Autonomous constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark
Top 10 Faroe Islands related articles
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Government and politics
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Economy
- 7 Culture
- 8 Notes
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
|Anthem: "Tú alfagra land mítt" (Faroese)|
(English: "Thou, fairest land of mine")
Location of the Faroe Islands (green)
in Europe (green and dark grey)
Location of the Faroe Islands (red; circled)
in the Kingdom of Denmark (beige)
|Unified with Norway||c. 1035|
|Cession to Denmark||14 January 1814|
|Home rule||1 April 1948|
|Further autonomy||29 July 2005|
and largest city
|Ethnic groups||Faroe Islanders|
|Religion||Christianity (Church of the Faroe Islands)|
|Government||Devolved government within a parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|Lene Moyell Johansen|
|Bárður á Steig Nielsen|
|1,399 km2 (540 sq mi) (not ranked)|
• Water (%)
|Highest elevation||882 m (2,894 ft)|
• 2020 estimate
• 2020 census
|37.0/km2 (95.8/sq mi)|
|GDP (nominal)||2017 estimate|
|$3 billion (not ranked)|
• Per capita
|$61,325 (not ranked)|
low · 2
|Currency||Faroese króna (DKK)|
|Time zone||UTC±00:00 (WET)|
• Summer (DST)
|ISO 3166 code||FO|
The Faroe Islands or just Faroes (also written Faeroes; pronounced //; Faroese: Føroyar, pronounced [ˈfœɹjaɹ]; Danish: Færøerne) are a North Atlantic archipelago located 320 kilometres (200 mi) north-northwest of Scotland, and about halfway between Norway and Iceland. Like Greenland, it is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. The islands have a total area of about 1,400 square kilometres (540 sq mi) with a population of 52,703 as of September 2020.
The terrain is rugged; the climate is subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc)—windy, wet, cloudy, and cool. Temperatures average above freezing throughout the year because of the Gulf Stream. As a result of the moderation and the northerly latitude, summers normally hover around 12 °C (54 °F). Average temperatures are 5 °C (41 °F) in winter. The northerly latitude location also results in perpetual civil twilight during summer nights and very short winter days.
Between 1035 and 1814, the Faroe Islands were part of the Kingdom of Norway, which was in a personal union with Denmark from 1450. In 1814, the Treaty of Kiel transferred Norway to the King of Sweden, on the winning side of the Napoleonic Wars, whereas Denmark retained the Faroe Islands, along with Greenland and Iceland.
While part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroe Islands have been self-governing since 1948, controlling most areas apart from military defence, policing, justice, currency, and foreign affairs. Because the Faroe Islands are not part of the same customs area as Denmark, the country has an independent trade policy, and can establish trade agreements with other states. The Faroes have an extensive bilateral free trade agreement with Iceland, known as the Hoyvík Agreement. In the Nordic Council, they are represented as part of the Danish delegation. In certain sports, the Faroe Islands field their own national teams.
Faroe Islands Intro articles: 71
In Faroese, the name appears as Føroyar. Oyar represents the plural of oy, older Faroese for "island". Due to sound changes, the modern Faroese word for island is oyggj. The first element, før, may reflect an Old Norse word fær (sheep), although this analysis is sometimes disputed because Faroese now uses the word seyður (from Old Norse sauðr) to mean "sheep". Another possibility is that the Irish monks, who settled the island around 625, had already given the islands a name related to the Gaelic word fearrann, meaning "land" or "estate". This name could then have been passed on to the Norwegian settlers, who then added oyar (islands). The name thus translates as either "Islands of Sheep" or "Islands of Fearrann".
In Danish, the name Færøerne contains the same elements, though øerne is the definite plural of ø (island).
In English, it may be seen as redundant to say the Faroe Islands, since the oe comes from an element meaning "island". This is seen in the BBC Shipping Forecast, where the waters around the islands are called Faeroes. The name is also sometimes spelled "Faeroe".
