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Once upon a time, a very long time ago, as the ice-cap already for long had continued its slow and irregular retraction up to the North, Europe was inhabited by mammoths, bears, bisons, reindeers and woolly rhinos. ...and some hunting families of humans. The first recognizable event was when a culture in southwestern Europe seems to have concentrated very much on the reindeers. In the cave paintings in France and Spain from over 15'000 years ago we can see the people knew how to use bows and arrows. After year 9'000 B.C. the climate of Europe changed, and the reindeers came to remain only in the farthest North, along the ice-cap which still covered what today is Finland, Norway and the most of Sweden in-between. Also Scotland had for long time a glacier remnant of the ice-cap. The Creator hadn't yet constructed the Danish straits or the English Channel, and hence there was land connection from Scotland and the Scandinavian ice-border in Västergötland all the way to the Ural mountains and beyond. Most of Europe passed on to the Middle Stone Age (marked for instance by the invention of saws); in the fertile crescent along River Tigris, and along the Palestinian coast, crops began to be planted and sown. As we all know, the Agrarian Revolution in the fertile crescent came in due time to lead forward to * domestication of goats, sheep, pigs & cattle * knowledge to polish the stone tools * knowledge to produce fired pottery ...and later: * usage of slash-and-burn (or wood burning) technique And this latter technique came to be spread from the Black Sea along River Danube, through Central Europe almost to the coast of present-day Holland, Germany & Poland. The people utilizing the wood burning technique could populate the land much more densely than their hunting and gathering neighbors, thus it is commonly believed that the migration of the slash-and-burn knowledge represents a real migration and propagation of a wood-burning people. These migrants are commonly acknowledged as Indo-Europeans. At the border of their expanding culture some of the neolithic novelties got adopted: hence, pottery and polished stone tools were used by the pre-neolithic cultures along the North Sea and along the southernmost Baltic shores, as among the Ertebølle folk of Denmark. That's how our forefathers learned to polish stone tools and to fire pottery approximately 4,500 B.C. At this time the coast- and lake-region of Finland was inhabited by nomadic people using Russian flint-stone, pottery and polished stone tools. Two thousand years later the Indo-European culture had made further progress, approximately to the River Vistula in North-East and in Scandinavia to the River Dalälven and up along most of the Norwegian coast. Meanwhile, high cultures with towns and irrigation had emerged in Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Indus valley. Then, around year 2,000 B.C. the know-how of copper-working (which for thousands of years only slowly had expanded from Turkey and the fertile crescent) now in a high speed became known in all of the world inhabited by Indo-Europeans. And Indo-European cultures seem to have expanded from River Vistula all the way up to Gulf of Finland and River Volga. Grain and cattle became a complement to hunting for people living along the waters. (This was, by the way, the time of the Palace Culture of Crete.) For the following years, 2,000 B.C. - 200 B.C., the map of cultures in Northern Europe looks almost static: * In the North there are proto-Sámis hunting and moving all the way from the Ural mountains to the Norwegian coast. * From Gulf of Finland to River Volga there are proto-Finns, * and south of them Indo-European Balts and Slavs. * Denmark, Pomerania and the south-western Scandinavian peninsula were inhabited by proto-Germanic people. * In the South the domain of the Celts was south of River Elbe, stretching to the Pyrenées, to the Mediterranean and over the Alps and the Carpats. (Despite important ideas continue to spread in the same well known South-East to North-West direction.) Bronze working was learned by the Slavs, the Balts, the Germanics, the Estonian Finns and the Sámis around year 1,500 B.C. Then around year 1,000 B.C. the new technique of iron-working had begun to expand out of its original area in Turkey. A process mirrored in the tales from ancient Greece and in the Old Testament of the Bible. And the Aryans conquered the Indus valley. It came, however, to last until year 500 B.C. till this knowledge reached beyond the Celts' northern border. The times were turbulent east of the Mediterranean. In the 9th century B.C. the Assyrians flourished with trade and genocide. Around year 600 B.C. Egypt falls for Assyria, then Assyria falls for Persia constituting a realm from Indus to Italy, where they were stooped by Etruscs and Cartagians. Monotheism is advocated by Zaratustra in Persia, and by the Prophet Jesaia (the second), during the 6th century B.C. During the 4th century Alexander the Great conquers Persia, and then, after his death, his realm is split in several large parts, whereafter Rome starts to expand. Then the Germanic culture began a slow expansion in southern direction: At year 100 B.C. the woods of Central Europe were home to both several Germanic tribes as well as to Celtic tribes, but in the North the Germanics dominated from Trondheim and Åland to the plains between River Rhine and River Neiße. The Roman Empire expanded through France; the Celtic area diminished and disappeared, and Germanic peoples became a major hassle for the