Formannskapsdistrikt (Urban East Norwegian: [ˈfɔ̂rmɑnskɑːpsdɪˌstrɪkt] ) is the name for Norwegian local self-government districts that were legally enacted on 1 January 1838. This system of municipalities was created in a bill approved by the Parliament of Norway and signed into law by King Carl Johan on 14 January 1837.  The formannskaps law, which fulfilled an express requirement of the Constitution of Norway, required that every parish (Norwegian : prestegjeld) form a formannsskapsdistrikt (municipality) on 1 January 1838. In this way, the parishes of the state Church of Norway became worldly, administrative districts as well. (Although some parishes were divided into two or three municipalities.) In total, 396 formannsskapsdistrikts were created under this law, and different types of formannskapsdistrikts were created, also:
|Type of district|
|3||City/town with a surrounding rural district|
|12||Lading places (ladested)|
|1||Rural district consisting of two (very small) seaports|
|3||Rural districts with dependent small seaports|
|1||Port and naval base|
|1||Rural district with dependent mining town|
|See below for a list of all districts, broken down by county.|
The introduction of self government in rural districts was a major political change. The Norwegian farm culture (bondekultur) that emerged came to serve as a symbol of nationalistic resistance to the forced union with Sweden. The legislation of 1837 gave both the towns and the rural areas the same institutions: a minor change for the town, but a major advance for the rural communities. The significance of this legislation is hailed by a nationalistic historian, Ernst Sars: 
In 1853, the land registration law superseded the formannsskapsdistrikt by introduction of a new designation, the municipality (Norwegian : herred). Two forms of municipality were created: "rural municipality" and "city" (or "market town"). Each district was to elect a body of selectmen of no less than 12 and no more than 48 members. This body selected a quarter of their members as a committee, which together with the local magistrate, established taxes to be levied and improvements to be performed in the district. The local chairman also represented the municipality at the county level.  
Almost one century later in 1936, a local self-government district law was enacted which created 682 rural municipalities (landkommuner) and 65 city municipalities (bykommuner) in Norway. Among the city municipalities, 43 had the status of market town (kjøpstad) and 22 were recognized harbors for export/import (ladested). Norway included a subordinate category to the market town, the "small seaport" (lossested or ladested), which was a port or harbor with a monopoly to import and export goods and materials in both the port and for a surrounding outlying district. Typically, these were locations for exporting timber and importing grain and goods. Local farm goods and timber sales were all required to pass through merchants at either a lading place or a market town prior to export. This incentive ensured that local trading went through local merchants, a technique which was so effective in limiting smuggling that customs revenues increased from less than 30% of the total tax revenues in 1600 to more than 50% of the total taxes by 1700. 
During the last half of the 20th century, the distinction between the different types of municipalities was decreased, and in 1992, legislation eliminated all distinctions. Now, all municipalities (Norwegian : kommuner) are simply municipalities. 
This is a list of the districts that were initially created on 1 January 1838. The original spellings have been used (many spellings have changed since that time. For a present list of current municipalities, see the List of municipalities of Norway.
