Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Norway
N O R W A Y
Plate XX. NORWAY comprises the western and northern divisions of the Scandinavian peninsula. It is bounded N. by the Arctic Ocean, W. by the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea, S. by the Skagerrak, and E. by Sweden, Finland, and Russia. It lies between 57° 59′ (Lindesnæs, or The Naze) and 71° 11′ (Knivskjærodden, close to the North Cape) N. lat. and 4° 30′.5 (Utvær, off Sogne Fjord) and 31° 12′.5 (Renö, adjacent to Vardö) E. long. The length of the coast-line, exclusive of fjords, bays, and islands, is 3018 miles, and the area 122,780 square miles. The country, which has its greatest breadth, 280 miles, at the 61st parallel of latitude, is comparatively narrow, measuring only 70 miles across between the 64th and the 68th parallels.
Configuration. The Scandinavian peninsula constitutes for the most part a rocky region, of which the loftiest tracts lie on the Norwegian side. The interior of Finmark, the most northerly district of Norway, has no considerable heights; but the frontier between Sweden and Norway, from Tromsö stift (69° N. lat.) to the southern part of Throndhjem stift (63° N. lat.), is marked by a continuous mountain range, called Kjölen (the keel), which, geologically, extends in lower levels still farther south as the frontier between the two countries. In this range are specially conspicuous the alpine regions occupying the interior of Tromsö stift, with peaks reaching a maximum altitude of 5475 feet,—the ice-clad tract of Sulitjelma east of Salten Fjord (6178 feet), the heights east of Throndhjem Fjord (4560 feet), and those east of Röros (4680 feet). From this region the loftiest line of the rocky mass takes a direction bearing west-south west, under the name of the Dovre Fjeld, commencing with a plateau only 2000 feet high, but rising farther west into mountainous tracts like those of Snæhætten, whose summit (7566 feet) was long regarded as the highest in Norway, Rundane (6930 feet), the Jotun Fjelde, where the loftiest peak of Norway, or indeed of northern Europe, occurs (Galdhöpiggen, 8400 feet), and terminating at its western extremity, north of Sogne Fjord, in the snow-field known as Justedalsbræ, where Lodalskaupen reaches the height of 6790 feet. From the Jotun Fjelde the ridge extends southwards, under the name of the Lang Fjelde, comprising the Fille Fjeld (Suletind, 5807 feet; Jökuleggen, 6247 feet), the Hemsedal Fjeld, Hallingskarvet (6430 feet), Hallingjökelen (6539 feet), Hardangervidden (Haarteigen, 6063 feet), and is gradually lost in more moderate elevations towards the extreme south of the country. Thus a glance at the map will show that the ridge of highest points which traverses the Scandinavian peninsula runs almost parallel to the west coast of Norway, and that the lines retain on the whole this relative position in their various deviations. The narrower part of the mountain mass occurs on the side of the ridge facing the Norwegian Sea, the broader part on that facing the Baltic and its arms. In the latter direction, i.e., eastward, the surface of the country presents a comparatively uniform slope, alike in Sweden and in the part of Norway lying south of the Dovre Fjeld and east of the Lang Fjelde. West of the ridge, on the other hand, the rocky mass maintains on the whole a higher elevation, sinking comparatively slowly and here and there in ledges towards the sea, so that in various localities its final descent to the ocean is exceedingly abrupt, or it terminates in lofty precipitous islands.
In Norway the mountainous region constitutes chiefly a vast plateau extending well-nigh over the whole country, the general outline of which has been noted above. From this tableland rise the summits of the mountains, and the rocky mass itself is intersected by wide fissures, forming valleys, lakes, and fjords. The roads across the mountain ridge traverse the valleys, and hence can afford no standard by which to measure its height. Its elevation is estimated at from 2000 to 4000 feet in different localities. From the position of this mountain ridge it naturally follows that the longest valleys and the longest rivers are found in the “east country,” i.e., the part of Norway lying to the east of the Lang Fjelde and south of the Dovre Fjeld, whereas on the west coast the valleys are invariably short, and many of the fissures are occupied by deep fjords penetrating far into the interior. Such parts of the country as may justly be entitled plains (as, for instance, Romerike in east Norway, and Lister and Jæderen on the south-west coast) are exceedingly limited as to both number and Rivers. extent. Hence the rivers are navigable only for short distances, and even then only exceptionally by large vessels. It is only in those comparatively frequent cases where the rivers expand into lakes that they can, strictly speaking, be navigated by ships. On the other hand, the waterfalls in Norway are exceedingly numerous, and many of them remarkable for their height, body of water, and great beauty. The most important rivers are enumerated below.
(1) The Klar Elv flows from Fæmundsö into Sweden. (2) The Tista (7 miles) flows through Femsö and thence into the sea at Frederikshald. (3) The Glommen, the largest river in the Scandinavian peninsula (350 miles), rises in Söndre (South) Throndhjem amt, north of Röros, flows through Österdal, and disembogues by two arms into the Skagerrak at Frederikstad. It is navigable for large ships 7 miles from its mouth up to Sarpsborg, where it forms the celebrated Sarpfos (69 feet). The Glommen has numerous tributaries, of which the most considerable is the Vormen, flowing out of Lake Mjösen. (4) The Gudbrand Laagen (50 miles), rising in Lesjeskogen Vand (a lake with two outlets) on the Dovre Fjeld and flowing through Gudbrandsdal, forms Lake Losna and falls into Lake Mjösen at Lillehammer. (5) The Drams Elv (163 miles, reckoned from the source of the Bægna), the outlet of Lake Tyrifjord, falls at Drammen into Drammen Fjord, an arm of Christiania Fjord. The chief tributaries of the Drams Elv are the Rands Elv, which flows through Rands Fjord; the Bægna (87 miles), which rises in the Fille Fjeld and passes through Valders; and the Hallingdal Elv (113 miles), which has its source in Hallingskarvet and flows through Hallingdal and Lake Kröderen. The two first of these tributary streams unite at Hönefos, at the northern extremity of Lake Tyrifjord. (6) The Nummedal Laagen (143 miles) rises in the mountain lake Normands Laagen on Hardangervidden (Waste of Hardanger), flows through Nummedal, passes the mining town of Kongsberg, and falls into the Skagerrak at Laurvik. (7) The Skien Elv (126 miles) receives the drainage of eastern Thelemark and falls at Skien into Skien Fjord. (8) The Nisser Elv (112 miles), from Nisser Vand, falls into the sea at Arendal. (9) The Topdal Elv (84 miles) rises in western Thelemark and disembogues at Christiansand. (10) The Otteren (140 miles) flows through Sætersdal, where it expands into several lakes, and falls at Christiansand into the Skagerrak. (11) The Mandal Elv (85 miles) reaches the Skagerrak at Mandal. (12) The Sire-aa (84 miles) traverses Siredal, forms Siredal Vand, and disembogues into the North Sea. (13) The Bjoreia (22 miles) rises on Hardangervidden, forms the celebrated Vöringfos (474 feet high), and discharges itself into Hardanger Fjord. (14) The Rauma (36 miles), from Lesjeskogen Vand, flows through Romsdal and has its outlet at Veblungsnæs into Romsdal Fjord. (15) The Driva (70 miles), from Snæhætten on the north side of the Dovre Fjeld, flows through Drivdal and disembogues into Sundal Fjord. (16) The Orkla (98 miles), flowing from Opdal through Orkedal, discharges itself into Throndhjem Fjord. (17) The Gula (78 miles) rises in close proximity to the springs of the Glommen and flows through Guldal to Throndhjem Fjord near the embouchure of the Orkla. (18) The Nea (70 miles), from Selbusjö, the river on which Throndhjem is situated, forms the Lerfos. (19) The Namsen Elv (85 miles) flows through Namdal and enters Namsen Fjord at Namsos. (20) The Rös Elv (16 miles), the outlet of Rös Vand, falls into Ranen Fjord. (21) The Ranen Elv (42 miles), from the frontier range,
disembogues into Ranen Fjord. (22) The Salten Elv (43 miles) falls into Salten Fjord. (23) The Maals Elv (74 miles) flows into Malangen Fjord. (24) The Skibotten Elv (43 miles) falls into Lyngen Fjord. (25) The Reisen Elv (70 miles), from the Swedish-Norwegian frontier, disembogues into Reisen Fjord. (26) The Alten Elv (98 miles), from the Finmark plateau, flows past Kautokeino and falls into Alten Fjord; it is navigable with boats for a considerable distance. (27) The Tana Elv (175 miles), which constitutes throughout a great part of its course the frontier between Norway and Finland, disembogues into Tana Fjord ; it also is navigable with boats for a considerable distance. (28) The Neiden Elv (50 miles) is in south Varanger. (29) The Pasvik Elv (77 miles), which for part of its course constitutes the Russian frontier, drains the great Enare Lake and flows into Kloster Fjord, an arm of Varanger Fjord. (30) The Jakobs Elv (15 miles), the last frontier river borderiirg on Russia, disembogues close to King Oscar II.'s Chapel.
Lakes. The fresh-water lakes of Norway must, as already stated, be generally regarded as mere river expansions. Hence they are, as a rule, long and narrow, and, to judge from the soundings hitherto made, exceedingly deep.
The most important are:—Fæmundsö in Österdal, 35 miles long, 2300 feet above the sea; Oieren (Glommen); Mjösen, the largest inland lake of Norway, 57 miles long, with a surface-area of 200 square miles, 400 feet above the sea, and 1483 feet in depth, the bottom being 1083 feet beneath the level of the North Sea; Randsfjord, 43 miles long; Tyrifjord, comparatively quadrangular in form; Kröderen (the Hallingdal Elv), Nordsjö, Hiterdal Vand, Tinsjö, Siljord Vand, Bandak Vand, Nisser Vand, in Thelemark; Bygdin, Gjende, 3314 feet above the sea; Vinster Vandene (Jotun Fjelde), Hornindal Vand (in Nordfjord), Selbusjö (Throndhjem), Rös Vand, possibly the largest inland lake of Norway next to Mjösen, and by comparison of a somewhat more quadrangular form, in Helgeland; and Alte Vand (Tromsö stift). A map of Norway on a large scale shows a prodigious number of smaller sheets of water, more particularly in Christiansand stift. The total surface-area of all the fresh-water lakes of Norway is estimated at 2930 square miles, or 2.38 per cent. of the area of the land.
Southern coast. The numerous and in many cases very extensive fjords, as well as the height and contour of the country, give to the different parts of the coast of Norway a remarkably varied character. For long distances the mainland does not come into direct contact with the sea, girdled as it is by a belt of islands, holms, and skerries, more or less thickly set, which forms the so-called “skjærgaard” (fence of skerries) or outer coast. Between this wall of islets and the mainland, accordingly, extends a connected series of sounds—“leder” (roads), as they are called—of the greatest importance for coastal navigation, since they admit of the employment of smaller and weaker vessels. The whole of the coast from Svinesund, the terminal point of the southern frontier towards Sweden, as far as Lister, is comparatively low. Of its most noteworthy fjords the first in order is that of Christiania, 90 miles long from south to north, or from the Færder lighthouse to Christiania. Here, at its head, it forms Bunde Fjord, extending north to south; and some distance down Drammen Fjord. Farther west comes Langesund Fjord, which enters Skien Fjord in a northerly direction. The remaining fjords on this tract of the coast are of minor importance. Of islands must be mentioned those in close proximity to Christiania:—Jelöen, in the vicinity of Moss; the Hvalöer, off the eastern shore of Christiania Fjord; Nöterö and Tjomö, off the western shore; Jomfruland, in the vicinity of Kragerö; and Tromöen, near Arendal. The navigable roads or sounds on this part of the coast are not strictly connected, though comparatively considerable in extent. Open tracts, unprotected by a belt of islets and skerries, occur at the mouth of Langesund Fjord, and along the coast westwards from Lindesnæs. At Lister the coast begins to rise, and continues to do so as far as the flats of Jæderen, where the land has a gentle slope towards the interior of the country. This tract, with the sole exception of Egeröen, has no girdle of skerries, nor is it anywhere intersected by any considerable fjords.
Western coast. From Bukken Fjord, however, which lies fully exposed to the sea, the “skjærgaard,” in a stricter sense, commences, to continue almost uninterruptedly along the whole west coast. Bukken Fjord sends off several arms, the principal of which are Stavanger Fjord and Lyse Fjord, the latter noted for its great narrowness and its lofty precipitous walls. The roads or navigable sounds between Bukken Fjord and Bergen are open to the sea at the mouths of the larger fjords only. Of such the most noteworthy is Hardanger Fjord, which, beginning at Bömmelen and piercing the country for 80 miles in a north easterly direction, sends off several arms. That nearest the head is the picturesque Sör Fjord, lying north and south. From Bergen northwards to Cape Stad there is, if the mouths of the fjords be excepted, a well-protected “led” or road. At the 61st parallel of latitude we have the longest fjord of Norway, Sogne Fjord, which penetrates 100 miles into the country, everywhere shut in by high and precipitous rocky walls. Northwards, its chief arms are Fjærland Fjord, Sogndal Fjord, and Lyster Fjord; eastwards, Aardal Fjord and Leirdal Fjord ; southwards, Aurland Fjord, together with Nerö Fjord, the grandest of them all. Off the north shore of Sogne Fjord we have the most westerly islands of Norway, viz., Utvær, and farther north the lofty islands of Alden, Kinn, Batalden, and Skorpen. Here Dais Fjord and Förde Fjord, and farther north Nord Fjord, of very considerable extent, penetrate into the country. Off Nord Fjord lies the island of Bremangerland, with a mountain summit, the Hornelen, rising to the height of 2940 feet. The land at Stad projects into the sea without any belt of islets; the protecting fence, however, soon recommences farther towards the north-east. On this part of the coast, that of Romsdal, several large fjords penetrate deep into the country, such as Stor Fjord in Söndmöre, with numerous arms, the most important being Hjörund Fjord and Sunelv Fjord, Romsdal Fjord, Sundal Fjord, and Surendal Fjord. To an exposed tract of coast, Hustadviken, south of Christiansund, succeeds Throndhjem Led (Throndhjem Road), shut off from the sea by the large low islands of Smölen and Hiteren, the latter of which is the largest island in southern Norway. From Throndhjem Led the broad and extensive Throndhjem Fjord stretches in several directions, first south-eastwards, then eastwards, and finally north-eastwards, for about 80 miles into the country, as far as Stenkjær on Beitstad Fjord.
North of Throndhjem Fjord an outer coast with a navigable “road” extends almost unbroken to the North Cape. Among other fjords in Nordre Throndhjem amt Folden Fjord and Namsen Fjord must be mentioned; off the latter, the low-lying group of islands bearing the name of Vigten project far into the sea, surrounded, as in the case of Smolen and Hiteren, by an extremely shoaly “skjærgaard,” which stretches right up to Vest Fjord, and renders an approach to land very difficult and dangerous. The coast of Nordland is distinguished by a chain of lofty picturesque islands, as Torghatten, with its natural tunnel, 400 feet above the sea, which runs from south-west to north-east for a length of 520 feet, Vægö, Dönnesö, Lovunden, Trænan, Hestmandö, Lurö, Fuglö, and Landegode. The mainland, too, exhibits magnificent mountain summits, viz., the Seven Sisters on Alstenöen, Strandtinderne, and the snow-field Svartisen. The fjords, though not so long as in southern Norway, are still of very considerable size, as, for example, Bindal Fjord, Vel Fjord, Vefsen Fjord, Ranen Fjord, Salten Fjord, Folden Fjord, Tys Fjord, and Ofoten Fjord. Off Salten are the well-known Lofoten Islands, skirting westerly the broad arm of the sea called Vest Fjord, which terminates in Ofoten Fjord. The Lofotens consist of a chain of islands separated from each other by broader and narrower channels. The mountains on the outermost group are not particularly high—indeed the principal island, Röst, is remarkably low; but otherwise the islands exhibit a chain of granite peaks to be counted in hundreds, strangely characteristic with their jagged, fantastic outlines, and towering to a height of from 2000 to 3500 feet above the level of the sea. This truly alpine scenery is rendered the more imposing in character by the fact of its rising directly from the sea. The Lofotens are connected on the north with the group of islands called Vesteraalen, which, in their southern parts, fully equal the Lofotens in grandeur. Within these groups of islands lies the largest island in Norway, Hindöen (area, 865 square miles), with the lofty peak, Mösadlen. From the innermost creek of Ofoten Fjord the Northern fjords and islands. distance to the Swedish frontier is only 6 miles. North of Hindöen, in Tromsö amt, there is also a chain of large islands, as Senjen, Kvalö, Ringvasö, and others. Of large fjords may be mentioned Malangen Fjord, Bals Fjord, Ulfs Fjord, Lyngen Fjord, as also Kvænang Fjord, with the grand scenery of the Kvænang peaks. In Finmark, the large coast islands Sörö, Stjernö, Seiland, Kvalö, Ingö, Magerö extend to the North Cape; but here the “skjærgaard,” or outer coast, comes abruptly to an end. The coast of east Finmark presents a totally different character: flat mountain wastes descend precipitously to the ocean without any islands beyond, save Vardö, with two low islets at the farthest eastern extremity of Norway. The fjords of Finmark are broad and long, as Alten Fjord, Porsanger Fjord, Laxe Fjord, Tana Fjord, all extending southwards, and Varanger Fjord, which takes a westerly direction. The farther east one proceeds the lower does the country become; the sharp peaks disappear and give way to a low-lying, monotonous landscape on the north side of Varanger Fjord; the south side, however, exhibits a more varied aspect, especially where, between the tributary fjords, several islands occur. The total area of the islands of Norway amounts to 8460 square miles.