Roman Army. The solution was in the long run that Germanic men came to take over the administration of the Empire and its armies at the same time as the Germanics were Romanized in culture, beliefs and language. As the Celts' dominance over Western Europe dissolved, the influences from the Mediterranean region again reached the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia. Trade with the Roman Empire increased, and might have contributed to the peculiar phase of the European history called the Migration Period when Germanic tribes and Asian tribes came to move around on the European continent. But before that the Slavs had started to expand. First in the East, along the River Dnieper, at the expense of the Balts, and then to the River Don and to upper River Volga. Around the turn of millennium, good iron was produced at the Oslo-fjord in southern Norway; at the same time, some important Germanic tribes inhabited the coasts of North Sea and the Baltic Sea, and the shores of the rivers: * Gepids around River Vistula * Goth around River Oder * Burgundians further south between the rivers Oder & Vistula * Marcomanni further south, around the upper River Elbe * Frisians at the North Sea coast between the rivers Elbe and Rhine Then, around year A.D. 200, the Goths and the Gepids moved down from the coast, through (?) the Burgundian area, toward River Danube. The Goths expanded over River Volga to River Don. Concurrently the Norsemen increased in number also in the very Scandinavia, expanding along the water routes between Norway and Jutland. Jutland was the richest territory as that was the key position from where all Scandinavian and Baltic trade to and from Rome and the Rhine valley could be controlled. The people on Gotland, the Guthes (Gutar), dominated the Baltic sea and its trade. [ We are not(!) taking any stand in the discussion whether Jutes, Guthes and Goths are etymologically equivalents. In any case: these people came to inhabit different areas and to constitute different peoples. ] The Goths were split in a lesser part, the Visigoths, who later came to create a kingdom on the Iberian peninsula, and the Ostrogoths who for a long time came to dominate all of the land between River Don and River Oder. Beside the Goths and the Norsemen there existed more than a dozen of distinguishable Germanic tribes: * Jutes and Angles on Jutland * Frisians, Franks, Burgundians and Allemans on the eastern side of River Rhine * Saxons, Thuringians, Lombards and Marcomanni on both sides of River Elbe * Vandals, Rugians, Gepids and Visigoths north of River Danube During early 4th century the Goths were Christianized, and from A.D. 325 the Bible is translated to Gothic. The Goths were however Arian Christians, and not Catholics as the Franks would become. Then the Huns came from the East, defeating almost any enemy. In the 370s the Ostrogoths and soon also the Visigoths started a great move. The Visigoths went through Greece, along the Adriatic Coast to Naples and Rome and further to Spain where they defeated the Vandals (who had arrived five years before). The Vandals moved on to what today is Libya. As the Ostrogoths and the Huns had moved on, it turned out that the Slavs popped up as the successors after the abdicated Ostrogothian lords. While the Baltic languages and culture almost disappeared, the Slavic area now greatly increased. After the Huns are defeated, Slavic tribes are identified along the southern Baltic shore, in all of the area east of River Elbe and (beside Magyars) in the area east of the Alps. Examples of these nowadays almost forgotten names are: Finnic tribes: * Karelians at lake Ladoga and further north * Votes at river Narva * Estonians in present day Estonia * Livonians at Gulf of Riga Baltic tribes: * Curonians (as in Curland/Kurland) at Gulf of Riga * Lithuanians at the rivers Neman & Dvina * Notangians at river Pregola * Prussians at, and east of, River Vistula (had migrated from the Neman/Dvina area circa 200 A.D.) * (other Baltic tribes there around had names as Jotwings/Jatvingians, Lettigallians, Notangians, Samen, Schalauer, Schamaiten, Selens & Semigallians) Slavic tribes: * Novgorods in North-East, at Lake Ilmen. * Pomeranians between the Rivers Oder & Vistula * Poles around River Warta (between Vistula & Oder) (actually they were sooner half a dozen of tribes, united around year 1.000 A.D. with names as Polanes, Vislanes, Slenzanes, Opolinis and others) * Wends/Sorbs around the rivers Neiße & Saale (between upper Oder & Elbe) * Abodritic/Obodritic tribes at the Baltic coast (between lower Oder & Elbe) * Czech tribes south of the Sudeten mountains * Daleminci at River Elbe in present day Saxony. During the 6th century the Gutar from Gotland island established colonies at the eastern shore of the Baltic sea, for instance at the estuary of River Dvina. Later, in the 9th century, Curland/Courland was conquered by Swedish Vikings. In western Europe the Franks conquered all the land from River Rhine to the Pyrenées; the Angles and a lot of Jutes and Saxons conquered England; and the Langobards came to conquer the Ostrogothian realm in today's Yugoslavia and Italy. In eastern Scandinavia, the Uppland region north of Lake Mälaren (Roslagen - the Rus people) increased its dominance. ...a dominance which has been held ever since. Gutar, Götar, Finns and Sámis constitute contemporary cultures. In southern Scandinavia the Danes dominated. Saxo Grammaticus tells, if we ought to confide in his tales, that Saxonians and Slavs from time to time paid tributes to Danish kings. According to Saxo also Scania, Gotland, Värmland, Jämtland