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Ofoten is a traditional district in Nordland county in Northern Norway. It consists of the municipalities of Tysfjord, Ballangen, Evenes, Tjeldsund, Narvik, and Lødingen. It is named after the main fjord, Ofotfjord, which is at the center of this district. The 6,542-square-kilometre (2,526 sq mi) district was home to 30,421 residents in 2005, with almost half of the residents living in the town of Narvik.
Ofoten is characterized by fjords surrounded by many mountains with high, jagged peaks reaching up to 1,900 metres (6,200 ft) in height. About 43% of the area lies above 600 metres (2,000 ft). Below elevations of 500 metres (1,600 ft) there are forests. Only 11% of the land is below an elevation of 60 metres (200 ft). The mountains are high especially in the east. In the interior parts of the municipality, there are a number of glaciers, such as Gihtsejiegŋa, and also many lakes. Besides the Ofotfjord, there are a number of other fjords that cut into the landscapes, often with steep shorelines.
The municipality of Ofoten was established on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). On 1 January 1884, the municipality ceased to exist when it was split into two municipalities: Ankenes (population: 1,734) and Evindnæs (population: 2,397).
The district is named after Ofotfjord (Old Norse: Ófóti). The meaning of the first element is unknown and the last element is derived from the Old Norse word fótr which means "foot". The oldest form of the name could have been Úffóti. In this case, the first element is úfr which means "Eurasian Eagle-owl". The three inner branches of the Ofotfjord might have been compared with the three claws of an owl.
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