The form of the sea-bed off the shores of Norway has been investigated, partly by the Coast Survey and partly by the Norwegian North Atlantic Expedition, 1876-78. (See North Sea and Norwegian Sea.) The hundred-fathom line of the North Sea extends west of the British Islands, and north of Shetland towards Norway, off Cape Stad. But the bank bounded by this line does not fully reach the Norwegian coast. From off Stad (62° N. lat.) a depression in the sea-bed, called the Norwegian Channel, stretches along the west and south coasts of Norway, southward and eastward, almost to Christiania Fjord and the Cattegat. The deepest part of this channel, upwards of 400 fathoms, extends through the Skagerrak between Arendal in Norway and the Scaw. Off Lister the depth is 200 fathoms, and off Bömmelen, the shallowest part, 120 fathoms. Thence it increases in a northerly direction, reaching 200 fathoms off Sogne Fjord, after which the channel finds an outlet into the deep basin of the Norwegian Sea. The breadth of the Norwegian Channel, computing by the hundred-fathom line, is from 50 to 70 miles; it is narrowest in the southernmost part, off Lindesnæs. Its walls shelve gradually down on either side, and the bottom is comparatively wide and flat. The bank extending between the coast and the inner slope of the channel is exceedingly narrow, being only from 7 to 10 miles broad. The Norwegian Channel thus constitutes a definite boundary between the plateau of the North Sea, with the countries rising from it, and the land of Norway. North of Stad occurs an expansion of the Norwegian coastal bank. Its outer slope rapidly descends towards the deep basin of the Norwegian Sea. While the hundred-fathom line keeps comparatively close to the Norwegian coast as far as the Russian frontier—off the Lofotens only does it extend a little more than 40 miles from land—the two-hundred-fathom line, which, off Romsdal, at Storeggen, runs at a distance of 40 miles from the shore, takes a northward direction, the coast, on the other hand, deflecting towards the north east and north-north-east. Accordingly the distance between them continues to increase till, off the coast of Helgoland, it reaches 130 miles. Off the Lofotens and Vesteraalen it again approaches the land, at its nearest point—off Andenæs in Vesteraalen being scarcely 10 miles distant. North of Vesteraalen, the two-hundred-fathom line, or the edge of the coastal bank, makes another bend towards the north, and draws off from the coast of Norway. The Barents Sea, which bounds Norway on the north, is a comparatively shallow ocean tract, the greater part of its bed ranging between 100 and 200 fathoms below the surface. Norway is thus encompassed by a series of rampart-like coastal banks, in the strictest sense continuous, being nowhere broken by channels through which ice-cold water from the depth of the Polar Sea would otherwise find a passage to the “sejlled” or navigable roads along the coast, and to the deep fjords that penetrate so far into the country. The Norwegian fjords have as a rule the remarkable characteristic that the bottom for great distances lies deeper, and in some cases very considerably deeper, than the surface of the coastal banks; thus, for example the Norwegian Channel is upwards of 400 fathoms deep in the Skagerrak, Stavanger Fjord has a depth of 380 fathoms, Hardann>r Fjord 355, Sogne Fjord 670, Nord Fjord 340, Throndhjem Fjord 300 Ranen Fjord 235, Vest Fjord 340, Alten Fjord 225, and Vaitager Fjord 230. These maximum depths occur in manv cases at a great distance from the sea.
Geology. For our knowledge of the geology of Norway we are chiefly indebted to the results brought to light by the Royal Norwegian Geological Survey, under the direction of Professor Kjerulf. To the geologist Norway presents a region of the highest interest, alike from the structure of the country itself and from the fact of the rock-surface almost everywhere lying bare and being intersected by natural profiles of valleys and ravines. Extensive tracts Archæan formation. consist of the Archæan formation, with its strata of gneiss, hornblende schist, and quartz,—the first of these forming the lower, the last the upper section, both of great depth. The beds are generally folded, and in part vertical. This formation occurs particularly in Romsdal, in the vicinity of Arendal, east of Christiania Fjord (gneiss), in Thelemark, Hallingdal, Nordfjord (quartz), along the shores of Sogne Fjord, throughout the inner tracts of east Finmark. Above this formation is the Sparagmite, chiefly consisting of fragmentary rocks in thick strata, with felspar embedded. The lowest beds are grey and red Sparagmite, partly accompanied by deep masses of conglomerate. To this formation belongs the blue quartz, widely distributed throughout central Norway, as also subordinate green and black clay schist and black limestones. In the latter, which constitute the upper part of the formation, the Primordial Zone, we meet with the first traces of animal life—the oldest trilobites. The Sparagmite formation extends throughout a great part of central Norway, Österdal, Gudbrandsdal, Land. In other parts the Primordial Zone is met with immediately above the Archæan rocks. Then succeeds the Silurian system. Silurian system, also of wide extent, occurring in a series of beds distinctly marked off by their fossils. Characteristic strata in this system are the orthoceratite limestone with graptolithic schist (Lower Silurian), next lime sandstone, pentamerous limestone, coral limestone, along with other strata, such as red clay schist, limestones, and marl slate (Upper Silurian). The Silurian beds are almost every where greatly bent, compressed, and dislocated; the strike is in the great majority of cases from south-west to north east. At and around Christiania, in the tracts bordering on Lake Mjösen and Skien Fjord, the Silurian beds occur without being metamorphosed, except locally at their contact with eruptive rocks. In the environs of Bergen, the outer part of Hardanger Fjord, the Hardanger Waste, in Sondre Throndhjem amt we meet with regionally metamorphic schists and limestones containing Silurian fossils. In the medial of the three sections of the Throndhjem schists occur Upper Silurian fossils. The Silurian system in Norway extends in the direction of south-west to north-east, straight across the southern part of the country, from Hardanger Fjord to some distance east of Throndhjem Fjord, as also from Skien Fjord to Lake Mjosen. Above the Silurian system is found, in various localities, more particularly west of Christiania Fjord, a sandstone formation, to some extent along with conglomerates, of which the geological age remains uncertain, no fossils having as yet been found in it. With this formation the series of stratified rocks in southern Norway may be said to terminate, since the next fossil-bearing strata are diluvian, containing Pleistocene animal remains. Local formations. In various parts of the country we meet with extensive and highly-remarkable beds, geologically established with special local designations, and which, on the discovery of fossils indicating the sections, will, no doubt, at some later period be classed under the names given to the great and generally accepted formations with more precision than is possible at present. Such are, farthest north, the Gaisa series and the Raipas series in Finmark; in the Throndhjem region, the older of the Throndhjem schists, conglomerate and the sandstone series, and the Gula schists; in central Norway, environing the Jotun Fjelde, the alpine quartz. Of Mesozoic beds (Oxford clay) a few only still remain on the island of Andö in Vesteraalen; they consist of sandstone, coal, and oil-shale, with embedded Jurassic fossils.
Eruptive rocks,—granite. The eruptive rocks—granite, syenite, porphyry, gabbro, norite, serpentine, greenstone, &c.—have broken through the beds of the various formations in a variety of ways, at one time as vast masses in continuous streams, at another time as isolated dome-like summits or simply cutting up wards as dykes. Old granite occurs in Christiansand stift, Thelemark, the Hardanger Waste, where it extends over extensive tracts and at its boundaries is seen to break through the Archaean formation, sending off multitudinous coarse-grained dykes, as also on the east side of the mouth of Christiania Fjord, in Aadal and in Hedal, south of Valders, and in Österdal. Very extensive tracts of granite are met with along the coast of Romsdal and in Nordre Throndhjem amt, where the coast, called Fosen, exhibits its characteristic rounded forms. Up through Nordland we pass numerous granite tracts of considerable extent. The whole of the Lofotens and Vesteraalen, together with all the outermost islets, holms, and skerries along the coast of Nordland, consist exclusively of granite. The interior of Finmark also has very large granite tracts. Extensive masses of post-Silurian granite and syenite, as also of porphyry in sheets, occur to the west and north of Christiania Fjord; it is at the borders of these masses that the Silurian system here becomes prominent. The largest tract of gabbro is that of the Jotun Fjelde; this rock is also met with extensively in Throndhjem stift and in Tromsö stift. Norite occurs chiefly near Sogne Fjord and at Egersund. Serpentine, in tracts of very considerable extent, is met with principally throughout Throndhjem stift. Dykes of post-Silurian porphyry, but more especially of greenstone, pierce in large numbers the Silurian system of eastern Norway; similar dykes, however, are also seen here and there throughout the country traversing both schist and granite.
Minerals. Notwithstanding its great abundance of rocks, Norway cannot be said to be rich in valuable ores or minerals. Thus, for example, true coal does not occur; Jurassic has been found on Andöen, but only in seams extremely limited in extent. Gold is met with very sparingly in veins of quartz at Eidsvold, in the rivers of Finmark, and along with silver in the Kongsberg mines. The latter metal is found as native silver in veins of calcareous spar at Kongsberg, where the state owns a silver mine of considerable value. Copper occurs in numerous localities, as Thelemark, Röros in the Throndhjem district, many parts of the west coast, more especially at Vigsnæs on Karmöen, and in northern Norway at Kaafjord in Alten. Nickel is produced in some parts from sulphuretted iron ore, particularly on the island of Senjen in Tromsö amt. Iron ores are met with in southern Norway, particularly along the coast near Arendal. According to the geological survey, the presence of ore is intimately connected with the eruptive rocks, at the limits of which they are accordingly to be looked for, both in the Archæan and in the later formations; thus on the confines of the oldest granite we find alike iron and copper ore; on those of gabbro, sulphuretted iron ore containing nickel and apatite.
Volcanoes, in a strict sense, and their subsequent results, such as hot springs, have not been met with in Norway.
Geological changes. The portion of the earth's crust now visible in Norway has obviously in the lapse of time undergone very great changes with respect to the position of its parts, their level, and their surface. Both the oldest formation and the later systems are almost every where greatly bent, compressed, and distorted, and also denuded, and their parts forcibly dislocated, alike as regards situation and relative height. Formations that in the interior lie at a height of several thousand feet are on the coast found level with the surface of the sea. Strata resting on the summits bordering a lake or the shores of a fjord are again seen on islands in such lakes or fjords, and level with the surface of the latter. One side of a valley exhibits a profile which, in regard to the height of the various strata, differs materially from the profile of the opposite side. The whole rocky sheet is cut up in various directions, and the several laminæ are now sunk beneath, now raised above, those adjoining them. These dislocations have been occasioned by fissures, which in many places can be pointed out, and the number of such provable faults of dislocation increases almost every year. The direction of the fissures is manifestly of the greatest assistance in indicating the form exhibited by the surface of the country. The subsidence between two fissures produces a valley, a fjord, its rise on the other hand a height, a promontory. Professor Kjerulf has succeeded in showing that the entire system embracing the valleys and fjords of southern Norway may be easily referred to four principal directions, corresponding very nearly to the four quarters of the globe, round which the principal directions of the valleys and fjords are found grouped with predominant frequency. The same applies to northern Norway, and can also be shown to distinguish the fjords of Spitzbergen, Iceland, and Greenland; the same directions are again met with in the lines of the Icelandic volcanoes, springs, lava-dykes, and volcanic eruptions.
Influence of the ice age. Vestiges left by the ice age are very conspicuous and varied throughout Norway. The rock-surface exhibits almost everywhere, and more especially when sheltered by loose superincumbent layers, a ground, polished, and striated aspect; up to a height of 4000 to 5000 feet the striation runs in the direction of the valleys, or from the lofty inland tracts, towards the sea. Boulders of foreign origin are found scattered over the mountains, in the fields, and in the loose layers covering the surface; their origin can often be determined with certainty. Old moraines, consisting of gravel-walls lying transversely to the direction of the striæ, indicate by their position the fronts of the ancient glaciers, and by their numerous serial lines an equal number of breaks in the retreat of the ice into the country. Layers of clay and banks of mussel-shells, in which are embedded the remains of arctic marine animals, indicate the sedimentary deposit of the material carried down by the rivers of the ancient glaciers to the sea.
Snow-masses. At the present day perpetual snow is found in Norway only in elevated localities. The most celebrated masses are the following—(1) the Justedalsbræ, between Sogne Fjord and Nord Fjord. It occupies an area of 580 square miles, reaches an altitude of 5000 feet, descends with its snow-cap to between 4000 and 4500 feet, and sends off numerous glaciers on either side; several of these extend very nearly down to the sea, as the Boiumbræ in Fjærland, in Sogn, 426 feet above the sea; the largest of the Justedal glaciers is the Nigardsbræ. (2) The Folgefon, between Hardanger Fjord (Sör Fjord) and Aakre Fjord, with an area of 108 square miles and an altitude of 5270 feet. It sends off only three glaciers. (3) Hallingskarvet. (4) The snow-fields of the Jotun Fjelde, east of Sogne Fjord. (5) The snow-fields of Snæhætten. (6) The Store Börge Fjeld in Helgoland. (7) Svartisen, the largest snow -field but one in Norway, between Ranen Fjord and Salten Fjord in Nordland. It sends off a number of glaciers, some of which reach almost to the sea-level at the heads of the fjords. (8) The Sulitjelma snow-field, east of Salten Fjord, on the Swedish frontier. (9) The Jökul Fjeld, between Kvænang Fjord and Ox Fjord, on the boundary of Finmark. It sends off magnificent glaciers towards the sea. One of these, in Jökel Fjord, a branch of Kvænang Fjord, extends down to the water's edge, so that fragments of its ice fall into the fjord and float as small icebergs on the surface, the sole instance of the kind in Norway. (10) Seilarid snow-field, on the island of Seiland, near Hammerfest, the most northerly névé in Europe. The limit of perpetual snow in Norway is estimated at 3080 feet on the island of Seiland, 5150 feet on the Dovre Fjeld, from 4100 to 4900 feet on the Jotun Fjelde, from 3100 to 4100 feet on the Justedal snow-fields, and from 3100 to 4100 feet on the Folgefon.
Marine terraces, beach-lines. Traces of relative changes of level between land and sea are observed in numerous localities. The highest marine terraces (in which the remains of marine animals have been found) are met with in the east part of the country and near Throndhjem at 600 feet above the sea-level; at the heads of the fjords on the west coast
they lie lower. This obviously proves these districts, at the termination of the ice age, while the glaciers were still in process of melting, to have been relatively lower than at present. And we have further indication of the fact that the interior lay higher during the ice age in the “giant kettles” occurring near the level of the sea, since these are believed to have been formed at the foot of cataracts in the glaciers, the substratum of which must, of course, have been above the level of the sea. Along the whole coast, in numerous localities, from Söndhordland (between Stavanger Fjord and Hardanger Fjord) nearly to the North Cape, and along the fjords, are found ancient beach-lines cut out in the solid rock. Their real significance as sea-level marks is shown by their perfectly horizontal direction, by their extending in several localities on the same level as the most elevated of the marine terraces (e.g., that of Throndhjem), by the circumstance that in other places they run in a line continuous with the surface of adjoining terraces, and finally by the sea-wrought caverns found on the same level. It is in northern Norway especially that beach-lines largely occur. In several localities there are two parallel lines, the one above the other. Throughout extensive tracts these lines can be referred to particular levels, thus indicating a pause in the rise of the land that afforded sufficient time for the action of the sea, or pointing to the presence of certain climatic influences favourable to this production periodically alternating with unfavourable intervals. No change of level in the Norwegian coast within recent years can be scientifically shown. Earthquakes are of rare occurrence in Norway.
