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History of Skåne

History of Skåne
1983: Grave field in Ängakåsen, Skåne. Photo: John-Eric Gustafsson / Swedish National Heritage Board

"The History of Skåne" is a slightly abridged version of Carl Liljenberg's compilation of the historical basis of the history of Skåne. "Part I Basic Elements of the History of Skåne". Manuscript written in 1978 and published in the 333 year book on the Skåne region published in 1991 by the Skåne Future Foundation.

Skåne before 1658

Prehistoric to Viking Age

In postglacial times, the southernmost part of the Scandinavian Peninsula was the earliest land area to become ice-free (13500 BC), to receive the first fauna and flora, and to become populated (10,000 BC). It became a rich land early on, called Skaneya - Scania - Skåne, after an old Greek word, and even in the 10th century it was perceived by the outside world as Skaneya - Skåne Island, a perception which the Icelandic sagas would long afterwards espouse. Ancient seafarers believed that Skälderviken and Helgeå were connected, and since the oldest intelligence was recorded by foreign travellers, their image of the Nordic region and the names of its parts were determined without the participation of the native population.

To the central territory in the south, which today we call Skåne, were added other lands, varying during different prehistoric eras and detectable by the archaeological material, which sometimes suggests, sometimes directly proves a definite area of people, culture and society and the existence of state units. The royal tomb at Kivik, the original construction of which is estimated to have required 200 000 loads of stone, proves by its sheer volume that a strong state power existed in the then densely populated Fornskåne 3200-3300 years ago.

At the beginning of the Viking Age, the Scanian region was formed to include primarily present-day Skåne, Blekinge, Halland and Bornholm, which after the establishment of the national boundaries in the 1050s were combined into one unit, Skanungarnas land, i.e. Skåneland.

Today it is almost inconceivable that even 7000 BC people could walk on foot from the land south of Kullaberg to the area around present-day Whitby in England, and from the south coast of Skåne to present-day northern Germany. Disaster struck and all the land was flooded. The southern Baltic and the North Sea were a fact, but even today the stumps of the pine forests between the south coast of Skåne and the southern Baltic are only 20, at most 50 metres under water. This shows the scale of the disaster.

It is thus 9000 years since today's Skåne became a peninsula. First came the reindeer hunters and then others. More than 8000 years ago, the oldest preserved work of art on Skåne's soil was carved on a stag's horn, namely a reindeer hunter's tent and two reindeer, i.e. a settlement at that time (near today's Ystad). More than 6000 years ago, agriculture was introduced, a total revolution in human existence. We can observe immigration and emigration since before 3000 BC. The Neolithic period (4100-1800 BC) was the time of the standing stones and stone chamber tombs. The Bronze Age was a high culture, when the Nordic Bronze Age area around the southern Baltic and the North Sea should have had a population of 6 million.

Sailors from the Mediterranean countries reached here already in the 13th century BC. This is shown by Homer's description of the land of the Phoenicians: "It was situated in the southern part of the Cimbrian peninsula, the entire western part of which was later stripped by terrible floods".

In earlier times, the present Skåne had a completely different name, like other parts of Scandinavia, whose oldest name was "the land of the great beasts", which was understood by the ancient Egyptians 3500 years ago as "Haunebut", by a native probably "Ha(h)unnibua".

The geographical names Skåne and hence Scandinavia originated in antiquity. At the present Skanör (Falsterbo) there was a seabird reef famous and feared by ancient seafarers for its danger and probably also a herring fishing place: "Skathin awjo". The Hellenistic seafarers therefore called the islands around the reef the Skatinian islands, through later transcription errors the Scandian islands. According to Pytheas' basic text, now reconstructed by Massilia, the most prominent island (as he understood the name) was "Dumna" (Skåne) opposite Cap Orkan, i.e. Arkona, while other islands were "Bergos (Vergos)" - Bornholm, etc.

The "Dumna" named by Pytheas during his journey at the earliest in 351, at the latest in 322 B.C. after the name of the population, must be identical with a Danumana. According to the Egyptians, in 1261-51 B.C., due to natural disasters, a couple of the three great conquering peoples among the "North Sea peoples" had to leave their homelands "at the ninth arch", among the "outermost islands of Sin Wur", namely "DNN" or "Dananan". These peoples, the "Danumans", settled in the eastern Mediterranean on present-day Cyprus, where they created a distinguished culture.

Between Danumana - Dananan - (Dan-)Dumna - Dana and the Fornian Danann, there is a marked linguistic, but obviously also geographical, connection, synonymous with four stages in the linguistic (here onomatological) development of the time. The Danann of the Fornians was located in southwestern Lochlan - Scandinavia.

With "Dana" we get a connection to the Danes, who at the latest around 200 AD from northwestern Skåne, crossed the Sound and conquered the present Danish islands, which then had a Herulian population.

For at least five thousand years (long after the immigration of the reindeer hunters 12,000 years ago), different migrations have thus taken place and with them different cultures have shaped the lives of people in the Skåne of that time and the surrounding areas.

The last major disaster came between 500 and 400 BC, partly due to climate deterioration and the destruction by the Celts of the then 2000-year-old trading metropolis at present Wartin an der Oder, whereby the trade routes were blocked and the south was completely controlled by the Celtic conquerors with a terrible economic setback for the Baltic Sea region as a result.

This literally catastrophic period for society, business and the population saw the demise of the aristocratic state and its replacement by the local peasant community. This difficult period lasted for over 400 years and created a primitive, survival-oriented peasantry, and only after the beginning of the present era did a slow recovery take place, which forms the starting point for the subsequent economic, cultural and political situation. Its first tangible event was the break-up of the Danes, which shows that the new era, at least at Öresund, already led to overpopulation, measured by the possibilities of existence in Western Skåne in the 100s AD.

