King of Kvenland

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A few Icelandic sagas tell about kings that ruled in Kvenland.

Icelandic sagas[edit]

In Egils saga[1] Faravid is directly said to be the "King of Kvenland".

Two other sagas that mention Kvenland, Hversu Noregr byggðist[2] and Orkneyinga saga,[3] do not use that specific title.

In Orkneyinga saga, Fornjót is said to be "a king". It is stated that he "reigned over Gotland, which we now know as Finland and Kvenland". The specific term "King of Kvenland" is not used.

Hversu Noregr byggðist has very similar usage for the title. This time, the great-grandson of Fornjót (who is said to be "a man"), Snær, and his son Thorri are told to be kings. Kvenland now appears in relation to Thorri, of whom it is said that "he ruled over Gothland, Kvenland (Kænlandi), and Finland". Fornjót's great-grandson Snær is also mentioned in Ynglingasaga, in relation to Finland.[4][5]

In addition to Orkneyinga Saga (c. 1230), Hversu Noregr byggðist (c. 1387), and its appended Ættartölur (1387), medieval accounts that discuss the lineages sprung from Fornjót and his descendants - mainly Nór and Gór - leading to the later rulers of Sweden and other countries, include: Beowulf (8th-10th century), Íslendingabók (8th-10th century), Ynglingatal (late 9th century), Historia Norvegiæ (late 12th century), Skáldskaparmál (c. 1220), Hyndluljóð (13th century), Gesta Danorum (started c. 1185, finished c. 1216), Ynglinga saga (c. 1225), . However, whether or not Fornjót and his immediate descendants were actual historical people has been debated. Kyösti Julku notes that no geographical errors have been found in the descriptions of the Orkneyinga saga. He asks why therefore the people described in the account should be considered not to have existed.[6]

Charles IX of Sweden[edit]

As a name for a country, Kvenland seems to have gone out of ordinary usage around the end the Viking Age.[7] As the first ever account written in Swedish, Eric's Chronicle, was published as late as the 14th century, no medieval references to "Kvenland" or the "Kvens" are available from Swedish literature[citation needed] while Norwegian sources already mention the Kvens in the 13th century.[7] However, King Charles IX of Sweden called himself ruler, among other peoples, of the "Caijaners". The king expanded his already lengthy title in 1607 CE to be as follows:

Carl then nijonde, Sweriges, Göthes, Wendes, finnars, carelers, lappers i nordlanden, the caijaners och esters i Lifland, etc. Konung [Charles IX, King of the Swedes, Goths, Wends, Finns, Karelians, Lapps in the Northland, the Caijanians and Estonians in Livonia, etc.][8][9][10]

Julku and others have argued that "Caijaners", a Swedish name for the inhabitants of Kainuu, is here equivalent to the Old Norse kvenir, and some have seen an etymological link between Kven, Caijaner, and the Finnic term kainulainen/kainuulainen.[6][11][12][13][14] Charles IX's claim can thus be seen as "king of the Kvens",[15]

