Scandinavia

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Scandinavia[1] is a region in northern Europe that includes Denmark and two of the Scandinavian Peninsula's countries, Norway and Sweden. While the other Nordic countries of Finland and Iceland are sometimes grouped with the region, they are not technically affiliated.

Scandinavia extends to the north of the Arctic Circle, but has relatively mild weather for its latitude, owing to the North Atlantic Current. Much of the Scandinavian mountains have an alpine tundra climate. There are many lakes and moraines, legacies of an ice age about ten millennia ago. The vast majority of the human population of Scandinavia are Scandinavian, belonging to the group of Germanic peoples. The northern regions of Scandinavia are home to a small minority of Sami peoples.

Despite many wars over the years since the formation of modern nation-states, Scandinavian nations and peoples have been politically and societally close. Constellations and alliances, however, have shifted over the centuries. For all of the fifteenth century, Scandinavia was united in the Kalmar Union. In the nineteenth century a new political union was proposed, but it did not take place when Denmark was denied key military support by Sweden in a conflict with Prussia. Today, the nations cooperate mainly in the European Union or the Nordic Council.

The Danish, Faroese, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish languages are linguistically classified as North Germanic languages (also called Scandinavian languages), while the Finnish and Sami languages are classified as members of the Finno-Lappic group of the Uralic lingual family, not closely related to the Scandinavian languages. Danish, Norwegian and Swedish form a mutually intelligible dialect continuum, which is a defining characteristic of Scandinavia as a modern societal and linguistic entity.

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