At the end of the 4th century, from the west, starting around the lower Elbe, came an invasion, the Hadbards, whose conquests of the coastal areas and valleys of the North created an aristocratic society, organised purely militarily. It hit southern Scandinavia hard, most notably Blekinge, where the Hadbards created an empire of their own. The personal and place names and language of the Hadbards have survived longest in Norway, from the Oslo area and westwards and throughout Norway's Vestland, which still has its own language and literature but also its own human type, to 50% of Fornsachsian root with Eddan as its mythology.

In Skåne the population was too numerous to be affected by the Hadbards, but it is clear that a social change took place around 490-525. A completely new ruling immigrant warlike aristocracy seized power with local princes on their estates, who often characterise place names in -hlevan, - levan,- lev, now -löv and south of the river Elbe place names in -leben.

The events in Skåne and Skåne-Land had a decisive impact on the later development. The Skjoldung saga, which begins so poetically with the boy Skjold being put into a boat at sea and the ship landing on the west or south coast of Skåne, hides the harsh, raw reality of the landfall of the Hadbards, which took place according to ancient custom, with an object being allowed to float or an animal on board swimming ashore, and was then considered to be a sign of divine will. The "shield" was thus the object that was carried ashore by the water during the first landing in Scania. The actual name of the Hadbardian Grand Prince is not given, but his lineage was called "Skjoldungaätten" and its royal seat was Leira in Skåne (cf. Lerberget and Lerhamn, both in Luggude härad. Leire on Sjælland was first settled in the 10th century when Harald Gormsson's Danes conquered the Sjælland kingdom. This is now archaeologically proven).

It is precisely the period 500-700 that created the Nordic folktales, e.g. about Hagbard and Signe in Blekinge and about Starkodder in Skåne, etc.

In the 6th century there were bloody battles in Skåne (Vätteryd, Löderup), battles that were probably caused by a confrontation with or between the Hadbard princes and their upper class, war events that can be archaeologically documented from Mälardalen in the north to the Danish islands in the south. The legends tell of the short-lived Nordic empire of the Forkneyed Ivar Vidfamne and his conquest of the unnamed state of Mälaren, among others.

In the 7th century, major Nordic states were created, and the legends tell of Ivar Vidfamne's grandson, the great king Harald Hildetand, who restored his grandfather's empire. We know the rule of the Danes and from 730 the names of their kings.

At the peace treaty between the Danes and Saxons in 811, Asfred of Skåne also appeared, which shows that the country was included as a separate entity in the Dane kingdom. Skåne was still, at least for long periods, an independent kingdom under Harald Strut from 840 to 983, and from 960 to 983 it was incorporated into the new Denmark. This comes from the Old Saxon term Thanamarka, meaning the borderland of the Danes.

From Skåne, around 840, came the Viking raids that in 879 resulted in the establishment of the Kingdom of Normandy, which in 911 became a duchy under the Frankish king.

1st century to 1658

The Viking Age Skåne Empire was based on shipping and international trade. Blekinge was the centre of its slave market and as late as 1068 there were several thousand slaves there. With the "colonies" of Vinland, Normandy and the Skåne-populated parts of the Danelaw in England, Skåne occupied one of the most important military-political-economic positions in the Nordic countries and was after about 992 an independent biland to Denmark. Especially the warm period in the 11th century resulted in a huge increase in cultivation and population. The Viking raids stopped in 1042 and the participation in the conquest against England in 1069/70 was a purely political action. It failed and ended in a treaty with the Norman tribesmen, who had already made themselves masters of England in 1066 and needed the northerners of the Danelaw as allies. In 1068 Skåne was described as the richest, most beautiful and most important part of the Danish kingdom, with the most numerous population and a major trading centre (Adam of Bremen).

Only half a century later, Skåne became an international economic factor through herring fishing and the herring market in Skåne. Between 1043 and 1371, Skåne also formed a kingdom of its own six times, and it was here that the idea of Nordic union was born in 1332, accepted by Queen Margaret in 1387. This led to the Union of 1397-1520, which was carried by the Scanian nobility and represented by the most powerful great nobility in the North at the time, the Scanian Axis Sons (Thott). The earl, who was always the symbol of popular power, was succeeded in 1182 by the institution of gelikare, the king's personal representative, who was merely a state constable and entirely dependent on the king's will to power. In Danish the Gelikaren was called gaelkere. He was the state governor of the unifying Scanian lands with the princely title: af Skåne (1200s) and existed 1170-1180 and 1183-1383.

Far more important internationally was the power of the Church. As early as 1066, the Ordinary Diocese of Lund had merged with the Missionary Diocese of Dalby, and in 1103 Lund became the seat of the Archbishopric with an archdiocese covering the whole of Skåne. It became the only archbishopric in the Nordic countries with the archbishop as spiritual prince not only over towns and cities, but over whole districts and over the entire Borringholm region, the Saxons' "Bornholm". He soon became the legate of the pope and the metropolitan of Scandinavia, primate of the Norwegian and Swedish churches. The bishops of Örken (Orkney) - Hjaltlands (Shetlands) islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Estonia became his suffragans, who, like the archbishops of Nidaros and Uppsala, brought him their tribute in Lund. Thus Lund and Skåne, which already in 1068 had 300 churches, i.e. as many as the rest of the Nordic countries, became the spiritual and cultural centre of Northern Europe in 1066-1537. When the Swedes plundered the seat of learning in Lund during the 1452 campaign, it had seven monasteries and twenty-three churches, as well as irreplaceable archives, libraries and art treasures. In 1060, the only medieval royal castle in the Nordic countries and the first stone church in the Nordic countries were built in Dalby. Archbishop Eskil not only founded monasteries, such as the famous Herrevad in 1144, but between 1138 and 1161 had two fortifications built that were unique in the Nordic countries: Skefuingeborg on an island in the lake of the same name (now Skeingesjön) up in the northeast, and Aosehus in the latest town of Aose (Åhus). The Black Brother monastery in Aose, the stronghold of the Dominican order in Skåne, became the first Nordic college (a famous seminary) around 1250-1528, and in Lund the first Nordic academy was established in 1425-1537, etc. etc. Documents and manuscripts were already written in Skåne in the 11th century.