and Hälsingland in present-day Sweden were lands of the Danes, although usually not under a common king. Then, during the 8th century Muslims conquered the Germanic realms on Africa's northern coast and on the Iberian peninsula. Left was the region of Franks, which after a split in the 9th century came to constitute the states of France and Germany. At this time trade through Russia to the muslim Persia became important. The Russian waterways are dominated by Svear and Gutar (Svenonians and Guths) called Varyagi or Varangians by the Slavs, and according to written sources present at the Sea of Azov in 739 A.D. The castles in Russia evolve to separate kingdoms and get Christianized. With Christianity (if not before) Germanic lords began to conquer many lands inhabited by Slavs, Balts and Estonians/Finns claiming supremacy - but as constituting a minute minority often soon assimilated. ...but with the arrival of Christian religion, the prehistoric era ends, and so does this tale. [ the sections above are available at the www-page http://www.lysator.liu.se/nordic/scn/faq25a.html ] 2.5.1 Norden in prehistoric times Ice has covered almost all of Norden most of the last 500,000 years. Exceptionally there have been four inter glacial periods, each extending 10,000-15,000 years. The latest period of ice-withdrawal started some 13,000 years ago. (And hence we can expect most of Norden to again become covered with ice within some 2,000 years.) The pre-history of Norden literally starts when the ice withdrew. Very little has been found from earlier interglacial periods. (Actually a piece of south eastern Jutland never got covered by the ice during the last ice-time, and there traces of human living have been found and dated to an approximate age of a hundred thousand years - but that was The Exception until a recent finding of a cave in Finland used as a human dwelling some 100,000 years ago.) Iceland seems not to have been populated before Viking time - but mind you! The first colonizer then arrived from Ireland and not from Scandinavia. 13,000 years ago hunting and fishing people left traces along rivers and lakes in Denmark and Scania. And from around 8,000 B.C. hunters have dwelled also in western and northern Scandinavia; and in Finland which started to pop up through the sea. Up to this time there had been a continuous land connection from Britain to Scania, but now (5,500 B.C.) Norden develops into a huge archipelago. Finland emerged as the archipelago on the coast of northern Russia and keeps culturally connected with Russia. Like-wisely Denmark and the southern Scandinavian peninsula keeps connected with western and central Europe. Along the coast of Norway hunters persist more or less isolated. Around 5,000 B.C. pottery came into use, indicating new methods to store food (Ertebølle culture); and marks of wheat in the pottery suggest the beginning of agriculture, however established archaeology defines the Ertebølle culture as a hunter/gatherer culture which came to persist for centuries beside the agricultural villages of the Pit-pottery (trattbägar) culture. Agriculture is believed to have reached Denmark and the southern Scandinavian peninsula approximately 4,200 B.C. with wood-burning technique, wheat, barley, sheep, goats, pigs and cows. [ This, and many other datings, is disputed. A recent Danish scholarly work says 4,000 B.C. while a recent Swedish work says agriculture was introduced in southernmost Scandinavia around 3,000 B.C. ] The megalithe graves are the most visible trace of our prehistoric ancestors, erected 3,700-2,300 B.C. in Denmark and on the southern Scandinavian peninsula. During this period of over a thousand years the agricultural megalithe societies seem to have co-existed with coastal hunters and fishers; obvious at least in Denmark, Scania, along the Swedish west coast, and at lake Mälaren west of Stockholm. These hunters/fishers stood in contact with Gotland and Eastern Europe, agriculture was not entirely unknown to them and they had domesticated swine. In other words: It is important not to take these classifications and datings too literally. [ A large recent Swedish work dates the megalithe graves to 2,500-1,500 B.C. ] Agriculture was introduced along the fjords of southern Norway about year 2,500 B.C. At the same time a new mode for burying was introduced in southern Scandinavia and southern Finland. Unburned corpses in sleeping position, always followed by the battle-axe, and without stones or similar signs on the ground above. The battle-axe culture followed rivers and lakes, where before the Ertebølle and the Pit-pottery people had dwelled. We do not take a position in the dispute whether a change of pottery type or burying technique indicate a migration of people or only of ideas. The battle-axes of stone were initially made after the model of bronze axes, very true imitation indeed including the seam of the mould in which the bronze axe was cast. The agricultural districts preserved their megalithe culture for some time, and then it seems as the cultures merged. It is believed that this change in the archaeological findings more likely represents a true immigration of people instead of a diffusion of ideas and beliefs. If so, it also seems plausible that horses and the wheel were introduced by these battle-axe people. Around year 2,000 B.C. trade increased. Copper and bronze items followed dead chieftains into their graves. With increasing trade it didn't last long until bronze (the alloy of copper and tin) was produced in Denmark and on the Scandinavian peninsula. The metals themselves must however be imported. In exchange for the imported copper and tin export of amber and furs and maybe slaves must be assumed. The Bronze age is dated to the years 1,800-500 B.C. in Denmark, and 1,500-500 B.C. in Sweden and Finland. Bronze age did barely reach Norway or the central parts of Scandinavia and Finland, where the life seems to have continued as before. 