The following is a summary of the results arrived at by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (1867-83). The Temperature. number of stations is from forty to fifty. The coldest parts of Norway, where the mean annual temperature is below 32° Fahr., are the highest regions of the country and the interior of Finmark (Karasjok, 26°.4); on the sea-shore it is only at Varanger Fjord that it falls below 32°. The highest mean annual temperature (44°.6) is that of Skudesnæs; and the outer coastal margin from the mouth of Sogne Fjord to Lindesnæs has a mean annual temperature of 44°. The interior of southern Norway and that of Finmark have the longest winter (200 days with a mean annual temperature of under 32°) and the lowest winter temperature, the mean temperature of the coldest day being under 14°. From the interior districts towards the coast the climate becomes everywhere milder in winter. From Lindesnæs an exceedingly narrow strip of land stretches along the west coast northwards right to the mouth of Throndhjem Fjord where the lowest mean temperature of any day exceeds 32°. Röst, the outermost of the Lofoten Islands, belongs to this strip of coast (32°.9 in January). The January isotherm for 32° reaches beyond Tromsö up to the 70th parallel of latitude; on the one side it extends down to the southern coast of Iceland, on the other to the alpine districts of Norway. In January the interior of Finmark has a temperature of 20°.5, central Norway, at an altitude of 1600 feet, 11°.3. The winter isotherms follow the contours of the coast and lie very close together. The summer is hottest in south-eastern Norway (Christiania, July, 61°.9); next come Hardanger (July, 58°.3) and Sogn (Sogndal, July, 60°.3). Karasjok has in July a mean temperature of 57°.2. On the coast the summer is colder than some distance inland; it is coldest on the Finmark coast (Vardö, July, 47°.7) and in the lofty inland tracts (Röros, 52°, 2000 feet above the sea). The interior of Finmark has a higher temperature (upwards of 57°) than any part of the outermost coastal margin as far south as Jæderen (59° N. lat.). The temperature in July (50°.2) at the North Cape (71° N. lat.) is the same as in the southern part of Iceland (63° to 64° N. lat.). The isotherm for 52° passes through the Lofotens (68° N. lat.) and the Shetland Isles (62° N. lat.); that for 56° extends from Jæderen straight across the North Sea to the northern part of Scotland. On reducing the temperature to the sea-level we get for the south-eastern part of Norway a maximum of heat exceeding 60°. The interior having a warm summer and a cold winter, and the coast a cool summer and a mild winter, the annual range of temperature is greatest throughout the inland regions (55° in Finmark, 45° in central Norway) and least on the coast—from Lindesnæs to Vardö. In Österdal and the interior of Finmark the mercury sometimes freezes (-40°). Along the outermost line of coast, from Romsdal to Jæderen, the mercury never sinks below 12°. At Karasjok a temperature of -58° has been observed. The highest known readings are those observed at Christiania (90°) and in Finmark (96° in the vicinity of Varanger Fjord). Throughout a tract extending straight across the country near the 65th parallel of latitude the maximum temperature does not reach that observed in the south-east and in Finmark. Along the coast the highest temperature is from 77° to 79°, and on the outermost skerries it hardly reaches 75°. The diurnal range of the temperature of the air is greatest in the south-east (Christiania, 15° in July, 3° in January), least on the coast (only 5° in July). In Finmark it is inappreciable during the dark season, when the sun is below the horizon throughout the twenty-four hours. At Vardö it is 5° in July. In spring the heat everywhere makes its way from the coast towards the interior of the country (in Finmark from north to south); in autumn the cold passes from the interior towards the sea (in Finmark from south to north). The thermic anomaly is in Norway during the winter months always positive; along the west coast it reaches as much as 36° in January, and off the Lofotens amounts to even 43°, the highest value it anywhere attains on the globe; even in central Norway it is +11° in January. In July it is greatest in Lapland, viz., +9°. Along a narrow strip of the south-western coast of Norway it is negative in the month of July, though hardly -2°; hence this strip of coast is comprised in the negative thermic anomaly of the North Atlantic during summer.
Relative humidity. The tension of vapour is at all seasons of the year greatest on the coast and least in the interior of the country. The relative humidity is greatest on the coast of Finmark (82 per cent. per annum). Leirdal in Sogn, which lies under the lee of the Justedalsbræ, has an annual relative humidity of only 65 per cent. In winter it is greatest in the cold tracts of the interior (85 per cent.) and least on the west coast (70 per cent.); in summer it is greatest on the coast (upwards of 80 per cent.) and least in the interior (Christiania, 60 per cent.). On the driest days it can sink as low as 20 or even 12 per cent.
Isobars. Just as the isotherms exhibit a tendency to follow the contours of the coast, so likewise do the isobars. In the mean for the year there is a maximum of pressure (reduced to the level of the sea and to the gravity at 45° lat.) in south-eastern Norway comprised within the isobar for 29.88 inches. The isobar for 29.84 inches extends from the north of Scotland over Bergen, Dovre, Throndhjem, and parallel with the coast of Nordland to Lapland. The isobar for 29.80 inches passes across Shetland and the coasts of Romsdal, Nordland, and Finmark to the south side of Varanger Fjord. The isobar for 29.76 inches passes a little to the north of the Faroe Islands, across the Lofotens, and along the Finmark coast to Vardö. Out in the Norwegian Sea there is a minimum pressure of air (29.72 inches), with its longitudinal axis stretching from south-west to north-east, between Iceland and Norway; it extends into the Barents Sea, between Beeren Eiland, Novaya Zemlya, and Finmark. In January the normal isobars take approximately the same course. Central Norway has a maximum of 29.97 inches. The isobar for 29.80 inches extends from the north coast of Ireland across Scotland to Stad and Lapland; that for 29.60 inches passes from the Faroe Islands towards the north east, off the coast of Norway. The least pressure of air in January is at the North Cape (29.64 inches). A minimum occurs east of Iceland (29.45 inches, a still lower (29.37 inches) west of Iceland, and another not quite so low in the Barents Sea to the north-east of the North Cape (29.56 inches). In July there is a minimum of pressure (29.80 inches) over central Norway (61° N. lat.). Along the part of the country adjoining the coastal region we have a maximum zone with a pressure of 29.85. In the sea between Iceland and Norway a trifling minimum (29.76 inches) occurs. It is obvious that the distribution of pressure must be regulated by that of temperature,—a maximum pressure of air over the colder, a minimum over the warmer localities.
Winds. As a consequence of this normal distribution of the pressure of the air the prevailing winds in winter blow from the land to the sea, with a deviation to the right. These are accordingly north-easterly along the Skagerrak, southerly along the west coast, south-westerly in northern Norway. They are for the most part cold winds, and cool down the surface of the sea throughout the nearest tracts. In summer sea-winds prevail; they blow along the land with the land to the left, more especially in southern Norway, where the coast of the Skagerrak has south-westerly, Lindesnæs westerly, and the west coast northerly winds. In northern Norway the prevailing summer winds are northerly. The winds blowing along the coast, in one direction or another, up or down, are twice as numerous as those blowing across it, from the land or the sea. In accordance with the greater value of the normal gradient in winter than in summer, the force of the wind on the coast is greatest in winter; during that season it rarely ceases to blow on the coast; but the number of calm days is very considerable in the interior of the country in and around the locality of the maximum barometric pressure. In summer calm weather is comparatively frequent on the coast (maximum zone of pressure), but not to the same extent in the interior. Upon the whole, the force of the wind on the coast is at all seasons of the year much greater than in the inland tracts. Storms are frequent on the coast (30 stormy days a year), rare in the interior (4 stormy days a year). Their most frequent direction is the same as that of the prevailing winds, viz., for the whole country on an average from the south-west, then from the west and the north-west. They are most frequent in winter, particularly during December and January (4 a month), rarest in summer (hardly 1 a month).
Clouds. The amount of cloud in Norway is on the whole considerable. The coast of Finmark has the largest proportion (upwards of 3 cloudy days to 1 clear day). In the interior of the country the amount of cloud approximates 50 per cent. The summer months are somewhat clearer than those of winter.
Fog. Fog is most frequent on the west coast and the coast of Finmark in summer, rarest in winter. In the south-east part of the country the reverse is the case. In winter a frosty fog hangs over the inner extremities of the fjords when the cold is severe and the wind blows out from the land over the open water of the fjord.
Rain. The number of days with rain or snow is upon the whole greatest on the coast, from Jæderen to Vardö, least in the south-east part of the country. At the North Cape, in the Lofotens, along the west coast between Stad and Sogne Fjord, precipitation occurs on as many as 200 days of the year. On the Dovre Fjeld and on the coast bordering the Skagerrak the number of rainy days amounts to about 100 a year. The number of days with snow is least at Lister, increasing from 20 a year in that locality to 50 on the coast of Nordland in the vicinity of Throndhjem Fjord, on the Dovre Fjeld, and in Christiania, to 90 at Andenæs and Vardö, and to 100 at the North Cape. From Vardö to Andenæs, on the Dovre chain, and in the high mountain tracts snow occurs more frequently than rain. Snow can fall on the coast in all months of the year from the North Cape to the Lofotens. The amount of precipitation is greatest on the coast, between Sogne Fjord and Stad, where it amounts to 77 inches. West of a line from the coast of Romsdal to Christiansand it is above 40 inches. In the Lofotens it reaches 45 inches. Throughout the south-east and in Finmark it falls as low as 12 inches. In the former region, however, exceptions occur; thus, for example, a short distance north of Christiania the annual rainfall is 40 inches, whereas in the city itself it amounts to only 26 inches. In the south-east the amount of precipitation is greatest during the months of July and August, on the west coast late in autumn or in the beginning of winter. The amount of precipitation is least in spring.
Thunderstorms. Thunderstorms are not very frequent in Norway. They occur chiefly in summer, either during rainy weather and with southerly to south-westerly winds or (especially throughout the interior) on very hot days. In winter the heavy gales from the west and south-west on the west coast are often accompanied with thunder and lightning of an exceedingly dangerous character, the clouds hanging very low. Not less than a hundred churches in Norway have been struck and destroyed by lightning during the last 150 years, and of these not less than forty on the coast, in the winter thunderstorms, as far north as the Lofotens. At the North Cape, too, thunderstorms occur in winter.
Temperature of water in fjords.
The mild climate Norway enjoys must be chiefly ascribed to the high temperature of the water that laves her shores. (See Norwegian Sea.) The fjords are filled with the heated water of the Atlantic, which in their deepest parts exhibits a constant temperature as high as, in the north even higher than, the mean annual temperature of the air, representing an amount of heat which during the coldest of winters can be reduced only to a slight extent. Thus in the depths of the Skagerrak channel the temperature is 42°, that of Sogne Fjord is 43°.7, of Throndhjem Fjord 42°.8, of Ranen Fjord 40°.6, of Salten Fjord 38°.1, of Vest Fjord 42°.8, of Alten Fjord 39°.2, and of Varanger Fjord 37°.6. Where the temperature at a depth of 100 to 200 fathoms is above 32° the water does not freeze; hence the open coasts and fjords of Norway. It is only in the innermost and more continentally situated arms of fjords into which rivers disembogue, as also along shallow stretches of coast—the coast of Lister, for example—that the sea is found to freeze in winters of exceptional severity. The cold prevailing land-winds in winter cool the surface of the sea on the coasts; therefore the surface-temperature increases outwards towards a thermal axis extending off the coast of Norway, and the isotherms of the sea-surface assume the same linguiform shape as those of the air. In winter the surface of the sea on the coast has a higher temperature than the air. The surplus heat is in January 4° at the Skagerrak, 10° at the North Cape. In summer the surface of the sea is in part very slightly colder than the air. Thus upon the whole the sea exerts a direct influence in raising the temperature of the air; and the prevailing direction of the wind from the south-west tends to diffuse this heated air over the nearest inland tracts, in particular those of the west coast. In summer Norway is indebted, as regards climate, to the long days which, by reason of her high northern latitude, she enjoys. The heated water on the banks and in the fjords having during winter rendered impossible the formation of ice on the coast, and thus provided against any waste during summer of solar energy in a melting process, the sun can freely exert his beneficent influence, working, so to speak, well-nigh—in Finmark actually—without intermission throughout the short period of vegetation.
The current sets as a rule along the Norwegian coast from the mouth of Christiania Fjord, passing round Lindesnæs and thence on to the North Cape and the Russian frontier. In the Skagerrak the water is much less salt than on the west coast, being mixed with fresh water from the great rivers in the south-east part of the country, and those emptying into the Baltic. The tidal water is scarcely appreciable east of Lindesnæs; its height increases, however, rapidly northwards (Lindesnæs 1 foot, Stavanger 3 feet, Bergen 4 feet, Throndhjem 8 feet, Hammerfest and Vardö 9 feet). In narrow sounds the tidal current is often exceedingly strong; the following are examples—the Moskenström or Malström in the Lofotens, the Saltström at Bodo, the Ryström at Tromsö.
The forest growth of Norway consists chiefly of pine and fir, which clothe the slopes of the mountain valleys, especially in southern Norway (as those of the Glommen and its tributaries, those of the Drammen, Laurvik, Skien, Arendal, and Christiansand
districts, and those drained by the rivers disemboguing at Frederikshald). Extensive forests of Coniferous trees are also found in Throndhjem stift and the amt of Nordland. The Coniferous woods of Bergen and Tromsö stifts consist—with a solitary exception—of fir alone. The extreme limit of the fir belt in southern Norway is from 2200 to 3000 feet above the sea; throughout the Throndhjem region, from 1600 to 2000 feet; at Talvik in Alten (70° N. lat.) it does not exceed 700 feet. With the sole exception of the birch, none of the foliferous trees indigenous to the country form woods of great extent. The birch, reaching higher up the mountain sides than do any of the Conifers, forms a belt above them, which is, however, exceedingly narrow in southern Norway. Next come the dwarf birch (Betula nana) and various species of willows, and, last of all, between this and the snow-limit, the lichen belt. But the line of demarcation between this region and the willow belt is not distinctly traceable, the dwarf birch and some few of the willows—more especially the creeping rotundifolious varieties (Salix herbacea or polaris)—extending occasionally to the very edge of the snow-fields. Other plants also, such as the snow ranunculus, the Alpine heather, and numerous mountain plants, many of them distinguished by their beautiful flowers, grow abundantly here. The region of the Dovre is especially noteworthy, as the tract in which the alpine flora of Northern Europe is found in greatest variety, and within comparatively narrow limits. In the fertile and less elevated districts of Norway the forest growth, apart from Conifers, includes the ash, elm, lime, oak, beech, and black alder. The aspen, white alder, mountain ash, and bird cherry thrive at a considerable elevation, and are occasionally found even in the birch zone. The oak still grows abundantly on the south-eastern coast, from Jarlsberg-Laurvik amt to Christiansand, but is nowhere found in extensive forests. The only locality in which the beech can be said to thrive is Jarlsberg-Laurvik amt.
Fauna. The vast fir and pine forests are still the haunts of the largest of European carnivora—the bear, the lynx, and the wolf. The numbers of the last-mentioned, however, have, in southern Norway, been steadily and one may almost say unaccountably decreasing during the last twenty years; and the wolf may be now regarded as the most rare of all Norwegian beasts of prey. In Finmark it still abounds, constituting the worst enemy to the herds of reindeer. The bear also is less frequently met with, a fact to be accounted for by the immense quantities of timber felled of late throughout the country. The animal is most numerous now in Throndhjem, Nordland, and Romsdal amts; it occurs with comparative frequency in the amts of Bratsberg, Nedenæs, Buskerud, Hedemark, and Christian, and is not absolutely rare in Nordre Bergenhus amt. About 150 are annually killed throughout Norway; in 1849 the number was twice as great. The lynx does not appear to have suffered any diminution within the last twenty years; as many as 120 are annually killed. Nordre Throndhjem amt would appear to be its northern limit. This animal is most destructive to hares and all kinds of feathered game. In the great forests especially where the soil is marshy, and there is a mingled growth of ash, mountain ash, and willow (Salix caprea)—the elk occurs, and indeed appears to be increasing in numbers in some places, notwithstanding the vast quantities of timber felled, a fact chiefly attributable doubtless to the rapid decrease of its worst enemies, the wolf and the bear. It is most numerous in Hedemark and Buskerud, and in some parts of Akershus and Smaalenene, though considerable numbers have been met with of late throughout Nordre Throndhjem amt; in a westerly direction it has penetrated as far as Nedenæs amt. The elk is not found in the west of Norway, but its place is partially taken by the red deer, which selects as its haunts the largest of the wooded islands on the coast and the numerous semi-insular projections of the mainland. It is most abundant on the island of Hiteren, at the mouth of Throndhjem Fjord. The wild desolate wastes of the fjelds are the home of the glutton and the reindeer, the lemming and the polar fox. Large herds of reindeer still roam throughout the alpine region of the fjelds between eastern and western Norway, and on the Dovre mountains, the Rundane, and the highlands between Gudbrandsdal and Österdal, and Gudbrandsdal and Valders; but this noble animal has become scarcer of late years, owing chiefly to the numbers killed by peasant hunters, who fire their rifles into the midst of the herd, sometimes maiming at a shot half-a-dozen animals, which they cannot hope to secure, and which afterwards become the prey of the glutton. In some years, and in certain localities, the lemming makes its appearance in countless multitudes, to be attacked by its numerous enemies, particularly birds of prey, among which are the snowy and the short-eared owl; the common kestrel too, and the rough-legged buzzard, are seen in large numbers at such times, sweeping over the wastes of the fjelds. The lemming has an enemy among ruminants even, the reindeer crushing it with a stroke of his cloven hoof for the sake of the vegetable matter it contains. Hares are found all over the country up to the snow-limit. In Finmark occur several species of small mammals of Russian origin.