His grace in Lund on his fortified Lundagård, was counted as a true church prince, equal to the Nordic kings. Very soon Skåne (with its own constitution until 1536 and its own land, church and town laws) and the archbishopric in Lund came into alliance. The Scanian state and the archbishopric together constituted the strongest spiritual and political power in Scandinavia, and the kingdom of Roskilde sought to play the Scanian people and the Scanian church off against each other politically so as not to be overpowered. There was also constant friction between the church power in Skåne and the royal power on Zealand, often resulting in open conflict. The many medieval towns and numerous market towns formed the basis of economic life and, like the church institutions, were the centres of everyday life, arts and crafts, cultural life and social groupings. The monasteries were centres of learning and teaching, for example in the fields of schooling, medicine, horticulture and knowledge of medicinal plants and new agricultural methods. The towns' infirmaries and leprosoriums were important social institutions. Over the centuries, all kinds of new professionals came to the towns from Saxony, from where the missionaries who displaced all the Anglo-Saxons once came. Shipping was lively. The Hanseatic League was the dominant factor.

Lund emerged as a specially favoured royal settlement modelled on London from around 1020 and became increasingly important.

The Grandman class was rich and powerful. The lower nobility was numerous. The peasants were free. After the dike death in 1349 came the economic crisis, when both the commoners and the peasant farmers were forced to sell their land to the magnates. The crisis lasted into the 15th century.

A special mention should be made of the Skånelagen, whose standard-setting edition was written down in 1202-1210. The exact years are not known. "Den raetta Skaanske Lagh, som ligger i S:t Lars kirke i Lund". The Scanian national law begins with the phrase: "Haui that Skanunga ærliki mæn, toco vitar oræt aldrigh æn". This statement, that the free men of Skåne have never tolerated injustice in their country, is the true motto of the Skåne people. The Church Law was in force from 1161 to 1685 and the Town Law from 1250 to 1282.

Of the numerous manuscripts of the Skåne Law, the most notable is Codex Runicus, the famous runic manuscript written in Fornskånish from around 1250-1280 (now in the University Library of Copenhagen). It is also remarkable in that it contains the oldest currently known, i.e. over 700-year-old, Scanian folk song and the oldest known Scanian musical notation. The folk song begins:

I had a dream last night about silki ok aerlik pael.

The melody has been easily made by the Danes into the Danish radio's break signal. It goes without saying that it has nothing to do with present-day Denmark. It should of course be the signature tune of Malmöradion and the other Scanian radio stations.

The second most remarkable of the copies of the Skånelagens is the Codex Scanius (now in the Royal Library in Stockholm), which was printed around 1290.

From the 14th century we know five and from the 15th century thirty manuscripts of the Skånelagen, which was translated into Danish in 1505 and into Swedish in 1676.

Special appendices to the general law of the Scanian counties were the Scanian Church Law, written down in 1161, and the Scanian City Law, which was added around 1250.

The Skåne Law was valid in all Skåne counties until the end of 1683, the Church Law until 1685 and the City Law until 1682. (In Norway the provincial laws were repealed as early as 1276 and in Sweden in 1356, but the children in the schools of the Skåne provinces are not taught today about their ancestors' own law, which was still valid in 1683, but about the Swedish provincial laws that were invalid more than 620 years ago.) Nor do they learn anything about the real history and national aspirations of Skåne and the Skåne people.)

Significant events in Skåne during the period

Some significant periods and fateful events in the 12th, 14th and 17th centuries deserve a closer look, as they have a decisive influence on the history of the autonomy of Skåne-Land.

The warm period of the 11th century was followed by a new cold period. This put great strain on agriculture, people and living nature. The royal power sought to use this to eliminate the free Skåne region and create a more dependent political region. The attack on the Vends in 1149 shows the king's deliberate actions. As always, the leading fleet consisted of three independent fleets. Now the Dana king demanded that the Scots land first. No sooner had the Scanian army gone ashore and engaged in battle with the slaves than first the Zealand fleet, then the Jutland fleet, set sail. The fall of the Scanian army was terrible, many ships were lost. A few years later, the king went forcibly through Skåne to, as he claimed, conquer Småland. The venture ended in Värend with a total defeat. The retreating remnants of the army sacked Skåne. Now the measure had been taken. When the king returned in 1154 with a strong contingent to speak at the all-Scandinavian meeting at the Holy Three Heights meeting place in Arenlunda, near the royal seat of Arendala, he was received with hostility. They did not want him as king of Skåne. The peasants sought to kill him. Only the intervention of the Earl of Skåne saved him. He now transferred the whole army to Skåne, ravaged and plundered and had the earl Toke Signessön (with royal maidenhead) killed. Shortly afterwards Sven Grate, who had been imposed on Skåne as its king in 1157, was killed. (Jutland and Zealand had their own kings).

The unrest in Skåne continued and when King Valdemar succeeded in 1178 to get rid of the elected archbishop of Lund and instead get his foster brother, the Zealand bishop Absalon of Roskilde, appointed and he appeared in Skåne as the ruler of the monarchy, the population of Skåne rose up. Among other things, this foreigner had seized the royal seat of Arendala and demanded extra taxes. The Danish king was at the forefront of his army and in the years 1180-1182 Skåne fought the first open people's war in the Nordic countries against the continental prince and king.

