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On a small hill on the edge of Hafrsfjord, about 6 km from the city center of Stavanger, Norway, stands three enormous bronze swords as monument to the battle of Hafrsfjord that took place here more than 1,100 years ago.

The Battle of Hafrsfjord is widely regarded as the culminating event that led to the unification of the many petty kingdoms that made up Norway, for the first time under a single monarch. Although numerous events contributed to the unification process which itself lasted several centuries, the Battle of Hafrsfjord ranks high in the popular imagination of Norway. In this decisive battle, King Harald, who controlled large parts of Norway's southeast portion, crushed the opposing forces to bring the entire country under his rule.

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Photo credit: Stine Homann/Flickr

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