Kari Tarkiainen: Ruotsin Itämaa. Esihistoriasta Kustaa Vaasaan [Sweden’s Eastland. From prehistoric times to Gustav Vasa]

18 April 2013 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Tarkiainen_omslag_finska.inddRuotsin Itämaa. Esihistoriasta Kustaa Vaasaan
[Sweden’s Eastland. From prehistoric times to Gustav Vasa].
[Finlands svenska historia del 1: Sveriges Österland. Från forntiden till Gustav Vasa, 2008; Finland’s Swedish history vol. 1, translated into Finnish by the author]
Helsingfors: Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, 2010. 331 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-583-212-2
€39.90, hardback

The historian and archivist Kari Tarkiainen is starting a four-volume series with the general title ‘Finland’s Swedish history’: it forms part of a project funded by Finland’s Swedish-language cultural organisations. This book examines Finland’s prehistoric, medieval and early modern periods, with special emphasis on the two-way relations between Swedes and Finns, and their mutual influence. Initially Finland’s annexation by Sweden from the 12th to the 14th century as ‘Österland’ (Eastland) was a process that involved many stages and also some belligerence, as the Republic of Novgorod in the east also laid claim to the region. Settlements of Swedish-speakers were established on the Åland islands and the coasts; the Swedish Catholic Church (replaced during the Reformation by the Lutheran Church) and the Swedish-language administrative and social system extended their influence on the country, even though Finnish remained the principal language of Finns. Finland remained part of Sweden until the early 19th century. Ruotsin Itämaa is a fascinating book, which draws on archeology, linguistics and onomastics, and is beautifully illustrated.
Translated by David McDuff

 

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