Nils Erik Villstrand: Valtakunnanosa. Suurvalta ja valtakunnan hajoaminen 1560–1812 [The constituent state. Great power and disintegration 1560–1812]

26 April 2013 | Mini reviews, Reviews

valtakunnanosaValtakunnanosa. Suurvalta ja valtakunnan hajoaminen 1560–1812. Suomen ruotsalainen historia 2
[The constituent state. Great power and disintegration 1560–1812. Finland’s Swedish history 2]
[Swedish-language original: Riksdelen. Stormakt och rikssprängning 1560–1812, 2008]
Suom. [Finnish translation by] Jussi T. Lappalainen, Hannes Virrankoski
Helsingfors: Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, 2012. 424 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-583-256-6
€40,hardback

This book is the second volume in a four-part series on the Swedish history of Finland. Finland was part of Sweden until 1809, when as a result of war between Sweden and Russia it came under the control of the latter; the change of governance was more or less ratified in a meeting of the Swedish Crown Prince and the Russian Tsar at Turku in 1812. Finland was reunited with its eastern region of ‘Old Finland’, which had long been a part of Russia. In his fascinating book Villstrand examines the Swedish period from several angles, using the viewpoints both of the elite and of the common people. He also reviews the conceptions of the scholars of the time, and portrays the life of the administrative and ecclesiastical circles. A special chapter is devoted to the ‘Finnish period’ of 1721–1809, when Finland gained a particular importance because of the growing threat from Russia. Finland was in many respects an equal part of Sweden, and when the country was ceded to Russia as a Grand Duchy, its old administrative and social systems were largely preserved intact. Swedish also survived for a long time, especially as the language of culture. The book’s apt illustrations are a splendid adjunct to its content.
Translated by David McDuff

 

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