that National unity was threatened, because the Republicans did not advocate outright abolition of slavery, they moved heavily to Republican from Democrats. The Norseland settlement at present day St. Peter, MN is founded by Torstein Østeinsen Böen from Tinn, John Tollefosn from Toten, and Lars Swensen Rønning from Hallingdal in the spring. The Luther Valley settlement is ravaged by cholera. This year ordinary compulsory military service was introduced in Norway. Young men under the age of 21 could emigrate freely, unless they had already met before the medical board.

1855 Epidemic, Yellow Fever, Nationwide (USA).The first Norwegians arrive at Northfield, the year that John Wesley North founded the town.Top of Page Bernt Julius Muus, p. 155.

1856 The frontier settlers were thrown into panic by the murder of forty persons at Spirit Lake Settlement in Iowa and the southern extreme of Minnesota. McConkey, Harriet, Dakota War-Whoop, p. 21.

1857 March, 42 settlers were killed at Spirit Lake by the Sioux. Gresham, Nicollet and Le Suer Counties Minnesota, p.38.

1859 The treaty of April 19 with the Yanktonai Sioux cleared all the region between the Missouri and the Big Sioux Rivers of Indians and the new lands were thrown open for settlement July 10, 1859.Six wagons of Norwegians pioneers set out from Stoughton, Wisconsin (Koshkonong) for Dakota.  Qualey, Norwegian Settlement in the United States, p. 132.

1860 About 100 Norwegian settlers live at Norway Lake, a community near Willmar, MN. Lovoll, Odd, The Promise of America, p. 129. The census shows 29,557 Norwegians in Wisconsin; 8,000 in Iowa; 12,000 in Minnesota and 700 in California. Dakota has only 129 Norwegians. Wind conditions were favorable and brought travel time from Europe to America down to 39 days. Semmingsen, Norway to America, p. 61. 100 ships brought immigrants to Quebec.

1860s In Norway, these were years of poor crops and falling prices. Semmingsen, Norway to America, p. 103. There were crop failures in the years 1859-61. Norwegian-American Studies, Vol. 29, p. 75. Serious crop failures struck Tinn in 1859-60.

1861 200 emigrants died in passage this year. Semmingsen, Norway to America, p. 61. Dakota becomes a Territory but the Indian wars stop penetration for several years. Qualey, Norwegian Settlement in the United States, p. 132. Luther College is established in Decorah, Iowa.  Hans Christian Heg recruits in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois. Blegen, The American Transition, p. 391. Colonel Hans Mattson organized Company D, 3rd Minnesota in Goodhue County, Minnesota. Almost exclusively Scandinavian. Nelson, O. A., History of Scandinavians in the United States, p. 303. Nearly fifty Northmen serve in the 1st Minnesota and more than three times that number in the 2nd. P. 304. 125 join the 3rd Wisconsin and much of the 27th is Norwegian. Nelson, O. A., History of Scandinavians in the United States, p. 121 inTop of Page History of Wisconsin.

1862 The Homestead Act provides for free land and a great need for settlers. Prior to this the price was $1.25 an acre. Blegen, The American Transition, p. 37. Free land? Morgenbladet refused to believe it. Semmingsen, Norway to America, p. 121. The first railroad is built in Minnesota. Lovoll, Odd, The Promise of America, p. 136.  August 18, the Dakota Conflict begins.  "So swift were their movements, before any effective resistance could be brought against them, that about eight hundred of the settlers, men, women, and children were murdered within a few days". Gresham, Nicollet and Le Suer Counties Minnesota, p.42.  "During this awful uprising of Indians there were thirty persons killed in Nicollet county, among whom were these….". Gresham, Nicollet and Le Suer Counties Minnesota, p.141. See page 154, 155, 180, 198, 207. See also, Treaty Site History Center of St. Peter account on file. December 26, some 38 Dakota Sioux were hanged at Mankato, MN. Occasional attacks and raids by American Indians continued for three more years. Lovoll, Odd, The Promise of America, p. 130.  Luther College is established at Decorah, Iowa.

1863 The Norwegian government final sets laws related to the number of passengers on an emigrant ship related to the size of the ship. Standards for light and water were established. September 20, Hans Christian Heg is killed at Chickamauga, Georgia. He was commander of the 15th Wisconsin, the Norwegian Regiment. Another Norwegian, Colonel Porter C. Olson, the son of a Slooper of 1825, rose to command a company made up chiefly of Norwegians from the Fox River settlement in Illinois, the 36th Illinois Volunteer Regiment. Olson was killed in action at Franklin, Tennessee. Blegen, The American Transition, p. 388-397.

