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Gustav Vasa and the Vasaloppet "In the footsteps of fathers"

Gustav Vasa and Nils Dacke

Share on FacebookShare on WhatsAppShare on TelegramShare on X (Twitter)Just nu går Vasaloppet till minne av Gustav Vasas flykt mot Norge 1521. Han drev Kristian Tyrann och danskarna ur landet och firas varje år den 6 juni som vår svenska landsfader. Det är först på senare år […]

Right now, the Vasaloppet commemorates Gustav Vasa's escape to Norway in 1521. He drove Kristian Tyrann and the Danes out of the country and is celebrated every year on 6 June as the father of our Swedish country. It is only in recent years that I have learned that during Gustav Vasa's time there were many peasants who considered the Swedish ruler to be a tyrant and oppressor of ordinary, honest people. So let us also remember the regime of Gustav Vasa's impoverishment of the common people with its bailiwicks, church raids and religious and economic oppression. The churches of Småland alone were plundered of 370 kg of silver((Larsson, Lars-Olof, Gustav Vasa - father or tyrant, 2002; p 226-227.)), worth over SEK 1.5 million in today's money. This may not sound like much, but Sweden was a very poor country and 370 kg was about 85% of all the silver that the parishes had collected over several generations. It wasn't just the silver that was confiscated, but also images of saints, relics, church bells, crucifixes, and more. When the king decided that the largest church bell in each church should be confiscated and melted down, protests reached new heights. Gustav Vasa also banned border trade with Denmark. Värend, one of the many "small countries" in Småland, was dependent on the export of oxen and horses to Blekinge, which then belonged to Denmark. The death penalty applied to any farmer who drove an ox or horse across the border, which put many farmers in financial crisis. The farmers also lived under the constant threat of being sent on a "Dalaresa" by bailiffs, i.e. they were threatened with receiving the same cruel treatment as the valley men received at Tuna ting and Kopparberget. To make a long story short, the farmer Nils Dacke had enough and started Småland's biggest peasant rebellion of all time. I say "Småland's" rebellion and not "Sweden's" because the Smålanders saw themselves as independent from the Swedish central power in Stockholm. Vilhelm Moberg wrote in 'My Swedish History':
"One disgruntled and resentful man does not make a revolution, nor 10 and 30. At the attack on the bailiff's house at Voxtorp, NIls Dacke led a small band of 30 men. Only a week later he led 1000. By then he had moved into Värend and was holding a meeting at Inglinge hög, the place where the people of the country had gathered since time immemorial. After a few more weeks he proceeded to Växjö, the capital of Värend, and was then followed by 3,000 men."((Moberg, Vilhelm, "My Swedish history told to the people. Second part.", s 346-347.))
The Vasaloppet motto is "In the footsteps of fathers - for the victories of the future". It's a fine motto, but of course you have to choose your fathers carefully.

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