|Amt (County)||City or town||Lading place||Rural district||Total|
|Smaalehnenes Amt|| Frederiksstad,|
|–||Aremark, Askim, Berg, Borge, Eidsberg, Glemminge, Haabøl, Hvaler, Id, Mosse Landdistrict, Onsø, Rakkestad, Rygge, Rødenæs, Raade, Skiptvet, Skjeberg, Spydeberg, Trygstad, Tune, Vaaler||24|
|Agershuus Amt||–|| Drøbak,|
Soon og Hølen [Note 1]
|Aker, Asker, Urskog, Bærum, Eidsvold, Enebak, Fet, Frogn, Gjerdrum, Hurdalen, Høland, Kraakstad, Nannestad, Næs, Næsodden, Nitedal, Skedsmo, Sørum, Ullensaker, Vestby with Hvidsteen, [Note 2] Aas||23|
|Christiania Amt [Note 3]||Christiania||–||–||1|
|Hedemarkens Amt||–||–||Elverum, Grue, Hof, Kvikne, Løiten, Næs, Nordre Odalen, Rendalen, Ringsaker, Romedal, Stange, Store Elvedalen, Søndre Odalen, Tolgen, Trysil, Tønsæt, Vang, Vinger, Aamot||19|
|Christians Amt||Lillehammer||–||Birid, Fron, Faaberg, Gausdal, Gran, Jævnaker, Land, Lesje, Lom, Nordre Aurdal, Ringebu, Slidre, Søndre Aurdal, Vang, Vardal, Vestre Toten, Vaage, Østre Toten, Øier||20|
|Budskeruds Amt|| Drammen,|
|–||Eker, Flesberg, Gol, Hole, Hurum, Lier, Modum, Næs, Norderhov, Rollag, Røken, Sandsvær, Sigdal, Aal||16|
|Jarlsberg og Laurvigs Amt|| Holmestrand,|
|Sandefjord, Aasgaardstrand||Anneboe, Borre, Botne, Brunlagnæs, Hedrum, Hof, Laurdal, Nøtterøe, Ramnæs, Sandeherred, Sande, Sæm, Skouger, Frederiksværn, [Note 4] Stokke, Strømmen, Strømsgodset, Tjølling, Tjømø, Vaale||25|
|Bratsbergs Amt|| Kragerøe,|
|Bamble with Stathelle, [Note 2] Bø, Drangedal, Eidanger, Gjerpen, Hitterdal, Hjerdal, Holden, Hvidesøe, Laurdal, Mo, Moland, Nissedal, Sannikedal, Seufde, Sillejord, Slemdal, Solum, Tind, Vinje||25|
|Nedenæs og Raabygdelaugets Amt|| Arendal,|
|Birkenæs, Bygland, Dybvaag, Eide, Evje og Veigusdal, Gjerrestad, Heirefos, Holt, Hordnæs og Iveland, Landvig, Søndeløv, Valle, Vegaardsheien, Vestre Moland, Østre Moland, Øiestad, Omlid, Aaseral||23|
|Lister og Mandals Amt||Christianssand|| Farsund,|
|Bjelland og Grindem, Finsland, Fjotland, Gyland, Mandals Landdistrict, Herod, Holme, Hegebostad, Lyngdal, Nedre Qvinnesdal, Næs og Hitterø, Oddernæs, Søgne, Tved, Undal, Vandsøe, Østre Bakke, Øvrebøe, Øslebø og Løvdal||23|
|Stavanger Amt||Stavanger||Egersund||Avaldsnæs, Birkrem, Egersund landdistrikt, Finnø, Gjæsdal, Helleland, Heskestad, Hetland, Hjelmeland, Høiland, Haa, Haaland, Jælse, Klep, Lunde, Nærstrand, Rennesø, Skjold, Skudesnæs, Soggendal with Sogndalstrand, [Note 2] Strand, Suledal, Time, Torvestad, Vestre Bakke, Vikedal||28|
|Søndre Bergenhuus Amt||–||–||Askøen, Bergens Landdistrict, Eid, Etne, Fanøe, Findaas, Fjeld, Fjeldberg, Graven, Hammer, Hosanger, Hougs, Kingservig, Lindaas, Manger, Ous, Qvindherred, Røldal, Skaanevig, Storøen, Strandebarm, Sund, Tysnæs, Vigøer, Voss, Aarstad||26|
|Nordre Bergenhuus Amt||–||–||Askevold, Davigen, Eid, Evindvig, Førde, Gloppen, Hafsloe, Indre Holmedal Indvigen, Justedal, Jølster, Kind, Ladvig, Leganger, Leirdal, Lyster, Selløe, Sogndal, Urland, Vefring, Viig, Yttre Holmedal||22|
|Romsdals Amt|| Christianssund,|
|Aalesund||Agerøe, Bolsøe, Borgund, Boe, Edøen, Fredøe, Grytten, Halse, Haram, Herrøe, Jørringfjord, Næsset, Nordalen, Oure, Qvernæs, Stangvig, Strand, Sunddalen, Sundelven, Surendal, Thingvold, Ulfsteen, Vandelven, Vestnæs, Vedøe, Volden, Øre, Ørskoug||31|
|Søndre Throndhjems Amt||Throndhjem||–||Bjørnøer, Bynæsset, Børsen, Hevne, Hitteren, Holtaalen, Klæboe, Leenstranden, Meldal, Melhuus, Opdal, Ørkedal, Røraas, [Note 5] Sælboe, Stadsbygden, Strinden, Støren, Ørland, Aafjorden||20|
|Nordre Throndhjems Amt||Levanger||–||Bedstaden, Fosnæs, Frosten, Grogn, Inderøen, Kolvereid, Lexvigen, Nummedalseidet, Nærøen, Overhalden, Skogn, Snaasen, Sparboen, Størdal, Stod, Vemundvig, Værdalen, Ytterøen, Aasen||21|