2.5.2 Iron Age Around year 100 B.C. Lombards are believed to have migrated from Scania to Jutland and then further to the area of lower River Elbe, from where they attacked Roman Provinces for the following hundreds of years, ...until it was time for the great re-settlement of the Migration Period. The Lombards finally came to find a warmer sun in Lombardy in Italy. Western Scandinavia 3rd to 5th century Around the turn of millennium, good iron was produced at the Oslo-fjord in southern Norway. During the 3rd century A.D. the Iron Age Culture begins to spread from the Oslo fjord region, expanding along the water routes between Norway and Jutland. (Some scholars propose that a tribe with good knowledge of Iron-making thus gained military advantages and expanded to the south from the Oslo-fjord area. Basing their theories on place names, some even propose that these were the Danes, and that the Danes finally reached to present-day Svealand in their expansion along the Baltic Sea. In late 5th century the Lake Mälaren region was reported to be subordinate to Danish kings.) In any case: at the 5th century it seems as the area from Southern Norway to Jutland is dominated by related tribes, the "Danes" - the flatlanders. Eastern Scandinavia 5th to 8th century In late 5th century the Lake Mälaren region was reported to be subordinate to Danish kings, but then Svenonians (Svear) emerge as dominating tribe north of Lake Mälaren. Guths (Gutar on Gotland), Goths (Götar west and south of Lake Mälaren), Finns (in the East) and Sámis (in the North) constitute contemporary cultures. The people on Gotland, the Guthes (Gutar), dominated the Baltic sea and its trade. The agriculture was improved, and the size of farms became more diverse. On Gotland the arable fields were enclosed by stone walls, and almost all the common lands were split too. Western Scandinavia 6th to 11th century Danes inhabit western & southern Scandinavia including Jutland. They trade with West-Rome and Germans via the Rhine estuary. Jutland was the richest territory as that was the key position from where all Scandinavian and Baltic trade to and from Rome and the Rhine valley could be controlled. Danes (including people from present-day Norway and Scania) have a stronghold in England and Ireland which is lost to the romanized Normands in 1066. Eastern Scandinavia 8th to 11th century Svear and Gutar dominate trade with East-Rome and the islamic Persia along water-ways in Russia. The castles along the trade routes evolve to separate kingdoms and get Christianized. [ the sections above are available at the www-page http://www.lysator.liu.se/nordic/scn/faq25.html ] 2.5.3 Where did the Vikings go? There came to develop clearcut borders between the zones of interest for Norwegian, Danish and Svea Vikings. Below the main routes for the Viking trades are given with the modern names in some cases supplemented with the old Norse names. The Danes dominated * England between York and London (Danelagen), * Normandie, * Holland * and the southern coast of the Baltic sea between Jutland and Gdansk with Stettin/Szczecin (Jomsborg) as the main port to the continent. * trade contacts with the Mediterian area - both indirect over the continent and direct through the Gibraltar. The Norwegians travelled to * Iceland, * the Faroe Islands, * Ireland, * Scotland * and Wales. * Like also the Danes they kept trade contacts with the cities of the Mediterian Sea. The Svear went to what today is Russia (Gårdarike): * via the seas Ladoga and Onega to the river Volga and all the way over the Caspic Sea to the flourishing Islam Persia. * via Riga and the river Dvina/Düna to Smolensk. * via Petersburg and the rivers Neva and Volkhov to Novgorod (Holmgård). * from Novgorod and Smolensk they followed the river Volga to Kiev (Könugård) and further over the Black Sea to Istanbul (Micklagård) in the Byzantian Empire where the first written source reports Varangians in the Emperor's guard year 837. 2.5.3b Place names in Old Norse The Vikings had Norse names on a lot of towns and markets, of which a few still might be heard. The following list is far from complete: Vendland Pommerania Jomsborg Stettin Haithabu Hedeby (near Slesvig) Saxland between Rhine & Elbe Dorestad Utrecht Bretland Britanic islands Valland Flanders Norva sund Strait of Gibraltar Sikelø Sicily Särkland Persia Miklagård Istanbul Gårdarike between Volga & Black Sea Könugård Kijev Holmgård Novgorod 2.5.4 What about those horned Viking helmets? Surprising though it may sound, the Vikings have never worn even the tiniest little horns in their helmets. Viking helmets did sometimes have neat figures and all kinds of decorations, but not horns. There are some Danish bog-findings of ritual helmets that do have metal horns in them, but these date from the Bronze age -- some 2000 years before the Vikings. The idea has its roots in the art of the Romantic period -- first half of the 19th century -- when the artists started to introduce native myths and legends in painting and sculpture instead of Greco-Roman ones. But since archaeology as a science didn't really even exist yet, they had a very poor idea of what sort of equipment the heroes of the sagas had used. So they used their creative