The sea that washes the shores of Norway abounds in fish; and hence the coast, with its numberless islands, holms, and skerries, is a favourite haunt for such birds and mammals as prey upon fishes and other marine animals. When the herring approaches the coast to spawn, it is hotly pursued by the whale; and in Finmark when shoals of capelan make for the coast in spring, accompanied by cod, which gorge themselves with this their favourite food, the fin-whale (Balænoptera musculus) and the blue-whale (Balænoptera sibbaldi) are also exceedingly numerous, and their presence has given rise to a most important branch of the fishing industry. The waters of the fjords, and the holms and islets of the coast, abound in the spotted seal (Phoca vitulina), and the Phoca barbata is not uncommon in some localities on the outermost skerries.
Avifauna. Feathered game—capercally, black-cock, hazel grouse—is still abundant in the forests, though less plentiful now than formerly, owing to the reckless manner in which they have been destroyed by amateur sportsmen. The woodcock is distributed pretty equally over the whole country; besides the lynx, it has enemies in the marten, fox, and weasel, the birds of prey most destructive to it being the sparrow-hawk and the great eagle owl. The finest ptarmigan are found in the birch region of the fjelds; but in southern Norway they often prefer the more elevated tracts of the willow zone during summer, though even then they are most abundant in the birch zone. The “rype” must be regarded as the most important of Norwegian game birds, on account of its numbers no less than of its flavour. It is extensively snared in winter, and of late years dogs have been used to hunt it. On the numerous islands lying off the northern coast, where the vegetation is strikingly similar to that of the birch belt and willow region of the fjelds, ptarmigan are plentiful. The treeless island of Smölen, in the bailiwick of Nordmöre, where they occur in great numbers, is the most southerly of the insular localities they frequent. The marshy tracts of the fjelds are the breeding-grounds of numerous varieties of fen-fowl, the lapwing (Charadrius apriciarius) and the dotterel plover (Charadrius morinellus) occurring in great numbers. The double snipe and the teal, which also breed in the willow belt, are frequently shot by sportsmen when in pursuit of ptarmigan. In the numerous mountain tarns various species of divers are met with, for instance the Fuligula marila and the Fuligula clangula. The partridge, which has strayed across from Sweden, is now pretty evenly distributed throughout the amts of Akershus, Buskerud, Hedemark, and Christian; but in severe winters, when the fall of snow is exceptionally heavy, nearly every bird perishes, and several years elapse before the stock is recruited by immigration from the neighbouring kingdom. Almost every species of sea-fowl occurring in northern Europe that prey upon fish is found along the coasts, some of them breeding together in countless thousands in certain localities. The coast north of Stad is their chief haunt. The so-called “fugleberge” (bird cliffs) are chiefly frequented by the Mormon fratercula, the flesh, eggs, and feathers of which provide the owners of these preserves with some of the chief necessaries of life. The great black-banded loom occurs in tarns and mountain-lakes all over the country.
Fish. Of the various species of freshwater fish the Salmonidæ are beyond comparison the most important to the inhabitants. In the more extensive of the lakes, which are generally of great depth, trout attain almost the size of salmon, weighing up to 30 ℔. In some lakes the red charr attains a weight of 12 ℔, as does also the Finmark variety of this fish, which, in common with the sea-trout, remains during most of the year in deep sea-water, ascending the rivers in the spawning season only. Mountain-trout are found to thrive best in certain lakes and tarns within the birch and willow belts; but, owing to the abundance of food they can obtain, do not readily take the fly, hence they must be fished for with live bait or netted. As a rule, however, the great mountain-lakes yield excellent sport to the angler. The Mjösen abounds in grayling and charr; there is good grayling fishing too in the Tyrifjord and Randsfjord. Next to these species the perch, pike, bream, and eel are found in greatest numbers; but the eel is met with almost exclusively in a few rivers of southern Norway. Norway, notwithstanding the great number of its rivers which empty their waters into the sea, will not, owing to their inaccessible character, bear comparison with Great Britain or Ireland as a salmon-producing country. The most destructive enemies of freshwater fish in Norway are the otter, the loom, the duck, and the osprey.
The sea being very deep, both in the fjords and off the coast, such fishes and marine animals as affect great depths are there abundant. Some species are of great economic importance. On the banks off the coast of Finmark, at a depth of 150 to 200 fathoms, large numbers of the Greenland shark (Scymnis glacialis) are annually captured, their livers yielding a large quantity of oil. During the first half of the present century the sun fish, or basking shark (Selache maxima), abounded on the coast, its capture forming an important branch of the fishing industry. It is now but rarely met with; and the fishery has been discontinued. No species of fish can compare in point of importance with the herring and the cod, which, taken in immense quantities on the western coast, constitute one of the chief sources of national wealth.
Part II. Statistics.
Population. The population of Norway on the 31st of December 1882 was 1,913,000, of whom 1,509,000 were living in the country districts, and 404,000 in the towns. Subjoined are the figures for each of the eighteen counties (amter) into which the kingdom is divided:—
|Jarlsberg and Laurvik||92,000|
|Lister and Mandal||77,000|
Of the towns the following seven had the largest population (Christiania and Bergen being each a separate amt) : Christiania, 119,407; Bergen, 43,026; Throndhjem (1875), 22,152; Stavanger (1879), 23,500; Drammen, 19,582; Christiansand, 12,282; and Christiansund, 9025.
Norway is the most sparsely-populated country in Europe, having an average of about eighteen persons to the square mile. The distribution is very unequal: the greatest density is in Christiania stift, which contains about seven-twentieths of the whole population in seven-hundredths of the total area of the country. The density is relatively great along the coast. The districts which lie more than 600 to 700 feet above the sea are comparatively sparsely peopled. Notwithstanding the great emigration to America and Australia which has taken place in recent years, the population of the country has steadily advanced. About 1660 it numbered only 300,000, while at the beginning of the present century it was 800,000.
Agriculture. According to the returns completed in 1875, the owners of real property in the rural districts numbered 173,183, the total value of their properties being stated at £42,390,000. 24,713 English square miles of the southern stifts are estimated to be under wood, while the whole arable land of the country in 1875 amounted to 738 square miles, with a production valued at £2,794,000. At the same date the live stock included 151,903 horses, 1,016,617 cattle, 1,686,306 sheep, 322,861 goats, 101,020 pigs, and 96,567 reindeer.
Fisheries. The fisheries form one of the most important sources of the national wealth. In 1881 they employed upwards of 120,000 men, and the aggregate profits were estimated at about £1,111,000. The principal are the cod fisheries, along the inner coasts of the Lofoten Islands, where, in 1881, 26,850 men on 6153 boats caught 28,400,000 fish, valued at £312,400. In the same year the cod fishery in Finmark yielded about 13,000,000 fish, at a value of £131,000; those on the coast of Söndmöre produced only one-fourth of this amount. Next come the herring fisheries, which in 1881 yielded 2,412,630 bushels, valued at about £277,800. 6,165,000 mackerel (£42,700) were also taken. The summer fisheries of coal-fish, ling, salmon, trout, lobsters, and oysters at the same time gave a total of £222,200.
Manufactures. Manufacturing establishments in 1878 numbered 2628, employing an aggregate of 41,391 hands. The leading place here is taken by the saw-mills, of which there were 112 driven by steam (3402 hands) and 630 by water (4274 hands). Next come 551 cotton-mills (2037 workmen), 199 brick-works (3540 workmen), 123 cod-liver-oil works (598 workmen), 112 shipbuilding yards (2388 workmen), and 27 wood-fibre factories (805 workmen).
Mines. Mines are a considerable source of wealth to the country, their production in 1879 being estimated at £202,200. To this sum must be added £11,310 for apatite, £6150 for felspar, and £24,360 as the value of hewn stone exported in that year. The most important mines are:—the silver mines at Kongsberg, which in 1879 produced 9415 ℔ of silver, and a surplus of £3750; the copper works at Röros, producing 6880 tons, valued at £17,800 ; the copper pyrite mines at Vigsnæs, with a production of 39,898 tons, and a value of £69,440; the nickel-works at Senjen in Nordland, which yielded 3828 tons, valued at £5000; the iron-works of Næs and Egeland, which produced 2400 tons, at a value of £1050; and the iron-works of Holden, with 5660 tons, worth £2500. It must, however, be mentioned that the production of the mines since 1879 has been diminishing.
Commerce. The foreign trade of Norway is steadily increasing. Its aggregate value in 1882 was estimated at £15,724,500 (imports, £8,916,700; exports, £6,807,800). The principal imports were:—corn, 1,100,000 quarters, £1,836,650; beef and pork, £202,660; butter, £310,570; colonial wares, £894,950; and manufactured goods, 1,305,560. Among the exports the leading place is taken by timber (£2,549,450), of which the greater part was sent to England. The fishery products sent abroad were valued at £1,444,450, and the metals at £117,450. The port of Christiania has the largest trade, the imports in 1882 having been worth £4,082,800, and the exports £1,409,200; next to Christiania come Bergen and Throndhjem. The mercantile marine of Norway some years ago passed through a period of stagnation, but revived somewhat in 1880 and 1881. At the close of the latter year it consisted of 7977 vessels (7618 sailing vessels and 359 steamers), with an aggregate tonnage of 1,520,407. The gross freight earned was £5,021,200, of which not less than £3,969,500 were derived from the carrying trade. The largest shipping ports are those of Stavanger (669 vessels, 120,017 tons), Arendal (412 vessels, 171,858 tons), Bergen (348 vessels, 84,870 tons), Christiania (318 vessels, 105,193 tons), and Drammen (281 vessels, 85,028 tons).
Railways. The Norwegian railways have a total length of 973 English miles. (1) From Christiania along the eastern coast of Christiania Fjord to the Swedish frontier (Smaalensbanen), including the inner or eastern line between the station of Ski and the town of Sarpsborg, 156 miles. (2) The Trunk Railway (Hovedbanen), between Christiania and Eidsvold by Lake Mjösen, 42 miles. (3) From Lilleström on the Trunk Railway to the Swedish frontier (Kongsvingerbanen), 71 miles. (4) From Eidsvold to Hamar (Hedemarksbanen), 36 miles. (5) From Hamar to Throndhjem (Rörosbanen), consisting of four administratively separate sections—Hamar to Grundset, 24 miles; Grundset to Rena, 16 miles; Rena to Stören, 199 miles; and Stören to Throndhjem, 31 miles. (6) From Throndhjem to the Swedish frontier (Merakerbanen), 63 miles. (7) From Christiania to Drammen, 33 miles. (8) From Drammen along the western coast of Christiania Fjord to Skien (Grevskabsbanen), with a branch line from Skopum, 98 miles. (9) From Drammen to Randsfjord Lake (including branch lines from Hougsund to Kongsberg and from Vikersund to Lake Kröderen), 89 miles. (10) From Stavanger to Egersund (Jæderbanen), 47 miles. (11) From Bergen to Vossevangen, 67 miles. The first three are commonly called the eastern railways (Östbanerne), (5) and (6) the northern (Nordbanerne), and the last three the western (Vestbanerne).
Post-Office. With improved means of communication the Norwegian post-office has made corresponding advances. In 1882 there were forwarded a total of 13,990,100 letters, of which 11,749,600 were inland, and 2,240,400 were sent abroad; 2,728,800 letters were in the same period received from foreign countries. The Government telegraphs had at the close of 1882 a line length of 47,065 miles, with a wire length of 85,485 miles. The telegrams transmitted in that year reached a total of 880,876.
Education. As regards primary education Norway takes a leading place among the states of Europe. In the country districts 207,922 children were instructed in 6408 schools by 3374 teachers and 108 preceptresses in 1878; in the same year 40,826 children in the towns were instructed by 372 teachers and 367 preceptresses in 144 schools. There are, besides, 147 citizen-schools, middle-schools, and higher-schools, with a staff in 1878 of 824 teachers and 466 preceptresses; the scholars numbered 16,800 (9150 boys and 7650 girls). The university, that of Christiania, has 50 professors and 1000 students.
Army and navy. Service in the army or navy, without the right of providing a substitute, is obligatory on all males who have completed their twenty-third year; the only exemptions are in favour of ecclesiastical functionaries, pilots, and the inhabitants of Finmark. To the navy are drafted all conscripts who have made a voyage to foreign parts of at least twelve months, all conscripts from Nordland and Tromsö, and a certain number of those from southern Norway who are accustomed to the sea. The army is made up of the troops of the line, the landværn, and the landstorm; the term of service is seven years in the line, and three in the landværn. The landstorm consists of every man capable of bearing arms, under fifty years of age, who docs not belong to the line or the landværn. The troops of the line in continuous service number 1850 noncommissioned officers and men, and consist partly of volunteers; the other troops of the line in time of peace are called out for drill only in summer. For infantry recruits the minimum period of drill is forty-two days, for cavalry and artillery ninety days; for those who have passed out of that category it is only twenty-four days. The military schools are at Christiania. The average annual conscription is 6300 men. The total establishment of the army on 30th June 1878 was 68,809 men, viz., infantry 60,672 (48,275 combatants), cavalry 2735 (1343 combatants), artillery 5150 (2867 combatants). The commissioned officers numbered 703. The numbers on a peace footing were:—for the line 15,878 (war complement 3203), for the reserve 17,089, for the landværn 12,846. There were also 532 musicians.
The navy is manned in part by volunteers. The term of service is from the age of twenty-two to that of thirty-five. The schools for naval instruction are at Horten, where also is the chief royal dockyard. The fleet consists of two wooden steam frigates, two wooden steam corvettes, four monitors, two first-class gunboats, several second and third class gunboats, two training ships, and some transports. There is also a torpedo service.
Constitution. The constitution of Norway primarily rests on the “fundamental law,” or grundlov, which was promulgated at Eidsvold on the 17th of May 1814, and afterwards, on the union with Sweden, agreed to, with slight modifications, in Christiania on the 4th of November in the same year. To this must be added the Swedish succession ordinance of the 26th of September 1810, accepted by Norway in November 1814, and the rigsact, or charter of union, of 1815. By the first-mentioned Norway is a free, independent, indivisible kingdom, united with Sweden under the same king. The form of
government is a limited monarchy, and the throne is hereditary in the male line. Evangelical Lutheranism is the established religion. In their foreign relations the two kingdoms are regarded as one. The one cannot make war without the other, and there is a common diplomatic corps, which is controlled by the ministry of foreign affairs in Stockholm. In all other respects each kingdom is regarded as Executive. sovereign and independent. The executive is vested in the king, who comes of age when he is eighteen. His person is inviolable, and all responsibility for his official acts rests with the council of state. This body consists of two ministers, and at least seven (at present nine) councillors, chosen by the king from among the citizens, of at least thirty years of age. One minister and two councillors must always be with the king when he is not in Norway. The others form, under the presidency of the remaining minister, or of the viceroy if there be one, the Government in Christiania; its authority is decisive, except in cases reserved for the king, when it only advises. As viceroy in Norway the king can nominate only the crown prince. Formerly the Government in Christiania was presided over by a governor, but this office was never filled after 1855, and in 1873 it was abolished (on the accession of Oscar II.). Each of the seven councillors has charge of one of the seven state departments (finance, justice, home affairs, church, war, navy and post-office, and audit). The king can declare war and conclude peace, make alliances and treaties, and has the supreme command of army and navy; but for offensive war the consent of parliament is necessary. The king appoints to all public offices, and can dismiss at pleasure his council of state and other Government functionaries, the highest officials of church and state, the heads of the army, and the commandants of fortresses. He can also issue provisional ordinances relating to trade, taxation, industry, and legal procedure, provided they are not contrary to the fundamental law of the country and the laws agreed upon by parliament; these ordinances are in force till next meeting of parliament.
