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The Klågerup Massacre - a Scanian bloodbath 15 June 1811

The Klågerup Massacre
Memorial stone for the massacre erected in 1991 on the site where the murdered peasants were buried. The monument can be found near the Flängevadsvägen road and is most easily reached via the pedestrian and cycle path that passes about 20 metres from the site. The ancient monument is called Döängen and is marked on some maps. Photo: Jorchr

Heard about the time when the Swedish military murdered 30 farmers in Skåne? Here is the story of the Klågerup Massacre that happened on a June day in 1811.

The Klågerup Massacre, also known as the Klågerup Riots, took place on 15 June 1811 at the Klågerup estate. Hundreds of Scanian peasants with liars, goats' yokes and stakes stood against the Swedish military with rifles, sabres and cannons.

"They shot at them and cut them down for mere amusement," writes a witness of the servants' rampage. After the massacre, a large number of peasants were sentenced to long prison terms and two were condemned to death and executed.

The background to the Skåne bloodbath was that only two years earlier the Swedish state had lost war against Russia and then lost half the country, i.e. Finland. The government, headed by Crown Prince Bernadotte, would now draw more soldiers from the general population by lot to make up for all the lives lost in the last war.

The Napoleonic Wars were underway in Europe, and by intervening in yet another war, the Swedish state hoped to be part of drawing the new borders of the future Europe, and thus win back land - and glory.

Both in Sweden and in Skåne there was unrest among the commoners. Skåne's commoners did not want to see any more of their husbands, brothers and sons sent to die in foreign lands, and therefore gathered at Klågerup's sätesgård on 15 June to defend their rights.

If you want to read more about the Klågerup massacre, you can download this detailed article by Sven Rosborn.

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