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 Full norwegian version

The birth of the town Haugesund - in spite of bad odds

Short, english summary of the full norwegian language article.

Written by: Eirik Hustvedt (c)
Publishedt: 28. februar 2003

1) Overlærer L. Halvorsen: Haugesund i 50 år (1916)
2) Trygve Kongshavn / Margit Westbøe: Haugesund kommunale administrasjon i 75 år
3) Reidar Østensjø: Haugesund 1835-1895
4) Cappelens leksikon

Haugesund is said to be built on herring bones, but it was Kopervik that lead on in the competition to become the important place and town in the Karmsund region.

Back in the 1700's and the beginning of the 1800's, the larger and older towns Stavanger and Bergen protected their trading rights in a way that made it almost impossible to establish any kind of business og trade activity in our region. In Haugesund, there were only 15 inhabitant in 1800. Skudenes, established by Stavanger based tradesmen, had a population of 50, and Kopervik a couple of hundreds. In 1835 Kopervik had developed into a busy little coast town with fishermen, merchants, their own school, and even a customs office. The growth was based on the rich fisheries in the areas around Karmøy, and Kopervik felt confident that this was the best place to establish packhouses, salting facilites for the herring and a trade centre for the whole region. And - the county authorities in Stavanger, beeing forced to work for changes in the Karmsund region, worked for Kopervik, as long as it was the largest and most developed place in the northern Stavanger region.

The herring came in huge quantities in the years following 1808. Before that, the swedish west coast had lots of it, but luckily for us, it moved over here. The best fishing places were around Skudeneshavn and in the ocean areas north west of Haugesund. Bergen was the trade capitol of western Norway, and they came down here for fisheries. But as they had to depend on right wind to get home fast with their good hauls, the fish was often rotten or of bad quality when reaching Bergen. The national authorities made a law in 1775, to force the Bergen tradesmen to build packhouses and wooden barrel packing and salting facilities closer to the fishing places. But they neglected this - until they saw for themselves that they had to make changes. In the 1840's they started building in Haugesund, and we still have got some of their old packhouses on Kortanes, built in typical Bergen style.

Until mid 1800, there were no road systems, except for bad horseride paths, between the different parts of "Haugalandet" (This is a new name for the region). People living in the northern parts (Sunnhordland) and southern parts (Ryfylke, Bokn and southern Karmøy) had no normal connections. The northern areas "belonged" to Bergen, the southern to Stavanger. And Kopervik was south of the areas with Bergen influence. Haugesund was not.

Back in the 1700- and 1800's, the Smedasundet and Haugesundet areas were part of Torvastad community (Torvastad is the northern part of Karmøy island, just west of Haugesund). They worked hard to make Haugesund an alternative to Kopervik. At last they managed to get representatives from the Bergen region as members of the commities working to make plans that could be accepted for the development of our region.

Haugesund was perfectly situated close to the fishing fields, and had lots of areas that could be developed for buildings, homes and streets. And it was on the mainland.  And the place grew very fast in the 1840's and early 1850's, due to the extremely rich fisheries.

Kopervik, in spite of beeing developed through a century, was not easy accesible in wrong wind conditions, in a time when small sailships and -vessels were used to transport the catches.

To make a long story short: At last, August 26, 1854, Haugesund was granted rights to be what we call ladested (small coastal town) - with rights to develop itself. And it did. Through the next 20-30 years it became one of the leading fishery and shipping towns of Norway.

Kopervik was granted the rights of ladested in 1866. The very same year Haugesund became a Kjøpstad (provincial town with its own administration of justice, and unrestricted trading rights).

 (c) eirik hustvedt 2003

Disse artiklene kan bli endret og utrustet med illustrasjoner mm.  når det er mulig eller påkrevd.


Utgis av Haugalandet Net v. Eirik Hustvedt 2003