Legislature. While the king has thus the executive power, the right of legislation and taxation is exercised by the people through their representatives in the parliament or storthing, which statedly meets in Christiania in the beginning of February every year. The king can, however, when circumstances require it, summon an extraordinary storthing. The elections are for a period of three years. The number of members is, by a law passed in 1878, fixed at 114,—38 from the towns and 76 from the country. The members are not chosen directly, but by electors nominated by the voters. Several little towns are grouped into one electoral district. In the country there is an elector for every hundred voters in the parish (herred). The electors afterwards meet in each county, and choose the number of members fixed by law. Only citizens who have the right to vote are eligible, and they must, moreover, be at least thirty years of age and have been ten years settled in the country. Every Norwegian citizen, not being a criminal or in foreign service, is entitled to vote, if he has passed his twenty-fifth year, has been settled in the country five years, and has certain property qualifications—a public appointment, ownership or tenancy of land, or, in towns, ownership of property worth at least 600 crowns (about £33).
Immediately after the opening of parliament one-fourth of its members are elected to constitute the “upper house” or lagthing; the remaining three-fourths form the lower house or odelsthing. In practice this means a division between the legislative and the controlling powers of parliament. Every bill or proposed enactment must be introduced either by a member or by Government through a councillor in the odelsthing. If it passes it is sent to the upper house, and if carried there also the royal assent gives it the force of law. If rejected by the upper house it goes back, with or without remark, to the lower house, where it is again discussed. If again carried it is sent once more to the upper house, and if it fails to obtain the requisite majority of votes the whole parliament now meets, and two-thirds decide the motion. To give legal sanction to a resolution of parliament thus carried the royal assent is still required.
The royal veto in ordinary questions is not absolute; a resolution passed unchanged by three successive regular parliaments becomes law ipso facto; but it is otherwise where alterations in the fundamental law are involved. Parliament also fixes taxation, its enact ments with regard to which continue in force only until the 1st of July of the year in which the next ordinary parliament meets. Parliament alone has control of the members of the council, of the supreme court of justice, and of its own members; for crimes in their public capacity these can be put on their trial at the instance of the lower house before the supreme court of the kingdom (rigsretten), which is composed of the supreme court of justice and the upper house of parliament. The proceedings of parliament and of its divisions are carried on, when not otherwise determined by special vote, with open doors, and published. The members of the council are not allowed to take part in the proceedings. By the fundamental law Norwegians only, with a few exceptions, are eligible for public appointments.
Administratively Norway is divided into six dioceses (stifter), with a bishop at the head of each, and into eighteen counties (amter) under the civil administration of an amtmand or governor. Administrative divisions and officers. The towns of Christiania and Bergen form counties by themselves. The dioceses are Christiania, Hamar, Christiansand, Bergen, Throndhjem, and Tromsö. Christiania stift embraces the counties of Smaalenene, Akershus, Buskerud, part of Bratsberg, Jarlsberg and Laurvik; Hamar those of Hedemark and Christian; Christiansand those of Bratsberg (part of), Nedenæs, Lister and Mandal, Stavanger; Bergen, besides Söndre and Nordre Bergenhus takes in part of Romsdal; Throndhjem the rest of Romsdal, with Söndre and Nordre Throndhjem; Tromsö the three northern counties Each diocese is divided into deaneries (provstier), each under a dean, who is elected by the clergy of the district concerned; each amt is divided into bailiwicks (fogderier), each presided over by a sheriff or foged, appointed by the king to watch over the maintenance of the law, carry out judgments, and collect taxes and customs. In each town similar functions are assigned to the byfoged or town sheriff, who, however, has a more extended authority. The sheriff in the country has generally in each parish a substitute or lensmand. In the larger towns there are additional officers charged with municipal and police affairs. As regards courts of justice, only the supreme court and the rigsret, already spoken of, are fixed by the constitution. Courts of first instance are held in the towns by the sheriff and in the country by district judges, who travel on circuit twice or thrice a year. From the interior courts cases are in second instance carried on appeal to the superior diocesan courts, of which there are four—one at Christiania (in two divisions), one at Christiansand, one at Bergen, and one at Throndhjem. From these courts cases relating to values of more than 400 crowns (about £22) and criminal cases proceed to the supreme court of the kingdom, which, according to the fundamental law, is composed of a president (justitiarius) and at least six assessors. The municipal court of Christiania consists of a president and seven assessors; from this court there is direct appeal to the supreme court of the kingdom.
National flag. The kingdom of Norway has its own national flag, red, divided by a dark-blue, white-bordered cross into four parts. In the upper square, next to the staff, the union mark is placed. The Norwegian escutcheon is a crowned golden lion on a red field, armed with the battle-axe of the tutelary saint, St Olaf.
The early history of Norway is exceedingly obscure. The scanty allusions to Scandinavia and its inhabitants which we find in the classical writers refer to the inhabitants of Denmark and of the south of Sweden. The first mention of names which can be identified with any certainty as those of known Norwegian tribes is found in Jordanes, a writer of the 6th century. The traditions of the earlier times which are preserved in Norse literature can scarcely be said to afford any sure ground for history, for whatever truth may be in them seems to be almost hopelessly concealed beneath an overgrowth of mythological and genealogical legend. It is, however, certain that the first settlers after the nomad tribes of Lapps or Finns, whose traces are still found far south of their present limits, were the ancestors of the present inhabitants,—Germanic tribes closely akin to the Danes, Swedes, and Goths. Early immigrants. The time of their immigration is unknown, but is conjectured with probability to have been at the latest not long after the commencement of the present era. The way by which they came has been the subject of a lengthened controversy. Munch and his school held that the first proper Norwegian settlements took place in the north, and spread thence down the western coast and the centre of the country. Later historians incline to the more probable theory that the country was settled by immigration from the south. To some extent the theory of a northern immigration derived its vitality from a view of early Norwegian history which is now generally rejected. Until recently the collection of old Norse poetry which passed under the name of the Eddas was regarded not merely as the peculiar inheritance of the Norse branch of the Scandinavian family but as the oldest and most primitive relic of Germanic mythology and legend. It fell in naturally with this view to regard the Norse people as leaving their primitive home at a later time, and as travelling by a different route from the rest of their kin. And plausible arguments could also be drawn from archaeology. There is a well-marked distinction between the older and younger iron ages in Scandinavia. The older age, which is more fully developed in Denmark and the southern part of the Scandinavian peninsula, is marked by greater refinement of workmanship, and is more under the influence of southern art. The younger age, which is best marked in Norway and in Sweden proper, is rougher, and has more the appearance of an independent growth. It seemed natural, therefore, to regard the comparatively sudden transition to the more recent archaeological period as evidence that the land had been occupied by a new people, closely akin indeed to the earlier inhabitants of the south, but which had come fresh from the common home and had not been subjected to the same influences. For various reasons, however, this more recent period cannot well be put farther back than the end of the 7th century, a date which brings the supposed northern immigration so near historic times that if it had taken place it must have been distinctly commemorated in tradition; and, at the same time, it is now generally admitted that even the oldest of the Eddic poems must be referred to a period close to or within the limits of authentic history. In all probability, therefore, we may regard the change of custom and the rise of the earliest poetry as marking a period of development and expansion which affected all the Scandinavian peoples, but which, we may well suppose, presented peculiarly individual characteristics in the isolated districts of Norway.
Early viking expeditions. Towards the end of the 8th century we first hear of that phase of history which made the Scandinavian peoples well known during the next two hundred years to the nations of north-western Europe. In 787, if we may trust a record of later date, the ships of the Northern sea rovers first appeared on the English coast, and in 793 and 794 they plundered Lindisfarne and Monkwearmouth. Thence forward we find them in continually increasing numbers on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland, in England and France, and on the southern coasts of the North Sea, isolated expeditions going as far as Spain and the Mediterranean. It is not easy to determine the share taken by the Danes and Norwegians respectively in these earlier expeditions, for the contemporary chroniclers confounded them under common names. But the geographical relations of the two peoples naturally led them into different tracks. The coasts which lay nearest to the Danes were those of the southern shores of the North Sea and the English Channel; but the nearest way for the Norsemen of western Norway lay straight across to the Shetlands and Orkneys and thence south along the Scottish coasts. It seems probable, therefore, that the first expeditions which ravaged the coast of Northumberland, and which swept down by the Hebrides to Ireland, and thence in some instances to the more southern coasts of France, before Flanders and the northern coasts of France began to suffer, started from the western coasts of Norway. Some years later, when the Danish expeditions become numerous and powerful, they fall with heaviest force on Flanders, England, and France. Of course, when the rovers increased in number and their excursions became wider, we find these kindred peoples in the same countries and joining in common expeditions. At an early period they come into collision in Ireland. Northumberland seems for a while to have been almost common ground, and Rollo, the chief who completed the permanent settlement in Normandy, is generally admitted to have been a Norseman, although the point is contested by Danish writers. But on the whole it was in the north and west that the Norse vikings had their chief haunts and formed their settlements. At first even the largest viking expedition had no further aim than plunder: they simply devastated the coasts on which they landed and returned with their booty to their native country, or sold it in foreign parts; but after a time we find them making permanent settlements, either attracted by the richer countries or driven from their own by the pressure of population or by political reverses. In the middle of the 9th century the Norse kingdom of Dublin was founded. In the latter half of the century the Danes, with a possible admixture of Norsemen, had obtained a permanent footing in England. Towards the end of the century the Scottish islands, which had hitherto formed a temporary refuge and starting-point for vikings, were occupied by permanent Norse settlers, and the colonization of Iceland was commenced.
Primitive territorial divisions. Before the end of the 9th century we know comparatively little of the internal condition of Norway. The land is divided into fylkis, which in point of relative size answer roughly to the English shire. The word is connected etymologically with “folk,” and seems to indicate that the fylki was originally a district peopled by a subdivision of the race. In the case of many of the fylkis this is borne out by the formation of the individual name, while in others the name seems to have applied directly to the district itself. There seems to have been an early union between some of these fylkis, having laws and customs of their own. The Egil's Saga tells us that Gula-thing was originally constituted from Horda-fylki, Sygna-fylki, and Firda-fylki; and this seems confirmed by the three twelves which form so conspicuous an element in the Icelandic law courts. In this case Horda-fylki may give us the name of the race by which that part of the country was originally settled, while the others are simply names of districts subsequently occupied by the same tribe. At a later time the whole country was divided into great districts, each with a common thing and a body of law of its own. These law districts, which corresponded to natural divisions of Norway of considerable importance in its history, were the district of the Frosta-thing, which comprehended the northern fylkis as far south as Sogne Fjord; that of the Gula-thing, which comprehended the south-western fylkis; and that of the Uplands and Vik, which included all the country south and east of the central mountain chain, and which had in old times its only common meeting-place in the Eidsifia-thing, but from which at a later time the Vik district with its Borgar-thing was separated. Within the fylki we find a minor subdivision called the herad, at the head of which stood the hersir, who held his office by hereditary right, and who, like the Icelandic godi, presided over the civil and religious affairs of the district. At the head of each fylki stood as a rule the king, though occasionally we find more than one king in a fylki, or more than one fylki under the rule of a king. In at least one district of the country, also, the chief power is in the hands of a race of jarls, a title which in later times was conferred by the kings, but which at this early period, although inferior to that of king, does not appear to be necessarily subordinate. It is difficult to define precisely the position of these petty kings. They seem to have represented the fylki in external affairs and to have been its leaders in war, but their power depended greatly on their personal qualities and the extent of their private possessions. That they had no very deep hold is clear from the readiness with which they disappear after the union of the kingdom. But both in fylki and herad every matter of importance was determined at the thing, the meeting of the free people. In some respects the condition of the people in Norway differed materially from that of other Germanic peoples at a similar stage of development. Owing probably to the nature of the country, we find no trace of the village community which has played so important a part in kindred races. As far back as we can go the ground was owned by individual proprietors, who partly held it in their own use and partly let it out to men who were practically their dependents. These proprietors, with the hersir families at their head, formed something closely resembling a landed aristocracy. The most powerful members of the class, distinguished by their descent, possessions, and personal qualities, scarcely acknowledged a superior. They were surrounded by a band of dependents trained to arms, and were accustomed to foreign expeditions, which increased their wealth, power, and warlike habits. Nor did the law of equal succession which at all times prevailed in Norway at all break up the power of these great families. The more common practice seems to have been, not to divide the lands, but to give the younger and more restless members their share of the inheritance in movable goods and let them seek a settlement for themselves. After the lands were settled such a practice must eminently have tended to increase the readiness to undertake foreign expeditions, while at the same time the wealth and power acquired in these expeditions fostered the increase of powerful families at home.
About the end of the 9th century Norway first became a united kingdom, and from that time we have a comparatively full and authentic record of its history. On the west side of the Vik, the present Christiania Fjord, lay a Vestfjold kings. small district called Vestfjold, ruled over by a race of kings descended, according to a not very trustworthy legend, from the Swedish Upsala kings. The whole country round the Vik stood, as might be expected from its situation, in closer relation to Denmark and Sweden than the rest of Norway did. According to one version of history the Vestfjold kings occupied for a short time the Danish throne, while according to another they were tributaries of Denmark. There was a well-known trading-place within their territory; and probably at an early time they shared extensively in the traffic of the neighbouring seas and in the expeditions of the Danes. The first clearly discernible figure amongst these Vestfjold kings is Halfdan the Black, who, partly by family connexions and partly by conquest, included within his kingdom the country around the head of the Vik, and thence inland to Lake Mjosen. Halfdan died at a comparatively early age, leaving a son, Harold, Harold Fairhair. who afterwards bore the famous name of Harold Fairhair, and who, according to the commonly received story, succeeded his father in 860, being then ten years of age. Mr Vigfusson contends, however, with considerable probability, that Harold's reign, as well as the colonization of Iceland, has been antedated by nearly thirty years, and it seems, to say the least, improbable that the events during the first ten years of his accession could have taken place in his early youth. But, setting aside the question of chronology, the story of Harold's reign, as given in Norse history, appears to be substantially trustworthy. After obtaining a firm hold on his father's dominions, he went north through Gudbrandsdal and descended upon the country of Throndhjem, which he speedily brought to subjection; and in the three or four subsequent years he had subdued the whole country as far south as Sogne Fjord. He appears to have received material assistance from two great chiefs, Earl Hakon, whose descendants are conspicuous in subsequent history as the Hlada jarls, and Earl Rognwald of Mœri, the ancestor of the dukes of Normandy and the Orkney earls. The country south of Sogne Fjord was still unsubdued, nor was its conquest apparently attempted for some years later. It was the most warlike part of Norway, and from it probably issued the greater part of the Norwegian viking expeditions, which were now in their fullest vigour. The western chiefs appear at length to have taken the initiative, and to have gathered together a great force, summoning aid apparently even from their kinsmen beyond the western sea. Harold sailed south to meet them, and a fierce battle took place at Hafrs Fjord, near Stavanger, in which he gained a complete victory; the hostile force was entirely broken, and from this time his rule over all Norway appears to have been undisputed. Every man was forced to own him as master; new taxes and obligations were imposed; the fylkis were put under the rule of earls, and the hersirs became or were replaced by the king's lendermenn,—a title which becomes familiar in subsequent history. These lendermenn, however, must not be mistaken for an official nobility deriving their main strength from the king. They became the king's men, bound to support him and to follow him in war, and they received lands from him in return, from which they derived their name; but they were still for a long time merely the old hersirs under another name, powerful local chiefs who were ready at any moment, if the occasion seemed to require it, to lead against the king their dependents and the free proprietors by whom they were surrounded. But many of the leading men refused to live in Norway upon these terms. They sailed with their families and dependents, some of them to Iceland, but many more to the Scottish islands, which had long been a favourite resort of the western Norwegians; and thence for years they kept up a series of raids upon Norway. Harold for a while endeavoured to encounter them on the Norway coast, but finding this interminable he at last crossed the sea with a great force and fell upon the vikings from the northern islands as far south as Man. Orkney, and probably the Hebrides, were placed under Norwegian earls, and from this time we hear comparatively little of marauding expeditions from these islands to Norway. Many of those driven out in this western expedition settled ultimately in Iceland, the colonization of which was completed during Harold's reign (see Iceland). Harold in his later years divided his kingdom among his sons, giving a predominance among them to his favourite Erik Blood-axe. He died at an advanced age c. 933 A.D.
