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Provinces of Sweden

From Academic Kids

The divisions of the provinces, this particular map highlighting Småland.
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The divisions of the provinces, this particular map highlighting Småland.

The provinces or landskap were the subdivisions of Sweden until 1634, when they were replaced by counties in a reform led by Axel Oxenstierna which remains in force in Sweden proper. The county reform also survived until 1997 in Finland, despite its separation from Sweden in 1809. The provinces have no administrative function today but remain as a historical legacy and as a source of cultural identification. Even though the provinces are defunct as official entities their traditions are still maintained by present day authorities.

Contents

History

The origin of the division into provinces is in the small kingdoms which combined to form unified Sweden. Even after being united under a Swedish monarch each of these lands had its own laws and ting, a combined political and judicial assembly. The constituent provinces were held as duchies, but newly conquered provinces added to the kingdom received the status of a duchy or a county, depending on its importance.

Of the conquests made after the separation from the Kalmar Union in 1523 only some were incorporated as provinces. The most permanent acquisitions were from the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658, in which the former Danish provinces of Skåne, Blekinge, Halland and Bohuslän, along with the Norwegian provinces of Jämtland and Härjedalen, became Swedish and eventually fully integrated. Other conquered territories were ruled as separate Dominions under the Swedish monarch, which in some cases lasted for two or even three centuries. Norway was in personal union with Sweden for during the 19th century but never became an integral part of Sweden.

The division of Västerbotten that took place with the cession of Finland caused the new province of Norrbotten to emerge, eventually being recognised as a province in its own right. It was granted a coat of arms in 1995.

Heraldry

At the funeral of King Gustav Vasa (Gustav I) in 1560 the coats of arms for the provinces were displayed together for the first time, many having been granted for that particular occasion. After the separation of Sweden and Finland the traditions for respective provincial arms diverged, most noticeably following an order by the Privy Council on January 18, 1884. This established that that all Swedish provinces carry ducal crowns, while the Finnish provincial arms still distinguished between ducal and county dignity. A complication was that the representation of Finnish ducal and county coronets resemble Swedish coronets of a lower order, namely county and baronial. The division of Lapland necessitated a distinction between the Swedish and the Finnish arms.

Götaland

Götaland consists of the following ten provinces all within present day Sweden:

Bohuslän Missing image
Blekinge.png
Blekinge

Dalsland Gotland Missing image
Halland.png
Halland


Missing image
Skåne.png
Skåne

Småland Öland Östergötland Västergötland

Svealand

Svealand consists of the following six provinces all within present day Sweden:

Dalarna Missing image
Närke.png
Närke

Södermanland
Uppland Värmland Västmanland

Norrland

Norrland consists of the following nine provinces, out of which Westrobothnia and Lapponia are divided between present day Sweden and present day Finland, and Ostrobothnia which is wholly located within present day Finland:

Ångermanland Missing image
Gästrikland.png
Gästrikland

Hälsingland Härjedalen Missing image
Jämtland.png
Jämtland


Missing image
Lappland.png
Lappland

Missing image
Medelpad.png
Medelpad

Missing image
Österbotten.png
Österbotten

Missing image
Västerbotten.png
Västerbotten

Österlanden

Österlanden consists of the following seven provinces all within present day Finland:

Missing image
Åland.png
Åland

Egentliga Finland Karelen Nyland
Norra Finland Savolaks Missing image
Tavastland.png
Tavastland

See also: Dominions of Sweden, Historical provinces of Finland, Counties of Swedende:Landschaft (Schweden) hu:Svédország tartományai no:Landskap ro:Provincii în Suedia fi:Ruotsin historialliset provinssit sv:Landskap

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