Online Encyclopedia

HAMMERFEST

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 897 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HAMMERFEST, the most northern town in Europe. Pop. (1900) 2300. It is situated on an island (Kvalo) off the N.W. coast of Norway, in Finmarken amt (county), in 70° 40' 11'' N., the latitude being that of the extreme north of Alaska. Its position affords the best illustration of the warm climatic influence of the north-eastward, Atlantic drift, the mean annual temperature being 36° F. (January 31°, July 57°). Hammerfest is 674 M. by sea N.E. of Trondhjem, and 78 S.W. from the North Cape. The character of this coast differs from the southern, the islands being fewer and larger, and of table shape. The narrow strait Strommen separates Kvalo from the larger Seiland, whose snow-covered hills with several glaciers rise above 3500 ft., while an insular rampart of mountains, Soro, protects the strait and harbour from the open sea. The town is timber-built and modern; and the' Protestant church, town-hall, and schools were all rebuilt after fire in 189o. There is also a Roman Catholic church. The sun does not set at Hammerfest from the 13th of May to the 29th of July. This is the busy season of the towns-folk. Vessels set out to the fisheries, as far as Spitsbergen and the Kara Sea; and trade is brisk, not only Norwegian and Danish but British, German and particularly Russian vessels engaging in it. Cod-liver oil and salted fish are exported with some reindeer-skins, fox-skins and eiderdown; and coal and salt for curing are imported. In the spring the great herds of tame reindeer are driven out to swim Strommen and graze in the summer pastures of Seiland; towards winter they are called home again. From the 18th of November to the 23rd of January the sun is not seen, and the enforced quiet of winter prevails. Electric light was introduced in the town in 1891. On the Fuglenaes or Birds' Cape, which protects the harbour on the north, there stands a column with an inscription in Norse and Latin, stating that Hammerfest was one of the stations of the
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