|Nordlands Amt||Bodøe||–||Alstahoug, Bodøe Landdistrict, Borge, Brønøe, Buxnæs, Bøe, Dverberg, Flakstad, Folden, Gilleskaal, Hassel, Hammerøe, Lurøe, Lødingen, Næsne, Ofoden, Ranen, Rødøe, Saltdalen, Skjærstad, Stegen, Vefsen, Vægøe, Værøe, Vaagen, Øxnæs||28|
|Tromsøe Amt [Note 6]||Tromsøe||–||Berg, Ibbestad, Karlsøe, Qvæfjord, Lenvig, Lyngen, Sand, Skjervøe, Tranøe, Tromsøe Landdistrict, Trondenæs||12|
|Finmarkens Amt|| Hammerfest, [Note 7] |
Vadsøe, [Note 7]
Vardøe [Note 7]
|–||Alten, Lebesbye, Loppen, Maasø, Kistrand||8|
|Grand totals||25 + 3 [Note 7]||12 + 1 [Note 1]||350 + 3 [Note 2] + 1 [Note 4] + 1 [Note 5]||396|
A market town is a settlement most common in Europe that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, a market right, which allowed it to host a regular market; this distinguished it from a village or city. In Britain, small rural towns with a hinterland of villages are still commonly called market towns, as sometimes reflected in their names.
Skudenes is a former municipality in Rogaland county, Norway. It was part of the traditional district of Haugaland. The 68-square-kilometre (26 sq mi) municipality existed from 1838 until its dissolution in 1965. The administrative centre was the town of Skudeneshavn. The municipality originally encompassed land that is now part of the municipalities of Bokn and Karmøy. It included the southern part of the island of Karmøy and the three islands to the east: Vestre Bokn, Austre Bokn, and Ognøya. In 1849, the three smaller islands were separated to form Bokn municipality.
Kinn is a former municipality in the Sunnfjord district of Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. The parish of Kinn has existed for centuries and in 1838, the large parish was established as a municipality that existed from then until 1964. The municipality was centered around the island of Kinn where the main Kinn Church is located. The municipality encompassed most of the southern part of the present-day municipality of Kinn as well as parts of Askvoll and the southwestern part of Bremanger. Upon its dissolution in 1964, it covered 159 square kilometres (61 sq mi).
Herad is a former municipality that was located in the old Vest-Agder county in Norway. The 85-square-kilometre (33 sq mi) municipality existed from 1838 until its dissolution in 1965. The municipality encompassed the area northeast of the lake Framvaren inside the present-day municipality of Farsund in what is now Agder county. The administrative centre of the municipality was the village of Sande where the Herad Church is located.
Nord-Rana is a former municipality in Nordland county, Norway. The 3,980-square-kilometre (1,540 sq mi) municipality existed from 1839 until its dissolution in 1964. From 1839 until 1844, it was named Nord-Ranen, from 1844 until 1923, it was called Mo, and then from 1923 until 1964 it was named Nord-Rana. The former municipality was located at the innermost part of the Ranfjorden. It encompassed the eastern 90% of what is now Rana Municipality. The administrative centre was the village of Ytteren, just north of the town of Mo i Rana.
Sogndal is a former municipality and small seaport (ladested) in Rogaland county, Norway. The municipality is located on the coast in the traditional district of Dalane. The 19-hectare (47-acre) municipality existed from 1845 until its dissolution in 1944 when it was merged into the municipality of Sokndal. It comprised the two harbor villages: the 7-hectare (17-acre) Sogndalsstranda and the 12-hectare (30-acre) Rægefjord. The river Sogndalselva reaches the ocean at Songdalsstranda.