Sweden supported Skåne's war of independence, but the country was unable to stand up to the new armed cavalry army, which the king had brought into the field after a continental model. At Dysiebro, in March 1182, there was a decisive, bloody battle, which ended in royal victory. This battle was remembered throughout the Middle Ages as the fateful, cursed Dysie battle. In 1182, the country's leading magnate, Aki Tubbasun, summoned Oluf Skreng, who lived in Sweden, and who now became king of Skåne in 1182. He was accompanied by a Swedish army. Valdemar's army was defeated and the evil Absalon had to flee the country. Oluf Skreng died already in 1183. Valdemar was forced to take the land again and Absalon and his cronies returned, now much more restrained.

The result of the events of 1149-1182 was the defeat of popular power, the victory of kingship and of the Church. It showed that Skåne could no longer decide political issues militarily, but from now on was dependent on outside support. The knight army, the heavily armed, armoured cavalry, was technically superior to the peasant patrols and the limited cavalry of the Scanian nobility. Once again, it was Skåne's inadequate area and population base compared to the countries west of the Sound that was decisive. Earlier it had mattered less. The Skåne region at the beginning of the 14th century was characterised by the climatic deterioration with icy cold, long winters, which began in Europe in the late 13th century and continued decades into the new century. Crop failures, years of famine, severe population decline and severe livestock decimation forced the decline of agriculture. Thousands of villages in Europe fell into ruin. By the time the Dike Death reached Skåne in 1349, the population here, as everywhere else, was malnourished. Poor hygiene and contaminated wells combined to create the plague's enormous victims. At least 35% and in some places 50-60% of the population of Europe died. The entire economic system was thrown into disarray. Tax revenues were insufficient to meet the expenses of the states. In the Nordic countries, the government was forced to borrow heavily from abroad. It was the Hanseatic League that dominated economic life. German noblemen with money bought up vast estates throughout the Nordic countries.

Already in the 1320s, the struggle between the king and the archbishop of Lund became fatal. The Church's tax exemption for its vast domains, mainly within the archdiocese, was extended, as was its full jurisdiction in spiritual matters. The nobility became increasingly independent and built castles or fortified farms, which weakened the king's power, especially when the nobility's military obligations were considerably reduced. In 1322, the king's enemies in northern Germany enticed noblemen in Halland to invade Skåne, led by Knud Porse. This caused great concern throughout Skåne. The royal power was dissolved in 1327. Finances were tight. In 1318, the king was forced to pledge the whole of Skåne to Ludvig Albrektsson, a German count, for a balance of 7000 marks. In the same year, a Swede broke into the country and plundered it in retaliation for King Erik's Danish auxiliary army. In 1330, Denmark was on the brink of collapse. Count Gerhard of Holstein was given Skåne as a pawn and appointed Low German castle chiefs, who terrorised the country. In 1332, however, the Scanians' patience wore thin and they rebelled. The castles were stormed and set on fire, the Holsteins were chased away and in Lund 300 of them were cut down inside the cathedral, where they had fled. The Danish kingdom ceased to function.

The vicar of Lund was now Karl Erikssön Röde, the son of the Grand Marshal and Scania, who reigned from 1325 until his death in 1334.

In 1332, the archbishop seized the helm of Skåne and, together with the noblemen and church dignitaries, found the only political solution to the problems of the Skåne state, since the Danish kingdom had been dissolved and the royal power was lacking in Denmark, namely a king's election according to Skåne's constitution, which gave the right to take and expel a king. There was only one choice: The king of Sweden-Finland and Norway (and its neighbouring countries), Magnus Eriksson (1316 -1374).

It was in Lund that the idea of Nordic union was born in 1332. It went without saying that the new king was not honoured on Lerbäcks Hög near Lund. He was a foreign prince, and since he was already king, people had to travel to him. He therefore received the royal dignity in Kalmar.

In the Middle Ages, each territory was bound only to the person of the sovereign, i.e. to the prince of the country. Even if he was the lord of other states, they had nothing to do with each other. Magnus Eriksson thus had three kingdoms in 1332, but in Skåne his power was a fiction, as long as he did not control the royal castles pledged to Count Gerhard of Holstein, e.g. Helsingborg, which was normally the military, administrative and fiscal centre of north-western Skåne. In order to gain full sovereignty, he had to borrow from the great kings of Sweden-Finland and thus redeem Count Gerhard.

By agreement, King Magnus stepped down for the Danish King Valdemar, who was later able to use his military potential to conquer Skåne, which was subjected to several years of terror, by force of arms. It was not until 1368 that the people of Skåne got rid of him, and King Albrecht of Sweden was elected sovereign of the kingdom of Skåne, as the title implies, but already in 1371 he had to cede power to Valdemar, who died in 1375. In 1376, Valdemar's grandson King Olav Hakansson of Norway was elected King of Denmark, but died in 1387 at Helsingborg Castle. A week later, his mother, Margerethe Valdemarsdatter, was elected "Denmark's wife and master and the kingdom's plenipotentiary guardian" at the Allskåne County Council. She settled in Skåne at Lindholmen Castle and now had to accept the idea of the Skåne Union, which triumphed in 1397. Ten years later she was regent of all the Nordic kingdoms. She never bore the title of queen.

From 1332 to 1520, Skåne played a central role in Nordic politics. Union power and church power had their seats in Skåne. The Union King, Erik of Pomerania, wanted to make his new city, Landeskron - Landscrone, the capital of the North, but K>t398benhavn remained the capital.

The next time Skåne was in the spotlight was during the fight for the king of the peasants and the burghers, the mortal enemy of the nobility, Christian II, who was naked everywhere, not only in Stockholm. The Scanian popular uprisings of 1525 and 1534-36 could only be quelled with the help of the Swedish Gustav I and enlisted German professional units in the service of Frederik I.

