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A Fylke (from norrønt Fylki or Folk') is an administrative geographical area larger than a kommune, that has its own administration. The boundary of a Kommune lies entirely within a fylke. There are several kommunes within aFylke in Norway with the exception of Oslo that works like a city and a county. Bergen functioned like a city and county as well until 1972 when Bergen became a city in Hordaland County. Pre- 1972 while Bergen functioned like a county and city it was designated the county number 13. Since the change in 1972 this county number 13 is no longer in use. Only a county is designated a Fylkesnummer (county number).
The term Fylke was also used during vikingtiden (viking time), prior to the unification of Norway by Harald Hårfagre around 800 AD. At that time the term Fylke represented a small country with a king and a court system. Prior to year 800 when Norway was unified there were approximately 30 such small kingdoms. Later the term Fylke became syssel, then it becameLen. From 1662 until 1919 the term used was Amt, and from 1919 the term Fylke is used again. Through time there has been border changes and name changes as well to these kingdoms until Norway was united and eventually the areas these kingdoms occupied became the counties in Norway they are today.
Norway is today divided into 19 (20 with Svalbard) administrative counties.
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