The history of Scandinavia is the history of the geographical region of Scandinavia and its peoples. The region is located in Northern Europe, and consists of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Finland and Iceland are at times, especially in English-speaking contexts, considered part of Scandinavia.
During the Weichselian glaciation, almost all of Scandinavia was buried beneath a thick permanent sheet of ice and the Stone Age was delayed in this region. Some valleys close to the watershed were indeed ice-free around 30 000 years B.P. Coastal areas were ice-free several times between 75 000 and 30 000 years B.P. and the final expansion towards the late Weichselian maximum took place after 28 000 years B.P.As the climate slowly warmed up at the end of the ice age and deglaciation took place, nomadic hunters from central Europe sporadically visited the region, but it was not until around 12,000 BCE before permanent, but nomadic, habitation took root.
The period succeeding the fall of the Roman Empire is known as the Germanic Iron Age, and it is divided into the early Germanic Iron and the late Germanic Iron Age, which in Sweden is known as the Vendel Age, with rich burials in the basin of Lake Mälaren. The early Germanic Iron Age is the period when the Danes appear in history, and according to Jordanes, they were of the same stock as the Swedes (suehans, suetidi) and had replaced the Heruls.
After the Roman Empire had disappeared, gold became scarce and Scandinavians began to make objects of gilded bronze, with decorations of interlacing animals in Scandinavian style. The early Germanic Iron Age decorations show animals that are rather faithful anatomically, but in the late Germanic Iron Age they evolve into intricate shapes with interlacing and interwoven limbs that are well known from the Viking Age.
Petroglyphs and archeological findings such as settlements dating from about 10,000 B.C. can be found in the traditional lands of the Sami. These hunters and gatherers of the late Paleolithic and early Mesolithic were named Komsa by the researchers as what they identified themselves as is unknown.
Even though there is no direct historical evidence of the Sámi prior to the first centuty C.E., one can deduce from linguistic evidence that the Sámi and their forebears had had contact with many different peoples, mostly speakers of Indo-European langauges, occasionally borrowing words from them. Some of these contacts could have taken place as much as four thousand years ago. The Sámi word for '100', cuođi, for example, was borrowed at an early date, most likely from an Iranian language, c.f. Avestan satem '100'. Other loan-words are evidenced from other languages at various times. One finds loan-words from the Balto-Slavic languages, such as in the South Sámi word daktere 'daughter' or suvon 'well-trained dog'. Many words have been borrowed from the Germanic languages at every period in their history, some of which are still recognizable by speakers of Modern English, e.g. guos'si 'guest', áiru 'oar', mánnu 'moon', nuorti 'east' c.f. Eng. north.
Subsequent histories and records tend to mention the Sámi in relation to Christianity, which had only arrived in Scandinavia toward the end of the tenth century. Adam of Bremen (ca. 1070) mentions the Sámi in his Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum as a people living between the Norwegians and the Swedes and that some of them had been converted to Christianity. Similarly, two early, christian law codes, the Eidsivathingslag and the Borgarthingslag (both prior to ca. 1120) prohibited Christians from visiting the Sámi in order to have prophecies made for them. The Historia Norvegiæ, written approximately 1190, makes a distinction between the land inhabited by the Christian Norwegians from the land inhabited by the heathen finnis and wild beasts. In each of these documents, however, the Sámi are referred to as either Finns or Scrithifinns.
Beginning possibly as early as the 12th century, outsiders begain calling the Sámi by other names. In the Saga of the Orkneyislanders, which is imprecisely dated between 1100 and 1230, we find the first mention of the Sámi as lappir 'Lapps'. At the same time, ca. 1200, the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus referrs to the land of the Sámi as Lappia, though he still uses the word finn for the people. It is not until the end of the 13th century that we encounter the first occurrance of the word sámi. In the Icelandic Vatnsdæla saga, ch. 12, we find two instances of the word semsveinn. The second portion of this compound, sveinn 'young man, boy', is clearly Germanic in origin. The first element of the compound, however, seems to be from the word sami.
