Dalarna

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Dalarna
Coat of arms of Dalarna
Coat of arms
Sverigekarta-Landskap Dalarna.svg
Coordinates: 60°52′N 14°44′E / 60.867°N 14.733°E / 60.867; 14.733Coordinates: 60°52′N 14°44′E / 60.867°N 14.733°E / 60.867; 14.733
Country Sweden
Land Svealand
Counties Dalarna County
Gävleborg County
Jämtland County
Värmland County
Area
 • Total 29,086 km2 (11,230 sq mi)
Population (2009)[1]
 • Total 276,505
 • Density 9.5/km2 (25/sq mi)
Ethnicity
 • Language Swedish
 • Dialect Dalecarlian
Culture
 • Flower Harebell
 • Animal Eagle Owl
 • Bird
 • Fish Minnow
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Dalarna (About this sound listen , English exonym: Dalecarlia),[2] is a historical province or landskap in central Sweden. Another English language form established in literature is the Dales.[3]

Dalarna adjoins Härjedalen, Hälsingland, Gästrikland, Västmanland and Värmland. It is also bounded by Norway in the west. Borders of the province mostly coincide with the modern administrative Dalarna County (län).

The word "Dalarna" means "the dales" (valleys). The area is a popular vacation destination for Swedes from the south, who often travel there to relax during summer vacations, drawn by good fishing lakes, beautiful campgrounds, and deep forests. Many such Swedes own or rent a second residence in Dalarna, where they are likely to have a vegetable garden and apple trees. In mid-June, summerfest celebrations and dances are held in many of the small villages and, of course, in the larger cities. Dalarna is a region full of historical associations, possessing strong local characteristics in respect of its products, and especially of its people. In the western districts of Älvdalen and Lima some people in villages speak a traditional dialect, the Dalecarlian language. Historically, the people of Dalecarlia – called Dalecarlians, or Dalesmen (dalkarlar="dale churls", masar) and Daleswomen (kullor) – are famous for their love of independence.[4]

Administration[edit]

The provinces of Sweden serve no administrative or political purposes, but function as historical and cultural entities. In the case of Dalarna a corresponding administrative Dalarna County has almost, but not exactly, the same boundaries as the province, except for a part of the north-east (Hamra parish, also known as Orsa Finnmark) which forms part of Ljusdal Municipality, Gävleborg County.

Heraldry[edit]

Dalarna's coat of arms dates from 1560; the use of two crossed arrows as a symbol precedes this. A Duchy of Dalecarlia also exists, and the provincial arms include a ducal coronet.

Blazon: "Azure, two Dalecarlian Arrows Or in saltire point upwards pointed Argent and in chief a Crown of the first".

As early as 1525 the arrows appeared in use on a seal. Dalarna County uses the same coat of arms, granted for the then Kopparberg County in 1936.

Geography[edit]

The northern part of the province lies within the Scandinavian mountain range: mountainous country with many glacier-created lakes. The southern part consists of plains, with several mines, most notably copper, traditionally forming part of Bergslagen.

Highest point is Storvätteshågna, 1,204 meters above sea-level. Lowest point is at 55 meters, in the south-east part.

Lake Siljan features in the middle part of Dalarna, and the Västerdal River and Österdal River join the Dal River. Dalarna's second lake is Runn, which lies between Falun and Borlänge. With 66.6 square kilometres (25.7 sq mi) of water and over fifty islands, the lake is a popular tourist destination.

Cities[edit]

Dalarna was historically divided into chartered cities and districts:

The cities are since 1971 seats of their respective municipalities.

Other towns[edit]

National parks[edit]

Lake Runn (Runnsjön) close to Torsång (Borlänge)

History[edit]

The province of Dalarna formed part of Svealand before the formation of Sweden in the 11th century.

Three historically notorious rebellions started in the Dalarna province:

  • In 1434, led by Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, the miners rose against the oppression of the officers of Eric of Pomerania.
  • In 1519–1523 Gustav Vasa found his first and staunchest supporters among the miners in his revolt against the Kalmar Union under King Christian II.[4]
  • In 1524–1533 the Dalecarlians and local nobles rebelled against Gustav's increasingly autocratic rule and reformist religious policies; three uprisings were brutally suppressed. Some of the leaders were executed as alleged collaborators of King Christian during the liberation war.
  • In 1743, the Dalecarlian Rebellion against the Hats, which was the last major peasants' uprising in Sweden.

Culture[edit]

A Daleswoman from Leksand in traditional folk dress, 1911.
A giant Dala horse in central Avesta.

Historically, Dalarna has enjoyed a rich and unique folk culture, with distinct music, paintings (often centered on Biblical themes) and handicrafts.[citation needed] The province preserved longer than any other the use of the Runic alphabet, a local dialect of which, the so-called Dalecarlian runes or Dalrunes, survived into the 19th century.[5]

A famous symbol of the province is the Dalecarlian horse, in Swedish Dalahäst, a painted and decorated wooden horse. Sulky racing is popular in the region. The high level of calcium in the soil favours horse breeding.

Vasaloppet, a cross-country skiing race (the world's longest) of 90 km, takes place annually, on the first Sunday of March, between Sälen and Mora. It commemorates the ski-borne escape of Gustav Ericson, who would later become King Gustav I of Sweden, from Danish troops in 1520.

UNESCO has named the mining area of the Stora Kopparberg ("Great Copper Mountain") in Falun a World Heritage Site.

Notable natives[edit]

Dukes[edit]

Since 1772, Swedish Kings have designated princes as dukes of various provinces, a nominal title.

Districts[edit]

The Swedish provinces were subdivided into the Hundreds of Sweden, in effect until the early 20th century.

In some provinces the sub-dividing was through districts. Dalarna had only one chartered hundred – the others were court districts.

Sports[edit]

Skiing is large in Dalarna, see Vasaloppet. Football in the province is administered by Dalarnas Fotbollförbund.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Statistics Sweden
  2. ^ Eric Linklater in The Life of Charles XII pp. 53-54 & throughout
  3. ^ Robert Nisbet Bain in Gustavus III and His Contemporaries, Volume Two London 1894 & New York 1970 pp. 33-35 & throughout
  4. ^ a b Volume V07, Page 764 of the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica. (online link)
  5. ^ http://www.nordiska.uu.se/arkiv/konferenser/alvdalska/Sapir.pdf

External links[edit]