In 1536, this meant the end of popular power and the sovereignty of the countries in the royal elections in Denmark, the Reformation, the rule of the nobility, and for Sweden-Finland in 1523, the end of the ability of the counties to decide on royal elections, and in 1543, the end of the will to power of the Småland and other Swedish commoners. In both cases it was the enlisted German professional units that crushed the main exponents of Nordic popular freedom. In Skåne this happened in 1535 with the terrible massacre on 11 May at Bunketofta Lund, north of Landskrone, and in Småland in 1543 with the battle at Lake Hjorten.

The era of Nordic provincialism was over, but in Denmark the regional status could continue to exist in a simplified but legally guaranteed form until 1683.

The Scanian Reformation has its own independent history (1525-1537). For Skåne, the uninterrupted attacks since 1505 and the border incursions led from the highest place in Stockholm since 1540 meant an overshadowing danger, which through the rivalry of the Danish and Swedish royal power, and war 1563 -1720, turned into an unprecedented disaster in all areas. Especially the senseless depredation and total destruction during the war of 1643-45 was indescribable.

The Peace of Roskilde in 1658 and Copenhagen in 1660 was the turning point. In 1658 the whole of Skåne was transferred to the Swedish Empire and this was confirmed in 1660 - only Bornholm was transferred to Denmark.

The transfer of Skåne from the Danish to the Swedish king's domain was a dismantling of all traditions and values that had hitherto existed.

Skåne after 1658

The Scanian nationality is manifested in 1332, 1368 and 1524. In 1658-1660, it is confirmed by the Treaty of Roskilde §9 and the Treaty of Copenhagen §13, which regulate the rights and freedoms of Skåne. In Copenhagen 1660, §13, it is guaranteed "that alle såväl skånske som danske och norske Undersåthare", shall be held harmless. With this, Denmark and Sweden internationally recognised the existence of a Scanian nationality. The nationality is also documented in the later Scanian Diet, when the Scanian Estates deny Danish nationality.

Already at the conference in Malmö in 1524, the Swedish king's attempt to acquire sovereignty over Skåne was rejected with the explicit justification that Skåne was neither Danish nor Swedish, but had belonged to the Danish kingdom from time immemorial.

The recognition of Scanian nationality and the own denial of Danish would have unforeseen negative consequences for the language issue, cultural tradition and the future education system.

In Europe and within the European sphere of power, since the 16th century, sovereignty over a newly acquired territory with its own nationality and legal system was associated with the establishment of the status of a general government with all the autonomy that entailed.

The Governor General of Skåne was established on 18 March 1658, three weeks after the peace of Roskilde on 26 February, and in 1658-1660 included all the counties of Skåne with four governors, two county governors and a governor, but after the peace of Copenhagen in 1660 only Skåne, Halland and Blekinge with four governors and two county governors. The country's governor became the Swedish king's personal representative, the governor-general, who thus acted as deputy king. The Governor-General of Skåne was assisted by the Skåne Parliament in Malmö and, if necessary, by the Estates.

Throughout the Middle Ages and the 16th and 17th centuries, the Latin Scania städse is synonymous with Skåneland, which in the Middle Ages consisted of Skåne, Lister, Blekinge, Söndrehalland, Norrehalland and Bornholm, and from the 16th century Skåne, Blekinge, Halland and Bornholm. In 1546, for example, Christian III speaks of "vaart land Skaane", referring to Skåne, Halland, Blekinge and Lister.

Yet on J.B. Homann's map from 1710, the main title reads "Nova tabula SCANIAE", i.e. Scania = Skåneland. Skåne was so dominant that the other counties were only counted as annexes until 1719, when the Scanian Estates spoke of Skåne instead of the Latin Scania and wanted Skåne and Blekinge to form one governorate.

Skåne nationality is still mentioned in 1714 in the then Skåne lists of citizens and house owners and in 1721 the chairman of the Skåne Commission requests that a Skåne nobleman be elected in place of a Swede, because for 42 years no Skåne nobleman "has been used in public positions".

The Scanian nationality as well as the Scanian language was a self-evident reality even after the peace of 1720 without it being specifically mentioned, since no legal distinction between different nationalities existed anymore since the governorship of Skåne was abolished in 1719 and the kingdom received a new unified administrative division. Previously, there were four recognised nationalities: Swedish, Scanian, German and Danish within Skåne and Skåeland respectively.

There was a clear boundary between the general governorate, or officially the Scanian state, and Sweden. The 1684 commission of inquiry therefore naturally describes a person living in Småland as living "outside the country". The official term was 1658-1683: "desse nye utanför riket belägne provinser", 1683-1693: "ett utländskt men inrikes land". The same term applied de facto to Skåne itself in 1693-1719. In all resolutions from the highest court, it was explicitly stated from Malmö whether the decisions applied only to the Skåne state or also - as it is called - "as in Sweden".

The Kingdom of Sweden and the General Governorate of Skåne were thus two completely different countries with different nationalities, languages and laws, etc., but both, like the Grand Duchy of Finland (official title from 1580), were subject to the King's Privy Council. Maj:t, i.e. the King's person, and all the inhabitants of these countries were subjects of the King. In those days, the law of nations and the law of the state applied throughout the West and there were nationality and language problems everywhere.

The collapse of the Skåne judicial system

The law of Skåne was the Skåne Law and the Skåne City Court as well as the Skåne Church Law.

In 1682, Swedish law was imposed on the towns and the 430-year-old Scania town law was abolished on 12 October. Formally, the towns applied for Swedish law, with the Swedish- and German-dominated Landskrona in the lead.

With the clergy completely subservient to the ultra-reactionary Swedish state church, enslavement was facilitated, and on 26 April 1683 the 500-year-old Scanian Church Law was abolished and replaced by the Swedish Church Law. Here, too, the clergy were worked by a small, highly energetic Swedish clique, inspired by the Swedish bishop of Lund diocese.

