The Union of Svalbard (Sámi: Svalbárddá Lihttu, Norwegian: Unionen Svalbard, Russian: Союз Свальбарде) is a sovereign state in northern Europe, occupying the Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Per the trms of its creation under the Second Spitsbergen Treaty, Svalbard maintains no military, and exists under Großgermanian protection. It is a constitutional monarchy under the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg; the current king is Haakon Magnus. Under the constitution of 24 May, the country defines itself as a homeland for the Sámi people, and the positions of prime minister and Speaker of the Svalbárddaráđđi (the Svalbarder parliament) are reserved to persons of Sámi ethnicity.
The territory of Svalbard is extremely northern, and is subject to both the polar night and the midnight sun. The capital, Longyearbyen, is home to nearly eighty percent of the country's population. Other settlements include Sveagruva, Ny-Ålesund, and the Sámi settlements of Ođđa-Romsa and Davve-Norga. Barentsburg is the country's only remaining Russian settlement, and Russian is an official regional language there. The country has ten islands with significant area; the largest and only inhabited island is Spitsbergen.
The first mention of the islands can probably be traced back to Old Norse sagas, which reference "Svalbarð", though this is disputed by some historians, who believe "Svalbarð" to be a reference to Jan Mayen. The first modern discovery of the islands was by Dutch trader Willem Barentsz, who named it "Spitsbergen", Dutch for "tapering mountains". Walrus hunting and whaling expeditions were made by England, Denmark, the Netherlands, and France from the early seventeenth century. Smeerenburg was established as the first settlement on West Spitsbergen, with the first wintering party arriving in 1631. Russian hunters arrived in the 1820s, dominating the islands' economy for several years until Norwegian presence was secured with numerous settlements.
The First Spitsbergen Treaty was signed in Paris 9 February 1920. Granting the Kingdom of Norway sovereignty over the islands, it also demilitarized them and granted all states which ratified the treaty full economic rights on the islands, essentially making them a free economic zone. The Svalbard Act of 1925 reassigned the Old Norse name to the islands, and paved the way for Norwegian civil administration of the territory. Norwegian and Soviet settlements on the island prospered until 1941, when they were promptly evacuated and administration of the territory fell to the Reichskommissariat of Norway. Svalbard was never incorporated into the National Government of Norway, existing under German military administration until the end of the Second World War.
Norway and the Soviet Union reoccupied the archipelago in 1945, and Soviet attempts at a joint Norwegian-Soviet administration were rebuffed by Norway in 1947, who later joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Soviet Union maintained high civilian presence on the islands during the Cold War; however, this decreased by 84% in the twenty years following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the same time, Sámi immigration increased, with Sámi communities occupying the former Russian mining communities of Grumant and Pyramiden between 2006 and 2008. Svalbard was incorporated into the Scandinavian Empire following the Swedish takeover of Norway in early 2009.
A January 2010 referendum showed overwhelming support for independence, and a bill to this effect was tabled in the Scandinavian Riksdag on 28 February of that year. Despite large-scale opposition by conservative delegates, the bill passed in late March. Despite this, Scandinavian obligations under the First Spitsbergen Treaty prevented it from unconditionally transferring sovereignty to a new Svalbarder government. Proposals to transfer the Empire's obligations under the treaty to Svalbard were rejected by representatives from the archipelago, who demanded the ability to govern themselves unencumbered by obligations to which the people themselves never agreed.
Original text related to this article:
Over the next month, representatives from Svalbard and the Scandinavian Empire met with numerous government officials representing the signatories of the First Spitsbergen Treaty. Although most governments did not exercise their rights under the Treaty, and were therefore generally willing to grant Svalbard unconditional sovereignty, the Russian Federation and numerous NATO members expressed concern over the possible remilitarization of the islands, which hold a strategic place in the Arctic. To deal with these concerns, Großgermania, representing Denmark as an original signatory to the Treaty, organized an international conference to be held in Straßburg. At the conference, held between 8 and 15 May 2010, the signatories agreed to grant full non-military sovereignty to a Svalbarder government under the leadership of the former Norwegian ruling house. The territory became a Großgermanian protectorate by the terms of the Second Spitsbergen Treaty, signed on the last day of the conference. Although the Treaty did not enter into force until over 18 months after its signing, early assurances of its ratification led to the Union of Svalbard being proclaimed later that day.