On Harold's death Erik attempted to make himself sole king of Norway, and defeated and slew two of his brothers to whom vassal kingdoms had been assigned by their father; but his tyrannical and unpopular character fostered the reaction which naturally set in against the strong rule of Hakon, son of Harold Fairhair. Harold. Hakon, a younger son of Harold, who was brought up at the English court, and was afterwards known as Athelstan's foster-son, was sent for from England. He was presented by Earl Sigurd, the son of Earl Hakon (Harold's early supporter), at a great thing at Throndhjem, and there, after promising that he would restore the old rights which his father had taken away, he was accepted as king. In the words of the saga, the tidings flew through the land like fire in dry grass that the Throndhjem people had taken to themselves a king like in all things to Harold Fairhair, except that Harold had enslaved and oppressed all the people in the land, while this Hakon wished good to every one and offered back the odal rights which Harold had taken away. The people flocked to him from all sides, and Erik soon found himself compelled to leave the country, and sailed west to the Orkneys. Hakon's reign was true to the promise of its commencement. In the Uplands and in Vik he left his kinsmen in possession of the vassal kingdoms; Earl Sigurd ruled under him in the north, and the rest of the kingdom he took into his own hand. The landowners were freed from the burdens and vassalage of Harold's days, although some of the least oppressive taxes appear to have been continued, and the Gula-thing and Frosta-thing were reorganized, with probably several amendments on their respective laws, and were extended to their later boundaries. In one respect Hakon was not in accord with his subjects. He had been brought up as a Christian at Athelstan's court, and attempted to introduce Christianity into the land; but in this attempt he signally failed, and at one time seems nearly to have broken with his people in consequence. On the whole, however, Norway enjoyed under Hakon internal peace. The troubles which beset his reign, more especially towards its close, arose from Denmark and the sons of Erik Blood-axe.
Erik Blood-axe. It is not easy to trace Erik's career after he fled to the Orkneys. According to the Norse sources, he received Northumberland from Athelstan as a vassal kingdom not long after leaving Norway. In the English sources we find him represented as holding Northumberland not under but in opposition to the English king. It is probable enough that he may have held it in both relations; but, however that may be, he certainly ruled for a time at York, and fell in England c. 952. At the time of his death his wife Gunhild went to the Orkneys with her children and thence to Denmark. She was a famous character in the history of the time, and to her the Norse tradition attributes much of the evil that appears in the career of her husband and children. According to one account she was the sister of Harold Bluetooth, but it is scarcely credible that the relationship between two such well-known figures in the 10th century should be unknown to the principal Norse writers. The favourable reception which she and her children met with in Denmark is sufficiently accounted for by Erik's own Danish descent, and the relations which then existed between Denmark and Norway. Shortly after their arrival in Denmark Erik's sons commenced a series of expeditions against Norway which lasted during the rest of Hakon's reign; at last, after gaining many victories over the invaders, Hakon was taken by surprise and slain c. 961.
On Hakon's death the sons of Erik, with Harold, afterwards called Greyfell, at their head, got possession of the western part of Norway, but Vik and the Uplands remained under their former kings, and Earl Sigurd still kept firm hold of the Throndhjem country. Earl Sigurd was treacherously Earl Hakon the Great. slain, and was succeeded by his son, Earl Hakon the Great; and for many years afterwards the history of the country is a series of struggles between the sons of Erik and Hakon, mixed up with occasional interferences from Denmark. At length Harold Greyfell was slain in Denmark, and Hakon succeeded with the help of the Danes in driving the sons of Erik out of the country. For a time he remained in nominal dependence on Denmark, but this was soon shaken off, and in the latter part of his life Hakon, though he never assumed the title of king, ruled in entire independence over the whole north and west of Norway. Latterly he excited animosity by some reckless outrages on the feelings of the people; a rising took place against him in the Throndhjem country, in which he was slain c. 995, and at the very time of the rising Olaf Tryggvason landed in Norway.
Olaf Tryggvason. Olaf was a great-grandson of Harold Fairhair. His father, Tryggve, had been treacherously slain by the sons of Erik, and his mother had with difficulty escaped with him. After some strange adventures the boy was received and brought up at the court at Novgorod, and then in his early youth took to a viking life. He soon became a famous leader, and plundered far and wide. In 991 we hear of him in England as one of the chiefs who fought the battle of Maldon, and he appears there again in 994. He sailed on his Norwegian expedition from Ireland, and found the whole country well disposed to receive him as king. Olaf's short reign of five years was chiefly occupied with his efforts to Christianize the country. He had been baptized some time during his English expedition, and had taken up Christianity in a more serious manner than was generally the case with the Northern converts of his class, who as a rule submitted to baptism as a convenient or necessary transaction. Olaf's Christianity does not appear to have been of a very deep or enlightened type, but he was thoroughly in earnest about it, and set himself to enforce its supremacy with the whole energy of his character. And in an incredibly short time, if he had not exactly succeeded in making his subjects Christian, he had at least made it very unsafe for them to be anything else. By force, or gifts, or persuasion, or even by torture if necessary—for his anger was sometimes cruel enough—he had soon scarcely left a man of note unbaptized in Norway. Even Iceland was persuaded to accept the faith by his energetic handling of the Icelanders at his court. Of course this wholesale conversion was of a very nominal character, and even Olaf himself always appears to be little more than a loyal and devoted heathen vassal of the new faith. Perhaps the strangest thing is not merely that he attained his end so rapidly, but that he did so without rousing and alienating the people. His splendid personal appearance, his wonderful strength and skill in arms, his inexhaustible courage and energy, and the frank chivalrous nature—bright and joyous when in quiet, but capable of terrible passion when enraged—seem to have overawed and attracted every one at the time, and have made him since the favourite hero of Norse history. In the fifth year of his reign (c. 1001) Olaf undertook an expedition to the Baltic, and a league was formed against him by the kings of Denmark and Sweden, and by Earl Erik, the son of Hakon, who had fled into Sweden after his father's death. Olaf went with a powerful fleet, he himself commanding his great ship the “Long Serpent,” the largest and best manned that had ever sailed from Norway. His foes lay in wait for him on his return under Swöld, an island off the German coast which cannot now be identified, and there took place the most famous and picturesque battle in Norse history. Olaf's ships were induced by treachery to pass by the island behind which the forces of his enemies lay, while the hostile chiefs watched them as they sailed by. At last when all were gone on their way to Norway but the few ships which with Olaf himself brought up the rear, the enemy rowed out and fell upon them. Olaf bound his ships together with the “Long Serpent” in the centre, and his foes surrounded him on all sides. One after another the ships were taken and cleared of men, and at last the crew of the “Long Serpent” were left alone, under a shower of spears and arrows, with the whole enemy around them and with fresh men continually attempting their decks. The saga tells us that Olaf's men grew so mad with rage that they leaped at the ships that surrounded them, not seeing that they were often so far off, so that they fell into the sea and perished. At length almost none were left, and Olaf leaped overboard in his armour. His people at home could scarce believe that he could have perished, and for many years stories were circulated that he had been seen in foreign countries; but, however that may be, says the chronicler, Olaf Tryggvason came back no more to his kingdom in Norway.
The two kings and Earl Erik divided Norway among them, but in reality the greater part of the country was held by Earl Erik and his brother Earl Svend, under a little more than nominal vassalage. In the south some of the districts were more directly dependent on Denmark and Sweden. Fourteen years afterwards another descendant Saint Olaf. of Harold Fairhair appeared in the country. Olaf, son of Harold Gränske, had, like most of his race, spent his early youth in foreign expeditions. When about nineteen he came back to Norway with a small band of well-tried men, and went first to his kinsmen in the Uplands, where some of the small kings of Harold s race still remained in a not very close dependence on Denmark. Erik was by this time dead; Olaf succeeded in driving Svend out of the land, and became in a short time more thoroughly king of all Norway than any one had been since Harold Fairhair. He rebuilt Nidaros (the modern Throndhjem), which had been founded by Olaf Tryggvason, and which may be called henceforward the capital of Norway. Like Olaf Tryggvason, he was a zealous adherent of Christianity, and, as soon as he was firmly settled, proceeded to enforce it on his subjects. The previous conversion of the land had been superficial, so that, except in the parts of the country which came most into relations with foreign countries, the old religion had still a strong hold, and in some districts was predominant. Under Olaf heathen worship was suppressed with the utmost severity, and Christianity may be said to have become the professed religion of the land. Olaf's rule was firm and powerful. Equal justice was dealt out, as far as practicable, to every one, often in a summary fashion. The great families had flourished under the earls, and seem to have been almost wholly independent within their own districts, but, as they one after the other came into collision with the king, they had to yield. Olaf was in many ways a greater man than Olaf Tryggvason: his aims were higher, and he understood them more thoroughly; but he lacked some of the gifts of his brilliant predecessor. Olaf Tryggvason was the very incarnation of the old popular ideal, and, had the times been favourable, might well enough have passed into tradition, Christianity and all, as one of the Æsir who had come back again to earth. But the other Olaf was in some ways a new force in Norway. He was aiming at a united Christian kingdom under a strong central power, and these ideas, in so far as they were intelligible, were repugnant to the Norse chiefs. And, besides, his character was somewhat still and reserved, not always destitute even of traits of cunning, so that altogether, though every one was forced to respect his courage and ability, and his own followers were devotedly attached to him, most of the Norwegian chiefs never wholly understood or trusted him. In one way or another he incurred the enmity of many of the most powerful men in the west and north, and he had a dangerous foreign enemy. Canute was at the height of his power, had claims, he thought, upon Norway, and was, moreover, deeply irritated by an expedition which Olaf had made upon Denmark along with the king of Sweden. He had connexions with many of the chiefs, which he fostered as much as possible, and in 1028 he came with a great force to Norway; Olaf could make no head against him, and was compelled to fly to Kussia. But after a while Olaf heard that there was for a time no ruler in Norway, and resolved to attempt to win back his kingdom. He obtained assistance in Sweden, gathered his friends from Norway, and then went over the mountains into the Throndhjem country. The chiefs who were most bitterly opposed to him drew together a great force and met him at Stikklestad, and there, when only thirty-five years old, he was defeated and slain in August 1030. There is a singular change to be observed in the narrative of this latter part of Olaf's life. He seems to have become more devoted to Christianity, and in every way more thoughtful and gentle. The stories about him look as if his adversities had forced him to take a retrospect of his life and prepare for a new career; and if he had been the victor at Stikklestad it is hard to say what influence he might not have exercised upon subsequent history.
A short experience of Danish rule under Svend, the son of Canute, made Norway bitterly regret the loss of Olaf. The resentments which had been awakened by his stern, just rule passed out of sight, and men only remembered his great qualities, and that in his time the land was free from foreign interference. His devoted adherence to Christianity, especially in his later days, gave a definite direction to these reminiscences; he was regarded as a martyr and saint, and miracles were reported to have been wrought by him even under the very nose of his Danish successor. Olaf was rightly regarded as the patron saint of the new Christian monarchy. It was he who not only had Christianized the land, but had for the first time thoroughly united the kingdom. His reign had given rise to a feeling of unitedness and independent existence which the country never had before and never afterwards wholly lost. For nearly a century afterwards Norway was ruled in internal peace by the kings of his race. The church was organized and became powerful. The private viking expeditions gradually ceased, for it began to be considered a scandal to plunder in Christian lands; and possibly also the practice grew more dangerous. Swein Asleifson, in the middle of the 12th century, is the last recorded viking of the old type, and he dwelt in the Orkneys. At the same time several of the kings made greater foreign expeditions, which probably afforded a sufficient vent for their more restless subjects. The central authority of the king grew stronger and more stable. His court and personal following were better organized. The lendermenn, although still remaining chiefs of the landed aristocracy, ceased to exercise the same semi-independent power in their own districts, and came into closer relations with the king and court.
Magnus, son of Saint Olaf. In 1035 Magnus, Olaf's son, who had remained in Russia, was sent for by some of the leading men, and was readily accepted as king. Magnus, or rather the chiefs in his name, for he was still very young at the time, had settled the quarrel with Denmark by coming to an agreement with Hardicanute, that when one died the other should succeed to his crown. In 1042 Hardicanute died, and Magnus peacefully took possession of his kingdom. But troubles soon arose from Svend Estridsen, nephew of Canute the Great, who attempted to seize Denmark, and who had entered into terms with a formidable Norse ally. Harold, Harold Hardrada. Sigurd's son, known sometimes as Hardrada (hard counsel), the half-brother of Olaf, was one of the last and most famous of the great viking chiefs. His father was a small Upland king of Harold Fairhair's race; he had fought when a boy at Stikklestad, had gone to the East and taken service with the Greek emperor, and was now come back to the North with great wealth and fame. For a short time he entered into league with Svend, but an arrangement was soon brought about by which he and Magnus were made friends, and Harold became joint king of Norway. Magnus died in the following year (1047), leaving Denmark to Svend and Norway to Harold; Harold was not, however, inclined to relinquish Denmark, and wasted it year after year by terrible incursions; at last he undertook a more formidable task, and fell in England in 1066 with the very flower of Norway at the battle of Stamford Bridge.
Olaf Kyrre. Harold's son, Olaf Kyrre (the quiet), ruled Norway in peace for twenty-seven years, a peace which may in some respects have been due to the way in which the country had been drained of its hottest blood by Harold's expeditions. During this reign the country attained considerable prosperity, trade increased, and, among other merchant towns, Bergen, which soon attained the first place, was Magnus Barefoot. founded. But Olaf's son Magnus (known sometimes as Magnus Barefoot), who succeeded his father in 1093, reigned in a manner more like his grandfather. He was continually occupied in foreign expeditions, and at last fell in Ireland in 1103.
Eystein and Sigurd Jorsalafari. The three sons of Magnus succeeded to the kingdom at his death. One of them died in youth, but Sigurd and Eystein reigned long together, Eystein being a king like Olaf Kyrre, while Sigurd inherited to the full the warlike qualities of his family. The great external event of the reign is Sigurd's expedition to the East, from which he gained the name of Jorsalafari (the traveller to Jerusalem). The account given by the saga of the origin of that expedition is characteristic and probably enough true. Many men had already been to Jerusalem and to Constantinople, and there they had got renown, and had all kinds of news to tell when they came home, and those who had taken service at Constantinople had the best luck in the way of gain; so the people bade one of the kings undertake the expedition. Sigurd went with a great force, fought many battles by the way, gained much plunder in heathen lands, and visited Jerusalem and Constantinople. Sigurd survived Eystein, and died in 1130. In his last year he showed traces of insanity. He was the last true representative of Harold Fairhair's great race, and with him the classical period of Norwegian history may almost be said to come to an end.
Period of anarchy. With the death of Sigurd commences a long period of internal strife. His son Magnus was forced to share the sovereignty with a colleague, Harold Gilchrist, who professed to be a natural son of Magnus Barefoot, and who in a short time succeeded in deposing his colleague. Harold was slain in 1136 by another pretender. Parties had formed themselves amongst the lendermenn aristocracy, who took as their nominal heads the sons and grandsons of Harold Gilchrist, often mere children; the church hierarchy, now growing powerful, interfered in the struggle, and the whole land was divided by bitter feuds. The disorganization of the country was shown by the appearance of bands of armed disorderly men, generally at first on the Swedish frontier. Unity at last seemed likely to be secured by an innovation in the succession. A powerful chief named Erling Skakke Magnus, son of Erling Skakke. managed to get his son Magnus, who by his mother's side was a grandson of Sigurd Jorsalafari, accepted as king, first by the leading party and then practically by the whole country. He came to terms with the hierarchy; an agreement was entered into in 1164, by which various privileges were secured to the church, and a definite rule of succession was adopted. The kingdom was to be held as a fief of St Olaf, and the church dignitaries were to have a powerful voice in the succession. In return for these concessions Magnus was solemnly crowned by the archbishop of Throndhjem, and his defective claim was thus strengthened by a new form of legitimation.
