Provinces of Sweden

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Population of Swedish provinces in 2016 Provinces of Sweden by population (2016).png
Population of Swedish provinces in 2016

The provinces of Sweden (Swedish : Sveriges landskap) are historical, geographical and cultural regions. Sweden has 25 provinces and they have no administrative function, but remain historical legacies and a means of cultural identification as pertains, for example, to dialects and folklore.

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Several of them were subdivisions of Sweden until 1634, when they were replaced by the counties of Sweden (län). Some were conquered later on from Denmark–Norway. Others, like the provinces of Finland, were lost. Lapland is the only province acquired through colonization.[ citation needed ]

In some cases, the administrative counties correspond almost exactly to the provinces, as is Blekinge to Blekinge County and Gotland, which is a province, county and a municipality. While not exactly corresponding with the province, Härjedalen Municipality is beside Gotland the only municipality named after a province. In other cases, they do not, which then 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 also ceremonial duchies, but as such have no administrative or political functions.

The provinces of Sweden are still used in colloquial speech and cultural references, and therefore cannot 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.[ citation needed ]

Provinces

SwedishLatin
Sverigekarta-Landskap Text.svg
Ångermanland Angermannia
Blekinge Blechingia
Bohuslän Bahusia
Dalarna Dalecarlia
Dalsland Dalia
Gästrikland Gestricia
Gotland Gotlandia
Halland Hallandia
Hälsingland Helsingia
Härjedalen Herdalia
Jämtland Jemtia
Lappland Lapponia Suecana
Medelpad Medelpadia
Närke Nericia
Norrbotten Norbothnia
Öland Olandia
Östergötland Ostrogothia
Skåne Scania
Småland Smolandia
Södermanland     Sudermannia
Uppland Uplandia
Värmland Wermlandia
Västerbotten Westrobothnia
Västergötland Westrogothia
Västmanland Westmannia

English and other languages occasionally 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 (and corresponding forms) are common in English literature. [2] [3] [4] Swedes writing in English have long used Swedish-language name forms only. [5] [6]

History

Sweden's provinces from 1658 to 1809 Svpmap blank.png
Sweden's provinces from 1658 to 1809

The origins of the provincial divisions lay in the petty kingdoms that gradually 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 (the thing), and 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, Halland and Gotland along with the Norwegian Bohuslän, Jämtland and Härjedalen, became Swedish and gradually 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, and eventually 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 that Sweden revived the province concept in the 19th century. [7]

The lands of Sweden

Historically, Sweden was seen as containing four "lands" (larger regions):

In the Viking Age and earlier, Götaland and Svealand consisted of a number of petty kingdoms that were more or less independent; Götaland in the Iron Age and Middle Ages did not include Scania and other provinces in the far south which were part of Denmark. The leading tribe of Götaland in the Iron Age was the Geats; the main tribe of Svealand, according to Tacitus ca 100 AD, was the Suiones (or the "historical Swedes"). "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.

Due to the Northern Crusades against Finns, Tavastians and Karelians and colonisation of some coastal areas of the country, Finland fell under the Catholic Church and Swedish rule. Österland ("Eastern land"; the name had early gone out of use) 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, and 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, and Norrland, Svealand and Götaland are only parts of Sweden and have never superseded the concept of the provinces.

Heraldry

At the funeral of King Gustav Vasa (Gustav I) 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 funeral of Charles X Gustav more flags were added to the procession, namely the coats of arms for Estonia, Livonia, Ingria, Narva, Pomerania, Bremen and Verden, as well as coat of arms for the German territories Kleve, Sponheim, Jülich, Ravensberg and Bayern.

Since most of the historical Swedish provinces did not have set coats of arms at the time of Gustav Vasa's death, they were promptly created and granted. However, some of the coats of arms designed for the occasion were short-lived, such as the beaver picked to represent Medelpad, the wolverine in the coat of arms for Värmland and the rose-adorned coat of arms for Småland. Östergötland was for the occasion represented by two coats of arms, one with a Västanstång dragon and one with a Östanstång lion. The current coat of arms for Östergötland, listed below, was created in 1884. The savage representing Lappland was not used in King Gustav's procession, but was adopted as a coat of arms at the funeral procession of Charles IX in 1612, where the savage was initially black. The current coat of arms for Lappland, with a red, club-carrying man, was created in 1949. The list of coats of arms appearing below is thus different from the funeral procession flags, and consists of more recent inventions, many created during a period of romantic nationalism in the 19th century.

After the separation of Sweden and Finland the traditions for respective provincial arms diverged, most noticeably following an order by the King in Council on January 18, 1884. This established that all Swedish provinces carry ducal coronets, while the Finnish provincial arms still discriminated between ducal and county status. A complication was that the representation of Finnish ducal and county coronets resembled Swedish coronets of a lower order, namely county and baronial. The division of Lapland necessitated a distinction between the Swedish and the Finnish arms.

For more information, see Lands of Sweden or articles on the individual lands or provinces.

Götaland

Götaland (Gothia, Gothenland) consists of ten historical provinces located in the southern part of Sweden. Until 1645 Gotland and Halland were parts of Denmark. Furthermore, until 1658 Blekinge and Scania were parts of Denmark and Bohuslän part of Norway.

Svealand

Svealand (Swealand) consists of the following six provinces in middle Sweden. Until 1812 Värmland was a part of Götaland.

Norrland

Norrland (Northland) consists today of nine provinces in northern and central Sweden. Until 1645 the provinces of Jämtland and Härjedalen were parts of Norway. Swedish Lapland was united with Finnish Lapland as Lapland until 1809. Norrbotten was separated from Västerbotten and developed as a province of its own during the 19th century.

