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 Svalbard


(territory of Norway)
Country Flag of Svalbard

All other countries

Introduction

Geography

People

Government

Economy

Communication

Transportation

Military

Country map of Svalbard

Svalbard

Introduction

Background: First discovered by the Norwegians in the 12th century, the islands served as an international whaling base during the 17th and 18th centuries. Norway's sovereignty was recognized in 1920; five years later it officially took over the territory.

Geography

Location: Northern Europe, islands between the Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea, Greenland Sea, and Norwegian Sea, north of Norway

Geographic coordinates: 78 00 N, 20 00 E

Map references: Arctic Region

Area:
total: 62,049 sq km
land: 62,049 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Spitsbergen and Bjornoya (Bear Island)

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than West Virginia

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 3,587 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm unilaterally claimed by Norway but not recognized by Russia
territorial sea: 4 nm

Climate: arctic, tempered by warm North Atlantic Current; cool summers, cold winters; North Atlantic Current flows along west and north coasts of Spitsbergen, keeping water open and navigable most of the year

Terrain: wild, rugged mountains; much of high land ice covered; west coast clear of ice about one-half of the year; fjords along west and north coasts

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Arctic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Newtontoppen 1,717 m

Natural resources: coal, copper, iron ore, phosphate, zinc, wildlife, fish

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 100% (no trees and the only bushes are crowberry and cloudberry)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: ice floes often block up the entrance to Bellsund (a transit point for coal export) on the west coast and occasionally make parts of the northeastern coast inaccessible to maritime traffic

Environment - current issues: NA

Geography - note: northernmost part of the Kingdom of Norway; consists of nine main islands; glaciers and snowfields cover 60% of the total area

People

Population: 2,416 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA

Population growth rate: -3.55% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: NA births/1,000 population

Death rate: NA deaths/1,000 population

Net migration rate: NA migrant(s)/1,000 population

Infant mortality rate: NA deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA years
male: NA years
female: NA years

Total fertility rate: NA children born/woman

Ethnic groups: Russian and Ukrainian 62%, Norwegian 38%, other NEGL% (1994)

Languages: Russian, Norwegian

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Svalbard (sometimes referred to as Spitzbergen)

Data code: SV

Dependency status: territory of Norway; administered by the Ministry of Industry, Oslo, through a governor (sysselmann) residing in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen; by treaty (9 February 1920) sovereignty was given to Norway

Government type: NA

Capital: Longyearbyen

Independence: none (territory of Norway)

National holiday: NA

Legal system: NA

Executive branch:
chief of state: King HARALD V of Norway (since 17 January 1991)
head of government: Governor Morten RUUD (since NA November 1998) and Assistant Governor Rune Baard HANSEN (since NA 1996)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor and assistant governor responsible to the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice

International organization participation: none

Flag description: the flag of Norway is used

Economy

Economy - overview: Coal mining is the major economic activity on Svalbard. The treaty of 9 February 1920 gives the 41 signatories equal rights to exploit mineral deposits, subject to Norwegian regulation. Although US, UK, Dutch, and Swedish coal companies have mined in the past, the only companies still mining are Norwegian and Russian. The settlements on Svalbard are essentially company towns. The Norwegian state-owned coal company employs nearly 60% of the Norwegian population on the island, runs many of the local services, and provides most of the local infrastructure. There is also some trapping of seal, polar bear, fox, and walrus.

GDP: $NA

GDP - real growth rate: NA%

GDP - per capita: $NA

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

Labor force: NA

Budget:
revenues: $11.7 million
expenditures: $11.7 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: NA kWh

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: NA%
hydro: NA%
nuclear: NA%
other: NA%

Electricity - consumption: NA kWh

Electricity - exports: NA kWh

Electricity - imports: NA kWh

Exports: $NA

Imports: $NA

Economic aid - recipient: $8.7 million from Norway (1997)

Currency: 1 Norwegian krone (NKr) = 100 oere

Exchange rates: Norwegian kroner (NKr) per US$1 - 8.0129 (January 2000), 7.7992 (1999), 7.5451 (1998), 7.0734 (1997), 6.4498 (1996), 6.3352 (1995)

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: NA

Telephones - mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system:
domestic: local telephone service
international: satellite earth station - 1 of NA type (for communication with Norwegian mainland only)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 1 (plus 2 repeaters), shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: NA

Televisions: NA

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA

Transportation

Railways: 0 km

Highways:
total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km

Ports and harbors: Barentsburg, Longyearbyen, Ny-Alesund, Pyramiden

Merchant marine: none (1999 est.)

Airports: 4 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 3
under 914 m: 3 (1999 est.)

Military

Military - note: demilitarized by treaty (9 February 1920)

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