Provinces of Sweden
The provinces of Sweden are historical and cultural regions. Sweden has 25 provinces and they have no administrative function, but remain historical legacies and the means of cultural identification. Dialects and folklore rather follows the provincial borders than the borders of the counties. Several of them were subdivisions of Sweden until 1634, when they were replaced by the counties of Sweden; some were conquered on from Denmark–Norway. Others, like the provinces of Finland, were lost. Lapland is the only province acquired through colonization. In some cases, the administrative counties correspond exactly to the provinces, as is Blekinge to Blekinge County and Gotland, a province, county and a municipality. While not corresponding with the province, Härjedalen Municipality is beside Gotland the only municipality named after a province. In other cases, they do not, which enhances the cultural importance of the provinces. In addition, the administrative units are subject to continuous changes–several new counties were for instance created in the 1990s–while the provinces have had their historical borders outlined for centuries.
Since 1884 all the provinces are ceremonial duchies, but as such have no administrative or political functions. The provinces of Sweden are still used in colloquial speech and cultural references, can therefore not be regarded as an archaic concept; the main exception is Lapland where the population see themselves as a part of Västerbotten or Norrbotten, based on the counties. Two other exceptions are Stockholm and Gothenburg, where the population see themselves as living in the city, not in a province, since both cities have province borders through them. English and other languages use Latin names as alternatives to the Swedish names; the name Scania for Skåne predominates in English. Some purely English exonyms, such as the Dales for Dalarna, East Gothland for Östergötland, Swedish Lapland for Lappland and West Bothnia for Västerbotten are common in English literature. Swedes writing in English have long used Swedish-language name forms only; the origins of the provincial divisions lay in the petty kingdoms that became more and more subjected to the rule of the Kings of Sweden during the consolidation of Sweden.
Until the country law of Magnus Ericson in 1350, each of these lands still had its own laws with its own assembly, in effect governed themselves. The historical provinces were considered duchies, but newly conquered provinces added to the kingdom either received the status of a duchy or a county, depending on their individual importance. After the separation from the Kalmar Union in 1523 the Kingdom incorporated only some of its new conquests as provinces; the most permanent acquisitions stemmed from the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658, in which the former Danish Scanian lands – the provinces of Skåne, Blekinge and Gotland – along with the Norwegian Bohuslän, Jämtland and Härjedalen, became Swedish and integrated. Other foreign territories were ruled as Swedish Dominions under the Swedish monarch, in some cases for two or three centuries. Norway, in personal union with Sweden from 1814 to 1905, never became an integral part of Sweden; the division of Västerbotten that took place with the cession of Finland caused Norrbotten to emerge as a county, to be recognized as a province in its own right.
It was granted a coat of arms as late as in 1995. Some scholars suggest. Sweden was seen as containing four "lands": Götaland Svealand Österland Norrland In the Viking age and earlier, Götaland and Svealand consisted of a number of petty kingdoms that were more or less independent; the leading tribe of Götaland in the Iron Age was the Geats. "Norrland" was the overall denomination for all of the unexplored northern parts, the outward boundaries of which and control by the Swedish king were weakly defined into the early modern age. Österland in southern and central Finland formed an integral part of Sweden. In 1809 Finland was annexed by Russia, reunited with some frontier counties annexed several decades earlier to form the Grand Duchy of Finland, becoming in 1917 the independent country of Finland; the borders of these regions have changed several times throughout history, adapting to changes in national borders, Norrland, Svealand and Götaland are only parts of Sweden and have never superseded the concept of the provinces.
At the funeral of King Gustav Vasa in 1560 some early versions of coats of arms for 23 of the provinces listed below were displayed together for the first time, most of them having been created for that particular occasion. Erik XIV of Sweden modeled the funeral processions for Gustav Vasa on the continental renaissance funerals of influential German dukes, who in turn may have styled their display of power on Charles V's funeral procession, where flags were used to represent each entry in the long list of titles of the dead. Having only three flags as a representation of the entities Svealand, Götaland and Wends mentioned in Vasa's title, "King of Sweden, the Goths and the Wends", would have been diminutive in comparison with the pompous displays of ducal power on the continent, so flags were promptly created to represent each of the provinces. At the funer
Finland the Republic of Finland, is a country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, Russia to the east. Finland is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia; the capital and largest city is Helsinki. Other major cities are Espoo, Tampere and Turku. Finland's population is 5.52 million, the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region. 88.7% of the population is Finnish and speaks Finnish, a Uralic language unrelated to the Scandinavian languages. Finland is the eighth-largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union; the sovereign state is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital city of Helsinki, local governments in 311 municipalities, one autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces one third of the country's GDP. Finland was inhabited when the last ice age ended 9000 BCE.
