Cudgel War

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Cudgel War
Date 25 November 1596–1597
Location Modern area of Finland (part of the Swedish kingdom)
Result Nobility victory
  • Suppression of revolt and execution of the rebellion's leaders.
  • Huge decrease in the population of Ostrobothnia.
Belligerents
Peasants and army Nobility and army
Commanders and leaders
Jaakko Ilkka  Executed
Pentti Pouttu
Hannu Krankka
Yrjö Kontsas  Executed
Israel Laurinpoika Support:
Enemies of Fleming among the nobility
Sweden Duke Charles
Sweden Klaus Fleming
Sweden Gödik Fincke
Sweden Iivari Tavast
Sweden Abraham Melkiorinpoika  Executed
Sweden Akseli Kurki
Strength
1 000–4 000+ 1 500–3 300+
Casualties and losses
>2550 dead

>500 P.O.W.

>25 dead
The strength varied in different engagements and from some of them there are approximations

The Club War (also Cudgel War, Finnish: Nuijasota, Swedish: Klubbekriget) was a 1596/97 peasant uprising in the kingdom of Sweden (now Finland). The name of the uprising derives from the fact that the peasants armed themselves with various blunt weapons, such as cudgels, flails and maces, as they were seen as the most efficient weapons against their heavily armoured enemies. The yeomen also had swords, some firearms and two cannons at their disposal. Their opponents, the troops of Clas Eriksson Fleming, were professional, heavily armed and armoured men-at-arms.[1]

War[edit]

A memorial plaque dedicated to the fallen peasants

An uprising began on Christmas Eve 1595 and was initially successful, but shortly thereafter was crushed by cavalry.[2] In December 1596, the Cudgel War began.[3] The peasants won a number of encounters with infantry.[3] Klaus Fleming began negotiating a truce that required the surrender of peasant leader Jaako Ilkka. Ilkka fled to avoid being handed over and the peasant army scattered, pursued by the soldiers. At least 1500 were killed within the next two months.[3] Along with Jaakko Ilkka, five other rebellion leaders were executed on January 27, 1597.[4]

Final part of the rebellion[edit]

A Cudgel War memorial

Israel Laurinpoika was named as the new governor of central and northern Ostrobothnia, and planned to support the rebellion. However, he fled rather than face Fleming. Leaderless, the peasants opened battle with Fleming on February 24, 1597. Over 1000 were killed and 500 captured.[3]

The insurgents were mostly Finnish peasants from Ostrobothnia, Northern Tavastia and Savo. The events can also be seen as a part of a larger power struggle between King Sigismund and Duke Charles.[1][5]

Legacy[edit]

In his work Nuijasota, sen syyt ja tapaukset (1857–1859), historian and fennoman Yrjö Koskinen (né Forsman) saw the peasants as fighting for freedom and justice. Fredrika Runeberg's Sigrid Liljeholm (1862), one of the first historical novels in Finland, depicts women's fates during the war. Albert Edelfelt's painting Poltettu kylä (1879) depicts a woman, a child, and an old man hiding behind a rock as a village burns in the background.[6] The poet Kaarlo Kramsu praised the insurgents and lamented their defeat in patriotic poems such as Ilkka, Hannu Krankka, and Santavuoren tappelu, published in Runoelmia (1887). After the Finnish Civil War, the debate has centered around an interpretation that emphasizes Duke Charles's role in inciting the revolt, as found in Pentti Renvall's Kuninkaanmiehiä ja kapinoitsijoita Vaasa-kauden Suomessa (1949); and an explanation that stresses the roots of the rebellion in social injustice and class conflict, as argued by Heikki Ylikangas in Nuijasota (1977). A historical reenactment of the Cudgel War is conducted yearly in the Kavalahti scout camp.[7] Jaakko Ilkka took the 75th place in the Great Finns TV show. A commemorative silver coin was also minted to mark the occasion.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Finnish peasant history". Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Jaakko Ilkka's Descendants". Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Jaakko Ilkka's biography". Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "Battle Map (Finnish)". Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Charles (Finnish)". Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Painting". Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Cudgel War Reenactment". Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "Coin". Retrieved 12 July 2014. 

External links[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Nuijasota by Heikki Ylikangas, Otava, 1996 ISBN 951-1-14253-4
  • Krohn, J. Kertomuksia Suomen Historiasta, Kansallisseura, Helsinki 1914
  • Jaakko Ilkan Suku ry Sukusanomat,2004
  • Yli-Hakola, Aila, Ilkka, Jaakko Pentinpoika, Henkilöteksti, 2011