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Salhus has been a connecting point for sea travellers far back in time. The name probably derives from the Old Norse word sáluhús, “house for travellers”. The name may indicate that this was a place for an inn even in the Middle Ages. The place is eminently situated in the route to and from Bergen. For travellers coming by boat from Sogn and Nordhordland, Salhus is the last stop before Bergen. Travellers from the communities in Voss also came this way earlier when they were going to Bergen
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.
Krosshamn lies in the shipping lane northeast of Hundvåkøy, near Sandtorv. The name probably derives from the fact that this is Austevoll’s harbour situated nearest to Korsfjorden.
Kvalvåg on Stolmen is first mentioned as a trading post in 1655, and in 1731 the owner Jens Meyer, was granted a royal trading privilege.
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.
In the Middle Ages the farmers were under obligation to transport state officials. The bishops were entitled to 18 horses when they travelled about on visitations, and the king could requisition free transport.
On the south side of Askøy, just west of Bergen, lies Strusshamn. The sheltered bay is one of the best harbours in Byfjorden, on the route south. At the time of the sailing ships the harbour could be full of vessels from Bergen and abroad, lying in wait for favourable wind. Old anchoring rings from 1687 bear witness to this. Strusshamn was a quarantine harbour for ships that came sailing in with the yellow pest flag flying.
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.
Up to 1842 it was necessary to have a royal letter of privilege in order to carry out trade. According to the law only city dwellers were allowed to obtain such a privilege, and in Hordaland it was thus the citizens of Bergen who owned and ran the trading centres. In 1842, following a liberalisation of the trading legislation, the privilege arrangement was abandoned and anyone could apply to the municipal council for permission to carry out trading activity. Landøy is one of the places that were established in this period.
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!”