There seemed every reason to suppose that the kingdom would now rest firmly on the united support of the aristocracy and the church, but in reality the basis proved to be an insecure one. The aristocracy stood no longer as formerly in close connexion with the mass of the free people, and they had not yet become welded together in a The Birkebeinar. separate organized order. One of the troops of adventurers which had appeared in the previous state of confusion, and had been the followers of one of the various claimants to the throne, was known as the Birkebeinar. They were on the verge of extinction when they secured a Sverri. leader of no common type. Sverri was a Faroe Islander. He seems to have been well enough aware himself that he had no claims to royal birth, but he gave himself out as the son of Sigurd, the son of Harold Gilchrist, and as such was accepted by the Birkebeinar. In a little while it became clear that his talents for command were of the first order, and the little troop of disorderly men became in his hands a disciplined military force. A fierce struggle ensued with Magnus, who in the end was defeated and slain in 1184 at Fimreite on Nord Fjord. Sverri became king, and represented himself as maintaining the old law of succession and the old order of things as against the arrangement of 1164. But in reality his reign was the commencement of a new phase. The older kings were within very narrow limits absolute, and claimed the kingdom as an odal right; but they were confronted and controlled by the mass of free landowners under their local aristocratic chiefs. A change had gradually taken place, and it seemed as if a separate aristocracy were to detach themselves from the people, and, with the help of the church, take the administration into their own hands. Sverri struck the hardest blows at both. He effectually prevented the formation of a powerful nobility, and he wholly repudiated the domination of the church. He had hammered out for himself a theory of church and state not unlike that of Henry VIII., and held that the king derived his title from God, and was entitled to an equal supremacy over both. The church retaliated by excommunication, for which, however, Sverri and his followers cared nothing, and by which their position does not seem to have been in the least affected. New officials appear in the administration of local affairs who were appointed and directly controlled by the king, and if his plans had been fully carried out it seems likely that the whole power would have been centralized under his hands. He had to fight, however, for his kingdom to the very end, and at his death in 1202 it seemed doubtful what turn affairs would take.
The party strife continued with scarcely an intermission until long after Sverri's death. The party of the Birkebeinar, however, kept well together and were on the whole the stronger. Their rivals had their chief seat in the south, and were closely connected with Denmark. At Hakon, grandson of Sverri. last Hakon, a grandson of Sverri, was placed on the throne in 1217, and in 1240 the last of the rival claimants to the throne fell, and the whole country was once more at peace under one king. The stormy times of Norway's history appear suddenly to pass away, and the stillness that ensues is likened by one of its historians to “the stillness on a battlefield after the battle.” Hakon died in 1263. There are only two external events of note in his long reign. The one is the acquisition of Iceland, which, like the parent country, had been thoroughly worn out by the struggles of its chiefs. The other is Hakon's Scotch expedition in 1261, which was put an end to by a storm and by the not very important battle of Largs, and which showed conclusively how much the seamanship and fighting power of Magnus Lagabætr. Norway had declined. Hakon's son Magnus surrendered the Hebrides to Scotland by the treaty of Perth in 1268. There is some dispute whether or not this was done under condition of a tribute, but there seems to be no doubt that the tribute, if due, was at all events never paid. Magnus was known by the surname of Lagabætr (law reformer), a designation which indicates the chief work of his reign. The great changes that had taken place during the long period of the civil wars must have rendered some alteration of the old law imperatively necessary; and, while something had been done in Hakon's reign, the work was completed under Magnus. In place of the old provincial laws a new law book was prepared for the whole kingdom, compiled from the older laws with the changes that seemed necessary. Many of these changes relate to customs and rights which had their origin in heathen times. Others show the altered relation of classes. A conspicuous feature is the new importance of the king's Erik, son of Magnus. officials and the increased power and position of the king himself. Magnus died in 1280 and was succeeded by his son Erik, whose only child, the Maid of Norway, perished at sea when on her way to Scotland. In 1299 Erik died and was succeeded by his brother Hakon, who died in 1319, and whose only daughter carried the Norwegian crown into the Swedish line. During the Hakon, son of Magnus, abolishes the Lendermenn. reign of Hakon the lendermenn, who had so long been conspicuous in Norse history, finally disappeared. Hakon abolished them by a decree, without apparently even consulting his council, and without encountering the slightest resistance. They do not even reappear in the minority which followed, and which must have afforded them a very favourable opportunity of recovering their power. They occupied, in truth, an anomalous and untenable position. They had long ceased, as we have seen, to be the chiefs and representatives of the free landowners, and they had failed to assert themselves as a separate power by the side of the king. Under Magnus Lagabætr they had acquired the title of barons, but even under long minorities they never got any real hold of power. The king was too strong for them after they had lost their old position, and he preferred ruling through officers of his own who were wholly dependent on him. Neither was there any room for the growth of a nobility of another type. On the one hand the position of the king was too absolute, and on the other hand the people were too firmly rooted in their old traditional independence. The mass of the small landowners, among whom the greater families, by the partition of their domains, gradually sank back, were ready to obey the king and his officers; but they were not the material on which an intermediate power could be rested. They admitted that the king had an odal right to his kingdom and a definite claim for services and payments, but in the same way they themselves had an immemorial odal right to their lands. The situation of Norway during the Middle Ages might be shortly described as an absolute monarchy resting almost directly on one of the most democratic states of society in Europe. Titles appear, but they represent little or nothing. The ruling officials or deputies of the king are occasionally oppressive, but there is no permanent subjection to them.
Union with Swedish crown. From the time of the union with the Swedish crown the history of Norway is bound up with that of the other Scandinavian countries. With Sweden she entered the Calmar union in 1397, but when that union was broken in Union with Denmark. the beginning of the 16th century she remained with Denmark, and during the whole time of union can scarcely be said to have had a history of her own. The Danish kings were accepted in Norway with only an occasional show of dissent and resistance. One of her oldest and most famous colonies, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, was in 1468 given in pledge, never to be redeemed, to the Scottish king by Christian I. The commercial towns fell under the iron rule of the Hanseatic League and all the old enterprise seemed to have perished. Intellectual life appeared to fall as low as commercial prosperity. The vigorous Norse-Icelandic literature was supplanted after the time of Hakon Magnusson by versions of foreign legends and history, but even that disappeared, and, as the manuscript copies grew scarcer, it appears as if for a while the Norwegians had ceased to read as well as to write. The Reformation spread more slowly into Norway than into the other Scandinavian countries, and had to be encouraged by the Danish kings by methods not altogether dissimilar to those by which Christianity had at first been introduced. But better times began to dawn during last century. Restrictions were removed from lands and the administration was improved. The material prosperity of the country rapidly increased and a new life began to appear.
Reverts to Sweden. By the terms of the peace of Kiel (14th January 1814) Norway was to be transferred from Denmark to Sweden. The Norwegians were at first inclined to resist this, but their means of resistance were small and the Swedes offered liberal terms. In the same year the constitution was solemnly ratified, and Charles XIII. was taken as king. Since then the country has been peaceful and prosperous. The only serious political troubles have been those arising from the question whether the king has an absolute veto upon alteration of the fundamental law of the kingdom.
Bibliography.—P. A. Munch, Det Norske Folk's Historie (Christiania, 1852-63); J. E. Sars, Udsigt over det Norske Historie (Christiania, 1873-77); R. Keyser, Norges Stats- og Retsforfatning (Christiania, 1867). Different views of the part taken by Norway and Denmark in the viking expeditions are represented in Gustav Storm's Kritiske Bidrag til Vikingetiden's Historie (Christiania, 1878); and J. C. H. R. Steenstrup's Inledning i Normannertiden (Copenhagen, 1876). See also Konrad Maurer's Die Bekehrung des Norwegischen Stammes zum Christenthume (Munich, 1855). The original sources are only accessible to English readers in Laing's Chronicle of the Kings of Norway (London, 1844), a translation from Heimskringla, which does not, however, represent the best versions of some of the sagas. Valuable historical notes are to be found in Messrs. Vigfusson and Powell's Corpus Poeticum Borcale (Oxford, 1883). (A. GI.)
The literature of Norway bears something of the same relation to that of Denmark that American literature bears to English. In each case the development and separation of a dependency have produced a desire on the part of persons speaking the mother-tongue for a literature that shall express the local emotions and conditions of the new nation. Two notable events led to the foundation of Norwegian literature: the one was the creation of the university of Christiania in 1811, and the other was the separation of Norway from Denmark in 1814. These events were the signals for intellectual and political independence. Before this time Norwegian writers had been content, as a rule, to publish their works at Copenhagen, which was the metropolis of the realm; they had now a capital of their own in Christiania. The great distinction, however, between Norway and America was that the former was sufficiently ancient and sufficiently neighbouring to contribute to the glory of Denmark a great many young men who quitted the colonial and narrow circle into which they were born, and became to all intents and purposes Danish writers. The first name on the annals of Danish literature, Peder Clausson, is that of a Norwegian; and if all Norse writers were removed from that roll, the list would be poorer by some of its most illustrious names, by Holberg, Tullin, Wessel, Treschow, Steffens, and Hauch.
We must first examine what was done in Norway itself during the colonial period. The first book printed in the country was an almanac, brought out in Christiania in 1643 by a wandering printer named Tyge Nielsen, who brought his types from Copenhagen. But the first press set up definitely in Norway was that of Valentin Kuhn, brought over from Germany in 1650 by the theologian Christian Stephensen Bang (1580-1678) to help in the circulation of his numerous tracts. Bang's Christianiæ Stads Beskrifuelse, 1651, is the first book published in Norway. The name which next detains us is that of Christen Jensen (d. 1653), a priest who collected a small glossary or glosebog of the local dialects, and which was published in 1656. Gerhard Milzow (1629-1688), the author of a Presbyterologia Norwegica, 1679, was also a Norse priest. The earliest Norwegian writer of any original merit was Dorthe Engelbrechtsdatter (1634-1716), afterwards the wife of the pastor Ambrosius Hardenbech (see vol. viii. p. 214). She is the author of several volumes of religious poetry, of a very lacrymose and lamentable order, which have enjoyed great popularity down to the present day. The hymn-writer Johan Brunsmann (1637-1707), though a Norseman by birth, belongs by education and temper entirely to Denmark. Not so Peder Dass (1647-1708) (see vol. vi. p. 831), the most original writer whom Norway produced and retained at home during the colonial period. Another priest, Jonas Ramus (1649-1718), wrote two important posthumous works in prose, Norriges Kongers Historie (History of the Norse Kings) in 1719, and Norriges Beskrivelse, 1735. The celebrated missionary to Greenland, Hans Egede (1686-1758), wrote several works on his experiences in that country. Peder Hersleb (1689-1757) was the compiler of some popular treatises of Lutheran theology. Frederik Nannestad, bishop of Throndhjem (1693-1774), deserves mention as the founder of the periodical press in Norway, having started a weekly gazette in 1760. The missionary Knud Leem (1697-1774) published a number of philological and topographical works regarding the Lapps of Finmark, one at least of which, his Beskrivelse over Finmarkens Lapper, 1767, still possesses considerable interest. The famous Erik Pontoppidan (1698-1764) cannot be regarded as a Norwegian, for he did not leave Denmark until he was made bishop of Bergen, at the age of forty-nine. On the other hand the far more famous Baron Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754), the chief of Danish writers, belongs to Denmark by everything but birth, having left Norway in childhood.
A few Norsemen of the beginning of the 18th century distinguished themselves, chiefly in science. Of these Johan Ernst Gunnerus (1718-1773), bishop of Throndhjem, was the most eminent; he was the first man who gave close attention to the Norwegian flora. He founded the Norwegian Royal Society of Sciences in 1760, in unison with his friends Gerhard Schöning (1722-1780) the historian and Hans Ström (1726-1797) the zoologist. Of these three friends Schöning deserves the greatest prominence in this place, because he wrote more in Danish and less in Latin than the other two. In belles-lettres Norway began to show vitality only when the century had reached its half-way point. Peder Christofer Stenersen (1723-1776), a writer of occasional verses, merely led the way for Christian Braumann Tullin (1728-1765), a lyrical poet of exquisite genius, whose talent is claimed by Denmark as one of the jewels in the crown of her literature, but who must be mentioned here, because his poetry was not only mainly composed in Christiania, but breathes a local spirit. He has been called the Father of Danish lyrical verse. From Tullin's day for about thirty years Denmark was principally supplied with poets from Norway. That portion of the chronicle of Danish literature which extends between the great names of Evald and Baggesen presents us with hardly a single figure which is not that of a Norseman. The director of the Danish national theatre in 1771 was a Norwegian, Niels Krog Bredal (1733-1778), who was the first to write lyrical dramas in Danish, and who exercised wide influence. A Norwegian, Johan Nordahl Brun (1745-1816), was the principal tragedian of the time, in the French taste. It was a Norwegian, J. H. Wessel (1742-1785), who laughed this taste out of fashion. In 1772 the Norwegian poets were so strong in Copenhagen that they formed a Norske Selskab (Norwegian Society), which exercised a tyranny over contemporary letters which was only shaken when Baggesen appeared. Among the leading writers of this period we can but just mention, besides those above named, Claus Frimann (1746-1829), Peter Harboe Frimann (1752-1839), Claus Fasting (1746-1791), Johan Wibe (1748-1782), Edvard Storm (1749-1794), C. H. Pram (1756-1821), Jonas Rein (1760-1821), Jens Zetlitz (1761-1821), and Lyder Christian Sagen (1771-1850), all of whom, though Norwegians by birth, find their place in the annals of Danish literature. To these poets must be added the philosophers Niels Treschow (1751-1833) and Henrik Steffens (1773-1845), and in later times the poet Johannes Carsten Hauch (1790-1872). There is no example of a writer of importance, born in Norway since 1800, who is counted among Danish authors.
The first form which Norwegian literature took as an independent thing was what was called “Syttendemai-Poesi,” or poetry of the seventeenth of May, that being the day on which Norway obtained her independence and proclaimed her king. Three poets, called the Trefoil, came forward as the inaugurators of Norwegian thought in 1814. Of these Conrad Nicolai Schwach (1793-1860) was the least remarkable. Henrik Anker Bjerregaard (1792-1842), born in the same hamlet of Ringsaker as Schwach, had a much brighter and more varied talent. His poems, collected at Christiania in 1829, contain some charming studies from nature. He brought out a tragedy of Magnus Barfods Sönner (Magnus Barefoot's Sons) and a lyrical drama, Fjeldeventyret (The Adventure in the Mountains), 1828. The third member of the Trefoil, Mauritz Christopher Hansen (1794-1842), was a laborious and fecund worker in many fields. His novels, of which Ottar de Bretagne, 1819, was the earliest, were much esteemed in their day, and after Hansen s death were collected and edited, with a memoir by Schwach. Hansen's Poems, printed at Christiania in 1816, were among the earliest publications of a liberated Norway, but were preceded by a volume of Smaadigte (Short Poems) by all three poets, edited by Schwach in 1815, as a semi-political manifesto. These writers, of no great genius in themselves, did much by their industry and patriotism to form a basis for Norwegian literature to be built upon. They wrote, however, on national themes without much knowledge, and in complete bondage to the conventional forms in vogue in Copenhagen in their youth.
The creator of Norwegian literature, however, was the poet Henrik Arnold Wergeland (1808-1845), a man of great genius and enthusiasm, who contrived within the limits of a life as short as Byron's to concentrate the labours of a dozen ordinary men of letters. He held views in most respects similar to those pronounced by Rousseau and Shelley; he never ceased to preach the dignity of man, the worth of liberty to the individual and of independence to the nation, and the relation of republican politics to a sound form of literature. His own ideal of literature, however, was at first anything but sound. He was the eldest son of Professor Nikolai Wergeland (1780-1848), who had been one of the constitutional assembly who proclaimed the independence of Norway in 1814 at Eidsvold. Nikolai was himself pastor of Eidsvold, and the poet was thus brought up in the very holy of holies of Norwegian patriotism. His earliest efforts in literature were wild and formless. He was full of imagination, but without taste or knowledge. He published poetical farces under the pseudonym of “Siful Sifadda,” trifles unworthy of attention. These were followed, in 1828, by Sinclair's Death, an unsuccessful tragedy; and in 1829 by a volume of lyrical and patriotic poems, which attracted the liveliest attention to his name. At the age of twenty-one he became a power in literature, nay more, an influence in the state. But these writings were coldly received by connoisseurs, and a monster epic, Skabelsen, Mennesket, og Mesias (Creation, Man, and Messiah), which followed in 1830, showed no improvement in style. From 1831 to 1835 Wergeland was submitted to severe satirical attacks from Welhaven and others, and his style became improved in every respect. His popularity waned as his poetry improved, and in 1840 he found himself a really great poet, but an exile from political influence. His Jan van Huysums Blomsterstykke (J. van Huysum's Flower-piece), 1840, Svalen (The Swallow), 1841, Jöden (The Jew), 1842, Jödinden (The Jewess), 1844, and Den Engelske Lods (The English Pilot), 1844, form a series of narrative poems in short lyrical metres which remain the most interesting and important of their kind in Norwegian literature. He was less successful in other branches of letters; in the drama, neither his Campbellerne (The Campbells), 1837, Venetianerne (The Venetians), 1843, nor Sokadetterne (The Cadets), 1848, has achieved any lasting success, while his elaborate contribution to political history, Norges Konstitutions Historie, 1841-43, is forgotten. The poems of his last five years, however, enjoy as true a popularity as ever, and are not likely to lose it. The only influence which Wergeland, in spite of his genius, has had on Norwegian literature is the removal of traditions and the release of style in various directions. His obscurity and extravagance have stood in the way of his teaching, and his only disciples in poetry have been Sylvester Sivertson (1809-1847), a journalist of talent whose verses were collected in 1848, and Christian Monsen (1815-1852).