The first settlers left behind artefacts that present characteristics shared with those found in Estonia and Norway. The earliest people were hunter-gatherers; the first pottery appeared in 5200 BCE. The arrival of the Corded Ware culture in southern coastal Finland between 3000 and 2500 BCE may have coincided with the start of agriculture; the Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in the Fennoscandian and Baltic regions and the sedentary farming inhabitation increased towards the end of Iron Age. At the time Finland had three main cultural areas – Southwest Finland and Karelia – as reflected in contemporary jewellery. From the late 13th century, Finland became an integral part of Sweden through the Northern Crusades and the Swedish part-colonisation of coastal Finland, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. In 1809, Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland.
In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant all adult citizens the right to vote, the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by civil war, with the Bolshevik-leaning Red Guard supported by the new Soviet Russia, fighting the White Guard, supported by the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, the country became a republic. During World War II, the Soviet Union sought to occupy Finland, with Finland losing parts of Karelia, Kuusamo and some islands, but retaining their independence. Finland established an official policy of neutrality; the Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics during the Cold War era. Finland joined the OECD in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994, the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, the Eurozone at its inception, in 1999.
Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a agrarian country until the 1950s. After World War II, the Soviet Union demanded war reparations from Finland not only in money but in material, such as ships and machinery; this forced Finland to industrialise. It developed an advanced economy while building an extensive welfare state based on the Nordic model, resulting in widespread prosperity and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, human development. In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital and the Press Freedom Index and as the most stable country in the world during 2011–2016 in the Fragile States Index, second in the Global Gender Gap Report, it ranked first on the World Happiness Report report for 2018 and 2019. A large majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Finnish Constitution.
The earliest written appearance of the name Finland is thought to be on three runestones. Two have the inscription finlonti; the third was found in Gotland. It dates back to the 13th century; the name can be assumed to be related to the tribe name Finns, mentioned at first known time AD 98. The name Suomi has uncertain origins, but a candidate for a source is the Proto-Baltic word *źemē, meaning "land". In addition to the close relatives of Finnish, this name is used in the Baltic languages Latvian and Lithuanian. Alternatively, the Indo-European word * gʰm-on "man" has been suggested; the word referred only to the province of Finland Proper, to the northern coast of Gulf of Finland, with northern regions such as Ostrobothnia still sometimes being excluded until later. Earlier theories suggested derivation from suomaa or suoniemi, but these are now considered outdated; some have suggested common etymology with saame and Häme, but that theory is uncertain
Halland is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden, on the western coast of Sweden. It borders Västergötland, Småland and the sea of Kattegat; until 1645 and the Second Treaty of Brömsebro, it was part of the Kingdom of Denmark. The provinces of Sweden serve no administrative function. Instead, that function is served by the Counties of Sweden. However, the province of Halland is coextensive with the administrative Halland County, though parts of the province belong to Västra Götaland County and Skåne County, while the county includes parts of Småland and Västergötland; as of December 31, 2016, Halland had a population of 327,093. Of these, 310,536 lived in Halland County. During the Danish era until 1658, the province had no coat of no seal. In Sweden, every province had been represented by heraldic arms since 1560; when Charles X Gustav of Sweden died in 1660 a coat of arms had to be created for the newly acquired province. Each province was to be represented by its arms at the royal funeral.
There are several theories about the choice of a lion. Bengt Algotsson, duke of Halland and Finland in the 14th century, used a lion in his personal arms. Blazon: Azure, a Lion rampant Argent langued and dente Gules; the same coat of arms was granted for the administrative Halland County, which has the same boundaries. The rivers of Lagan, Ätran and Viskan flow through the province and reach the sea in Kattegat. Halland is well known as an agricultural district. Most of the region is made up of a relief unit known as the Sub-Mesozoic hilly peneplain. Around Morup and Tvååker hilltops are remnants of the Sub-Cambrian peneplain, an ancient erosion surface that covers much of eastern Sweden. Loose flint nodules of Cretaceous age have been found around Halland; the flints are remnants of a former cover of sedimentary rock, eroded. At present the sedimentary cover continues to exist in Scania and offshore; the Bronze Age was a period of relative prosperity in Halland. This is shown in the number of the numerous archaeological remains.
