« AnteriorContinuar »
passing through Christiansand, terminates abruptly at the southern extremity of Norway in a lofty precipice. The highest summit of the whole range is near lat. 68° N.; the highest of the Dofrafield mountains is 4,297 feet above the level of the sea. These summits and numerous others are covered with perpetual spow and ice. There are passes across the mountains in various places, some of which are narrow and dangerous; that of Fillafield under 61° N. lat. is rich in romantic prospects.
Rivers and Lakes. The rivers of Norway are numerous, but short and rapid. The mountains every where approaching near to the coast, the rivers descend from them like torrents directly and impetuously into the sea. Owing to the rocks with which they abound they are generally unfit for navigation. The Glommen, the largest river in Norway, falls into the Cattegat at Frederickstadt, after a southerly course of about 300 miles. It is full of shoals and cataracts which completely obstruct the navigation. The Dramnen falls into the gulf of Christiania on the west side. The lakes in the southern of the country are numer: ous but many of them are mere expansions of the rivers.
Face of the Country.] The surface of Norway is very uneven, presenting a succession of mountains and vallies, the former in general barren,and uninhabited; the latter not deficient in the productions of a high latitude. The scenery is striking from its grandeur and sublimity, but seldom pleasing from the softer beauties. Vast forests, lofty mountains, rocks, precipices and water falls, and at times a picturesque valley, are the objects which here present themselves to the traveller.
Climate.] In the interior, near the high mountains which form the eastern frontier, the cold of winter is intense, but the atmosphere is serene and healthy. On the sea coast the climate is materially different, being softened ly the western breeze, and is often less cold in the depth of winter than the interior of Germany. The bays along the coast are seldom frozen, the open sea never. Tbis, however, is the region of fog, rain and high wind. In summer the length of the day counterbalances the shortness of the warm season, and corn ripens with uncommon rapidity. In Nordland and Finmark, the sun remains above the horizon for several weeks successively, and in winter is invisible for a corresponding interval; the dreariness of the latter, however, is \essened by the coruscations of the aurora borealis, and the brightness of the snow, which furnish light sufficient for ordinary purposes.
Soil and Productions. The soil of Norway is generally stony and barren, though in the southern provinces there are some tracts of considerable fertility. The country does not yield corn enough for the support of its inhabitants, about one fourth part of all that is consumed being imported from foreign countries. In places remote from the coast the inhabitants live on coarse fare, and are accustomed, in seasons of scarcity, to lengthen out their scanty stores by mixing pine bark with their bread. Flax and hemp are raised in many parts of the country ; in others barley
and oats. It is computed that not more than one hundreth part of the kingdom is under tillage; the pastures, however, are extessive, and cattle in considerable numbers are raised for exportation. The mountains are covered with forests of pine, ash, and fir, and these are the most important patural productions ; timber having been for baby ages the principal article of export from Norway.
Chief Towns.) Christiania, the capital, is situated in a fertile valley at the bottom of a gulf of the same name, in the province of Aggerhuus. This gulf penetrates above 50 miles into the interior of the country, and is filled with rocky islands which, however, do not interrupt the navigation. The harbor is excellent, and vessels of the largest size ascend to the wharves.
The town though not large, is the best built and most thriving place in the kingdom, having regular streets, neat stone houses and about 9,000 inbabitants.
Bergen, the largest town in Norway, lies at the bottom of e long bay, which is inclosed on all sides by rugged and barren rocks. While it has thus from its situation the advantage of a secure barbor, the access is attended with considerable danger.
The rise of the commerce of this place is to be dated from the year 1445, when the German Hanse towns established here a factory and ware houses. In process of time they came to exercise a sort of authority over the inhabitants ; and though this has Jong ceased to exist, there is still at Bergen a company of about 17 German merchants in correspondence with Bremen, Lubeck and Hamburgh. The trade consists in the export of fish, fish-oil, timber, tar, tallow and hides, and the import of corn and foreign merchandise. The population is 18,000.
Drontheim is 235 miles N. E. of Bergen on a large bay or arm of the sea at the mouth of the Nid. The harbor is perfectly safe, but the entrance is hazardous on account of concealed rocks. It has considerable trade, and the principal exports are copper, iron, timber and fish. The population in 1814 was 8,832.
Christiansand is on the southern coast opposite several small islands, the principal of which is Flekkeroen. The barbor is one of the safest in Norway, and between the island of Flekkeroen and the shore there is a road several miles in length where there is good anchorage. The town was founded by Christian IV. of Denmark, in 1641, with the view of making it the principal station of his navy. The inhabitants, about 5000 in number, carry on some trade in timber, but their principal employment is in building and repairing vessels.
Roraas, celebrated for its copper mipes, is 67 miles S. F. of Drontheim, on a high mountain which is covered with snow almost the whole of the year. Kongsberg, 36 miles west of Christiania, was formerly celebrated for its rich silver mines, but they are now uoproductive. Skeen, 38 miles S.S.W. of Christiania, has prorluctive mines of iron and copper. Frederickshall is on the frontier of Sweden, 52, miles S S. E. of Christiania. On a rock whicb overhangs the town is the almost impregoable fortress èf
Eredericksteen, rendered memorable by the death of Charles XII. of Sweden, who was killed in the trenches during a siege.