imagination. Later, despite the fact that we now know we now know better, the myth has been further popularized by Hollywood movies and comics such as Hagar the Horrible, and nowadays a "Viking" is almost by definition "someone who wears a pair of horns in his head". [ the sections above are available at the www-page http://www.lysator.liu.se/nordic/scn/faq253.html ] 2.5.5 Common Nordic History; Medieval times Western Scandinavia 1066-1319 Denmark and Norway are separate kingdoms. Christian faith is established. Denmark is heavily engaged along the southern and eastern shores af the Baltic Sea competing with Slavic Viking-like tribes and later with Germans. The Germans grow in strength and come through the Hanseatic League to dominate both the Baltic and the North Seas. Eastern Scandinavia 1164-1319 Christian faith is established. Trade through Russia is no longer possible. Agriculture increase in importance. Finland and Norrland is incorporated in the Swedish realm (the question of when Götaland was united with Svealand is complicated). The Hanseatic League compete successfully with the Guthnish and Swedish traders. The League establish Visby on Gotland as a major Hanseatic town. Western & Eastern Scandinavia 1319-1521/1536 The Hanseatic League dominates all of Norden. The modern feudalism has led to splitted realms both in Sweden (1310-19) and Denmark (1320-40) and is countered by centralistic tendencies by king Magnus Eriksson of Sweden, King Valdemar Atterdag of Denmark, and his daughter Queen Margrete of Norway. The high aristocracy does of course obstruct. The kingdoms are several times united in personal unions. Danish kings struggle with Swedish magnates over the relation to Germany. The Swedes (and Norwegians?) prioritize trade, the kings want to fight first and trade then. 2.5.6 Christian and pre-Christian laws The Christianization of Scandinavia came in particular to influence the law-system. The written recording of laws was probably introduced by arch-bishop Absalon in Lund, who at the university in Paris around year 1150 had studied not only theology and philosophy but also laws and political science. In the 12th and 13th century the papal administration showed a great interest in secular laws, and now we are grateful for this, since the archives in Rome have some of our earliest sources. The conflict between pope and emperor in Europe was mirrored also in Scandinavia. The church had three major demands: Investiture, tax exemption and internal jurisdiction (i.e. secular immunity) for priests. Year 1200 the Swedish king agreed on the latter two points, but as with the German emperor 100 years before the royal (noble) custom to appoint bishops (and priests) remained. 1258 it was agreed that priests were to be ordained by bishops. From year 1200 we also have the first source claiming royal right to make and change laws. King Knud VI in Denmark proclaimed issues of maintenance of internal peace, as manslaughter, to be within his authority according to the Church's laws and teachings. The Things argued however that the king's power was limited to suspending laws in case they are in direct violation of God's commandments. Marriage was a topic where Christian laws differed much from the older Germanic. Prior men had become independent of their fathers at puberty, but women were subordinated to their husband, their father or their brothers. With Christianity the bride's consent was demanded for marriage, prohibiting also the formerly customary marriage by capture, as well as concubines. Dowry and bride price (the latter paid at the betrothing) remained customary. Divorces, which prior had been an equal right of booth spouses, without demands on certain causes, were also prohibited. [ the sections above are available at the www-page http://www.lysator.liu.se/nordic/scn/faq255.html ] 2.5.7 Modern Nordic history Western Scandinavia 1536-1645 After a civil war 1534-36 the Hanseatic Leaugue lost its influence in the Danish realm. Lutheran Reformation follows. Norway is formally incorporated. Until the Thirty Years' War Denmark keeps her position as the leading power of Norden. Eastern Scandinavia 1521-1560 Lutheran Reformation contributes to the creation of a National State in Sweden with a strong central administration and a king independent of the nobility and the pope. Eastern Scandinavia 1560-1660 Territorial gains in Germany, the Baltic lands and in Scandinavia. The state administration gets controlled by the nobility. The Thirty Years' War 1618-1648 The Thirty Years' War results in a radically weakened Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. After an unsuccessful mission in the early phase of the war Denmark keeps out of it, and does not gain any direct favors from Germany's weakness. Sweden have more luck in the war, and comes out of it as Europe's leading Lutheran Power. Western Scandinavia 1645-1814 Denmark (with Norway) lose several provinces to Sweden, and after having been literally threatened by eradication in 1658 and having lost its richest province, Scania, the High Nobility is deemed unfit for governing the realm and Royal Autocracy is enforced. Denmark balances between revanchism and careful foreign policy aimed at peace with the strengthened Sweden. After several unsuccessful attempts to regain at least Scania, and after Sweden again is weakened after 1709, Denmark (with Norway) experience a peacful century until the Napoleonic wars hit also Denmark, leeding to Norway 1814 being ceeded to Sweden (75% of the realm's territory, however only a minute proportion of its population and tax-incomes). Eastern