The southernmost province (stift or diocese) of Norway, bordering on the provinces of Bergen and Christiania, the North sea, and the Skager Rack; area, 15,400 sq. m.; pop. in 1865, 328,742. It is traversed by numerous mountains and small rivers, and includes many islands. The coast is broken, especially on the west, where it is penetrated by the extensive Bukke bay or fiord, with two branches, the northern and larger being the Narstrand, and the southern the Lyse fiord. The N. E. district of Upper Tellemarken or Bratsberg is among the most mountainous. The numerous clefts are filled with water, which rushes down in rapids and cataracts with tremendous velocity, and the waterfall of the Rinkan Foss is over 400 ft. high. These waters unite in three streams and fall into the lake of Nord Soen, whence rises a powerful and impetuous river, the Skeen or Brevig. The other chief rivers are the Nid and the Torrisdal. The fine color of the water, the rocky banks, and the whole scenery produce a remarkably picturesque effect. In the southern districts there are large and fertile valleys, and the climate is very mild, considering the high latitude.
The principal wealth of the province consists in forests of oak, pine, fir, and birch, supplying materials for making fishing boats and for the export of planks and deals. Lobsters are not found in any part of the world in greater quantities than along the S. coast of this province between Hellesund and Lister fiord. The principal mineral is iron, and the great abundance of fuel offers facilities for smelting it. The population is remarkable for its hardiness, laboriousness, and tall stature. II. A city, capital of the province, situated upon a deep bay called Topdals fiord, which makes into the land from the Skager Rack, a few miles E. of the Lindesnas, or South cape of Norway; pop. in 1870, 11,468. The situation is picturesque, and the town is regularly built. Many of the houses, chiefly of wood, are surrounded with gardens. The cathedral, a Gothic structure of gray stone, is only second in size and interest to that of Drontheim. Ship building has somewhat declined owing to the diminished abundance of timber consequent upon the clearing of some of the forests; but trade and navigation are active. The principal exports are timber, fish, hides, copper, and iron.
During the lobster season over 20 smacks are regularly employed in shipping lobsters to London. Tobacco and other articles are manufactured to some extent. The town is defended by a fortress at the entrance to the fine harbor on the island of Oddero, which divides it into two parts. Christlansand was founded in 1641 by Christian IV., king of Denmark and Norwav.