Faroe Islands Etymology articles: 2
Archaeological evidence shows settlers living on the Faroe Islands in two successive periods before the Norse arrived, the first between 300 and 600 and the second between 600 and 800. Scientists from the University of Aberdeen have also found early cereal pollen from domesticated plants, which further suggests people may have lived on the islands before the Vikings arrived. Archaeologist Mike Church noted that Dicuil (see below) mentioned what may have been the Faroes. He also suggested that the people living there might have been from Ireland, Scotland, or Scandinavia, possibly with groups from all three areas settling there.
A Latin account of a voyage made by Brendan, an Irish monastic saint who lived around 484–578, includes a description of insulae (islands) resembling the Faroe Islands. This association, however, is far from conclusive in its description.
Dicuil, an Irish monk of the early ninth century, wrote a more definite account. In his geographical work De mensura orbis terrae he claimed he had reliable information of heremitae ex nostra Scotia ("hermits from our land of Ireland/Scotland") who had lived on the northerly islands of Britain for almost a hundred years until the arrival of Norse pirates.
Norsemen settled the islands c. 800, bringing Old West Norse, which evolved into the modern Faroese language. According to Icelandic sagas such as Færeyjar Saga, one of the best known men in the island was Tróndur í Gøtu, a descendant of Scandinavian chiefs who had settled in Dublin, Ireland. Tróndur led the battle against Sigmund Brestursson, the Norwegian monarchy and the Norwegian church.
The Norse and Norse–Gael settlers probably did not come directly from Scandinavia, but rather from Norse communities surrounding the Irish Sea, Northern Isles, and Outer Hebrides of Scotland, including the Shetland and Orkney islands. A traditional name for the islands in Irish, Na Scigirí, possibly refers to the (Eyja-)Skeggjar "(Island-)Beards", a nickname given to island dwellers.
According to the Færeyinga saga, more emigrants left Norway who did not approve of the monarchy of Harald Fairhair (ruled c. 872 to 930). These people settled the Faroes around the end of the ninth century. Early in the eleventh century, Sigmundur Brestisson (961–1005) – whose clan had flourished in the southern islands before invaders from the northern islands almost exterminated it – escaped to Norway. He was sent back to take possession of the islands for Olaf Tryggvason, King of Norway from 995 to 1000. Sigmundur introduced Christianity, forcing Tróndur í Gøtu to convert or face beheading and, although Sigmundur was subsequently murdered, Norwegian taxation was upheld. Norwegian control of the Faroes continued until 1814, although, when the Kingdom of Norway (872–1397) entered the Kalmar Union with Denmark, it gradually resulted in Danish control of the islands. The Protestant Reformation in the form of Lutheranism reached the Faroes in 1538. When the union between Denmark and Norway dissolved as a result of the Treaty of Kiel in 1814, Denmark retained possession of the Faroe Islands; Norway itself was joined in a union with Sweden.
As part of Mercantilism, Denmark maintained a monopoly over trade with the Faroe Islands and forbade their inhabitants trading with others (e.g. the geographically close Britain). The trade monopoly in the Faroe Islands was abolished in 1856, after which the area developed as a modern fishing nation with its own fishing fleet. The national awakening from 1888 initially arose from a struggle to maintain the Faroese language and was thus culturally oriented, but after 1906 it became more political with the foundation of political parties of the Faroe Islands.
In the first year of the Second World War, on 12 April 1940, British troops occupied the Faroe Islands in Operation Valentine. Nazi Germany had invaded Denmark and commenced the invasion of Norway on 9 April 1940 under Operation Weserübung. In 1942–1943, the British Royal Engineers, under the leadership of Lt. Col. William Law, MC, built the only airport in the Faroe Islands, Vágar Airport. Control of the islands reverted to Denmark following the war, but Danish rule had been undermined, and Iceland's full independence served as a precedent for many Faroese.