1864 May 27, the battle of Pickett's Mill shatters the 15th Wisconsin.

1865 Cleng Peerson, the "father of Norwegian emigration" dies at Clifton, Texas. He is buried across from Our Savior's Lutheran Church in the old Norse settlers cemetery. . Semmingsen, Norway to America, p. 22.  May 17, The St. Peter Tribune talks about the great grasshopper invasion. Gresham, Nicollet and Le Suer Counties Minnesota, p. 335.

1866 June 4: The first real settlement occurs in Minnehaha County, SD. John Thompson and Jonas Nelsen Fosmo took land near Sioux Falls. By 1870 there were 68 Norwegians in the county. Qualey, Norwegian Settlement in the United States, p. 143. Also see Oien, Minnehaha County's Norwegian Pioneers, p. 10.

1867 There were three Norwegian settlements in Texas; Brownsboro, Four Mile Prairie, and Bosque County. Ole T. Nystel was 14 years old when he was captured by the Comanche Indians in Bosque County and was held as a prisoner for three months

1868 Telemarkings came to Minnehaha County, S. D.  Also, in June of the year the first Telers appeared at Canton, a caravan of 22 wagons besides other freight wagons, all from Eastern Iowa. Oien, Minnehaha County's Norwegian Pioneers, p. 17 and 109. Decoration Day, or Memorial Day, was celebrated in a meaningful way. See the description at Gresham, Nicollet and Le Suer Counties Minnesota, p. 338.

1870-1910 Most Norwegian emigrants sailed on foreign steamers now. Semmingsen, Norway to America, p. 57.Top of Page

1870 Ole Thortvedt leads a party and establishes the Buffalo River Settlement in Clay County MN.

1871 The first settlers came to Sioux Falls, SD. Lars Simonson was a Tellemarken. It was at the Coulton settlement (Toapi and Grand Meadow townships). Oien, Minnehaha County's Norwegian Pioneers, p. 19. It was also in the Coulton settlement (southern Toapi and Northern Grand Meadow) that the Telemarkens were most numerous. Charles T. Austin (Kaase) was the leader there. Oien, Minnehaha County's Norwegian Pioneers, p. 21.   A bridge is finally placed over the Minnesota River at St. Peter. Gresham, Nicollet and Le Suer Counties Minnesota, p. 338.

1872 Augsburg Seminary moved from Marshall, Wisconsin to St. Paul, Minnesota.

1873-1875 Epidemic, Influenza, North America and Europe

1873 January, one of worst Minnesota storms ever. It raged for days and hundreds of people died and thousands of animals. Gresham, Nicollet and Le Suer Counties Minnesota, p. 341. "There were 75 lives lost between New Ulm and Lac qui Parle during that never-to-be-forgotten storm". Gresham, Nicollet and Le Suer Counties Minnesota, p. 342. See also Treaty Site History Center of St. Peter, on file.  The first novel by a Norwegian in the United States appears to have been by Hjalmar Hjorth Boyensen's "Gunnar" which appeared as a serial in the Atlantic Monthly in 1873 and a novel in 1874. Blegen, The American Transition, p. 586.

1873-1876 Locusts destroy crops annually, covering 13 Minnesota counties. It was estimated that from 12 to 15 hundred settlers were impoverished. Qualey, Norwegian Settlement in the United States, p. 1110. See also Gresham, Nicollet and Le Suer Counties Minnesota, p. 335. See Lovoll, Odd, The Promise of America, p. 137.

1874 St. Olaf College was founded in Northfield by Bernt Julius Muus. The "Decorah Posten" was founded and gained a vast circulation through publishing Norwegian-American fiction, notably the novels of H. A. Foss.  Blegen, The American Transition, p. 549. Also see Lovell, Odd, The Promise Fulfilled, p. 24.

1875 There are five times as many Norwegians in Minneapolis than St. Paul.  Diptheria strikes many families at Harmony. Johnson, Millicent, Let's Have Harmony, p. 10. On July 5, Rasmus B. Anderson gave a speech in Chicago at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Norwegian emigration to America.

1876 Jon Torsteinsen Rui, or Snowshoe Thompson, dies and is buried at Genoa, Nevada.

1877-1878 Great swarms of grasshoppers crossed the Dakota Territory plains.

