Kvinesdal was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). Feda was separated from Kvinesdal on 1 January 1900 but again merged with Kvinesdal on 1 January 1963. Fjotland was also merged with Kvinesdal on that date. (Fjotland was in addition a part of Kvinesdal in the period 1841-1858.)
Kvinesdal is an elongated mountain-to-coast municipality, reaching saltwater at the head of the Fedafjord, which provides access to the North Sea in the south. Further north, the landscape is cut in narrow valleys with small villages scattered around. There are also abandoned mines at Knaben, which remains an immensely popular ski resort. Due to Kvinesdal resembling the geography of the nation as a whole, it is often referred to as "Little Norway".
The river Kvina is known for its salmon, and salmon fishing is a popular activity.
Two valleys meet in Kvinesdal's center: Vesterdalen (the Western Valley) through which flows the river Kvina and Austerdalen (the Eastern Valley) through which flows the river Litleåna to join the Kvina.
In northern Kvinesdal, along the high plateau (at 550 m. above sea level) records show that the Salmeli Farm dates back at least to the year 1300. During the Black Death years of 1350 the farm became deserted, but was back as a working farm again by 1647. It is now a historic site.
The bailiff Stig Bagge, who was granted local leadership from 1536-42 by Christian III of Denmark, was an energetic man when he lived at his ancestral home of Eikeland in Kvinesdal. According to the reports of Peder Claussøn Friis, he executed refractory peasants so willingly that the district thought it was to excess; he was the district's bogeyman for many years thereafter. When the bailiff in Nedenes was killed in his bed and rebels came in an unsuccessful attempt to capture and execute Stig, he collected his men and brutally stifled the revolt. Stig himself died by being drawn and quartered by the Dutch when he was caught in piracy or espionage off their coast at Walcheren.
Tinfos is an important local employer that provides work to about 200 persons.
One of Southern Norway’s greatest artists, Kristian Marcelius Førland (1891-1978), lived and painted in Kvinesdal. His home is now a museum. Førland was a gifted and skilful portrait painter and a prominent landscape painter.
Ludvig Hunsbedt, a famous rallycross driver also lives in Kvinesdal. He started localy as a driver in the amateur class called "bilcross" in 1978. In 1993 he became the European champion and in 1997 he went to the pro-class. He has been at the startline of 223 European championship races and won 23 of these. In 2003 he resigned as a rallycross driver and he's currently owning a car dealership in Kvinesdal specializing on Volvo and Renault cars. He also for many years where the manager of a gas station and a "road rescue service", also in Kvinesdal.
The Band Luxus Leverpostei which is famous all over Norway.