The 1946 Faroese independence referendum resulted in 50.73% in favour of independence to 49.27% against. The Faroe Islands subsequently declared independence on 18 September 1946; however, this declaration was annulled by Denmark on 20 September on the grounds that a majority of the Faroese voters had not supported independence and King Christian X of Denmark dissolved the Faroese Løgting on 24 September. The dissolution of the Løgting was on 8 November followed by the Faroese parliamentary election of 1946 in which the parties in favour of full independence received a total of 5,396 votes while the parties against received a total of 7,488 votes. As a reaction to the growing self-government and independence movements, Denmark finally granted the Faroe Islands home-rule with a high degree of local autonomy on 30 March 1948.
In 1973 the Faroe Islands declined to join Denmark in entering the European Economic Community (later absorbed into the European Union). The islands experienced considerable economic difficulties following the collapse of the fishing industry in the early 1990s.
Faroe Islands History articles: 45
The Faroe Islands are an island group consisting of 18 major islands (and a total of 779 islands, islets, and skerries) about 655 kilometres (407 mi) off the coast of Northern Europe, between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about halfway between Iceland and Norway, the closest neighbours being the Northern Isles and the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Its coordinates are .
Distance from the Faroe Islands to:
- Rona, Scotland (uninhabited): 260 kilometres (160 mi)
- Shetland (Foula), Scotland: 285 kilometres (177 mi)
- Orkney (Westray), Scotland: 300 kilometres (190 mi)
- Scotland (mainland): 320 kilometres (200 mi)
- Iceland: 450 kilometres (280 mi)
- Ireland: 670 kilometres (420 mi)
- Norway: 670 kilometres (420 mi)
- Denmark: 990 kilometres (620 mi)
The islands cover an area of 1,399 square kilometres (540 sq. mi) and have small lakes and rivers, but no major ones. There are 1,117 kilometres (694 mi) of coastline. The only significant uninhabited island is Lítla Dímun.
The Faroe Islands are made up of an approximately six-kilometres-thick succession of mostly basaltic lava that was part of the great North Atlantic Igneous Province during the Paleogene period. The lavas were erupted during the opening of the North Atlantic ocean, which began about 60 million years ago, and what is today the Faroe Islands was then attached to Greenland. The lavas are underlain by circa 30 km of unidentified ancient continental crust.
The climate is classed as subpolar oceanic climate according to the Köppen climate classification: Cfc, with areas having a tundra climate, especially in the mountains, although some coastal or low-lying areas may have very mild-winter versions of a tundra climate. The overall character of the climate of the islands is influenced by the strong warming influence of the Atlantic Ocean, which produces the North Atlantic Current. This, together with the remoteness of any source of landmass-induced warm or cold airflows, ensures that winters are mild (mean temperature 3.0 to 4.0 °C or 37 to 39 °F) while summers are cool (mean temperature 9.5 to 10.5 °C or 49 to 51 °F).
The islands are windy, cloudy, and cool throughout the year with an average of 210 rainy or snowy days per year. The islands lie in the path of depressions moving northeast, making strong winds and heavy rain possible at all times of the year. Sunny days are rare and overcast days are common. Hurricane Faith struck the Faroe Islands on 5 September 1966 with sustained winds over 100 mph (160 km/h) and only then did the storm cease to be a tropical system.
The climate varies greatly over small distances, due to the altitude, ocean currents, topography, and winds. Precipitation varies considerably throughout the archipelago. In some highland areas, snow cover may last for months with snowfalls possible for the greater part of the year (on the highest peaks, summer snowfall is by no means rare), while in some sheltered coastal locations, several years pass without any snowfall whatsoever. Tórshavn receives frosts more often than other areas just a short distance to the south. Snow also is seen at a much higher frequency than on outlying islands nearby. The area receives on average 49 frosts a year.
