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A Brief History of Oslo

Christiania (Oslo, Norway), in an 1814 painting by Margrethe Kristine Tholstrup
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A Brief History of Oslo

Oslo is the oldest of the three Scandinavian capitals. It was officially founded around the year 1050 AD by Harald Hårdråde, but there is evidence of a city existing as far back as the year 1000 AD. It was no coincidence that people first settled on the fertile grounds, where Oslo is now situated, at the end of the Oslofjord. Nor was it an accident that the Vikings developed a village here, which gave them access to the ocean, while they also had control over ships coming into the harbor, all of which had to enter through the bottleneck-shaped fjord. The city thrived commercially during the Viking Age and continued to flourish in the Middle Ages when the kings started taking over and Christianity became the main religion.

Akershus Castle was built around the year 1300 by King Håkon V at a time when Oslo took over as capital of Norway after Bergen. In 1624, King Christian IV changed the name of the city from Oslo to Christiania in honor of himself. Norway had already been under Danish rule for a few centuries and, when the city was completely rebuilt after a disastrous fire, the king decided to start a new era for the city under a new name. In 1925, 20 years after the dissolution of the union between Sweden and Norway, the city’s name was changed back to Oslo.

Last updated December 14, 2013
Posted in   Norway  |  Oslo
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