In 1683 the ancient Skåne law, "Den Skånske Lov", codified in 1202-1210, was repealed without the consent of the Diet and without the participation of the peasants who made up 99% of the population, and with it all Danish sources of law (closest to the much more modern Christian IV's Great Recess of 1643). The Scania Marriage and Inheritance Act remained in force until the 1690s.

With all these and other actions, the basis of the Scanian state under international law was effectively abolished.

Finally, on 23 December 1693, Charles XI declared the constitution of the general government of Skåne abolished. In 1680 Blekinge with the newly established naval base had been separated from Skåne so that Skåne law would not apply there, and now Halland, which had already been separated from the diocese of Lund in 1645 when it was pledged to Sweden for 30 years, was also separated.

What remains is the main province of Skåne, which until 9 May 1719 constitutes the governorate of Skåne under a governor (overseer) without the vice-royal position and all that it implied for self-government, which existed from 1658 to 1693. The Governor General Rutger v. Ascheberg had been too clearly on Skåne's side.

With the introduction of the new constitution of the Swedish kingdom in 1719, all previous decisions on governorate status were repealed. The Estates of Skåne submit a detailed request to the Riksdag that the governorate of Skåne should be allowed to exist due to its special status and request that Blekinge should also be included in the governorate, noting that although there had previously been three governorates, Skåne and Blekinge had never "been distinct from each other".

The Swedish government completely ignored the regional aspirations of Skåne. In the request of the Skåne Estates, Skåne is explicitly mentioned in §§ 2 and 5 alongside Skåne.

The fact that Halland was not included in the picture, despite mutual wishes, was due to the then prevailing ecclesiastical diocesan administration: in 1645 a new diocese had been formed from the impoverished Halland and Viken (Bohuslän), with Gothenburg as its bishop's seat. This diocesan boundary could not be crossed. All students in Lund from these regions and the city of Gothenburg were forced to belong to the so-called Gothenburg nation, a pure desk construction. There was thus no possibility after 1719 to coordinate, let alone unite, the Skåne provinces with each other.

The authorities' surveillance of citizens was rigorous. Behind all the Swedish coercive actions, especially from 1680, but also after 1719, and all attempts to satisfy the wishes of the authorities by peaceful means, there was hidden the harsh policy of uniformity and enslavement, officially known as uniformity, which was unknown to the rest of Europe and whose meaning is clear. It was this kind of state despotism which was later applied, for example, in Russia, only in the nineteenth century, and which in the Tsarist Empire was called Trinity, but which already existed in France at the time of the French Revolution and was everywhere established: one state, one nationality and one language. Only after 1945 did this plague begin to subside, leaving room for minority movements and now also for regional movements. In Eastern Europe, national oppression reached its peak at the end of the 19th century and was one of the two major driving forces in the fight against tsarism and its overthrow.

It was in Sweden and in Charles XI, that this dragon seed had its first detectable origin and the date was 1680. Skåne was its first victim.


The Swedish Empire only became a great power in 1648 and was extremely sensitive to the attitudes of the outside world. This was particularly true in the cultural sphere, where Sweden was a primitive, underdeveloped country. The Danish Empire, as an ancient and recognised cultural nation, was already dangerous and even more so its richest and most important part east of the Sound. In a governor-general's report (1664) this is revealed in all its strength when it is said: 'We have won a kingdom, but I fear that we do not know how to deal with it'. Rarely has a statement proved more accurate: in 60 years Skåne was ruined and plundered beyond recognition.

During the reign of Charles XI, irresponsible officials and officers established a regime of violence, and a reign of terror was led in 1664-1686 by Swedish, but initially also German, Finnish and Polish, soldiers quartered everywhere. Then came the great calamity, namely the Scanian War and the resistance movement (militarily organised in the friskyttekår and otherwise organised in the form of occasional peasant actions, acts of violence by forest thieves and the rapidly growing ranks of the homeless and impoverished). These distinct groups were criminalised by the Swedish regime as "snapphanes", a term borrowed from Low German that meant "bortsnablare" in the sense of "thief".

This resistance movement caused Charles XI to quickly change his attitude towards Skåne. Although he was unable to realise his plans to forcibly transfer the entire population to Livonia and Ingermanland, where in 1665-1708 all the Skåne countrymen conscripted for military service (about 35,000 men) were forcibly transferred, his whole person was in revolt against the Skåne countrymen's breach of majesty, as he perceived the resistance movement, and as soon as he became sovereign in 1680 he could begin to implement the Swedish great power system and further plan for the monarchy.

Landskrona, which in 1525 had 2000 inhabitants and at the outbreak of war in 1643 about 1200, counted in 1720 only 348 souls in a totally war-ravaged city. The population of Skåne alone fell between 1658 and 1718 from 180,000 to 13,200 or by 26%; for Skåne as a whole from 270,000 to 21,200 or by 21%. The flow of refugees to Denmark in 1658-1700 comprised 15000 persons or 8.5% of the population in 1658. The expulsion of men of war in 1600-1699 was about 12000 men or between 13 and 14% of the male population; in total in 1600-1713 about 30000 men or 33% of the same. All of them were forcibly transferred to Estonia, Livonia and Ingermanland, where in the rolls they always have the nationality designation "Schone" or "Schonenländer". In Charles XII's army they constituted 22000 men or 36%. At Narva they decided the Swedish victory and in the orders of the day from Charles XII the bravery of these elite troops is mentioned again and again.

Nevertheless, they were treated as a foreign element to be kept down. Thus, in 1678, a decree on the government of the towns in Skåne states that "native Swedes, but not Danish or Skåne men, shall be appointed". And in 1693 it is said of a person at the election of a mayor that he should be elected and "moreover be a Swedish man from Kalmar". In 1721, all requests for a Skåne representative in the Skåne Commission are rejected. It would be all-Swedish.

