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On Austre Bakholmen, a small islet of around 15 acres between Hundvåko and Drøni, lies the oldest trading centres in Austevoll. For a long time this was a court location and it was a natural centre in this archipelago.
The old guesthouse location in Brattholmen on the east side of Litlesotra, was probably established in the first half of the 1700s. A list from 1748 mentions that the place “for some years has been inhabited by an Enrolled Sailor by the name of Peder Michelsen”. As was the case for most other military hosts, he was exempt from paying income tax.
In the 1300s Bergen was a trading centre of European dimension. The town is thought to have had around 7000 inhabitants and was the largest and most important in the country. In a European context it was an average size town. At this time the most tightly built town area was still mostly east of Vågen from Holmen in the north to Vågsbotn in the south. Already in medieval times, latest in the 1340s, this area was called Bryggen.
In Christian IV’s diary from Norgesreisa (trip to Norway) in 1599, we find the reference or anecdote that is the origin of the name Bukken. A Dutch full-rigged ship once passed the mountain outcrops on the island with the guesthouse so close that a ram grazing there jumped down on a yardarm (rånokk), thus the name “Buch van Raa!”
As a fairytale castle Damsgård Hovedgård lies on the slope rising up from the Puddefjord. The old connection between the farm and the sea, as we see it on Dreier’s prospectus from 1810, has been broken up by roads and encroachments in the building mass. But the main building itself is a central monument in Norwegian architecture from the 1700s – one of the finest representatives for the rococo period, with a magnificent and rich décor both in its interior and exterior.
The guesthouse activity in Engevik in the 1700s could not have been very extensive. But a hundred years later a trading and guesthouse centre developed on a piece of land called Engevikhavn. This is the place where Segelcke had obtained licence to operate an inn and guesthouse business in 1729.
Glesvær is one of the oldest trading posts on the West Norwegian coast. In the 1700s and 1800s this was the most important fishing centre on Sotra. The first certain mention of the trading station Glesvær is in 1664. At that time it was the Bergen merchant Hendrich Wessel who owned the place and was in the possession of a trading privilege. Abraham Wessel, who took over in 1688 also obtained Royal Privilege for “Kiøbmandskab med Bønderne alleene at drive” (the only one to be allowed to carry on trade with the farmers).
Hernar is a small group of islands northwest of Seløy, an old outlying harbour on the western route. This is where ships were lying in wait for favourable weather before heading out west, and this is where the ships from the western Isles came in. Hjeltefjorden is proof of this. The fjord is named after the people from Hjaltland (Shetland).