1877 Luther College Museum was started at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. In 1925 the name was changed to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.

1879 Land boom in North Dakota.

1880 The Danish Thingvalla Line established the first direct passenger route by steamship between Scandinavia and the United States. ManyTop of Page Norwegian emigrants booked passage on this line 941 Norwegians now lived in Bosque County in Texas.

1883 Noted skiers, four of them, from Norway move to Red Wing, Minnesota. They included Torgus and Mikkel Hemmestvedt, the pioneers of the American ski jump. Blegen, The American Transition, p. 575.

1885 Sondre Norheim came from Morgedal in Telemark to America. He is known as the father of skiing.

1886 The old system for numbering Norwegian farms and sub-farms was redesigned. In the Dakotas a drought begins, prices of wheat decline, and a depression ensues. Qualey, Norwegian Settlement in the United States, p. 134.

1887 Mikkel and Torjus Hemmestvedt, Norwegian champions, introduced ski jumping to the American public at Aurora's (Minnesota) first tournament on February 8. Lovell, Odd, The Promise Fulfilled, p. 241.

1889 Dakota became a state and was divided into South and North Dakota. The Norwegian-American farmer, Hans Jakob Olson, was lynched in the vicinity of Blair, Wisconsin.

1891 Concordia College was established in Moorhead, MN.

1892 More than 70% of the one-way tickets from Norway to America were purchased in America.  Ellis Island replaced Castle Garden as a receiving and control station for immigrants. Knute Nelson from Evanger, Voss, was elected governor of Minnesota.

1893 Recession in America led to a reduction in emigration from Norway. Captain Magnus Andersen sailed a replica of the Gokstad ship, Viking to the World Fair in Chicago.

1895 Sons of Norway (Sønner af Norge) is established. Telelaget, Telemark to America Volume II, p. 3.

1896 May 17, Six thousand people attended the unveiling of the Ole Bull statue cast and pay tribute to the sculpture Jacob Fjelde. Hansen, Carl, My Minneapolis, p. 160.

1897 Sondre Norheim, "Father of Modern Skiing" dies at Denbigh, North Dakota.

1898 Olaf Ohman, a Swede discovered the Kensington Runestone. Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 62. See a picture at Lovoll, Odd, The Promise of America, p. 277.

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1899 The first bygdelag was established on June 25 I Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis. This was for the Valdres folk. Telelaget, Telemark to America Volume II, p. 3.

 

1903 Det Norske Selskab i Amerika (The Norwegian Society in America) was founded in Minneapolis. The goal was to unite all Norwegians in a national organization for the advancement of Norwegian culture. Waldemar Ager was a major force in the society.

1905 The Swedish-Norwegian union is dissolved without bloodshed. Roald Amundsen crosses the Northwest-passage on December 5.

1907 Telelaget and Hallinglaget were organized. Nearly fifty societies (bygdelag) came into being. Nordmanns-Forbundet (Norse Federation) was founded, partly due to the initiative of the Norwegian man of letters, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. It is an international organization that promotes solidarity between Norway and Norwegians abroad and furthers the cause of Norwegian culture and Norwegian interests. Martin Ulvestad's Nordmændene i Amerika, deres historie og rekord (The history of the Norewegians in America) was published. 1907,

1908 Hjalmar Rued Holand published De norske settlementers historie (The history of the Norewegian settlements was published).

1909 Telesoga comes to life. Norlie, The History of the Norwegian People in America, p. 438. Also Telelaget, Telemark to America Volume II, p. 3.

1910 Telestevne convenes at Minot, N.D. Telelaget, Telemark to America Volume II, p. 4. The Norwegian census indicates that 19,000+ Norwegians and their children had returned from America to Norway. By 1920 the number had reached nearly 50,000.

1911 Roald Amundsen reaches the South Pole on December 14. Hansen, Carl, My Minneapolis, p. 322.

1913 The Norwegian America Line made it possible for emigrants to sail directly from Norway. Ragnar Omtvedt of Chicago set a new world record in ski jumping. Olive Fremstad, who emigrated from Oslo when she was 12 years old, became an internationally renowned Wagnerian opera singer. She sang the role of Isolde at the Metropolitan in New York City.

1914 "The Great Homecoming" resulted when 20,000 Norwegians visited the homeland to take part in the centennial celebrations. The largest May 17 ever held in Minneapolis. Hansen, Carl, My Minneapolis, p. 261. See also Lovoll, Odd, The Promise of America, p. 280.