Charles IX's son dropped the term "Lappers j Nordlanden, the Caijaners" from the title in 1611 CE, when he succeeded his father as king, and it was not readded.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Egil's Saga, Chapter XIV
  2. ^ Hversu Noregr byggðist at Sacred
  3. ^ Dasent, George W., ed. (2014). "Part 1". The Orkneyinger's Saga. Netlancers Inc. 
  4. ^ Sturluson, Snorri (1912). "Frá Vanlanda [Of Vanlande]". In Jónsson, Finnur. Ynglingasaga (in Danish and Old Norse). Copenhagen: G.E.C. Gads Forlag. p. 20. Hann þá vetrvist á Finnlandi með Snjá inum gamla ok fekk þar dóttur hans, Drífu. [He once stayed in Finland with Snær the Old and there he got his daughter, Drífu.] 
  5. ^ "Heimskringla: The Ynglinga Saga". The Online Medieval and Classical Library. Retrieved 21 April 2014.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  6. ^ a b Julku, Kyösti: Kvenland - Kainuunmaa. With English summary: The Ancient territory of Kainuu. Oulu, 1986.
  7. ^ a b Hoops, Johannes (2001). Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde [Encyclopedia of Germanic Archaeology] (in German). 17. Walter de Gruyter. p. 515. ISBN 9783110169072. Neben märchenhaften Sagen des 14. Jh.s. erwähnen noch einige norw. Qu. des 13./14. Jh.s. die Kwänen, etwa ihren verheerenden Kriegszug gegen Hálogaland im J. 1271 (5); dann verschwinden sie aus der geschichtl. Überlieferung. [Apart from 14th-century fairy-tale sagas also some Norwegian accounts from the 13th/14th century mention the Kvens, notably their devastating campaign against Hálogaland in the year 1271 (5); then they vanish from the chronicles.]  Citing Grotenfeld, K. (1909). "Über die alten Kvänen und Kvänland" [On the Old Kvens and Kvenland]. Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae (in German). I (1). 
  8. ^ Nils Chesnecopherus, Fulkommelige skäl och rättmätige orsaker, så och sanfärdige berättelser, hwarföre samptlige Sweriges rijkes ständer hafwe medh all fogh och rätt afsagdt Konung Sigismundum uthi Polen och storfurste i Littowen, etc. sampt alle hans efterkommande lijfs arfwingar ewärdeligen ifrå Sweriges rijkes crone och regemente, och all then hörsamheet och lydhno, som the honom efter arfföreeningen hafwe skyldige och plichtige warit, och uthi stadhen igen uthkorat, annammat och crönt then stormächtige, höghborne furste och herre, her Carl then nijonde, Sweriges, Göthes, Wendes, finnars, carelers, lappers i nordlanden, the caijaners och esters i Lifland, etc. Konung, sampt alle H. K. M.s efterkommande lijfs arfwingar, til theres och Sweriges rijkes rätte konung [The complete reasons and rightful causes, and likewise truthful accounts of how all of Sweden's Imperial States justifiably revoked King Sigismund of Poland and Great Prince of Lithuania, etc. and also eternally all of his consecutive heirs from the crown and reign of the Swedish realm, as well as all allegiance and obedience, which they owed him of heritage, and how the States again elected, accepted and crowned the mighty, noble prince and lord, Sir Charles IX, King of the Swedes, Goths, Wends, Finns, Karelians, Lapps in the Northlands, the Caijanians and Estonians in Livonia, etc.], Stockholm: Gutterwitz, 1607 OCLC 247275406.
  9. ^ October 1607 example: "Titles of European hereditary rulers - Sweden". Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. , citing Handlingar rörande Skandinaviens historia [Deeds concerning the history of Scandinavia]
  10. ^ Julku, p. 102, also quotes the description of a Latin map by Bureus dated 1611: "Lapponiae, Bothniae, Cajaniaeque, Regni Sveciae Provinciarum Septentrionalium Nova Delineatio. Sculpta anno domini 1611." [A new outline of Lapland, Bothnia, and Caijania, the northern provinces of the kingdom of Sweden. Devised in 1611 A.D.] The map had been ordered by Charles IX. ("Kartta Bure teki Kaarle IX:n toimeksiannosta, lienee ollut esityö koko Pohjalan kartta varten." [This map made by Bureus on the order of Charles IX may have been the basis for a full map of the Northlands.])
  11. ^ Lars Ivar Hansen and Bjørnar Olsen, Hunters in Transition: An Outline of Early Sámi History, Northern World 63, Leiden: Brill, 2014, ISBN 9789004252547, p. 152.
  12. ^ Irmeli Valtonen, "An Interpretation of the Description of Northernmost Europe in the Old English Orosius", MA Thesis, University of Oulu, 1988, pp. 119–20 (pdf).
  13. ^ Jukka Jari Korpela, "'Nationen' und 'Stämme' im mittelalterlichen Osteuropa: ihre Bedeutung für die Konstituierung eines nationalen Bewusstseins im 19. Jahrhundert", in Wieser Enzyklopädie des europäischen Ostens, ed. Karl Kaser, Dagmar Gramshammer-Hohl, Jan M. Piskorski and Elisabeth Vogel, Volume 12, Klagenfurt: Wieser, 2002, pp. 696–761, p. 729, p. 34 referencing Kyösti Julku: "So hat beispielsweise der Historiker Kyösti Julku den Großraumbegriff in der skizzierten Weise in Zusammenhang mit den Kvenen/Kajanen gebraucht,..." [E.g. historian Kyösti Julku used the term of the greater area in connection with the Kvens/Kajanians,...] (German)
  14. ^ Korhonen, Olavi (12–14 February 1982). Håp - vad är det för en båt? Lingvistiska synpunkter [Oops, what kind of boat is this? Linguistic points of view]. Bottnisk kontakt I. Föredrag vid maritimhistorisk konferens i Örnsköldsvik [Bothnian Contact I. Lectures at the Maritime History Conference at Örnsköldsvik] (in Swedish). Örnsköldsvik. 
  15. ^ Ulla Ehrensvärd, The History of the Nordic Map: From Myths to Reality, Helsinki: John Nurminen Foundation, 2006, ISBN 9789529745203, p. 130.
  16. ^ "Titles of European hereditary rulers - Sweden". Archived from the original on 2009-10-25.