Scandinavia 1660-1808 Successive losses of territories in south eastern Finland and outside of Fennoscandia. The nobility's position is step by step weakened. Royal Autocracy is enacted by the Estates in 1680. After the disastrous war with Russia 1700-1721 the government is taken over by the Estates, and then again in 1771-1809 succeeded by Royal Autocracy. Nortern Scandinavia 1809-1918 Sweden lose the eastern half of the realm to Russia. Revolution in Sweden: Governmental power is shared by king and Estates. Finland as a Grand Duchy ruled by the Emperor of Russia gets isolated from the rest of Norden. Rest-Sweden is in personal union with Norway 1814-1905, whereafter the union is peacefully abolished and Norway again a totally independent kingdom of its own. Southern Scandinavia 1814-1901 Social, educational and constitutional reforms in Denmark. The Royal Authocracy is abolished in 1848. In 1864 also Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg are lost to Prussia. 20th century * Norway gains independency from Sweden; Finland gains independency from Russia; and Iceland gains independency from Denmark. Greenland, the Faroe Islands and the Åland islands get self rule. * Parliamentarism, democracy and great social reforms are introduced in all Nordic states. * Norden is spared from the First World War, however Finland experience a bitter and bloody Civil War between Reds and Whites parallel with the War in Russia between Reds and Whites after the Communist Revolution. * Denmark and Norway are occupied during World War II. Finland is involved in two wars with Russia (the second in co-operation with Germany) and then another war to chase German troops out of Northern Finland. * Norway and Denmark joins Nato. Denmark, Sweden and Finland joins the European Union. [ the sections above are available at the www-page http://www.lysator.liu.se/nordic/scn/faq257.html ] 2.5.8 Political history & cooperation The forming of what we today know as the Nordic countries is a rather complex historical process. This is also the reason why it's not a very tight unit. While the common cultural heritage and even political unions of the Nordic peoples go well beyond the Renaissance, a conscious supra-national identity is a relatively recent development. After the splitting up of the Kalmar Union in early 16th century, Sweden (with Finland) and Denmark (with Norway) remained arch-enemies for almost three hundred years, fighting each other for the dominance of Scandinavia. Political cooperation was for the most part out of the question. In the learned circles of the late 18th century, however, a movement known as Scandinavism started to spread with the growing realization of national identity on one hand and common cultural heritage on the other hand. At first this was limited to promoting cultural exchange, but in the 1830s a political Scandinavism was born among the students of Sweden and Denmark; it aimed to create a Nordic defense alliance and even to unite the countries as a single state. King Oskar I of Sweden, who was an enthusiastic Scandinavist, supported Denmark when the country was subjected to strong political pressure from Prussia in 1848-49, which increased the popularity of Scandinavism in Denmark. During the Crimean War of 1853-56 efforts were made to get Finns to embrace Scandinavism and Sweden planned to liberate Finland from the yoke of the Russian Empire so that it could rejoin the Scandinavian family, but at that time Finns were quite content with their autonomy and didn't show much enthusiasm for Scandinavism. Political Scandinavism collapsed by and large in 1864 when Denmark was attacked by Prussia and Austria. Although the reigning Swedish King Karl XV was an advocate of Scandinavism, the Riksdag (the Swedish parliament which had grown in power) had a more sceptical attitude, and decided not to send any troops to aid the Danes. In addition to this, the Norwegian independence movement started to cause tension between Norwegians and Swedes. Thus the dreams of a unified Scandinavia were abandoned, and Scandinavism came to be focused on cultural and economic cooperation, standardizing legislation and acting together in international conferences. This cooperation has continued up to this date, although the word "Scandinavism" itself is no longer used. So, how then do the Nordic countries cooperate today? The main Nordic cultural and political organs are the Norden-societies in each country (founded in Swe/No/Dk in 1919, in Iceland in 1922, Finland 1924, Faroes 1955, Åland 1970), their umbrella organization (founded in 1965), the Nordic Minister Council (1971), and most importantly the Nordic Council (1952/1956), through which free movement of labour, passport-free travel and common legislation have been introduced in the Nordic countries. A similar political profile has led all the Nordic countries to develop into welfare states with a high social security and a high standard of living. Behind the political cooperation lie the factors that have enabled it in the first place. These include common cultural background, linguistic relationship, shared history, religion and geography. With the exception of religion, none of them is fully shared by all five countries, but even so, there are more things that unite us than ones that separate us. In 1946 Scandinavian Airlines Systems, SAS, was founded in cooperation between the states of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. I've heard the Scandinavian countries failed to agree on a union in the 1940s. That's correct. Actually three times. First in October 1939 