The population of the Faroe Islands is largely descended from Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century. The islands have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century. A high degree of self-government was attained in 1948.
Accoding to the 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia, "From the work of Dicuil, an Irish monk, 'De Mensurâ orbis terrae' (ed. Parthey, Berlin, 1872), written in the nineth century, we learn that the islands were discovered by Irish monks. Not long after this they were colonized by Normans. Herold Schonhaar (872-930) united them with the Kingdom of Norway and this was their political condition until 1814. Olaf Tryggvason converted the people to Christianity; as early as 1076 they had a bishop of their own. The bishops of the Faroe islands were usually chosen from the canons of Bergen, and were originally suffragans of Hamburg-Bremen, later of Lund (1104), finally (since 1152) of the Primate of Norway in Trondjem. There were in all twenty-three Catholic bishops, from Gunmund to Amund Olafson. The latter was forced to yield to the Lutheran superintendent Jens Riber, who also took over the episcopal title. Later on only "provosts" were elected. The Catholic clergy remained steadfast in their faith, but were unable to resist the advance of Protestantism. By the end of sixteenth century the Catholic faith had disappeared; all later attempts to revive it proved vain."
This is am archipelago of 17 inhabited islands and one uninhabited island, and a few uninhabited islet. It is; strategically located along important sea lanes in northeastern Atlantic. Precipitous terrain limits habitation to small coastal lowlands.
The Faroese economy has had a strong performance since 1994, mostly as a result of increasing fish landings and high and stable export prices. Unemployment is falling and there are signs of labor shortages in several sectors. The positive economic development has helped the Faroese Home Rule Government produce increasing budget surpluses, which in turn help to reduce the large public debt, most of it owed to Denmark. However, the total dependence on fishing makes the Faroese economy extremely vulnerable, and the present fishing efforts appear in excess of what is a sustainable level of fishing in the long term. Oil finds close to the Faroese area give hope for deposits in the immediate Faroese area, which may eventually lay the basis for a more diversified economy and thus lessen dependence on Danish economic assistance. Aided by a substantial annual subsidy (15% of GDP) from Denmark, the Faroese have a standard of living not far below the Danes and other Scandinavians.
Faroese are considering proposals for full independence. There is an ongoing dispute between Denmark and Iceland over the Faroe Islands fisheries median line boundary of 200 nm. Denmark disputes with Iceland, the UK, and Ireland the Faroe Islands claim extending its continental shelf boundary beyond 200 nm.