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Hammerfest kommune
County Finnmark
Municipality NO-2004
Administrative centre Hammerfest
Mayor (2003) Alf E. Jakobsen (Ap)
Official language form Neutral
 - Total
 - Land
 - Percentage
Ranked 129
849 km²
819 km²
0.26 %
 - Total (2004)
 - Percentage
 - Change (10 years)
 - Density
Ranked 113
0.20 %
-4.0 %
Coordinates Template:Coor dm

Data from Statistics Norway (http://www.ssb.no/english/municipalities/2004)

Hammerfest is a city and municipality in the county of Finnmark, Norway.

Located at 70° 39' 48" N, it claims to be the northernmost town in the world, although the title is disputed by Honningsvåg, Norway and Barrow, Alaska. The validity of the claim depends upon one's definition of a city; Hammerfest is the northernmost settlement of more than 5,000 inhabitants in the world. It is also the oldest city in northern Norway.

The city offers sport and commercial fishing, both sea and freshwater, including scuba diving. The northernmost glacier on the Norwegian mainland is a popular hiking destination. The town is a popular starting point for northern tours. There is a daily boat to the spectacular North Cape (Nordkapp), northernmost point on the continent of Europe.

Hammerfest is also a center of Sami culture.

Many gravesites dating back to the Stone Age can be found here. It had already been an important fishing and Arctic hunting settlement for a long time before it was recognized as a town in 1789.

During the Napoleonic Wars Denmark-Norway was attacked by the UK and forced into the conflict on the side of Napoleon and France.

As one of the main centers of commerce and communications in western Finnmark Hammerfest became a natural target of the Royal Navy's blockading warships. Thus, the town received four six-pound cannon from the central armoury in Trondheim and a 50-men strong coastal defence militia was formed to defend Hammerfest.

On July 22nd 1809 the expected British attack came when the brigs Snake and Fancy approached the town. The following battle between Hammerfest's two two-cannon batteries and the British warships with a total of 32 cannon was surprizingly intense and did not end before the Norwegian cannons had run out of gun powder after about 90 minutes of combat. Both attacking warships had suffered several cannon ball hits and had at least one fatal casualty, a sailor who was buried at the local cemetry. During the battle the local populace had been able to make good their escape with most of the town's goods, but the raiding warships still stayed in the good port of Hammerfest for eight days. During their stay the Royal navy sailors looted all they could get their hands on, including the church donation box and some of the church's silver.

After the raid Hammmerfest became a garrison town with some regular troops and much improved and expanded fortifications. A small flotilla of cannon-armed rowing boats also operated out of Hammerfest for the remainder of the Napoleonic Wars.

It was struck by a fire in 1890 which started in the bakery and wiped out almost half the town's houses. After the fire Hammerfest received donations and humanitarian assistance from across the world; the biggest single donor being Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. The Kaiser had personally visited the town several times on his yacht and had great affection for the small northern settlement.

Hammerfest was forcibly evacuated by occupying German troops in World War II and then burned to the ground by them when they retreated. The Museum of Reconstruction in Hammerfest tells the story of these events and the recovery of the city. Hammerfest is also home to the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society (Isbjørnklubben), and a museum displaying the history of Arctic hunting.

See also Northernmost settlements.

External link

Municipalities of Finnmark Finnmark coat of arms

Alta | Berlevåg | Båtsfjord | Gamvik | Hammerfest | Hasvik | Karasjok | Kautokeino | Kvalsund | Lebesby | Loppa | Måsøy | Nesseby | Nordkapp | Porsanger | Sør-Varanger | Tana | Vadsø | Vardø


de:Hammerfest es:Hammerfest fr:Hammerfest nl:Hammerfest no:Hammerfest nn:Hammerfest se:Hámmárfeasta


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