The collection of meteorological data on the Faroe Islands began in 1867. Winter recording began in 1891, and the warmest winter occurred in 2016–17 with an average temperature of 6.1 °C (43 °F).
|Climate data for Tórshavn (1981–2010, extremes 1961–2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||11.6
|Average high °C (°F)||5.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||4.0
|Average low °C (°F)||1.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−8.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||157.7
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||26||23||26||22||19||18||19||20||23||26||26||27||273|
|Average snowy days||8.3||6.6||8.0||4.4||1.5||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.1||1.4||5.5||8.2||44.0|
|Average relative humidity (%)||89||88||88||87||87||88||89||90||89||89||88||89||88|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||14.5||36.7||72.8||108.6||137.8||128.6||103.6||100.9||82.7||53.4||21.1||7.8||868.2|
|Source: Danish Meteorological Institute (humidity 1961–1990, precipitation days 1961–1990, snowy days 1961–1990)|
The Faroes belong to the Faroe Islands boreal grasslands ecoregion. The natural vegetation of the Faroe Islands is dominated by arctic-alpine plants, wildflowers, grasses, moss, and lichen. Most of the lowland area is grassland and some is heath, dominated by shrubby heathers, mainly Calluna vulgaris. Among the herbaceous flora that occur in the Faroe Islands is the cosmopolitan marsh thistle, Cirsium palustre.
Although there are no trees native to the Faroe Islands, a limited number of species have been successfully introduced to the region, in particular trees from the Magellanic subpolar forests region of Chile. Conditions in the Magellanic subpolar forests are similar to those in the Faroe Islands, with cold summers and near-continuous subpolar winds. The following species from Tierra del Fuego, Drimys winteri, Nothofagus antarctica, Nothofagus pumilio, and Nothofagus betuloides, have been successfully introduced to the Faroe Islands. A non-Chilean species that has been introduced is the black cottonwood, also known as the California poplar (Populus trichocarpa).
A collection of Faroese marine algae resulting from a survey sponsored by NATO, the British Museum (Natural History) and the Carlsberg Foundation, is preserved in the Ulster Museum (catalogue numbers: F3195–F3307). It is one of ten exsiccatae sets. A few small plantations consisting of plants collected from similar climates such as Tierra del Fuego in South America and Alaska thrive on the islands.
The bird fauna of the Faroe Islands is dominated by seabirds and birds attracted to open land such as heather, probably because of the lack of woodland and other suitable habitats. Many species have developed special Faroese sub-species: common eider, Common starling, Eurasian wren, common murre, and black guillemot. The pied raven, a color morph of the North Atlantic subspecies of the common raven, was endemic to the Faroe Islands, but now has become extinct.
Only a few species of wild land mammals are found in the Faroe Islands today, all introduced by humans. Three species are thriving on the islands today: mountain hare (Lepus timidus), brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), and the house mouse (Mus musculus). Apart from these, there is a local domestic sheep breed, the Faroe sheep (depicted on the coat of arms), and there once was a variety of feral sheep, which survived on Lítla Dímun until the mid-nineteenth century.
Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) are common around the shorelines. Several species of cetacea live in the waters around the Faroe Islands. Best known are the long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melaena), which still are hunted by the islanders in accordance with longstanding local tradition. Orcas (Orcinus orca) are regular visitors around the islands.
The domestic animals of the Faroe Islands are a result of 1,200 years of isolated breeding. As a result, many of the islands' domestic animals are found nowhere else in the world. Faroese domestic breeds include Faroe pony, Faroe cow, Faroe sheep, Faroese goose, and Faroese duck.
Faroe Islands Geography articles: 72
Government and politics
The Faroese government holds executive power in local government affairs. The head of the government is called the Løgmaður ("Chief Justice") and serves as Prime Minister and head of Faroese Government. Any other member of the cabinet is called a landsstýrismaður/ráðharri ("Male Minister of the Faroese Government") or landsstýriskvinna/ráðfrú ("Female Minister of the Faroese Government"). The Faroese parliament – the Løgting ("Court of Law") – dates back to Viking times and is believed to be one of the oldest parliaments in the world. The parliament currently has 33 members.
In contemporary times, elections are held at municipal, national (Løgting), and kingdom (Folketing) levels. Until 2007, there were seven electoral districts, each comprising a sýsla, while Streymoy was divided into a northern and southern part (Tórshavn region). However, on 25 October 2007, changes were made such that the entire country is one electoral district, giving each vote equal weight.