Over 1,100 tumuli and grave mounds have been found. The end of the Bronze Age witnessed an over-consumption of resources. Large areas were deforested; this might have been a result of a high demand for charcoal in smelting gold or bronze among the local elites. The worsening climate at the beginning of the Iron Age meant that the local elites no longer could obtain bronze to the same extent as before; as a result, the social structures collapsed. The early Iron Age social structures seem to have been egalitarian, but from around 200 AD there was a trend in which villages formed larger communities and small kingdoms; this is to have been a distant influence from the growing Roman Empire. During the 5th and 6th century large free-standing farms were created. An example of such a farm can be found in Slöinge, it was not just the social structure. New villages were formed; the new centers that were formed became the kernel from which new areas were settled during medieval times. According to information from a trader travelling from Skiringssal, close to the Oslofjord to Hedeby in the 870s it can be concluded that Halland was a Danish area at that time.
It would stay so for most of recorded history. Iron extraction is known to have taken place in Tvååker/Sibbarp during the Iron Age; as part of the Scanian lands Halland came under the Scanian Law and participated in the Scanian Thing, one of three Things electing the Danish king. Local assemblies took place in Getinge. Halland was the scene of considerable military action from the 13th century and on as Sweden, Denmark and to some degree Norway fought for supremacy in Scandinavia; the many wars made the province poor. Not only were material damages caused by military action, but the social impact of the fighting was devastating; the county was the site of combat and plunder three times during the 13th Century: in 1256 Haakon IV of Norway invaded, followed by Magnus III of Sweden in 1277 and Eric VI of Denmark in 1294. The county came to be split in two parts for the next century, with the river Ätran forming a boundary; the lords of the two parts succeeded each other in a high tempo. As the Kalmar Union was formed, Halland came for a brief period of time to be centrally located.
According to the union treaty, the king was to be elected in Halmstad. During the rebellion of Engelbrekt in 1434 the fortress in Falkenberg was burnt down and two years Lagaholm was captured by the Swedes; the Swedo-Danish struggles in the early 16th century came to affect the province as well, as in 1519 when the border regions were sacked by the Swedes as a vengeance for similar Danish action in Västergötland. The Danish civil war called the Count's Feud in 1534–36, the Northern Seven Years' War between Denmark and Sweden in 1563–1570 and the Kalmar War between Denmark and Sweden in 1611–1613 all affected Halland. One of the major battles of the Northern Seven Years' War, the battle of Axtorna, took place in Halland. Halland was temporarily transferred to Sweden in 1645 under the terms of the Second Treaty of Brömsebro; the conquest was made permanent by the ceding of the province in the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. The last battle in Halland took place in Fyllebro on 17 August 1676, during the Scanian War.
The more peaceful conditions that followed meant that the province could
Norway the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land. Norway has a total area of 385,207 square kilometres and a population of 5,312,300; the country shares a long eastern border with Sweden. Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, the Skagerrak strait to the south, with Denmark on the other side. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the Barents Sea. Harald V of the House of Glücksburg is the current King of Norway. Erna Solberg has been prime minister since 2013. A unitary sovereign state with a constitutional monarchy, Norway divides state power between the parliament, the cabinet and the supreme court, as determined by the 1814 constitution; the kingdom was established in 872 as a merger of a large number of petty kingdoms and has existed continuously for 1,147 years.
From 1537 to 1814, Norway was a part of the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway, from 1814 to 1905, it was in a personal union with the Kingdom of Sweden. Norway was neutral during the First World War. Norway remained neutral until April 1940 when the country was invaded and occupied by Germany until the end of Second World War. Norway has both administrative and political subdivisions on two levels: counties and municipalities; the Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and the Finnmark Act. Norway maintains close ties with both the United States. Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the European Free Trade Association, the Council of Europe, the Antarctic Treaty, the Nordic Council. Norway maintains the Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system, its values are rooted in egalitarian ideals; the Norwegian state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, having extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, lumber and fresh water.
The petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. On a per-capita basis, Norway is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside of the Middle East; the country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world on the World IMF lists. On the CIA's GDP per capita list which includes autonomous territories and regions, Norway ranks as number eleven, it has the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, with a value of US$1 trillion. Norway has had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the world since 2009, a position held between 2001 and 2006, it had the highest inequality-adjusted ranking until 2018 when Iceland moved to the top of the list. Norway ranked first on the World Happiness Report for 2017 and ranks first on the OECD Better Life Index, the Index of Public Integrity, the Democracy Index. Norway has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Norway has two official names: Norge in Noreg in Nynorsk; the English name Norway comes from the Old English word Norþweg mentioned in 880, meaning "northern way" or "way leading to the north", how the Anglo-Saxons referred to the coastline of Atlantic Norway similar to scientific consensus about the origin of the Norwegian language name.
