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Leksandsbönderna: "We want one king and not so many"

Big dance
In the background Långsjön, Stora Tuna parish, Dalarna. Photo: Edaen (CC BY-SA)

Today there are many wig wearers who want to play king and rule over the rest of us, our lives and our wallets. What would the Leksand farmers of the past say if they saw us today?

The quote comes from big dances, the last great peasant uprising against the authorities, which took place in 1743. The reasons for the 1743 valley uprising were several.

On the one hand, there was a dissatisfaction of the common people with the "lordship" of the free period, where the peasants had minimal influence and felt that previous absolute kings had at least listened to their demands.

On the one hand, the politicians interfered and forbade the free exchange of foodstuffs between the Dalarna farmers and Norway, which led to starvation among the people of Dalarna, at a time when there was already famine and the people of Dalarna were "said to eat bark bread". 1

Since ancient times, the Dalkarls had been engaged in a lively exchange of goods with Norway. After the snow had made the winter roads passable, they had travelled over the mountains with grindstones, smithy and laggge vessels, and in exchange had received supplies, especially fish products, together with tobacco and other goods.

Alfred Kämpe, Swedish Allmogens Freedom Fights, Volume 2, p. 116

The dissatisfaction was also based on Russian War of the Hats where the families of the allmog were split up and the men were shipped off to die on battlefields in Finland. After the crushing defeat on 23 August 1741 at the battle of Villmanstrand, when 2000 men from Sweden's general population lost their lives, reinforcements from Sweden were needed. But when people heard about the defeat and did not want to be sent to their deaths, many people around the kingdom refused to take up arms.2

The Leksand farmers therefore complained to a Captain Planting and asked him to be their leader during the march to Stockholm3. He asks why, and the answer is given in the quote in the picture.

This was in all likelihood Alexander Johan Planting-Bergloo (1688-1758), who was born at Utnäset in Berg parish, Jämtland, and began his military career at the age of 14.17464, three years after the big dance, Captain Planting quit his post as captain in Leksand.

History suggests that Captain Planting was not persuaded to join the rebellion.

How do I know?

Well, because all the leaders of the rebellion (Schedin, Skinnar Per Andersson, etc.) were sentenced to death, and Captain Planting lived on. That he lived on is something I am grateful for, and you will soon understand why.

Why Captain Planting chose not to support the rebellion, I cannot say. If it was because he had already once escaped death by a hair's breadth during the battle of Poltava where he was shot two times, or the subsequent 13 years he spent in a Russian prison camp in Siberia, or the 4,403-mile trek home to Sweden, or any other reason, I can't say.

But what I do know is that 13 years after the last great valley uprising (but maybe not the last), and 2 years before his death, Captain Planting had a daughter, who had a daughter, who had a daughter, who had a daughter, who had a son, who had a daughter, who had a daughter, who had a son, who had a son, Daniel, who now shares this story with you.

The story of the Leksand farmers who had enough.

Sources

  1. Alfred Kämpe, Swedish Allmogens Freedom Fights, Volume 2, p. 111
  2. Alfred Kämpe, Swedish Allmogens Freedom Fights, Volume 2, p. 113
  3. Alfred Kämpe, Swedish Allmogens Freedom Fights, Volume 2, p. 124
  4. Note from the church book by Prosten Tideman, "1746 discharge after 44 years of war service.", Museums of the Valley Regiments

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