Forgotten World (187): Svalbard

Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean north of mainland Europe, about midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The archipelago is the northernmost part of Norway. Three islands are populated: Spitsbergen, Bear Island and Hopen. The Spitsbergen Treaty (1920) recognised Norwegian sovereignty over Svalbard, and the 1925 Svalbard Act made Svalbard a full part of the Kingdom of Norway. The official language in Svalbard is Norwegian, though some areas do speak Russian.
The population of Svalbard is a mere 2,140. The Norwegian state-owned coal company employs nearly 60% of the island’s Norwegian population, runs many of the local services, and provides most of the local infrastructure. Coal production has increased significantly over the past 10 years. Exploration for oil and natural gas is underway.


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