See also

Related Research Articles

Geography of Sweden Overview of the geography of Sweden

Sweden is a country in Northern Europe on the Scandinavian Peninsula. It borders Norway to the west; Finland to the northeast; and the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia to the south and east. At 450,295 km2 (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the fifth largest in Europe, and the 55th largest country in the world.

Västernorrland County County (län) of Sweden

Västernorrland County is a county (län) in the north of Sweden. It is bordered by the counties of Gävleborg, Jämtland, Västerbotten and the Gulf of Bothnia.

Norrbotten County County (län) of Sweden

Norrbotten County is the northernmost county or län of Sweden. It is also the largest county by land area, almost a quarter of Sweden's total area. It borders Västerbotten County to the southwest and the Gulf of Bothnia to the southeast, as well as the counties of Nordland and Troms og Finnmark in Norway to the northwest, and Lapland Province in Finland to the northeast.

Counties of Sweden

The counties of Sweden are the top-level geographic subdivisions of Sweden. Sweden is today divided into 21 counties; however, the number of counties has varied over time, due to territorial gains/losses and to divisions and/or mergers of existing counties. This level of administrative unit was first established in the 1634 Instrument of Government on Lord Chancellor Count Axel Oxenstierna's initiative, and superseded the historical provinces of Sweden in order to introduce a more efficient administration of the realm. At that time, they were what the translation of län into English literally means: fiefdoms. The county borders often follow the provincial borders, but the Crown often chose to make slight relocations to suit its purposes.

Svealand Core Region of Sweden

Svealand, Swealand or Sweden proper is the historical core region of Sweden. It is located in south central Sweden and is one of three historical lands of Sweden, bounded to the north by Norrland and to the south by Götaland. Deep forests, Tiveden, Tylöskog, and Kolmården, separated Svealand from Götaland. Historically, its inhabitants were called Svear, from which is derived the English Swedes.

Götaland Region of Sweden

Götaland is one of three lands of Sweden and comprises ten provinces. Geographically it is located in the south of Sweden, bounded to the north by Svealand, with the deep woods of Tiveden, Tylöskog and Kolmården marking the border.

Lands of Sweden Historical division of the provinces of Sweden into three groups

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Norrland Region of Sweden

Norrland is the northernmost, largest and least populated of the three traditional lands of Sweden, consisting of nine provinces. Although Norrland does not serve any administrative purposes, it continues to exist as a historical, cultural, and geographic region; it is often referred to in everyday language, e.g., in weather forecasts. Several related Norrland dialects form a distinct subset of dialects of the Swedish language separate from those to its south.

Västerbotten Historical province of Sweden

Västerbotten, known in English as West Bothnia or Westrobothnia, is a province (landskap) in the north of Sweden, bordering Ångermanland, Lapland, North Bothnia, and the Gulf of Bothnia. It is known for the cheese named after the province.

Historical provinces of Finland

The historical provinces of Finland are a legacy of the country's joint history with Sweden. The provinces ceased to be administrative entities in 1634 when they were superseded by the counties, a reform which remained in force in Finland until 1997. The provinces remain as a tradition, but have no administrative function today. The spread of Finnish language dialects approximately follows their borders.

Norrbotten Historical province of Sweden

Norrbotten, known in English as North Bothnia, is a Swedish province (landskap) in northernmost Sweden. It borders south to Västerbotten, west to Swedish Lapland, and east to Finland.

Duchies in Sweden

Duchies in Sweden have been allotted since the 13th century to powerful Swedes, almost always to princes of Sweden and wives of the latter. From the beginning these duchies were often centers of regional power, where their dukes and duchesses had considerable executive authority of their own, under the central power of their kings or queens regnant. Since the reign of King Gustav III the titles have practically been nominal, with which their bearers only rarely have enjoyed any ducal authority, though often maintaining specially selected leisure residences in their provinces and some limited measure of cultural attachment to them.

NUTS statistical regions of Sweden

In the NUTS codes of Sweden (SE), the three levels are:

Västerbotten Regiment

The Västerbotten Regiment, designations I 19, I XIX, I 20 and I 20/Fo 61, was a Swedish Army infantry regiment that traced its origins back to the 16th century. The regiment's soldiers were originally recruited from the province of Västerbotten, where it was later garrisoned. The unit was disbanded as a result of the disarmament policies set forward in the Defence Act of 2000.

Swedish dialects are the various forms of the Swedish language, particularly those that differ considerably from Standard Swedish.

Lapland (Sweden) Historical province of Sweden

Lappland, often anglicised as Lapland, is a province in northernmost Sweden. It borders Jämtland, Ångermanland, Västerbotten, Norrbotten, Norway and Finland. Nearly a quarter of Sweden's land area is in Lappland.

Blekinge Historical province of Sweden

Blekinge is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden, situated in the south of the country. It borders Småland, Scania and the Baltic Sea. It is the country's second-smallest province by area, and the smallest province located on the mainland.

General elections were held in Sweden on Sunday 9 September 2018 to elect the 349 members of the Riksdag.

References

  1. "Folkmängd i landskapen den 31 december 2016" (in Swedish). Statistics Sweden. 21 March 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  2. Eric Linklater in The Life of Charles XII
  3. Robert Nisbet Bain in Gustavus III and His Contemporaries
  4. Bernard Quaritch in The stories of the Kings of Norway Called the Round World (Heimskringla)
  5. R. Svanström & C.F. Palmstierna in A History of Sweden (1934)
  6. Nils Ahnlund in Gustav Adolf the Great (1940)
  7. Jacobsson, Benny (2000). "Konstruktion av landskap. Exemplet Uppland" Archived 2009-02-02 at the Wayback Machine . Idéhistoriska perspektiv. Ed. Ingemar Nilsson, Arachne 16, Göteborg 2000, p. 109-119. Retrieved 20 October 2006. (In Swedish).