Portal:Faroe Islands

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The Faroe Islands Portal

Flag of the Faroe Islands
Vælkomin! The Faroe Islands (Faroese: Føroyar, Danish: Færøerne) 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 (540 sq mi) with a 2010 population of almost 50,000.

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 international relations.

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.

Selected article

Faroes ewe and her twin lambs
The Faroes is a breed of domestic sheep native to the Faroe Islands. One of the Northern European short-tailed sheep, it is a small, very hardy breed. Faroes ewes weigh around 45 pounds (20 kg) at maturity, and rams are 45–90 pounds (20–40 kg). Rams are horned and ewes are usually polled, and the breed occurs naturally in many different colors. Faroes tend to have very little flocking instinct, and will range freely in small groups in pastureland. They are most closely related to the Old Norwegian and Icelandic breeds.

First introduced in the 9th century, Faroes sheep have long been an integral part of the island traditions. The name Faeroe itself is thought to mean "sheep islands", and the animal is depicted on the Faroe Islands' historic coat of arms. Lamb and mutton dishes made from Faroes sheep, such as skerpikjøt, are a large part of traditional island cuisine. The breed is primarily kept for meat production, but wool is used for traditional knitwear like the Faroese shawl.

Selected biography

Sigmundur Brestisson (961 – 1005) was the first Faroe-man to convert to the Christian faith, bringing Christianity to the Faroes at the decree of Olaf Tryggvason. He is one of the main characters of the Færeyinga saga.

According to the Færeyinga saga, emigrants who left Norway to escape the tyranny of Harald I of Norway, settled in the islands about the beginning of the 9th century. Early in the 11th century, Sigmundur, whose family had flourished in the southern islands but had been almost exterminated by invaders from the north, was sent back to the Faroe Islands, whence he had escaped, to take possession of the islands for Olaf Tryggvason, king of Norway.

At first Sigmundur tried to Christianize the Faroe Islanders, on decree of the Norwegian king, by bringing the order to the Alting in Tórshavn, but was nearly killed by the angry mob. He then changed his tactics, went with armed men to the residences of the chieftain Tróndur í Gøtu, broke in his house by night and gave him the choice between Christianity or beheading. That worked.

According to tradition, his gravestone is located in the so-called Sigmundarsteinur in Skúvoy. It bears a carved cross and was part of the old church.

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Have a look at WikiProject Faroe Islands, WikiProject Denmark, WikiProject Greenland and WikiProject Norse history and culture

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Selected picture

Whaling in the Faroe Islands
Credit: Erik Christensen

Atlantic White-sided Dolphins, on a concrete-floored dock at the port of Hvalba. Whaling in the Faroe Islands has been practised since at least the 10th century. It is strongly regulated by Faroese authorities and is approved by the International Whaling Commission.

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