Traditionally, there are also the six sýslur (similar to the British "shire": Norðoyar, Eysturoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Sandoy, and Suðuroy). Although today sýsla technically means "police district", the term is still commonly used to indicate a geographical region. In earlier times, each sýsla had its own assembly, the so-called várting ("spring assembly").
Relationship with Denmark
The Faroe Islands have been under Norwegian-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. From ancient times the Faroe Islands had a parliament (Løgting), which 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, until 1948, served mainly as an advisory body.
The islands are home to a notable independence movement that has seen an increase in popularity within recent decades. At the end of World War II, some of the population favoured 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 favoured independence or wanted to continue within the Danish kingdom.
The result of the vote was a majority in favour of secession. The Speaker of the Løgting, together with the majority, started the process of becoming a sovereign nation. The minority of the Løgting left in protest, because they thought these actions were illegal. One parliament member, Jákup í Jákupsstovu, was shunned from his own party, the Social Democratic Party, because he joined the majority of the Løgting.
The Speaker of the Løgting declared the Faroe Islands independent on 18 September 1946.
On 25 September 1946, a Danish prefect announced to the Løgting, that the king had dissolved the parliament and wanted new elections, therefore not honoring the wish of the majority.
A parliamentary election was held a few months later, in which the political parties that favoured 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 financial subsidy from Denmark to recompense expenses the islands have on Danish services.
In protest to the new Home Rule Act, the Republic Party (Tjóðveldi), was founded.
At present, the islanders are about evenly split between those favouring 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 favour independence, some are in favour 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.
As of 2011[update], 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.
Relationship with the European Union
As explicitly asserted by both treaties of the European Union, the Faroe Islands are not part of the European Union. The Faroes are not grouped with the EU when it comes to international trade; for instance, when the EU and Russia imposed reciprocal trade sanctions on each other over the War in Donbass in 2014, the Faroes began exporting significant amounts of fresh salmon to Russia. Moreover, a protocol to the treaty of accession of Denmark to the European Communities stipulates that Danish nationals residing in the Faroe Islands are not considered Danish nationals within the meaning of the treaties. Hence, Danish people living in the Faroes are not citizens of the European Union (though other EU nationals living there remain EU citizens). The Faroes are not covered by the Schengen Agreement, but there are no border checks when travelling between the Faroes and any Schengen country (the Faroes have been part of the Nordic Passport Union since 1966, and since 2001 there have been no permanent border checks between the Nordic countries and the rest of the Schengen Area as part of the Schengen agreement).
Relationship with international organisations
The Faroe Islands are not a fully independent country, but they do have political relations directly with other countries through agreement with Denmark. The Faroe Islands are a member of some international organisations as though they were an independent country. The Faroes have associate membership in the Nordic Council but have expressed wishes for full membership.
The Faroe Islands are a member of several international sports federations like UEFA, FIFA in football and FINA in swimming and EHF in handball and have their own national teams. The Faroe Islands have their own telephone country code, Internet country code top-level domain, banking code and postal country code.
The Faroe Islands make their own agreements with other countries regarding trade and commerce. When the EU embargo against Russia started in 2014, the Faroe Islands were not a part of the embargo because they are not a part of EU, and the islands had just themselves experienced a year of embargo from the EU including Denmark against the islands; the Faroese prime minister Kaj Leo Johannesen went to Moscow to negotiate the trade between the two countries. The Faroese minister of fisheries negotiates with the EU and other countries regarding the rights to fish.
In mid-2005, representatives of the Faroe Islands raised the possibility of their territory joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). According to Article 56 of the EFTA Convention, only states may become members of the EFTA. The Faroes are a constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark, and not a sovereign state in their own right. Consequently, they considered the possibility that the "Kingdom of Denmark in respect of the Faroes" could join the EFTA, though the Danish Government has stated that this mechanism would not allow the Faroes to become a separate member of the EEA because Denmark was already a party to the EEA Agreement. The Government of Denmark officially supports new membership of the EFTA with effect for the Faroe Islands.