Minerals.) The most valuable minerals are iron and copper. The value of the iron annually produced is estimated at about £150.000: it is in general of a good quality, though not equal to that of Sweden. The copper is of very superior quality, and the chief mines of it are at Roraas. There is a salt-work near Tonsberg, on the west side of the gulf of Christiania, which produces about 20,000 tons of salt a year.
Animals.] The Norwegian horses are small but hardy; the horned catile are likewise diminutive, but are readily fattened. Goats are more common than sheep In Norwegian Lapland, the reindeer forms the principal wealth, and almost the only source of the subsistence of the inhabitants. Attempts are now making to rear this useful animal in the southern provinces. Aquatic fowl are so numerous that bird-catching has become a regular erni loyment, and affords support to several thousands of the inhalvitants.
Population | The population, consisting of 930,000, is principally contined to the southern part of the country. In the three southern provinces there are more than 10 to a square mile ; in Drontheim nearly eight, and in the bleak regions of the north but little more than one.
Religion.) The Lutheran is the established religion, and the great body of the inhabitants are of this persuasion. The country contains five bishoprics corresponding with the five governments. The bishoprics are divided into districts under the care of provosts, and these districts are subdivided into parishes. Where the parish is large it contains, besides the principal church, one or more chapels of ease, under the care of chaplains. There are in the whole country 49 provosts, 329 parish priests, and 92 shaplains.
Education.) There is at Bergen a university on a small scale, fur teaching the classics, mathematics and philosophy; and there are several academies or higher schools maintained at the ex-. pence of the government. Each parish is provided with two or Ihree schools, where children are taught reading, writing, anıt arithmetic.
Character.) The Norwegians are tall, well formed, robusi, and brave, and make excellent soldiers and sailors. They possess hospitality and simplicity, and are in general accustomed to live in a very plain style, both as to diet and dwelling. The ancient habits and character of the people are much better preserved in the secluded vallies of the interior, than in the tours along the coast, where ihere has been a mixture of settlers from Denmark and Germany, and a considerable commercial iniercourse with these countries, as well as with Britain and Ilolianı). Even the Norwegian language has, in the seaports and among the upper ranks, been in general supplanted by the Danish.
Government.] Norway formerly belonged to Denmark, but in 1914 Denmark was compelled to transfer it 10 Sieden. It is
however to a considerable extent an independent kingdom, preserving its ancient constitution and laws, and having a separate assembly or diet, a separate treasury, and separate army. The union with Sweden consists simply in its being permanently gorerned by the same king. "Revenue, Army and Navy.) The annual revenue is usually about $1,500,000. The army consists of 12,000 regular troops, besides militia. The navy is on a very small scale, containing only six brigs, eight schooners, and about 100 gunboats.
Fisheries.] The fisheries are extensive, and may be considered, after timber and iron, the chief support of the export trade. The herring and cod fisheries are the principal branches, and give employment to many of the poor inbabitants along the coast. Salmon are likewise caught in great numbers in the lakes and rivers.
Manufactures and Cominerce. Norway, like other poor and thinly peopled countries, has scarcely any manufactures, the only works entitled to that name being the forges, foundries, glasshouses, potash refineries, and saw-mills, which owe their existence principally to the abundance of wood. The principal imports are manufactured goods of various descriptions, groceries, wine, and corn. The exports are timber, iron, copper, fish and oil, potash and glass, also cattle, hides and tallow. The commerce is principally with England, Holland and Denmark. The shipping be onging to Norway amounts to nearly 100,000 tons, and the number of seamen is about 10,000.
Natural Curiosity. The Malstrom, or Moskoe-strom, is a remarkable whirlpool near the little island of Moskoe, one of the Loffoden islands, in about lat. 68° N. It is occasioned by the very rapid ebb and flood of the sea between Moskoe and a neighboring island. About a quarter of an hour, at high and low water, it is quiet. But when the tide is rising or falling, and especially when the N.W. wind blows in opposition to the tide, the sea boils with the most violent agitation; its roar is heard at the distance of many leagues, and the force and extent of the vortex is so great, that ships three miles off are sometimes forced towards the centre and finally dashed in pieces against the bottom. Whales are frequently absorbed by it in spite of their endeavours to escape.
Situation and Extent.] Sweden is bounded on the N. by Norway; on the E. hy Russia and the Gulf of Bothnia; on the S. E. and S. by the Baltic sea ; and W. by the Sound, the Cattegat and Norway. It extends from 55° 20 to 69° 30' N. lat. being about 1,000 miles long from north to south, and containing according to Hassel 188,433 square miles.
Divisions.] Sweden is divided into 24 lans or provinces, as in the following table. The extent and population in 1800 are annexed to each province.
1. Sweden Proper,
or Fahlun, f. Gothland,
Medelpad, 23. Hernosand
Angermanland West Bothnia,
Asele Lapmark, 25. Umea
2,430 81,131 33 2,977 96,547 32 2,882 86,583 30 3,872
95,025 24 25,696 122,624 5 42,086 1,454,000 34
1,892 116,674 62
78 3,190 135,695 42 4,510 158,057 35 4,400 114,480 26 3,608 87,604 24 4,048 129,548 32 1,127 62,402 55
6,578 135,438 20 • 1,078 31,291 29 106,304 239,132 2
22. Gefleborg Gestrikland,
Face of the Country.) The coast is indented by numerous iolets, and is every where lined with a succession of small islands Ad rocks, which render the navigation very difficult and dan