Svealand ( listen (help·info)), Swealand or (rarely or historically) Sweden proper is the historical core region of Sweden. It is located in south central Sweden and is one of three lands of Sweden, bounded to the north by Norrland and to the south by Götaland. Deep forests, Tiveden, Tylöskog, and Kolmården, separated Svealand from Götaland. Historically, its inhabitants were called Svear, from which is derived the English Swedes.
The older name of Sweden in Swedish, Svea rike (modern spelling: Sverige) or the "Realm of the Swedes", "Swea Region", originally only referred to Svealand. Other forms are Sweoðeod (Old Norse/Icelandic Svíþjóð), and Sweorice. As the domains of the Swedish kings grew, the name Svealand began to be used to separate the original territory from the new.
Svealand is made up of the following six provinces:
Administratively, nowadays Sweden is not divided into provinces but into counties (see Län). Although Svealand is defined in terms of the historical provinces and not the counties, it roughly comprises the modern counties of Dalarna, Örebro, Södermanland, Stockholm, Uppsala, Värmland and Västmanland.
Svealand was the original Sweden, to which it gave its name. This is supported by linguistics and is based on early medieval sources, such as the sagas. In Old Norse and in Old English, Svealand and Sweden are synonymous, and described as a separate country from Götaland/Gautland/Geatland.
- In Sögubrot af Nokkrum for instance, Kolmården between Svealand and Östergötland is described as the border between Sweden and Östergötland (...Kolmerkr, er skilr Svíþjóð ok Eystra-Gautland...).
- In Hervarar saga, king Ingold I rides to Sweden through Östergötland: Ingi konungr fór með hirð sína ok sveit nokkura ok hafði lítinn her. Hann reið austr um Smáland ok í eystra Gautland ok svá í Svíþjóð.
- Sweoland is mentioned in the travels of Ohthere of Hålogaland around 890.
- The lord Bo Jonsson Grip was probably the one who was best acquainted with the geography of the Swedish kingdom since he owned more than half of it. In 1384, he stated in his will that the kingdom consisted of Swerige (Sweden, i.e. Svealand), Österland (i.e. Finland) and Göthaland (i.e. Götaland).
- The 15th-century Swedish version of the Þiðrekssaga says that Vilkinaland was formerly a name for Sweden (Swerige) and Götaland: wilcina land som nw är kalladh swerige oc götaland.
A campaign to the east started by the kings of Svealand during the 12th century eventually conquered the provinces of Österland, an older name for Finland.
For a time in the early 19th century, the province of Värmland belonged to the Court of Appeal for Svealand. Even though Värmland historically belonged to Götaland (from 1815 until a new court, Hovrätten för Västra Sverige, was instituted), it has by custom long been considered part of Svealand.
- "No document found". Perseus.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- "Sögubrot af nokkrum fornkonungum í Dana ok Svíaveldi". Snerpa.is. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- "Hervarar saga og Heiđreks". Snerpa.is. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
Media related to Svealand at Wikimedia Commons