Copyright © Kamerareportage
The History of Blekinge
It was during the Stone Age that the first people arrived in Blekinge. Findings indicate that the early settlers were not isolated but rather influenced by a larger European culture. In patterns on tools and jewellery one can see similarities with the Roman Empire.
This was also a time when people travelled east and it was probably difficult to defend settlements on the coast as they were so easily exposed to and accesible by the sea..
Blekinge has several runestones that can be dated back to 600 AD, with the Björketorp stone being the most well-known.
During the Viking Era, Blekinge became a central site in northern Europe. The Baltic Sea hosted many trading ships and the findings along the coastline from this period are very significant. It was easy for the Vikings to survive in this environment. The soil was fertile and there were many pastures for cattle.
The ships the Vikings used were low keeled which made it easy for the them to go ashore wherever they wished.
The Vikings of Blekinge traded mostly with the large Swedish islands Öland and Gotland and with the "Swedes" in Birka on the lake Mälaren. The sea was a comfortable way to reach the rest of the world but the sea also posed a threat from foreign enemies. Marine biologists have found several remains of constructions which were intended to stop foreign ships entering the rivers. One had to be familiar with the waterways to avoid the obstacles that could destroy and sink a ship.
Johannisskatten is one of the most famous treasures of this era. It contains 2 400 coins from some of the the Arabic countries, Byzantine, Germany and England. The treasure shows how extensive international trade was in Blekinge 900 years ago.
In the following centuries the roads have come to be of greater significance. The coastline road became important for moving troops from Skåne and Denmark to the castle in Kalmar. It was known to be of a very poor quality but was nevertheless also used for mail and transport of criminals.
The northbound roads put the people in Blekinge in contact with the region in northern - Småland. They traveled alongside the rivers which were of better quality than the coastline roads. It was important for the people of Blekinge to import crops and salt from Småland since Blekinge could not produce enough itself.
Blekinge was for long periods left in peace by the monarchs in Stockholm and Copenhagen. To the Swedish kings, Blekinge was an unimportant land beyond the forests of Småland and to the Danes, it was looked upon as an area of wood supply to the forest-poor Denmark.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, Blekinge was traded between Sweden and Denmark a few times and as the countries found the land more important, several border wars broke out which gave the locals very hard times. In 1658, after the peace of Roskilde, Blekinge became Swedish and has remained so.
All the wars during the 17th century left a heritage of castles and forts in Blekinge. Karlskrona was founded in 1680 to defend Blekinge after the peace of Roskilde.
The people had a very tough period during this era. Danes and Swedes attacked and burned the province several times during the wars. Because of this, people in Blekinge considered both monarchies as destroyers and nationalism never rised. It was in this region the well-known Snapphane movement started. Unorganized guerrilla troops attacked the Swedish troops in attempts to get rid of the occupying Swedes. The Snapphane movement was cruelly crushed by the Swedish troops and was never really successful.
The soil in Blekinge is very good for potato growing which was important for the prospering vodka industry during the 19th century. Oak also played a large role in the development of Blekinge. The ship industry was important for the navy and oak was the property of the Crown until 1830.
During the great emigration to the United States in the 19th century, the emigrants often started their voyage from the port of Karlshamn.
Today, Blekinge is strongly industralized with a variety of industries.
Search Tourist information Nature, Recreation, Sport Culture Industry & Trade Society
Useful information Quiz game Contents About... E-mail