Jarlsberg was a former countship that forms a part of today’s Vestfold county in Norway. The former countships of Jarlsberg and Larvik were merged into a county in 1821. Jarlsberg and Larvik’s County (Jarlsberg og Larviks amt) were renamed Vestfold in 1919.
Created in 1673 as Griffenfeldt Countship (Griffenfeld grevskap), it was after a few years known as Tønsberg Countship (Tønsberg grevskap) until 1684, when the name became Jarlsberg. Dating to 1681, the countship was associated with members of the Dano-Norwegian noble family, Wedel-Jarlsberg.
Jarlsberg was originally created as a countship in 1673 for Peder Schumacher Griffenfeld, a Danish statesman and Chancellor of Denmark during the reign of King Christian V of Denmark. The creation involved that Count Griffenfeld, in addition to owning 14 percent of the countship’s land, received large tax revenues and also the right to appoint all civil and ecclesiastical officials, including officers and judges, who would serve within the countship.
After Griffenfeld’s arrest in 1676 in the aftermath of the Scanian War, his properties were transferred by King Christian V to Ulrik Fredrik Gyldenløve, the Count of Larvik. Gyldenløve, an illegitimate son King Frederick III of Denmark, was the Viceroy (Statholder) of Norway.
In 1683, Ulrik Fredrik Gyldenløve sold the countship to Gustav Frederik Wilhelm Wedel (1641–1717). Field Marshal Wedel, who had become commanding General in Norway in 1681, received the title Wedel af Jarlsberg in 1684 and introduced the name Jarlsberg, which means ‘Earl’s Hill’.
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