History of city Oslo (Kristiania, Christiania), Norway in photos
1 page • 2 page
1 page • 2 page
During the Viking age the area that includes modern Oslo was located in Viken, the northernmost province of Denmark. Control over the area shifted between Danish and Norwegian kings in the middle ages, and Denmark continued to claim the area until 1241.
According to the Norse sagas, Oslo was founded around 1049 by Harald Hardrada. Recent archaeological research however has uncovered Christian burials which can be dated to prior to AD 1000, evidence of a preceding urban settlement. This called for the celebration of Oslo's millennium in 2000.
It has been regarded as the capital city since the reign of Haakon V of Norway (1299–1319), the first king to reside permanently in the city. He also started the construction of the Akershus Fortress and the Oslo Kongsgård. A century later, Norway was the weaker part in a personal union with Denmark, and Oslo's role was reduced to that of provincial administrative centre, with the monarchs residing in Copenhagen. The fact that the University of Oslo was founded as late as 1811 had an adverse effect on the development of the nation.
Oslo was destroyed several times by fire, and after the fourteenth calamity, in 1624, Christian IV of Denmark and Norway ordered it rebuilt at a new site across the bay, near Akershus Castle and given the name Christiania. Long before this, Christiania had started to establish its stature as a centre of commerce and culture in Norway. The part of the city built starting in 1624 is now often called Kvadraturen because of its orthogonal layout in regular, square blocks. The last Black Death outbreak in Oslo occurred in 1654. In 1814 Christiania once more became a real capital when the union with Denmark was dissolved.
Many landmarks were built in the 19th century, including the Royal Palace (1825–1848), Storting building (the Parliament) (1861–1866), the University, National Theatre and the Stock Exchange. Among the world-famous artists who lived here during this period were Henrik Ibsen and Knut Hamsun (the latter was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature). In 1850, Christiania also overtook Bergen and became the most populous city in the country. In 1877 the city was renamed Kristiania. The original name of Oslo was restored in 1925.
Under the reign of Olaf III of Norway, Oslo became a cultural centre for Eastern Norway. Hallvard Vebjørnsson became the city's patron saint and is depicted on the city's seal.
In 1174, Hovedøya Abbey was built. The churches and abbeys became major owners of large tracts of land, which proved important for the city's economic development, especially before the Black Death.
On 25 July 1197, Sverre of Norway and his soldiers attacked Oslo from Hovedøya.
During the Middle Ages, Oslo reached its heights in the reign of Haakon V of Norway. He started building Akershus Fortress and was also the first king to reside permanently in the city, which helped to make Oslo the capital of Norway.
In the end of the 12th century, Hanseatic League traders from Rostock moved into the city and gained major influence in the city. The Black Death came to Norway in 1349 and, like other cities in Europe, the city suffered greatly. The churches' earnings from their land also dropped so much that the Hanseatic traders dominated the city's foreign trade in the 15th century.
Over the years, fire destroyed major parts of the city many times, as many of the city's buildings were built entirely of wood. After the last fire in 1624, which lasted for three days, Christian IV of Denmark decided that the old city should not be rebuilt again. His men built a network of roads in Akershagen near Akershus Castle. He demanded that all citizens should move their shops and workplaces to the newly built city Christiania, named as an honor to the king.
The transformation of the city went slowly for the first hundred years. Outside the city, near Vaterland and Grønland near Old Town, Oslo, a new, unmanaged part of the city grew up filled with citizens of low class status.
In the 18th century, after the Great Northern War, the city's economy boomed with shipbuilding and trade. The strong economy transformed Christiania into a trading port.
In 1814 the former provincial town of Christiania became the capital of the independent Kingdom of Norway, in a personal union with Sweden. Several state institutions were established and the city's role as a capital initiated a period of rapidly increasing population. The government of this new state needed buildings for its expanding administration and institutions. Several important buildings were erected – The Bank of Norway (1828), the Royal Palace (1848), and the Storting (1866). Large areas of the surrounding Aker municipality were incorporated in 1839, 1859 an 1878. The 1859 expansion included Grünerløkka, Grønland and Oslo. At that time the area called Oslo (now Gamlebyen or Old Town) was a village or suburb outside the city borders east of Aker river. The population increased from approximately 10 000 in 1814 to 230 000 in 1900. Christiania expanded its industry from 1840, most importantly around Akerselva. There was a spectacular building boom during the last decades of the 19th century, with many new apartment buildings and renewal of the city center, but the boom collapsed in 1899.
In 1948 Oslo merged with Aker, a municipality which surrounded the capital and which was 27 times larger, thus creating the modern, vastly enlarged Oslo municipality. At the time Aker was a mostly affluent, green suburban community, and the merger was unpopular in Aker.
The municipality developed new areas such as Ullevål garden city (1918–1926) and Torshov (1917–1925). City Hall was constructed in the former slum area of Vika from 1931 to 1950. The municipality of Aker was incorporated into Oslo in 1948, and suburbs were developed, such as Lambertseter (from 1951). Aker Brygge was constructed on the site of the former shipyard Akers Mekaniske Verksted, from 1982 to 1998.
The city and municipality used the name Kristiania until 1 January 1925 when the name changed to Oslo. Oslo was the name of an eastern suburb - it had been the site of the city centre until the devastating 1624 fire. King Christian IV of Denmark ordered a new city built with his own name; Oslo remained a poor suburb outside the city border. In the early-20th century Norwegians argued that a name memorialising a Danish king was inappropriate as the name of the capital of Norway, which became fully independent in 1905.
In the 2011 Norway terror attacks, Oslo was hit by a bomb blast that ripped through the Government quarter, damaging several buildings including the building that houses the Office of the Prime Minister. Eight people died in the bomb attack.