Historical and old photos of Kristiansund, Møre og Romsdal
Many scientists believe that the very first Norwegians lived near what is now Kristiansund. At the end of the last Ice age some areas at the western coast of Norway were ice-free. There was also a lot of food in the sea around Kristiansund at that time, and it is believed that the first settlement arrived in Kristiansund around year 8000 BC.
During the Viking ages there were many important battles around Kristiansund. The most famous one was the Battle of Rastarkalv on the island of Frei, where the Norwegian King Håkon the Good fought against the Eirikssønnene group. There is now a memorial monument located near Rastakalv (at Nedre Frei), where the battle was fought.
The island of Grip was an important fishing community during the Middle Ages, and was considered to be the most important municipality in the region at the time. The natural harbour in Lille-fosen, close to where Kristiansund is located today was also frequently used for fishing purposes.
17th to 18th century
During the 17th century a small settlement developed around the area we know today as Kristiansund harbour. As more and more settlers arrived, the area became an important trading port for fishing and the lumber transportation along the coast. The Dano-Norwegian government established a customs station here, which was controlled by the main trading port in Trondheim. In 1631, the port was declared to be a ladested.
Dutch sailors brought the knowledge of clipfish production to Kristiansund at the end of the 17th century, and for a number of years the town was the largest exporter of clipfish in Norway, exporting goods mainly to the Mediterranean countries as Spain and Portugal. The city's clipfish production was also part of the reason why it was given town status as a kjøpstad in 1742.
19th century to present
The town of Christianssund was established as the municipality of Christianssund on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt law). During the 1960s, there were many municipal mergers across Norway due to the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1964, Kristiansund Municipality was merged with the tiny Grip Municipality (population: 104) to the northwest and the Dale area of Bremsnes Municipality on Nordlandet island (population: 963). The neighboring Frei Municipality was merged with Kristiansund on 1 January 2008 creating a much larger Kristiansund Municipality.