the Nordic kings and presidents met to discuss the serious situation at the eve of the World War. Soviet's demand on Finnish territory was one of the main problems discussed, and the Finns must have hoped for guarantees from the other states for support against the Russian threats. But the result was the opposite. Each state declared its intention to follow a strict policy of neutrality, which was the same as telling the Soviet Union that none of the other Nordic countries would interfere in the Soviet-Finnish conflict. Then after the Winter War 1939-40 between the Soviet Union and Finland a regular union was discussed for Sweden and Finland - like the personal union 1814-1905 between Sweden and Norway. But the Soviet Union didn't like the idea. Finally after the second world war a defense alliance was planned between Norway, Denmark and Sweden. (Finland's participation was again vetoed by the Soviet Union.) But the Norwegians' bad impression of the 19th-century union with Sweden was the obstacle on which the idea fell. Instead Norway took up discussions with the USA about participation in the planned NATO, and soon also Denmark followed. Was that for the first time after the split of the Kalmar-union? Well, actually there was a Currency-union between Denmark, Norway and Sweden 1873-1914 with the purpose to make trading easier. And people who are careful with the notions would maybe object that the last trace of the Kalmar-union lasted until 1944 when Iceland declared its independence from Denmark. :-> But otherwise you are right. The personal union 1814-1905 between Norway and Sweden was not at all voluntary from the side of the Norwegians, and before that the idea of a Nordic union had been stone dead since the 16th century. How come the Kalmar-union was ever accepted? It wasn't. :->> It was the result of a long and complicated chain of coincidences: * The Hanseatic League had become a superior power in the Baltic sea region. Their strategy was always to support the second strongest part in every conflict, thereby contributing to the political instability. * The first years of the 14th century were particularly unstable. Norway's King Håkon Hålegg, who recently had gained superiority over Iceland, supported the Swedish Duke Erik in an alliance against Denmark and the Swedish King Birger. * To make a long history short: Sweden was split in three Duchies; King Birger imprisons the dukes when they visit him for a Christmas party; the dukes are left to starve to death; the king is chased out of the country; the Crown-Prince is executed; King Håkon of Norway dies; and his grandson, the three years old son of Duke Erik, is appointed King Magnus of Norway - and Sweden; his mother rules as regent until she starts a war against Denmark; then she gets disposed. * While the Danish kingdom temporarily was weakened King Magnus Eriksson ruled 1332-1355 over Finland and all of the Scandinavian peninsula in a loose union between Norway, Sweden, Scania and Gotland. For its time it was the greatest realm in Europe. [ Henrik Ernø writes: ] During the period of 1315 to 1331 the Kings' power in Denmark was steadily weakened by the powerful noble families, which successed in limiting the King's position significantly both politically and financially. The King compensated by borrowing money to raise his armies from both the Hansa, the Counts of Holstein, the Kings of Brandenburg, and anybody else. As surety for the loans various parts of the kingdom were pawned out to the moneylenders, who then often resold the rights of the pawned province to third parties. [ Johan Olofsson writes: ] The Scanian nobility (alternatively the Thing in Lund) had in the beginning of the 1330s chosen the young Magnus Eriksson to be king also for the Scanian provinces, as also Gotland had done, after his regents had promised to pay Count Johan of Holstein to whom Scania was pawned. At that time Magnus Eriksson was the under-age king of both Norway and Sweden. [ Jan Böhme replies: ] It should be stressed that this was a much more drastic step to take for the Scanians. The Gutnish quite regularly pledged allegiance to the Swedish King in the early Middle Ages, on the routine understanding that this would mean as little as possible on the island in practice. For the Scanians, it really implied a shift of allegiance. Which means that Valdemar Atterdag's later re-conquest of Scania only meant a restoration more or less to status quo ante, whereas his conquest of Gotland meant an important change of the "facts on the ground". * When King Magnus' younger son Håkon comes to age, he is appointed king of Norway despite Crown-Prince Erik being the rightful heir to the throne. The discontent Crown-Prince starts a rebellion and gets most of the realm, but soon he and all of his family die in an epidemic disease. After this the balance had definitely changed: Sweden was weakened and Denmark the strongest again. * King Valdemar Atterdag of Denmark conquers Scania and Gotland, King Magnus seeks support by the strong Hanseatic League but is forced to abdicate in favor of his son Håkon (king of Norway), who allies with the Danish king where-after the German Duke Albrecht of Mecklenburg is appointed king of Sweden and imprisons the ex-King Erik until six years later he is rescued by his son King Håkon of Norway. * In 1368-70 Valdemar Atterdag had gained courage enough to challenge the Hanseatic League. Denmark tried to master the southwestern Baltic and end the Hansa's economic control there. But instead the League was united (the Cologne-federation) and decided to raise an armed force that