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Scandinavia

This article is about Scandinavia as a historical and cultural-linguistic region. For the peninsula,
seeScandinavian Peninsula. For the broader group of northern European countries, see Nordic
countries. For other uses, see Scandinavia (disambiguation).
Scandinavia[a] is a historical and cultural-linguistic region in Northern Europe characterized by a
common ethno-cultural Germanic heritage[dubious discuss] and related languages. It comprises the
three kingdoms of Norway,Denmark, and Sweden.[citation needed] Modern Norway and Sweden
proper[b] are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula, whereas modern Denmark is situated on
the Danish islands and Jutland.
The term "Scandinavia" is historically used for Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and is still used that
way in Scandinavia and in most uses in English, though the term is also used more ambiguously in
English (seeterminology and use below).
The name "Scandinavia" is derived from the formerly Danish, now Swedish, region Scania. The
terms "Scandinavia" and "Scandinavian" entered usage in the late 18th century as terms for the
three Scandinavian countries, their Germanic majority peoples[dubious discuss] and associated
language and culture, being introduced by the early linguistic and cultural Scandinavist movement.
The term "Scandinavia" can also include Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Finland, on account of
their historical associations with the Scandinavian countries.[1]
The southern and by far most populous regions of Scandinavia have a temperate climate.
Scandinavia extends north of the Arctic Circle, but has relatively mild weather for its latitude due to
the Gulf Stream. Much of the Scandinavian mountains have an alpine tundra climate. There are
many lakes and moraines, legacies of the last glacial period, which ended about ten millennia ago.
The Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish languages form a dialect continuum and are known as
the Scandinavian languagesall of which are considered mutually intelligible with one another,
although Danish is considered much closer to Norwegian. Faroese and Icelandic, sometimes
referred to as insular Scandinavian languages, are intelligible with continental Scandinavian
languages to a very limited extent. Finnish and Sami languages are related to each other, Estonian
and several minority languages spoken in Western Russia, but are entirely unrelated to the
Scandinavian languages.[c] They do, however, include several words that have been adopted during
the history from the neighboring languages, just as Swedish, spoken in Finland today, has
borrowed from Finnish.
The vast majority of the human population of Scandinavia are Scandinavians, descended from
several (North) Germanic tribes[citation needed] who originally inhabited the southern part of
Scandinavia and what is now northern Germany, who spoke aGermanic language that evolved
into Old Norse and who were known as Norsemen in the Early Middle Ages. The Vikings are
popularly associated with Norse culture. The Icelanders and the Faroese are to a significant extent,
but not exclusively, descended from peoples retrospectively known as Scandinavians. The origin
of Finns is somewhat debated, the closest genetic relatives for Finns are Estonians and
Swedes.[citation needed] The extreme north of Norway, Sweden and Finland, as well as the most NorthWestern part of Russia, is home to a minority of Sami.