Finnveden or Finnheden is one of the ancient small lands of Småland. It corresponded to the hundreds of Sunnerbo Hundred, Östbo Hundred and Västbo Hundred. Finnveden had its own judicial system and laws as the other small lands. Finnveden is situated around lake Bolmen and the river Lagan. Most runestones in Finnveden describe men who died in England. Finnveden is today divided and is a part of Hallands län, Kronobergs län and Jönköpings län.
The Scandinavian placenames Finnveden, Finnmark and the province of Finland (which gave name to Finland) are all thought to derive from Finn, an ancient Germanic word for the Finnic people inhabiting areas of Fenno-Scandia and Scandinavia. The connection between the names Finnveden, Finnmark and Finland is not entirely clear. However, it is known that in addition to the Uralic Sami people, the Finnic tribe of Kvens have historically inhabited areas of Scandinavia which today are part of Norway and Sweden. According to Emeritus Professor Kyösti Julku, in the area of Tromsa, Norway, alone there are 12 prehistoric Kven place names.
Whereas the Finnic tribes historically inhabiting the modern-day area of Finland and the surrounding areas (Kvens, Tavastians, Karelians, etc.) are known to have represented a farming culture for several last millennia, the Sami people were still "hunter-gatherers" in 97 AD, when the Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus describes them in his account 'Germania', calling them "Fenni". Most historians see Tacitus' reference to the "Sitones" to mean the Finnic/Finnish Kvens:
- "Upon the Suiones, border the people Sitones; and, agreeing with them in all other things, differ from them in one, that here the sovereignty is exercised by a woman. So notoriously do they degenerate not only from a state of liberty, but even below a state of bondage."
Among similar namings of the Kvens, in 1075 AD the German chronicler Adam of Bremen calls Kvenland 'Terra Feminarum', "Territory of Women", and on the 14th century, Icelandic manuscript refers to Kvenland as 'Kuenna Land' ("Woman Land").
However, in medieval texts thereafter the Sami are referred to as "skridfinns" (Skridfinnar, Screrefennae, Scridefinns, etc.) meaning "skiing Finns". The ancestors of the average modern-day Finns on the other hand are referred to either as "Finns" (with varying spellings) or they are simply discussed under the names of the various Finnic/Finnish tribes, such as Kvens, Karelians, etc. The earliest known written text making a clear separation between these two different peoples under these terms, the "Scridefinns" (Sami) and the "Finns" (ancestors of the average modern-day Finn) is Widsith, written in Old English, the earliest version of which is believed to have been from the 6th or 7th century AD.
Although the earliest people inhabiting Fenno-Scandia were hunter-gatherers, using stone tools, the first pottery appeared in the area of today's Finland already in 5200 BCE when the Comb Ceramic culture was introduced. The arrival of the Corded Ware culture in southern coastal Finland between 3000–2500 BCE may have coincided with the start of agriculture. Yet, even with the introduction of agriculture, hunting and fishing continued to be important parts of the subsistence economy.
Sources suggesting Finnveden to possibly having been a Finnish/Kven ruled community in the early 1st millennia AD
In 750 AD (c.), according to Norna-Gests þáttr, the king of Denmark and Sweden, Sigurd Ring, still fought areal battles against the Curonians (Baltic Tribe) and Kvens in today's southernmost Sweden:
- "Sigurd Ring (Sigurðr) was not there, since he had to defend his land, Sweden (Svíþjóð), since Curonians (Kúrir) and Kvens (Kvænir) were raiding there."
In 1216 AD, the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus writes in 'Gesta Danorum' about Finnish, Kven and Scandinavian royal families.
- Grammaticus' account shares likeness, many characters and stories with the writings of Snorri Sturluson. According to both, many heroic Scandinavian figures have Finnish/Kven roots. In reference to the legendary Battle of Bråvalla (c. 750), where the Swedes fought the Geats, Grammaticus names a few such heroes:
- Now the bravest of the Swedes were these: Arwakki, Keklu-Karl ...".
In 1220 AD, in the Ynglinga Saga, the Icelandic Snorri Sturluson discusses marriages and wars of Finnish and Swedish royal families.
- The saga tells about the Ynglings, who are the oldest known Scandinavian dynasty, a semi-legendary royal Swedish clan during the Age of Migrations (300–700 AD). The clan's many kings descended from Kven kings. Such descendants included King Ongenpeow (died c. 515 AD) and his sons Onela and Ohthere:
- The spelling "Ongenpeow" is believed to refer to Finnish 'Ongenpoika' ("fisher boy") or 'Onnenpoika' ("lucky boy"). "Onela" (Onnela) too is Finnish, meaning "happy place". The double consonants in Finnish names are typically – although erroneously – substituted by a single consonant by speakers of Germanic languages. "Ohthere" stands for the Proro-Norse 'Ōhtaharjaz', and Ohtaharjas is Finnish, "ohta" meaning "forehead" in Ostrobothnian dialect of Finnish.