then defeated the Danes decisively. The league then tried to dominate Denmark by means of a 15 year's contracted possession of castles and towns along Öresund. * After Valdemar Atterdag's death his five years old grandson Olav is elected King of Denmark - the alternative would have been the nephew of King Albrecht supported by the German emperor. But the emperor died. Olav's father was King Håkon of Norway, but the Danish realm is in the hands of his mother, Queen Margrete of Norway, the daughter of Valdemar Atterdag, who wasn't on speaking terms with her husband the king. * When King Håkon died his son Olav was still under age, only nine years old, and the queen ruled over both Norway and Denmark. The King Olav died however also (at the age of seventeen) and the son-son of the Swedish King Albrecht of Mecklenburg was closest to the throne. * The Danish nobility did however prefer the Norwegian queen for the German king and appointed her to regent with support of the Thing in Lund. Then the Norwegians elected her to regent, and finally the Swedish State Council and aristocracy chose to support her against King Albrecht in Sweden, who was beaten in a battle with Queen Margrete and together with his son Erik captured and imprisoned. (1395 he was rescued through Mecklenburg's war against the queen.) * Finally Bugislav, the nephew of Queen Margrete, is elected king (known as Erik of Pomerania) by the Norwegian state council with the queen as regent until he comes to age; then he is elected king in province after province of Denmark (1387) and so also by the Swedish state council (1389). Thereby the union was made legitimate, and in contrast to earlier occasions when one king ruled over two Scandinavian countries, this came to last for a long time. (Although the Swedes made a lot of problems all the time.) Is it true that Scandinavia was a united Norse Realm before Christianity? Well, ...yes and no! There existed short-lived kingdoms with considerable size also before the 14th century, but they all disintegrated when the king in question died - if not before. Maybe the army which was raised to defend Jutland against the Huns was the first. During the 11th century there are for instance King Canute the Great's realm including most of England, Norway, maybe Sweden and (of course) Denmark. But the first years of the millenium was rich in power-play: * Olof Skötkonung, King of Svealand, allies with his step-father Svend Fork-beard, King of Denmark, and the exiled Jarl Eirik from Norway. [ "Jarl" is the same word as "Earl". ] They defeat King Olav Tryggvason of Norway. Jarl Eirik gets a third of Norway as his own, and the part of Olof Skötkonung's as his vassal. This happened in year 1000 according to Snorre. * Then the viking chieftain, King Olav Haraldsson defeats and slays the son of Jarl Eirik, but unites with Eirik against King Olof of Svealand. Unpease pesters the life in Jämtland and Bohuslän. * According to Snorre (not too sure in other words) the leaders at the Thing in Uppsala compelled King Olof to peace-negotiations with King Olav. * King Canute the Great (of Denmark) conquered also Norway. King Olav escaped to his relative King Jaroslav in Novgorod, where he raised an army. They landed in Sweden where meanwhile the Svenonians (Svear) had lost their patience with the self-willed King Olof Skötkonung, who had taken the unprcedented step of conversion to Christianity. King Olof was expelled (and on his escape given refuge in Skara in Götaland, where his confessor and spiritual father proclaimed Sweden's first bishopric). * The new King of Sweden, Amund Jakob, supports king Olav Haraldsson, who however is killed in the battle of Stiklestad in Trøndelag. * When King Canute the Great dies in 1035 the Danish supremacy over Norway is exchanged in a Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance. It was settled that if one of the two realm's kings should die without heirs, then the other would succeed him. * King Hardeknud of Denmark dies without an heir in 1042, and Denmark and Norway is again united - now under King Magnus. * But soon a retired colonel from Constantinople, the uncle of King Magnus, returned to his native country and made demands on half of the kingdom. As King Magnus refused, the uncle, who came to be called Harald Hårdråde by the way, allied with Svend Estridsøn, a claimant to the Danish kingdom. King Magnus was defeated in the year 1047, and the union between Denmark and Norway was split. ____________________________________________________ That's rather messy, isn't it? Could you please make a table? - At your service! 1022-35 King Canute the Great united Denmark, Norway and parts of England. 1042-47 King Magnus of Norway inherits the Crown of Denmark. 1262-1536 Iceland is governed by Norway 1319-55 Personal union between Norway and Sweden 1332-60 Personal union between Sweden, Scania and Gotland 1362-64 Personal union between Norway and Sweden 1387-1536 Personal union between Denmark and Norway 1389-1523 Personal union between Denmark, Norway and Sweden 1536-1814 Norway is incorporated¹ in the Danish realm 1536-1918 Iceland is incorporated in the Danish realm and 1918-1944 in personal union with Denmark 1536-- The Faroe islands are incorporated in the Danish realm 1814-1905 Personal union between Norway and Sweden ¹/ There remains some dispute regarding if Norway regained sort of a status as a kingdom again, in personal union with Denmark, in 1660. [ the sections above are available at the www-page http://www.lysator.liu.se/nordic/scn/faq258.html ]
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