Oslo is the capital and the most populous city in Norway. It constitutes both a county and a municipality. Founded in the year 1040, and established as a kaupstad or trading place in 1048 by Harald Hardrada, the city was elevated to a bishopric in 1070 and a capital under Haakon V of Norway around 1300. Personal unions with Denmark from 1397 to 1523 and again from 1536 to 1814 and with Sweden from 1814 to 1905 reduced its influence. After being destroyed by a fire in 1624, during the reign of King Christian IV, the city was moved closer to Akershus Fortress and renamed Christiania in the king’s honour. It was established as a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt) on 1 January 1838. Following a spelling reform, it was known as Kristiania from 1877 until 1925, in which year its original Norwegian name of Oslo was restored.
Oslo is the economic and governmental centre of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping. It is an important centre for maritime industries and maritime trade in Europe. The city is home to many companies within the maritime sector, some of which are among the world’s largest shipping companies, shipbrokers and maritime insurance brokers. Oslo is a pilot city of the Council of Europe and the European Commission intercultural cities programme.