- Ostrobothnia was the center of Kvenland during the Viking Age. "Harjas" means "bristle", "prickle" or "brush". Among other suggested Kven "kings" and their descendants, these kings led the Swedes in battles against their southern neighbors Geats at the time when today's Sweden was largely inhabited by the Kvens.
- 'Ynglings' also refers to the Fairhair dynasty, descending from the Kven kings of Oppland, Norway, who had sprung from Nór's great-grandson Halfdan the Old. According to Orkneyinga Saga, Nór founded Norway. He was a direct descendant of Fornjotr, the King of Finland, Kvenland and Gotland.
In 1220 AD (c.), in the Skáldskaparmál section of Edda, Snorri Sturluson discusses King Halfdan the Old, Nór's great-grandson, and nine of his sons who are the forefathers of various royal lineages, including "Yngvi, from whom the Ynglings are descended". Sturluson then again points to the Finnish-Kven origin of the royal Ynglings by stating:
- "One war-king was named Skelfir; and his house is called the House of Skilfings: his kindred is in the Eastern Land".
- The official Swedish name for the modern-day Southern Finland in the 14th century was "Eastern Land", Österland, which was the Eastern half of Sweden.
In 1230 AD, the Orkneyinga Saga provides information about the royal lineage of Fornjótr, the King of Finland, Kvenland and Gotland and the conquest of Norway by his descendant, Nór.
In 1387 AD, Hversu Noregr byggðist traces the royal descendants of the primeval Finnish/Kven king Fornjótr to the Swedish kings.
- Hversu Noregr byggðist ('How Norway was inhabited') is an account of the origin of various legendary Norwegian lineages. It traces the descendants of the primeval Finnish ruler Fornjotr (Fornjót) down to Nór, who is here the eponym and first great king of Norway, and then gives details of the descendants of Nór and of his brother Gór in a following section known as the Ættartölur ('Genealogies').
- The Hversu account is closely paralleled by the opening of the Orkneyinga saga, which provides details on the descendants of Gór only, including information not found in the Hversu or Ættartölur. This other account is sometimes called Fundinn Noregr, 'Foundation of Norway'.
- The 'genealogies' also claim that many heroic families famed in Scandinavian tradition but not located in Norway were of a Finnish/Kven-Norwegian stock, mostly sprung from Nór's great-grandson Halfdan the Old.
- Almost all the lineages sprung from Halfdan are then shown to reconvert in the person of Harald Fairhair, the first king of all Norway. Where the information here is comparable with accounts in other sources, the information can be confirmed. Contradicting information is also available however, as would be expected.
- The 'Ættartölur' account ends with a genealogy of Harald's royal descendants down to Olaf IV of Norway with the statement the account was written in 1387, a list of the kings of Norway from this Olaf back to Harald Fair-hair, and a mention of the accession of Margaret, Olaf's mother, as direct ruler of Norway.
In 2007, a DNA research project by Dr. Andrzej Bajor of Poland was conducted under the auspices of the Family Tree DNA Rurikid Dynasty Project of the FamilyTree DNA company.
- 191 men claiming to be Rurikid descendants were tested. The results indicate that most (68%) of them had haplogroup N1C1, formerly designated N3a1, typical for Finnic people.
- Based on some medieval sources, Rurik was born on the Roslagen seashore, north of Stockholm in the modern-day Sweden. At the time of Rurik's birth, the rule of the Norse, Sveas, Geats, Gutes and Danes covered only the southernmost parts of Scandinavia.
- Thus, Rurik's DNA would be explained by the view of the historians who claim that the rest of Scandinavia – including Haalogaland with Nor's Kvens and their descendants – was inhabited only by the Kvens and the Sami.
- Emeritus Professor Kyösti Julku, Kvenland – Kainuunmaa, 1986, p. 51
- Tacitus' Germania. Translation in English.
- Dr. Pirjo Uino of the National Board of Antiquities, ThisisFinland – "Prehistory: The ice recedes – man arrives". Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- History of Finland and the Finnish People from stone age to WWII. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- Professor Frank Horn of the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law University of Lappland, writing for Virtual Finland on National Minorities of Finland. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- File:Norwegian petty kingdoms ca. 820.png Petty kingdoms in the area of the modern-day Southern Norway in 820 AD