In all public documents, the Governors General refer to "the Scanian nation" and "the Scanian state" as opposed to Sweden and the Swedish nation. Endless letters of complaint from various persons, areas, towns and estates complain about infringements of the rights of the Scanian nation, mainly by Swedes, but in the towns also by Germans. Both the royal power and the government in Stockholm hold the strong Low German element at bay. The nobility, the officer corps and the merchants were mainly Low Germans. They had their parishes and churches around both Skåne and Sweden. German church buildings receive direct support from the royal family in both the 17th and 18th centuries. However, in 1747 the Swedish parliament decided to level Landskrona's magnificent St John the Baptist, once thought by Erik of Pomerania to be a cathedral, because - as it is officially stated - "it was in the way of the fortress's cannons". The destruction was completed in 1788 and even the hundreds of tombstones were broken up and used for the defensive works that had been going on continuously since 1714, to which most of the medieval town and half of the real estate fell victim, so that the town was a fortification that had been completely stunted in its development until the 1850s. It is incredible that such fatal interventions could take place in a city in the middle of a period of internal peace.

All these disastrous actions in 1658-1720 against Skåne's archival treasures, libraries, monastery remains and castles and all the government initiatives or direct manifestations of power imposed on the population (e.g. 1683: the Skåne Law, 1693: the general governorship and 1719: the end of the governorship) meant nothing other than a gradual abrogation of the international peace treaties of 1658 and 1660 (including Lund in 1679), more or less dressed up in legal form. This makes the absolute Danish silence in the peace treaty at Frederiksborg in 1720 and all subsequent Danish-Swedish diplomatic negotiations in the years 1720-1809, as well as in the Danish kings' direct contact with Skåne in 1743-1809, all the more remarkable. On the other hand, the Danes were happy to gauge the attitude of the Scanian people to Swedish government power behind the scenes.

There is obviously a need for an expert legal historical and international law study of what the Swedish interventions (entirely dictated by Charles XI personally 1680-1697) meant. Although such an investigation may appear to have a purely historical and formal interest at the moment, it should, on the other hand, provide a de facto and even de jure basis in international law for any form of regional autonomy, or regional aspirations. In a future totally changed international situation, the related historical and equally the cultural background may provide the basis for regional self-government.

Swedish Time

To everyone, the peace treaty of 1720 must have appeared as Denmark's acceptance of the Swedish government's actions of 1658-1719. This in reality means Denmark's dismissal of the Skåne question.

In 1743, however, Skåne once again became a factor in the great European political game. Russia had conquered the whole of Finland in the war against Sweden. Denmark was now not Russia's ally.

On 19 March 1743, Sweden's peasantry elected Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark as successor to the Swedish throne, but Russia's threats made the other estates wait, the valley lords marched on Stockholm but were defeated, and the following day, 23 June, the three estates appointed Adolf Fredrik of Holstein-Gottorp as successor to the throne. By this time the universally influential Oluf Håkansson had withdrawn and abandoned the cause of Crown Prince Fredrik. It was the fear of Russia that decided the election.

Kristian VI was extremely upset about the election of the heir to the throne in Stockholm and ordered the Danish army to land in Scania, but was able to change his mind in view of the risk of war with both Sweden and Russia.

These events thus aroused the Skåne population in the three counties as well as in Denmark, and a new solution to the Skåne question was considered. That was all. Instead, the Holstein question became the problem of Danish foreign policy. The Danish-Russian alliance of 1765 was a bad omen for the Swedish kingdom, but Denmark, Norway and Sweden-Finland, together with the Netherlands, entered into a neutrality alliance with Russia in 1780, which the Swedes left in 1788. In 1794, the Nordic kingdoms entered into a neutrality alliance, but things were unstable in Europe. In 1808, Russia forced Denmark to go to war with Sweden.

The armistice of 1809 opened the possibility for Frederik VII to become Swedish king, but his aversion to Swedish negotiators made this impossible. The choice fell instead on Prince Carl August of Augustenborg, who was elected successor to the Swedish throne on 18 July. However, he died of heart failure on Kvidinge heath in Skåne in 1810, and his brother, Prince Fredrik Christian, was appointed successor to the throne.

The peasant uprising in Skåne in 1811 ended the active Skåne effort against the regime and thus the period 1720-1811. This opposition could be more or less openly demonstrated during this time, but it never gave vent to the innermost feelings of the Skåne people against a very harsh regime of the authorities, which throughout this time suspiciously observed everything that could be interpreted as an anti-state attitude and which had in the state apparatus all instruments to both psychically and physically destroy the resisters.

The reorganisation of Europe in 1815 created a new political map, but also a new reactionary spirit and a new tutelage of state power. In the Nordic countries, Finland had come under Russia in 1809 and Norway had been united in union with Sweden. The loser was Denmark.

In Skåne, the cultural and historical aspects were brought to life. The need for activity was kindly but enthusiastically turned towards utopia. In Lund, academic and civic Scandinavianism emerged in 1829, and was associated with a broad popular feeling of affinity with Danishness and Danish culture, the most striking expression of which was the fraternity party on New Year's Eve 1837/38 on the ice between Helsingborg and Helsingör. The fraternization was an open demonstration against Karl XIV Johan's notorious circular threat against Scandinavianism in 1837. Participation in the Danish cause during the wars of 1848/49 and 1864 became a great popular movement with many Skåne volunteers, and many hundreds of Schleswigvians came as refugees to all corners of Skåne, where they were received as lost and found brothers.

Oskar I fully embraced Scandinavianism and occasionally stayed in Skåne, for example when the Malmö Armistice was signed between Denmark and Prussia in July 1848 under his auspices. Charles XV, Duke of Skåne, promised Denmark an alliance in 1863, which the government firmly opposed. He pursued an emphatically Scandinavian policy and was closely associated with Frederik VII on friendly terms. He spent most of his time in Skåne, and his folklore and his cheerful and healthy life at Bäckaskog made him extremely popular in his duchy.

