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Norway Historical Geography
From the consolidation to a single kingdom, Norway was divided into a number of geographic regions that had its own legislative assembly or Thing, such as Gulating (Western Norway) and Frostating (Trøndelag). The second-order subdivision of these regions was into fylker, such as Egdafylke and Hordafylke. In 1914, the historical term fylke was brought into use again to replace the term amt introduced during the union with Denmark. Current day counties (fylker) often, but not necessarily correspond, to the historical areas. From 1919 each amt was renamed a fylke (plural fylker) (county) and the amtmann was now titled fylkesmann (county governor).
Formerly the term len (plural len) in Norway signified an administrative region roughly equivalent to today's counties. The historic len was an important administrative entity during the period of Dano-Norwegian unification after their amalgamation as one state, which lasted for the period 1536–1814.
At the beginning of the 1500s the political divisions were variable, but consistently included four main len and approximately 30 smaller sub-regions with varying connections to a main len. Up to 1660 the four principle len were headquartered at the major fortresses Bohus Fortress, Akershus Fortress, Bergenhus Fortress and the fortified city of Trondheim. The sub-regions corresponded to the church districts for the Lutheran church in Norway.
Len in 1536
Båhus len (later termed Bohuslän after Denmark-Norway ceded it to Sweden by the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658)
Len in 1660
From 1660 Norway had nine principle len comprising 17 subsidiary len:
With the royal decree of February 19, 1662, each len was designated an amt (plural amt) and the lenmann was titled amtmann, from German Amt (office), reflecting the bias of the Danish court of that period.
Amt in 1671
After 1671 Norway was divided into four principle amt or stiftsamt and there were nine subordinate amt:
Stiftsamt: Akershus amt (headquarter: Christiania)
Amt in 1730
From 1730 Norway had the following amt:
Vardøhus amt (now: Finnmark county)
Laurvigen grevskap (now: Larvik city)
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