Despite the literary evidence, which represents Norse-Sámi interaction in a range possibilities from peaceful co-existance to open hostility, the actual nature of the interaction between the two people is a matter of debate. The traditional view has been that the Sámi were the victims of Norse exploitation. This view-point is well supported by the many years of squabbling betweent the kings of Norway and the chieftains of Halogaland and Tromsø as to who received the "Finn-tax" (ON finnskatt), the tributary payment of furs, eider-down and other wild goods from the Sámi to the Norwegians. However, some have argued that the Sámi also benefited from the trade. In exchange for furs and other such goods, the Sámi were able to get grain and iron tools in return, items they would otherwise have been unable to obtain. Intermarriage during this period is also a possibility. Snorri Sturluson's 13th-century history of Norway, the Heimskringla, reports that King Harald Fairhair (ca. 865-933) married a Sámi girl, though with unhappy consequences. In the Sagas of the Kings, also written by Snorri, Harald's son, Eirik, met a woman originally from Halogaland, who lived with the Sámi to learn witchcraft. Interesting also are the jarls (chieftains) of Lade who claimed to be descendents of a certain Sæmingr, whose name could mean "the son of Sámi".
Nowadays most plant textiles used for clothing and household are made of cotton and viscose. Before the 19th century however, plant textiles were mainly made from locally available raw materials, in Scandinavia these were: nettle, hemp and flax. It is generally believed that in Viking and early Middle Ages Scandinavia hemp was used only for coarse textiles (i.e. rope and sailcloth). Here we present an investigation of 10 Scandinavian plant fibre textiles from the Viking and Early Middle Ages, believed to be locally produced. Up till now they were all believed to be made of flax. We show that 4 textiles, including two pieces of the famous Överhogdal Viking wall-hanging are in fact made with hemp (in three cases hemp and flax are mixed). This indicates that hemp was important, not only for coarse but also for fine textile production in Viking and Early Middle Ages in Scandinavia.
Our results show that the role of hemp in the Scandinavian cultural history needs to be reconsidered. Hemp was not used solely for the production of coarse textiles such as ropes and sailcloth; it was also used in the production of fine household textiles in Scandinavian Viking and Middle Ages. The big question, from a cultural history and historical research management point of view is: Why use one material instead of another? When hemp and when flax?
While hemp and flax can both grow well on most good soil suitable for crops35, hemp can also, to some extend grow on soils with high pH and muddy soils not suitable for many other crops without the need for much soil preparation (i.e. plowing, burn-beating, rotation of crop or lie fallow)36. This type of soil is often found in mountain areas and in coniferous forest areas, in swamps and marshes and around lakes. The Överhogdal wall-hangings and Lomen coverlet were found in mountain areas and in march- and lake rich areas. The literature says that hemp cultivation was especially common in Jämtland during the 1700s and 1800s because the area has the characteristic soil needed. For optimal growth of flax the requirements are different37. For example a nitrogen rich soil does not give a nice flax fibre35,36. Flax grows well in a climate with uniform high humidity and rainfall where early summer drought does not occur. The coastal area of Hälsingland, a region that was known for flax cultivation from the Middle Ages has such a climate and also weeding was not so important here, due to good availability of suitable soil and favorable crop rotation36,38.
A new study reported in the journal Cell on January 5 captures a genetic history across Scandinavia over 2,000 years, from the Iron Age to the present day. This look back at Scandinavian history is based on an analysis of 48 new and 249 published ancient human genomes representing multiple iconic archaeological sites together with genetic data from more than 16,500 people living in Scandinavia today.
The objectives of the history program at Luther College derive from our understanding of the discipline of history as defined by the American Historical Association, the largest professional organization for historians in the United States:
This course surveys American history from the early colonial period to the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Topics are wide-ranging and include the geographic and social evolution of the New England colonies, the Middle Colonies, the Chesapeake, and the Lower South into coherent regions with different economies, social structures and cultural attributes. The course then explores how these various regions successfully cooperated politically with one another long enough to engage in an independence movement that separated them from Great Britain and created the United States. But political, economic and social differences lived on into the nineteenth century, however, and became the basis for the geographic and sectional conflict which erupted into Civil War in 1861. The course closes with the political and economic successes and failures of Reconstruction policy as a bridge to later American history. 781b155fdc