In the late 1880s and early 1890s, political life was dominated by the tariff issue and the battle between protectionists and free traders.

For Skåne, the issue of the pricing of cereal products and tariffs on food products was of vital importance. The large trading houses from Ystad to Helsingborg were dependent on the profitability of the grain trade. Thus a strong opposition to free trade arose in Skåne.

There was a willingness to form a Skåne farmers' party and there was tangible interest in a Skåne liberal party in 1892. This was prevented by Oskar II's position. For him, the empire was a self-evident entity and he was a declared opponent of protectionism. There was no room for any Scanian, i.e. from the monarch's point of view separatist, political formations.

In 1872 Matthias Weibull revives the medieval Lunden archbishop's banner as a protest and expression of Skåne activism, which becomes the red and yellow cross banner of Skåne. It becomes popular in bourgeois circles, especially in south-western Skåne, and is often hoisted until the 1920s.

In the 1910s and 20s, the Greater Sweden line within the kingdom reaches its peak. It demonstrates its power by erecting royal and commandery statues and memorial stones to Swedish victories throughout Skåne, first and foremost in Skåne. The climax is reached in 1926 with the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Lund. In the presence of the king, a military parade and large-scale Swedish speeches are held, but they are immediately answered by a large social democratic Skåne-Danish mass demonstration at the monument in Lund, on top of the remains of the former Lerbäck hill. With this popular and Scanian demonstration, the chauvinist and militarist wave is broken in Skåne, even if it takes a few years. Within the upper class and parts of the middle class, however, these large-scale reactionary ideas persist. We can see this even now in the daily press in Skåne, mainly in the non-Skåne-owned newspapers.

In 1923, a small publication was published, "The Scanian Problem", written by the creator of the new Scanian Catholicism and the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Sweden, David Assarsson. It attracted great attention and was fought fanatically by all the big Swedes and Skåne adapters. In fact, it was an innocent reminder of what Skåne history was before 1658, an appeal to Skåne self-consciousness and consciousness, in short, an academic reflection. It was of great importance to many people in the Skåne counties and in fact gave rise to the still vibrant cultural organisation Sällskapet Skånsk Samling (SSS), founded in 1937, as well as to several other later associations, e.g. for Skåne historical research in 1950.

Skåne's place in a future Europe

The peace treaties of Roskilde on 26 February 1658 and Copenhagen on 26 May 1660 were signed by the governments of two sovereign kingdoms. For reasons of international law at the time, Skåne and the Skåne people were not legally competent to act as a third party to the treaty, but both treaties recognised the rights and freedoms of the Skåne people. The General Governorship Constitution, drawn up by the Swedish royal power immediately after the peace of 15 March 1658, was the de facto and de jure recognition of Skåne nationality and Skåne's regional self-government or, as it was called, the Skåne state.

The fact that the Kingdom of Denmark in the peace instrument of 26 September 1679 does not abrogate all or part of the treaties concluded in 1658 and 1660 only confirms earlier agreements.

The Peace Treaty of Fredriksborg of 3 July 1720, while bypassing the de facto treaties of 1658 and 1660, abrogated by the Swedish autocracy of 1680-1719, also gives no legal competence to these actions and, least of all, no recognition of these measures.

For the people of Skåne and for the historical Skåne region, which was only regionally governed until 1693, with its Skåne Law, which existed until 1683, the policy imposed by the Swedish autocracy can thus be nothing other than a unilateral abrogation of the peace treaties of 1658 and 1660, which were rejected over the heads of Skåne and its people. As late as 1710, Swedish maps show the unit designation Skåneland or Scania. This too has been abolished without cause and Skåneland has been readily incorporated geographically into "Götaland", to which it never belonged in the first place.

This has happened alongside a conspicuous and strong Swedish commitment to all kinds of national liberation processes and democratic minority expressions around the world. Within the kingdom, an icy silence has been observed.

Such a procedure deprives the Swedish authorities of any right to appear in the eyes of the world as an exponent of true democracy and an opponent of any form of territorial oppression.

Regional work must start with regional stakeholders coming together and expressing their wishes. Only if a people's movement can be created do regional demands stand a chance of being taken into account at all, but this does not mean that the central government grants regional rights to an area. These must be fought for, perhaps together with the interest groups of other regions. We can see this from developments in Belgium, the United Kingdom and Spain, for example. But they can also be opposed despite the will to power, as in France. The struggle of the Frisians in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark can never lead to a unified territory, as long as the current so-called state borders remain, but people work for their common interests in the respective state. Today, the struggle of the Baltic states is particularly topical.

For a Skåne regional policy movement, it is important to start in Skåne and have this as a primary goal. If contact can be made with regionally interested groups in Blekinge, Halland and Bornholm, it is vital that cooperation is initiated. In addition, a form of cooperation will be sought with other groups active within the Swedish kingdom and only then with all Nordic and European regional movements, adapting mutual information on a case-by-case basis.

The conditions of life for any regional activity are and will remain objectivity, reason and moderation and to start exclusively from existing current situations and to stay within the framework of reality and possibilities in each individual position.

It is important to work for cultural policy and cultural institutions and, above all, for the right of the regional population to decide in their own house. The nature and scope of initiatives must be determined by the situation on the day.

A regional movement, however soberly and objectively it works in the present and towards the future, must never forget its special task, namely that what is to be built must rest on the historical foundations of the region. Certain specific historical conditions will always be the common thread: a people without historical consciousness is like a body without a soul. It has no identity. Thus, Skåne and Skåne people should never forget that the actions of the Swedish royal autocracy against Skåne's ancient rights and freedoms, guaranteed by treaty, in 1680-1719 were illegal under international law.

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