The Anglo-Saxons of Britain referred to the kingdom of Norway in 880 as Norðmanna land. There is some disagreement about whether the native name of Norway had the same etymology as the English form. According to the traditional dominant view, the first component was norðr, a cognate of English north, so the full name was Norðr vegr, "the way northwards", referring to the sailing route along the Norwegian coast, contrasting with suðrvegar "southern way" for, austrvegr "eastern way" for the Baltic. In the translation of Orosius for Alfred, the name is Norðweg, while in younger Old English sources the ð is gone. In the 10th century many Norsemen settled in Northern France, according to the sagas, in the area, called Normandy from norðmann, although not a Norwegian possession. In France normanni or northmanni referred to people of Sweden or Denmark; until around 1800 inhabitants of Western Norway where referred to as nordmenn while inhabitants of Eastern Norway where referred to as austmenn. According to another theory, the first component was a word nór, meaning "narrow" or "northern", referring to the inner-archipelago sailing route through the land.
The interpretation as "northern", as reflected in the English and Latin forms of the name, would have been due to folk etymology. This latter view originated with philologist Niels Halvorsen Trønnes in 1847; the form Nore is still used in placenames such as the village of Nore and lake Norefjorden in Buskerud county, still has the same meaning. Among other arguments in favour of the theor
Blekinge is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden, situated in the south of the country. It borders Småland and the Baltic Sea, it is the country's second-smallest province by area, the smallest province located on the mainland. The name "Blekinge" comes from the adjective bleke, which corresponds to the nautical term for "dead calm"; the historical provinces of Sweden serve no administrative function. However, Blekinge is the only province, besides Gotland, which covers the same area as the administrative county, Blekinge County. Blekinge was granted its current arms in 1660 at the time of the funeral of King Charles X Gustav of Sweden based on a seal from the 15th century. Symbolically the three crowns from the Coat of arms of Sweden had been placed on the trunk of the tree to mark the change in status of the former Danish province, that now belonged to Sweden; the arms is represented with a ducal coronet. Blazon: "Azure, an Oak Tree eradicated Or ensigned with three Crowns palewise of the same."
Relative to the rest of Sweden Blekinge has mild winters. Blekinge has a scenic archipelago and is sometimes called "Sweden's garden"; the nature of Blekinge is characterized by its oak forests with occasional hazel and common hornbeam. The relief is an uneven joint valley terrain with straight and narrow valley bottoms that widen towards the coast. Bedrock in Blekinge is granite and gneiss of the Blekinge-Bornholm rock province. Blekinge became part of the kingdom of Denmark at some point in the early 11th century – most 1026, its status before is unknown. It remained a Danish province for over 600 years, together with the provinces of Skåne and Halland, it made up Skåneland; the eastern part of the Danish kingdom where Scanian Law prevailed. As a border province, Blekinge was raided and looted by Swedish troops during Danish–Swedish wars. In 1658, it was ceded to Sweden according to the Treaty of Roskilde and has remained Swedish since. During the Danish era, the port town of Sölvesborg was the seat of the administration in the western part of the province and Kristianopel in the eastern part.
Notable fortifications during this period included sites at Elleholm, Sölvesborg and Avaskär. Towns in Blekinge with city privileges were: Ronneby, Sölvesborg and Kristianopel. After the Swedish takeover two new towns and Karlskrona, were built, the populations of Ronneby and Kristianopel were forcibly relocated to them. Karlskrona has for more than 300 years been the principal naval base in Sweden. Hundreds were the historical subdivisions of a Swedish province. Blekinge's hundreds were Bräkne Hundred, Eastern Hundred, Lister Hundred, Medelstad Hundred. In Blekinge, two main dialects exist; the dividing line between them has been the river Mörrumsån, near the historical site of Elleholm. West of this divide, the dialect was closely related to Danish and eastern Scanian, most an effect of the former administrative links to Scania. East of this divide, the dialect has still much common with danish and scanian but a little more in common with Småland dialects. Today, this divide is not as significant as before, with the exception of Listerlandet with its special language.
