Savonia (historical province)
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Savonia (Finnish: Savo, Swedish: Savolax) is a historical province in the east of Finland. It borders Tavastia, Ostrobothnia, and Karelia. The largest cities in Savonia by population are Kuopio, Mikkeli, Savonlinna and Varkaus.
In the 19th century, Savonia was divided between Kuopio Province and Mikkeli Province. From 1997 to 2010, it lay within the administrative province of eastern Finland. (The provinces have no administrative function today, but live on as a historical legacy.) Since 2010, Savonia has been divided between the regions of northern Savonia and southern Savonia.
The province of Savo represents the original homeland of the Savonians, one of the subgroups that later became assimilated to form the Finns. It was the heartland of the east Finnish or Savonian dialects.
The people of Savonia traditionally pursued slash-and-burn agriculture, which settlers successfully imported into Ostrobothnia and Kainuu, Värmland in southwestern Sweden, and eastern Norway. Savonian settlers also migrated to Finnish Karelia, Ingria (see: Ingrian Finns) and to southern Sweden and Norway (see: Forest Finns).
Traditionally, the Savonian people have often been considered as "sneaky". Recent research has shown that this fame is largely due to misunderstandings caused by the traditional Savonian social indirectness.
The arms of Savonia are crowned by a count's coronet, though by Finnish tradition this more resembles a Swedish baronal coronet. Blazon: "Sable, a drawn hand bow in and arrow aimed toward dexter chief, or; bow string, arrowhead and feathered tail, argent." The traditional colors of the province are black and gold.