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Kjobstad (kjøpstad from the old Norse kaupstaðr) is an old scandinavian term for "Market town" notably Norwegian. Kjobstad's were places of trade and exporting materials (e.g. timber, flour, iron and other common goods). Towns were given the "dignity" or rank of being referred to as Kjobstad's when they reached a certain population and had established means of industry and township (e.g. dock yards, steam mills, iron works, churches, grammar schools). A ladested, small seaport or "Charge Venue" were smaller towns with limited privileges compared to Kjobstad's. In Kjobstad's citizens were able to buy and sell goods and conduct other economic activities. Kjobstads date back to the 12th century when the king sought to centralize commerce in specific towns that offered strategic significance, providing a local economic base for construction of fortifications and population for defense of the area. It also served to restrict Hanseatic League merchants from trading in areas other than those designated. Norwegian “market towns” died out and were replaced by free markets in the 19th century. Following 1952 both the “small seaport” and the “market town” were given simple town status.


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