The eastern dialect of Danish can be found on the Danish island of Bornholm. The variety is called Blekingska; until 2018, Blekinge was one of the six Swedish provinces. On March 12, 2018, King Carl XVI Gustaf gave his newborn granddaughter, Princess Adrienne the title of Duchess of Blekinge. Football in the province is administered by Blekinge Fotbollförbund. Blekinge Institute of Technology Blekinge archipelago Blekinge - Official tourist site
Västergötland known as West Gothland or the Latinized version Westrogothia in older literature, is one of the 25 traditional non-administrative provinces of Sweden, situated in the southwest of Sweden. Västergötland is home to Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden, situated along a short stretch of the Kattegat strait; the province is bordered by Bohuslän, Dalsland, Värmland, Närke, Östergötland, Småland and Halland, as well as the two largest Swedish lakes Vänern and Vättern. Crown Princess Victoria is Duchess of Västergötland; the provinces of Sweden serve no administrative function. Instead, that function is served by counties of Sweden. From the 17th century up until 31 December 1997, Västergötland was divided into Skaraborg County, Älvsborg County and a minor part of Gothenburg and Bohus County. From 1 January 1998 nearly all of the province is in the newly created Västra Götaland County, with the exception of Habo Municipality and Mullsjö Municipality, which were transferred to Jönköping County, smaller parts of the province which are in Halland County and Örebro County.
Västergötland was granted its arms at the time of the funeral of King Gustav Vasa in 1560. The province is a duchy and the arms can be represented with the ducal coronet. Blazon: "Per bend sinister Sable and Or, a Lion rampant counterchanged langued and armed Gules between two Mullets Argent in the Sable field." The southern and eastern part of the province is dominated by hills, belonging to the southern Swedish highlands. In geological terms southern Västergötland is made up of northward tilted surfaces of the Sub-Cambrian peneplain making up the flank of the Southern Swedish Dome; the northern and western portions of the province belong to the Central Swedish lowland, which in this part is referred to as the Västgöta-plains or Västgötaslätten. Characteristic for these lowlands in Västergötland is that they contain hills made up Silurian-aged sedimentary rock; these are. Along the Kattegat lies the archipelago known as the Gothenburg archipelago; the southern part of it, belonging to Gothenburg Municipality, is part of Västergötland.
The northwestern border is demarkated by Sweden's largest lake Vänern, the north-eastern border is demarked by Sweden's second lake Vättern. Within the province the shoreline of Lake Vänern is 330 kilometres long, along Vättern it is 130 km; the largest river is Göta älv which drains Vänern to the Kattegat strait. The average rainfall is 600 mm in the plains; the average temperature is − 15 °C in July. Highest mountain: Galtåsen 362 meters National parks: Tiveden, Djurö As of 31 December 2016, Västergötland had a population of 1,328,128 distributed over four counties: There are many ancient remains in Västergötland. Among the most notable of these remains are the dolmens from the Funnelbeaker culture, in the Falköping area south of lake Vänern. Finnestorp, near Larv, was a weapons sacrificial site from the Iron Age; the population of Västergötland, the Viking Geats appear in the writings of the Greek Ptolemaios, they appear as Gautigoths in Jordanes' work in the 6th century. The province of Västergötland represents the heartland of Götaland, once an independent petty kingdom with a long line of Geatish kings.
These are described in foreign sources and through legends. It is possible that Västergötland had the same king as the rest of Sweden at the time of the monk Ansgar's mission to Sweden in the 9th century, but both the date and nature of its inclusion into the Swedish kingdom is a matter of much debate; some date it as early as the 6th century, based on the Swedish-Geatish wars in Beowulf epos. Västergötland received much early influence from the British Isles and is considered to be the bridgehead of Christianity's advance into Sweden. Recent excavations at Varnhem suggest that at least its central parts were Christian in the 9th century. Around 1000, King Olof Skötkonung is held to have received baptism near lake Vänern. However, the Christianization was met with heavy opposition in the rest of his kingdom, so Olof had to restrict the Christian activities to Västergötland; the Christian faith spread, by the time the provincial law Västgötalagen was written in the 13th century, Västergötland had 517 churches.
The seat of the area's diocese seems to have been Husaby, but since 1150 the city of Skara held that distinction. From the election of King Stenkil in the 11th century and Geatish dynasties vied for the control of Sweden during long civil wars. For instance, the Swedish king Ragnvald Knaphövde was elected king by the Swedes, but when he entered Västergötland, he chose not to demand hostage from the powerful Geatish clans and was slain by the Geats near Falköping. Several times, Västergötland was independent from Sweden with kings such as Inge I of Sweden and Magnus the Strong. In years the area was progressively tied more to the Swedish kingdom. Being in peace with the rest of Sweden did not mean being in peace. Located along the borders of Denmark and Norway, the area was involved in armed disputes and invaded by hostile armies; some places and dates of early battles were the Battle of Älgarås, the Battle of Lena, the Battle of Hova, the Battle of Gälakvist and the Battle of Falköping. Thereafter, Sweden was involved in the Sweden-Danish wars.