Bokn has always had a strategic position. It is assumed that the name Bokn means beacon. The strait Boknasund was used by sailors to sail north or south.
Alongside the strait are large grave mounds dating back to the viking age, which shows evidence of a well organized community. Strewn all over the place are sites of small houses used by fishermen 1000 years ago. It was probably in Kongshamn that the viking king Erling Skjalgsson was killed.
Around 1600 timber traders from Scotland came to Ryfylke to buy timber. They used Skodahabn at Are as a point of departure. In the 19th century the herring fisheries became of great importance to many, and Bokn reached its largest population ever in 1865 with 1062 inhabitants.