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Photo: Copyright © Hallands Turist

The History of Halland

The first known borders between Sweden, Norway and Denmark were drawn up in the middle of the 11th century. Skåne, Halland and Blekinge were in those days a part of Denmark, whereas Bohuslän was a part of Norway. The reason for this was obvious; The sea-borne trade routes were far more accessible for these provinces than the inland roads and Sweden's interest at the time was directed towards the east and Russia.

The 10th and 11th centuries entailed periods of both recession and expansion for Denmark. During a couple of decades in the 10th century, the Danish king Knut ruled over both England and Norway but both countries were lost and Denmark came under Norwegian rule. Halland was drawn into the war of liberation against the Norwegian king and a great sea battle is supposed to have been fought at the mouth of Nissan in 1062. Scriptures preserved from this time make it clear that Halland had a rather independent stance towards the rest of Denmark. Halland was a special deanship of the Danish archdiocese and the counts of Halland represented the Danish government.

With King Waldemar I, a new era of Danish greatness saw the light of day. The era was broken by the death of King Waldemar II in 1241. This was when the Swedes pushed through to the western sea, built Älvsborg's castle and created the northern border of Halland which stands today.

The position of Halland and parts thereof, as a Danish, Swedish or Norwegian province, changed upon numerous occasions due to marriages and unions during the 13th and 14th centuries.

The age of the union, which began in 1397 when Queen Margareta of Denmark-Norway was offered the Swedish crown, was a time of peace between the Nordic countries. However, it lasted only to 1430, when Engelbrecht raised the flag of rebellion in Sweden. Most of the province was concquered but was returned to Denmark at a final settlement in 1435. At a meeting of the heads of state of Denmark and Sweden in Halmstad in 1450, an agreement regarding "eternal peace" was reached between the Nordic countries. It was also decided that the union should be restored.

From the year 1524 until approximately 1564 there was peace between the Nordic countries. In 1563 the Nordic Seven Year War broke out and Halland paid a heavy price. During the war the Danish took Älvsborg's castle; the Swedes failed in their attempt to concquer Halmstad but destroyed Varberg and took possession of the castle. The Swedes were defeated at Axtorna. The Danes took Varberg back and the ensuing peace restored the old borders. Älvsborg was given back to the Swedes in return for a handsome fee.

Thereafter there was another forty years of peace until the Kalmar War broke out. After the war all the old borders were restored again.

There was a meeting of minds between Christian IV and Gustav II Adolf at Halmstad's castle in 1619 but the Swedish successes in the Thirty Year War led to a war of conquering in 1643. The Danes were defeated and a peace treaty was signed at Brömsebro in 1645. This meant that Halland became Swedish.

Halland has remained Swedish ever since although there have been numerous skirmishes. The most important of these was the battle at Fyllebro in 1676. This was the last battle to be fought in Halland.
Photo: Copyright © Hallands Turist

The long years of wars were finished in the most appropriate of ways when King Carl XI married Ulrica Eleonora, the sister of the Danish king, at Skottorps castle in southern Halland in 1680. After this momentous occasion the amalgamation went remarkably quickly. The people of Halland fought at Karl XII´s side during the Nordic wars; buccaneer captain Lars Gathenhjelm from the farm "Gatan i Onsala" became widely known for his exploits.

Living conditions improved and the population increased. In the 19th century the size of the population had reached such proportions that people started to emigrate. At first they emigrated to Denmark and Bornholm and later to North America. In the 20th century the Industrial Revolution came along and the prosperity of Halland has increased ever since.

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