Port of Bergen
Review and History

The Port of Bergen lies on Norway’s southwestern coast in the county of Hordaland in the De syv fjell mountains. The Port of Bergen’s business section and port are on a peninsula in By Fjord with the harbor of Vagen to the north and Pudde Bay to the south. The second biggest city in Norway, the Port of Bergen has a diverse economy, yet fishing, ship-building, and related industries contribute a major portion of its revenues.

Tourism is growing as an important industry sector. Machinery and metal products are also produced in the Port of Bergen. A major cultural center for the surrounding region, the Port of Bergen was one of nine cities designated a European Capital of Culture in 2000. The Port of Bergen’s historic harbor district was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. In 2007, over 244 thousand people lived in the Port of Bergen.

Port History

The Port of Bergen is believed to have been founded in 1070 AD by King Olav Kyrre. In the early 12th Century, a castle was constructed on the harbor of Vage, and the Port of Bergen replaced Trondheim as the capital of Norway in 1217. At the end of the 1200s, the Port of Bergen became an important bureau city for the Hanseatic League. The Port of Bergen was important due to its trade in dried cod, fish, and furs from the country’s northern coast since the 12th Century when an Episcopal see was created there. The Port of Bergen imported grains and other goods.

By the late 14th Century, the Port of Bergen was a trade center for the country of Norway. Saxon Hanseatic merchants had a residential quarter of the town with exclusive trading rights with the northern fishermen that came to the Port of Bergen every summer. It was that quayside that became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 1349, the great Black Plague came to Norway on an English ship that arrived in the B. The Victual Brothers attacked the city many times, and they burned the royal castle and most of the city in 1429.

Norway’s king managed to force the Saxon merchants to become citizens of Norway in 1536 (or they had to go home), beginning the end of the Saxon presence in the Port of Bergen. The harbor of Vagen was the site of a battle between the English and Dutch navies in 1655. The garrison at the Port of Bergen supported the Dutch.

The Port of Bergen was one of Scandinavia’s biggest cities through the 1700s, and it maintained a trade monopoly with Northern Norway until 1789. It was Norway’s biggest city until Oslo outgrew it in the 1830s.

The Port of Bergen was occupied by Germany on the first day of that country’s invasion of Norway in 1940. In 1944 while the Germans were still there, a Dutch cargo ship, the Voorbode, carrying more than 120 tons of explosives, blew up and killed about 150 people. The explosion also damaged several historic buildings. Allied bombers raided German naval facilities at the Port of Bergen, killing about a hundred Norwegian civilians.

In 1831, the Port of Bergen was separated from Hordaland as its own county. It received municipal status in 1838, and the rural area around Bergen was merged with the Port of Bergen in 1877. Until 1972, several municipalities were merged with the Port of Bergen. In 1972, the county of Bergen lost its county status. Today, the Port of Bergen is a Norwegian municipality in Hordaland county.

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