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[[Image:Ottatown.jpg|thumb|right|The town of Otta]]The '''Gudbrandsdalen''' is a [[valley]] and [[Districts of Norway|traditional district]] in the [[Norway|Norwegian]] county of [[Oppland]]. The valley is oriented in a north-westerly direction from [[Lillehammer]] at [[Mjøsa]], extending 230 km toward [[Romsdal]]. The large river [[Gudbrandsdalslågen]] flows through the valley, starting from [[Lesjaskogsvatnet]] and ending in [[Lake Mjøsa]].
The long valley is divided into three parts: Norddalen (the [[municipalities of Norway|municipalities]] of [[Lesja]], [[Dovre]], [[Skjåk]], [[Lom, Norway|Lom]], [[Vågå]] and [[Sel]]), Midtdalen (the municipalities of [[Nord-Fron]], [[Sør-Fron]] and [[Ringebu]]), and Sørdalen (the municipalities of [[Øyer]], [[Gausdal]] and [[Lillehammer]]).
The name ''Gudbrandsdalen'' means 'the valley/dale of Gudbrand'. ''Gudbrand'' ([[Old Norse language|Norse]] ''Guðbrandr'') is an old male name compounded of ''guð'' m 'god' and ''brandr'' m 'sword'. This was probably a title used by the kings of the valley living at [[Hundorp]].
Gudbrandsdalen is shaped by the [[recent ice age]] and rivers from the present glacial areas in [[Jotunheimen]] and [[Dovre]]. Bones and teeth from [[mammoth]]s and [[musk ox]]en, living in the area at that time, are found in the valley.
[[Stone Age]] - Several traces of hunters are found in the valley (and in the mountain areas around). Of special interest is a [[rock carving]] of [[moose|elk]]s in the northern part of Lillehammer.
'''1015''' - Gudbrandsdalen is mentioned extensively in the [[Heimskringla]] (The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway) by [[Snorri Sturlson]]. The account of [[Olaf II of Norway|King Olaf]]'s (A.D. 1015-1021) conversion of [[Dale-Gudbrand]] to [[Christianity]] is popularly recognized.
'''1206''' The heir of the [[Norwegian throne]], [[Håkon Håkonsson]], is saved by [[birkebeiner]]s with a ski-run from [[Lillehammer]] to [[Rena]].
'''1349 to 1350''' – The [[Black Plague]] halved the population in Gudbrandsdalen. This resulted in a temporary improvement for the lower classes as [[crofters]] became scarce and even the poor were able to rent the better farms in the bottom lands.
'''1537''' - During the [[Protestant Reformation|Reformation]] the Church was subordinated to the “lendmenn” or sheriff. Church property was appropriated by the Crown and the King became the biggest Gudbrandsdalen landowner.
'''1612''' - Near Otta in Gudbrandsdalen, was the [[Battle of Kringen]] where local peasants in 1612 defeated the [[Scotland|Scottish]] mercenary army. The legends of this battle live on to this day, including the story of how the peasant girl ''[[Prillar-Guri]]'' lured the Scots into an ambush by playing the traditional ram's horn.
'''1670 to 1725''' – Most of the royal property was sold off to pay for war debts, first to established property holders, but increasingly to peasant proprietors. A freeholder’s era began and a new “upper class” of land holders was formed.
'''1789''' "Storofsa" - the greatest flood recorded in Gudbrandsdalen: Several farms devastated, and many people killed.
'''1827''' the city of [[Lillehammer]] is established.
'''1856''' the paddle steamer [[Skibladner]] on the lake [[Mjøsa]] and [[Hovedbanen]] (the first railroad in Norway) connect Gudbrandsdalen to [[Oslo|Christiania]].
'''1894''' [[Dovrebanen|Hamar-Selbanen]] railway is completed to [[Tretten]].
'''1904''' The outdoor museum of [[Maihaugen]], exhibiting old houses from all parts of Gudbrandsdalen, opens at Lillehammer.
'''1921''' [[Dovrebanen]], the new main railway between [[Oslo]] and [[Trondheim]] is completed through Gudbrandsdalen.
'''1940''' Severe fighting in Gudbrandsdalen at [[Tretten]] and [[Kvam, Oppland|Kvam]], trying to stop the German advance.
'''1994''' The [[1994 Winter Olympics]] are celebrated at [[Lillehammer]].
'''2011''' As a result of the deteriorating weather over recent years, inhabititants of the valley have begun to refer to it as [[Mordor]] due to the increasing likeness in the two locations' poor climate, especially the cold grey windy and humid 'summers' which now encompass approximately nine months of the year. The Norwegian mapping authority '[[Statens Kartverk]]', has yet to offically recognise this [[de facto]] renaming, but the procedure of formal application is underway.
==Named for Gudbrandsdal==
*[[Dølahest]] ([[Dole Gudbrandsdal]])
*[http://www.gudbrandsdalen.no Information about Gudbrandsdalen]
*[http://sinclair.quarterman.org/history/mid/battleofkringom.html The Battle of Kringen, 1612]
*[http://www.electricscotland.com/history/articles/norway1612.htm The Scottish Expedition in Norway in 1612]