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The Lego company was founded by Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund, Denmark. He began making wooden toys in 1932, but his company was not as successful during the Great Depression. Christiansen changed the name of his company “Lego,” a contraction of the Danish words leg godt, which translates to “play well.”

In 1934, Lego began using plastic bricks in its production. The first Lego sets were also promoted. The company also created a new division called Dakta that would focus on educational products.

In the second half of the 20th Century, Lego expanded its product range and marketing efforts. In 1971, Lego introduced furniture pieces and dollhouses. Then in 1974, the first Lego human figures were introduced. They later evolved into the minifigure designs that are still in use today. Lego began to make more advanced Lego Technic sets for older children.

In 1987, Lego introduced the World Cup Lego building contest for children to participate in. The event was held in Billund and 38 kids from 17 different countries competed. That same year Lego also began to develop themed sets that were thought of as systems within the Lego system, like Lego Space, Lego Castle, Lego Town (later renamed Lego City), and Lego FabuLand. In 1988, Lego released a new line of pirate Legos that featured a variety facial features and expressions.

In 1999, Lego changed the way it licensed characters from franchises. It began offering Lego versions of the most famous characters like Spider-Man, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and many others. This was met with mixed reactions from fans and critics alike.