A far more wholesome and constructive influence was that of Johann Sebastian Cammermeyer Welhaven (1807-1873), who was first brought to the surface by the conservative reaction in 1830 against the extravagance of the radical party. His first publications were polemical, and were mainly directed against Wergeland. A savage attack on Henrik Wergeland's Poetry, published in 1832, caused a great sensation, and produced an angry pamphlet in reply from the father, Nikolai Wergeland. The controversy became the main topic of the day, and in 1834 Welhaven pushed it into a wider arena by the publication of his beautiful cycle of satirical sonnets called Norges Dæmring (The Dawn of Norway), in which he preached a full conservative gospel. Norway has not followed Welhaven in politics, but it certainly has in literature. The salutary character of his advice was instantly felt by the younger men of letters. As a poet and as a critic he continued to do admirable work. He published volumes of lyrical and romantic poems in 1839, 1845, 1848, 1851, and 1860; and he enriched the language by two excellent critical studies, one on Holberg, 1854, and the other on Evald and the Norwegian Club, 1863. His collected works appeared in eight volumes in 1867-68. He was assisted in his controversy with Wergeland by Henrik Hermann Foss (1790-1853), author of Tidenornerne (The Norns of the Age), 1835, and other verses.
Andreas Munch (b. 1811), the oldest now-living Norwegian author of any repute, has been one of the most rapid and industrious of poetical writers. He took no part in the feud between Wergeland and Welhaven, but addicted himself to the study of Danish models independently of either. He published a series of poems and dramas, one of which latter, Kong Sverres Ungdom, 1837, attracted some notice, without securing much position. His popularity commenced with the appearance of his Poems Old and New in 1848, and has only lately begun to decline. Andreas Munch makes little or no appeal to the highest poetical susceptibilities; his work is melodious, facile, and graceful, but without depth of feeling or artistic beauty. His highest level as a poet was reached by his epic called Kongedatterens Brudefart (The Bridal Journey of the King's Daughter), 1861. Two of his historical dramas have enjoyed a popularity greatly in excess of their merit; these are Solomon de Caus, 1854, and Lord William Russell, 1857. Munch published a fragment of an autobiography in 1874, with the title of Barndoms- og Ungdoms-minder (Memoirs of Childhood and Youth).
A group of minor poetical writers may now be considered. Magnus Brostrup Landstad (1802-1881) was born on Maasö, an island in the vicinity of the North Cape, and therefore in higher latitudes than any other man of letters. He was a hymn-writer of merit, and he was the first to collect, in 1853, the Norske Folkeviser, or Norwegian folk-songs. Landstad was ordered by the Government to prepare an official national hymn-book, which was brought out in 1861. Peter Andreas Jensen (1812-1867) published volumes of lyrical poetry, mostly to edification, in 1838, 1849, 1855, and 1861, and two dramas. He was also the author of a novel, En Erindring (A Souvenir), in 1857. Aasmund Olafsen Vinje (1818-1870) was a peasant of remarkable talent, who was the principal leader of the movement known as the “maalstrœv,” an effort to distinguish Norwegian from Danish literature by the adoption of a peasant dialect, or rather a new language arbitrarily formed on a collation of the various dialects. Vinje wrote a volume of lyrics, which he published in 1864, and a narrative poem, Storegut (Big Lad), 1866, entirely in this fictitious language, and he even went so far as to issue in it a newspaper, Dölen (The Dalesman), which appeared from 1858 to Vinje's death in 1870. In these efforts he was supported by Ivar Aasen, to whom we shall return, and by Kristoffer Jansen (b. 1841), now the only remaining “maalstrœver,” who resides in the United States, and who is the author of various important works,—an historical tragedy, Jon Arason,1867; several novels,—Fraa Bygdom, 1865; Torgrim, 1872; Fra Dansketidi, 1875; Han og Ho, 1878; and Austanfyre Sol og Vestanfyre Maane (East of the Sun and West of the Moon), 1879; besides a powerful but morbid drama in the ordinary language of Norway, En Kvindeskjebne (A Woman's Fate), 1879. Superior to all the preceding in the quality of his lyrical writing was the late bishop of Christiansand, Jörgen Moe (1813-1882), author of three little volumes of exquisite verses, published in 1850, 1851, and 1853. He is, however, better known by his labours in comparative mythology, in conjunction with P. C. Asbjörnsen.
The mixture of such opposite elements as the wild genius of Wergeland and the cold critical judgment of Welhaven would seem to have formed a singularly happy basis for the writers of the next generation to build a literature upon. The now-living poets of Norway may hold their own without fear of too severe a rivalry, not merely with those of Denmark and Sweden, whom they easily excel, but with those of the great powers. There can be no reasonable question that Ibsen and Björnson are the two most original figures of their generation in the Teutonic world of imagination. But their energy, and that of their companions, has been almost entirely confined to two fields,—the drama and the novel. The narrative and epical forms of poetry, and even the lyric in its more ambitious directions, have not flourished in the modern Norwegian school. The most conspicuous name in Norwegian literature is that of Henrik Ibsen (b. 1828). His early efforts were not remarkable, and to this day he has not succeeded in any field but the drama, where he is a master. His first tragedy, Catilina, 1850, was a work of little importance. It was not until 1856 that he came forward with a romantic drama, Gildet paa Solhaug (The Feast at Solhaug), in which an individual style was noticeable. Two successive tragedies, Fru Inger til Österaad, 1857, and Hærmændene paa Helgeland (The Warriors on Helgeland), 1858, displayed a sudden development of power. In 1863, at last, he wrote an historical tragedy, Kongsemnerne (The Pretenders), which is a work of maturer genius. He had by this time, however, been drawn into a new channel. In 1862 he began his series of lyrico- satirical dramas on modern Norwegian life with his Kjærlighedens Komedie (Love's Comedy), a brilliant study, which was succeeded by two masterpieces of a similar kind, Brand in 1866, and Peer Gynt in 1867. These were long dramas, written entirely in octosyllabic rhyming verse. In De Unges Forbund (The Young Men's League), 1869, which was a political satire of much force, he abandoned verse, and has since written all his dramas in prose. In 1871 he collected his lyrical poems, and in 1873 he published Kejser og Galilæer (Emperor and Galilean), a double drama of portentous size, on the career of Julian the Apostate. Since that time he has published, about once in every two years, satirical comedies of great pungency and wit, laying bare some sore of modern social life among his countrymen,—Samfundets Stötter (The Pillars of Society), in 1877; Et Dukkehjem (A Doll's House, or Nora), in 1879; Gengangere (Ghosts), in 1881; and En Folkefiende (An Enemy to the People), in 1883. The last of these is a humorous apology for the poet's severity as a satirist, which in his latest works has seemed excessive even to his greatest admirers. He has lived in voluntary exile from Norway since 1864.
It has been a misfortune to Björnstjerne Björnson (b. 1832) that he was born four years later than Ibsen, with whose powers his might else be more exactly matched. It is possible that in some respects his mind is more richly endowed than Ibsen's, and it would seem to be more versatile; the elder poet, however, is the superior artist, and has his qualities under more severe control. Björnson has made several false starts; Ibsen scarcely one. The first successes of Björnson were made in the field of the novel, where he adapted from the German school of “dorfgeschichten,” a species of realistic and yet romantic tale of life among the peasants in the mountains, which was singularly charming and attractive. Of these the two first, Synnöve Solbakken, 1857, and Arne, 1858, were among the best, and made his name famous. His ambition, however, was to excel in dramatic writing, and after three comparative failures—Halte Hulda (Halting Hulda), 1858; Mellem Slagene (Between the Battles), 1859; and Kong Sverre (King Sverre), 1861—he made a great success with his heroic trilogy of Sigurd Slembe in 1862. In the meantime small sketches of peasant life, and the exquisite little story called En Glad Gut (A Merry Lad), had supported his reputation. In 1863 he brought out a tragedy of Maria Stuart i Skotland, and in 1865 a little comedy De Nygifte (The Newly-married
Couple), which enjoyed an overwhelming success. Another story, Fiskerjenten (The Fisher-Girl), in 1868, was found less fresh and unaffected than his early stories, and he returned to his charming pristine manner in Brudeslaaten, 1873. Since that year he has published but one novel, Magnhild, 1877, and a slight study of Italian life, Kaptejn Mansana, 1879, neither quite worthy of his genius. All his other productions have been dramatic. Fired with emulation for Ibsen, he has written Sigurd Jorsalfar, in 1873, an historical saga-drama, and a series of satirical comedies,—En Fallit (A Bankruptcy), 1875, an admirable piece; Redaktören (The Editor), 1875; Kongen (The King), 1877, a political manifesto in four acts; Leonarda, 1879; Det ny System (The New System), 1879; En Handske (A Glove), 1883; and Over Ævne (Beyond his Reach), 1883,—the last a very singular study of epileptic hysteria as a factor in religious enthusiasm. Björnson is a republican of the most advanced order, and his views are pushed forward too crudely for artistic effect in several of his later works.
Two writers of novels who owe much to the example of Ibsen and Björnson are Jonas Lie (b. 1833) and Alexander Kielland (b. 1849). Lie was late in developing his talent, and has lost much time in wavering between the sentimental and the realistic schools of treatment. He has finally thrown in his cause with the latter in his last novel Livs-Slaven, 1883. His best books have been stories of seafaring life—Den Fremsynte (The Man with the Second Sight), 1870; Tremasteren Fremtiden (The Threemaster “Future”), 1872; Lodsen og hans Hustru (The Pilot and his Wife), 1874; and Rutland, 1880. His tales of town-life—Thomas Ross, 1878, and Adam Schröder, 1879—have less of the novelist s illusion. Kielland may prove to possess a stronger talent than Lie; his progress has been more rapid and steady, and he has a clearer idea of what he wishes to do. He began by being strongly influenced by Zola in his Garman og Worse, 1879, and his Arbeidsfolk (Working People), 1880. His latest works have shown steady improvement in style and a growing independence of French models. From this, the youngest of distinguished Norwegian writers, we may turn back to a few older names which close the list of novelists. Nicolai Ramm Ostgaard (1812-1873) to some extent preceded Björnson in his graceful romance En Fjeldbygd (A Mountain Parish), in 1852. Frithjof Foss, who wrote under the pseudonym of Israél Dehn (b. 1830), attracted notice by a series of no less than seven separate stories published between 1862 and 1864, but has been silent since. The two most important women-novelists have been Jacobine Camilla Collett (b. 1813), a cousin of the poet Wergeland, author of Amtmandens Döttre (The Governor's Daughters), 1855, an excellent novel, and many other volumes; and Anna Magdalene Thoresen (b. 1819), a Dane by birth, author of a series of novels.
The labours of Peter Christen Asbjörnsen (b. 1812), in conjunction with Bishop Moe, in the collection of the old Norse folk-tales, demand prominent recognition in any sketch of Norwegian literature. Before they were twenty years of age these friends began to write down the stories of the peasants. In 1838 Asbjörnsen first made public some of the results of his investigations in a little publication for children called Nor. Not until 1842 did the first authorized edition of the Norske Folkeeventyr see the light. It was followed in 1845 by Huldreeventyr, or stories about the fairies or sirens which haunt the mountain dairies, by Asbjörnsen alone. Of these a second series appeared in 1848, and in 1871 a new series was published again by Asbjornsen alone of the Folkeeventyr. It was from minstrels, boatmen, vagabonds, and paupers that the best stories were collected, and it is a significant fact that most of these professional reciters are now dead. Had Asbjörnsen and Moe neglected the duty of preserving the ancient legends, they would now, in all probability, be entirely lost. What has been done by Asbjörnsen for the peasant-stories has been done for the dialects in which they were composed by Ivar Aasen (b. 1813). Since 1850 he has received a pension from the state to enable him to study the peasant-patois, and his great dictionary, Norsk Ordbog, first printed in 1858, and his other linguistic publications have been the result. He is the creator of the artificial language, the “maal,” which Vinje, K. Jansen, and others have written in; and he has published in it a valuable collection of proverbs, 1851.
The principal historian of Norway has been Peter Andreas Munch (1810-1863), whose multifarious writings include a grammar of Old Norse, 1847; a collection of Norwegian laws until the year 1387, 1846-49; a study of Runic inscriptions, 1848; a history and description of Norway during the Middle Ages, 1849; and a history of the Norwegian people, in 8 vols., 1852-63; Jakob Aall (1773-1844) was associated with Munch in this work. Jakob Rudolf Keyser (1803-1864) performed services scarcely less important in printing and annotating the most important documents dealing with the mediæval history of Norway. Carl Richard Unger (b. 1817) has taken part in the same work and edited Morkinskinna in 1867. Sophus Bugge (b. 1833) is a leading philologist of a younger school, and Oluf Rygh (b. 1833) has contributed to the archæological part of history. The modern language of Norway found an admirable grammarian in Jakob Olaus Lökke (1829-1881). A careful historian and ethnographer was Ludvig Kristensen Daa (1809-1877). Ludvig Daae (b. 1834) has written the history of Christiania, and has traced the chronicles of Norway during the Danish possession. Bernt Moe (1814-1850) was a careful biographer of the heroes of Eidsvold. Eilert Lund Sundt (1817-1875) published some very curious and valuable works on the condition of the poorer classes in Norway. Professor J. A. Friis (b. 1821) has published the folk-lore of the Lapps in a series of very curious and valuable volumes.
In jurisprudence the principal Norwegian authorities are Anton Martin Schweigaard (1808-1870) and Frederik Stang (b. 1808). Peter Carl Lasson (1798-1873) and Ulrik Anton Motzfelt (d. 1865) were the lights of an earlier generation. In medical science, the great writer of the beginning of the century was Michael Skjelderup (1769-1852), who was succeeded by Frederik Hoist (b. 1791). Daniel Cornelius Danielsen (b. 1815) is a prominent dermatologist; but probably the most eminent of recent physiologists in Norway is Carl Wilhelm Boeck (b. 1808). The elder brother of the last-mentioned, Christian Peter Bianco Boeck (1798-1877), also demands recognition as a medical writer. Christopher Hansteen (1784-1873) was prominent in several branches of mathematical and chemical literature, and was professor of mathematics at the university for nearly sixty years. Michael Sars (b. 1805) has obtained a European reputation through his investigations in invertebrate zoology. He has been assisted by his son Georg Ossian Sars (b. 1837). Baltazar Michael Keilhau (1797-1858) and Theodor Kjerulf (b. 1825) have been the leading Norwegian geologists. Mathias Numsen Blytt (1789-1862) represents the section of botany. His Norges Flora, part of which was published in 1861, was left incomplete at his death. Niels Henrik Abel (1802-1829) was a mathematician of extraordinary promise; Ole Jakob Broch (b. 1818) must be mentioned in the same connexion. Marcus Jakob Monrad (b. 1816), an Hegelian, is the most prominent philosophical writer of modern Norway. Among theological writers may be mentioned Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771-1824), author of the sect which bears his name; Svend Borchman Hersleb (1784-1836); Stener Johannes Stenersen (1789-1835) ; Wilhelm Andreas Wexels (1797-1866), a writer of extraordinary popularity; and Carl Paul Caspari (b. 1814), the learned professor of theology in the university of Christiania.
No very recent compendium of Norwegian literature exists. La Norvége Littéraire, by Paul Botten-Hansen (1824-1869), is an admirable piece of bibliography so far as it reaches, but comes down no farther than 1866. Professor L. Dietrichson published in 1866 the first and only part of an Omrids af den Norske Poesis Historie (Outline of the History of Norwegian Poetry). J. B. Halvorsen is now publishing a Norsk Forfatter-Lexikon, 1814-1880 (Norwegian Dictionary of Authors); this promises to be a very valuable work, but has not as yet proceeded beyond the letter B. In English see the earlier chapters of Gosse's Northern Studies (1879; 2nd edition, 1882). (E. W. G.)
|VOL. XVII.||NORWAY & SWEDEN||PLATE XX.|
|J. Bartholomew, Edinʳ.|
|encyclopædia britannica, ninth edition|
- ↑ This territorial division is the only one which has been known in Norway since that into “fylkis,” which had become antiquated even in the days of Harold Haarfager. These fylkis were more numerous than the present amter.