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  Svalbard
(territory of Norway)
 
Flag of Svalbard
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Categories Banner
 Introduction
 Geography
 People
 Government
 Economy
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 Military
 Transnational Issues
     

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Map of Svalbard



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Svalbard Top of Page
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    Svalbard Top of Page
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: 61,020 sq km
land: 61,020 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:

territorial sea: 4 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm unilaterally claimed by Norway but not recognized by Russia
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, iron ore, copper, zinc, phosphate, wildlife, fish
Land use:

arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (no trees; the only bushes are crowberry and cloudberry) (2005)
Irrigated land:

NA
Natural hazards:

ice floes often block 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; site of future seed repository under construction by the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Norwegian Government
   People    Svalbard Top of Page
Population:

2,214 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
Population growth rate:

-0.007% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:

NA
Death rate:

NA
Net migration rate:

NA
Sex ratio:

NA (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

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

total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Total fertility rate:

NA
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0% (2001)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

0 (2001)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:

0 (2001)
Ethnic groups:

Norwegian 55.4%, Russian and Ukrainian 44.3%, other 0.3% (1998)
Languages:

Norwegian, Russian
Literacy:

NA
   Government    Svalbard Top of Page
Country name:

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Svalbard (sometimes referred to as Spitzbergen)
Dependency status:

territory of Norway; administered by the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice, through a governor (sysselmann) residing in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen; by treaty (9 February 1920) sovereignty was awarded to Norway
Government type:

NA
Capital:

name: Longyearbyen
geographic coordinates: 78 13 N, 15 33 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Independence:

none (territory of Norway)
Legal system:

the laws of Norway, where applicable, apply
Executive branch:

chief of state: King HARALD V of Norway (since 17 January 1991)
head of government: Governor Per SEFLAND (since 1 October 2005); Assistant Governor Rune Baard HANSEN (since 2003)
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    Svalbard Top of Page
Economy - overview:

Coal mining is the major economic activity on Svalbard. The treaty of 9 February 1920 gave 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 hunting of seal, reindeer, and fox.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$NA
GDP - real growth rate:

NA%
Labor force:

NA
Budget:

revenues: $25.07 million
expenditures: $NA (2004 est.)
Exports:

$197.6 million (2004)
Imports:

$NA
Economic aid - recipient:

$8.2 million from Norway (1998)
Currency (code):

Norwegian krone (NOK)
Exchange rates:

Norwegian kroner per US dollar - 6.4117 (2006), 6.4425 (2005), 6.7408 (2004), 7.0802 (2003), 7.9838 (2002)
   Communications    Svalbard Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:

NA
Telephone system:

general assessment: probably adequate
domestic: local telephone service
international: country code - 47-790; satellite earth station - 1 of unknown type (for communication with Norwegian mainland only)
Radio broadcast stations:

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

NA
Internet country code:

.sj
Internet users:

NA
   Transportation    Svalbard Top of Page
Airports:

4 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:

total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 3
under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Heliports:

1 (2007)
Ports and terminals:

Barentsburg, Longyearbyen, Ny-Alesund, Pyramiden
   Military    Svalbard Top of Page
Military - note:

demilitarized by treaty on 9 February 1920
   Transnational Issues    Svalbard Top of Page
Disputes - international:

despite recent discussions, Russia and Norway dispute their maritime limits in the Barents Sea and Russia's fishing rights beyond Svalbard's territorial limits within the Svalbard Treaty zone

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


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