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Trondenes is an old parish and former municipality in Troms county in Norway. The 186-square-kilometre (72 sq mi) municipality existed from 1838 until its dissolution in 1964. It was located along the western shore of the Vågsfjorden in what is now Harstad Municipality. Trondenes included the majority of the island of Grytøya and part of the eastern coast of the island of Hinnøya as well as some smaller islands. Located just north of the town of Harstad, the village of Trondenes was the administrative centre of the municipality. That village is also the site of the historic Trondenes Church, the northernmost medieval stone church in Norway. The Trondenes Historical Center was built in 1997 near the church to teach about the history of the area. Trondenes Fort is also located on the Trondenes peninsula.
A kjøpstad is an old Scandinavian term for a "market town" that was used in the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway for several hundred years. The name comes from the Old Norse: kaupstaðr. Kjøpstads were places of trade and exporting materials. Towns were given the "dignity" or rank of being referred to as a kjøpstad when they reached a certain population and had established means of industry and other notable items such as dock yards, steam mills, iron works, churches, grammar schools. The citizens of a kjøpstad were able to buy and sell goods and conduct other economic activities.
Sogndalsstranda or Sogndalstrand is a harbor village in Sokndal municipality in Rogaland county, Norway. The village is located at the mouth of the river Sokno, about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) south of the municipal centre of Hauge and also about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) southeast of the village of Rekefjord. The Jøssingfjorden lies about 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi) southeast of the village.
Rekefjord is a harbour village in the municipality of Sokndal in Rogaland county, Norway. The village is located around the Rekefjorden, about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) west of the municipal centre of Hauge i Dalane. The village of Sogndalsstranda lies about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) southeast of Rekefjord.
Ålesund is a town in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. The town is the administrative centre of Ålesund Municipality. The centre of the town of Ålesund lies on the islands of Hessa, Aspøya, Nørvøya with newer developments located on the islands of Uksenøya the outer parts of the "urban area" even stretch onto the island of Sula which is in the neighboring Sula Municipality. The town is the main headquarters for the Norwegian Coastal Administration as well as the location of the Sunnmøre District Court.
Flekkefjord is a town in Flekkefjord municipality in Agder county, Norway. The town is located at the end of the Flekkefjorden, a branch off the main Listafjorden. The town is the administrative centre of Flekkefjord municipality, the southwestern-most municipality in the county. Flekkefjord Church and Sørlandet Hospital Flekkefjord are both located in the town. In Norway, Flekkefjord is considered a by which can be translated as either a "town" or "city" in English.
Mandal is a town in Lindesnes municipality in Agder county, Norway. Mandal is the fourth largest town in Agder as well as the administrative centre of Lindesnes municipality. It is located at the mouth of the river Mandalselva at the southern end of the Mandalen valley. The 6.63-square-kilometre (1,640-acre) town has a population (2019) of 11,053 and a population density of 1,667 inhabitants per square kilometre (4,320/sq mi). In Norway, Mandal is considered a by which can be translated as either a "town" or "city" in English.
Lillesand is the administrative centre of Lillesand municipality in Agder county, Norway. The town is located along the Skaggerak coast, about 18 kilometres (11 mi) southwest of the town of Grimstad and about 25 kilometres (16 mi) northeast of the city of Kristiansand. The 5.08-square-kilometre (1,260-acre) town has a population (2019) of 7,966 and a population density of 1,567 inhabitants per square kilometre (4,060/sq mi). In Norway, Lillesand is considered a by which can be translated as either a "town" or "city" in English.
Grimstad is a town in Grimstad municipality in Agder county, Norway. The town is also the administrative centre of the municipality. It is located on the Skaggerak coast in Southern Norway along the Groosefjorden, between the towns of Arendal and Lillesand. The 10.02-square-kilometre (2,480-acre) town has a population (2019) of 13,543 and a population density of 1,352 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,500/sq mi). In Norway, Grimstad is considered a by which can be translated as either a "town" or "city" in English.
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Grip is a former municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. With a land area of only 0.48 square kilometres and a population of 104, Grip was the smallest municipality in Norway during its existence from 1897 until it merged with Kristiansund in 1964. Grip municipality included all the islands in the Grip archipelago. The administrative centre of the municipality was the one fishing village in the municipality, known as Gripholmen, where the historic Grip Stave Church is located.