1917 The US enters "The Great War."

1918 Epidemic, Influenza, Worldwide. Bratsberg Amt becomes Telemark. This is a fylke (county). Telelaget, Telemark to America Volume II, p. 4. and Norwegian-American Studies, Vol. 29, p. 45.  Ole Hanson, who had grown up in Wisconsin, was elected mayor of Seattle. Peter Julius Rosendahl created the comic strip Han Ola og han Per which was published in Decorah-Posten until 1935. Knute Rockne from Voss was made coach of the football team of the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana.

1924 Herbjørn Gausta, painter from Tinn, dies. Telelaget of America honored him with a huge grave stone at Harmony, MN. Hansen, Carl, My Minneapolis, p. 171. The Norwegian-American newspaper Decorah-Posten had 25 correspondents in Norway. Ole E. Rølgvaag's account of Norwegian pioneer life on the prairies, I de dage, was published. A year later the sequel Riket grundlægges appeared. Rølvaag is the best and most representative of Norwegian-American authors. He taught at St. Olaf College from 1906 until his untimely death in 1931. During the course of 70 years 200 emigrant novels, stories and poems have appeared that interpret the life and experiences of emigrants in their new homeland.

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1925 Norwegian forces united around the celebration of the centennial of the first Norwegian immigration. Patriotic feelings reached a high point during the 100th anniversary for Norwegian immigration. A large exhibit was held in Minneapolis/St. Paul depicting several aspects of immigrant life. President Coolidge praised the Norwegians in his speech " The President's Tribute to the Norwegians".  Nordisk Tidende in New York reported that 10,000 people paraded along 4th Avenue with Norwegian flags and banners. The Norwegian-American Historical Association (NAHA) was founded in Northfield, Minnesota. Semmingsen, Norway to America, p. 160.

1927 Ole Rølvaag publishes Giants in the Earth. This masterpiece was characterized by "Nation" as the "fullest, finest, and most powerful novel that has been written about pioneer life in America."

1934 Centennial celebration of the first permanent Norwegian settlement in the United States in the Fox River valley, La Salle County, Illinois.

1940 April 9, the Germans attack Norway. Hansen, Carl, My Minneapolis, p. 270 and 362.  Theodore C. Blegen's Norwegian Migration to America : The American Transition published by the Norwegian-American Historical Association.

1942-43 Innumerable young men from Minnesota who spoke Norwegian joined the 99th Infantry Battalion, sometimes called the Norwegian Battalion. Hansen, Carl, My Minneapolis, p. 370.

1946 The church dropped "Norwegian" from its name: it was now the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Semmingsen, Norway to America, p. 155.

1974 Vesterheim Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library, a section of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, was established in Madison, Wisconsin, by Gerhard B. Naeseth.

1975 The Sesquicentennial of Norwegian emigration to America was celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic. In Norway there was a matiné in the Nationalteatret on May 17. King Olav V visited "Norwegian America." Alfred Hauge's trilogy about Cleng Peerson, translated by Eric J. Friis, was published as one of the Official Publications of the Norwegian Immigration Sesquicentennial. The Norwegian Society of Texas was formed.

1978 Norsk Høstfest took place for the first time in Minot, North Dakota.

1990 According to the 1990 census, sixteen thousand persons in Minnesota claimed to speak Norwegian. Lovoll, Odd, The Promise of America, p. 335.

1992 King Olav V Chair in Scandinavian-American Studies was inaugurated at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Professor Odd S. Lovoll, who is also the editor of the publications of the Norwegian-American Historical Association in Northfield, holds the position.

1993 The first volume of Gerhard Naseth's Norwegian Immigrants to the United States: A Biographical Directory was published. Volume I contains biographies of emigrants from Norwegian between 1825 and 1843.

1998 A replica of Hopperstad stave church, Vik in Sogn and Fjordane, was inaugurated at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, Minnesota.

1999 The Bygdelag Centennial was celebrated at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa 27 - 29 July. There are 32 bygdelags in Amerika. The centennial was arranged by The National Council of Bygdelags in America (Bygdelagenes Fellesraad).St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, celebrated its 125th anniversary. The Norwegian-American Historical Association in Northfield published Bernt Julius Muus : Founder of St. Olaf College by Joseph M. Shaw.

2000 175th anniversary of Norwegian emigration to America. The anniversary is observed on both sides of the Atlantic.

2007 Telelaget celebrates its Centennial at the 7-Lag Stevne in Wahpeton, North Dakota.

 


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