Scania
A Region in Europe


 

The WARS

"A freedom-loving corner of Europe"

THE SCANIAN WARS
- AN UNTOLD STORY

Throughout the Middle Ages Scania - the three southern provinces of Sweden (Halland, Skåne and Blekinge) - was a part of Denmark. The language, education, traditions, Church, laws, and civil administration were all Danish, and people in the 3 provinces thought of themselves as Danes. However, the Swedish authorities in Stockholm always longed for a military conquest of Scania. After centuries of fighting, Scania was annexed to Sweden and the stubborn Scanian resistance movement was eventually crushed.

The period of wars and violence can be divided into three parts:

  • Swedish military actions against Denmark with a number of assaults on Scania 1276-1658. Scania was conquered by the Swedish army in 1658.
  • Swedish military terror against Scania 1658-1720 after the conquest.
  • Actions against the civilian population culminating in the massacre of Klågerup in 1811.

THE WARS DURING THE TIME SCANIA WAS A PART OF DENMARK

The Wars against Scania during the years 1276-1658 covers a period of about four hundred years. During this period almost every generation in Scania was forced to live with the horrors of war in the form of wave after wave of merciless invasions flowing in over the land. The Scanians had to defend themselves against Swedish invaders on no less than 34 separate occasions:

  1. 1276 against Magnus Ladulås, King of Sweden, who ravaged, scorched and plundered parts of the province of Halland and the north-western part of Skåne.
     
  2. 1307-1308 against the Dukes Erik and Waldemar of the Folkungaätten who penetrated Northern Skåne via the town of Örkelljunga and towards Bjäre.
     
  3. 1318 in October against the Swedish Royal Administrator Mats Kettilmundsson. The Danish King Erik Menved lost the initial battle against the Swedes at the township of Mjölkalånga. During the same autumn the Swedish war effort continued with plundering in the cities of Helsingborg, Falsterbo, Skanör, Lund and Malmö.
     
  4. 1360 against the Swedish King Magnus Eriksson, in connection with the Danish King Waldemar Atterdag's rebuilding of the Danish Kingdom. Magnus Eriksson came in with military forces via Halland and moved towards Helsingborg against the resistance by Danish-Scanian troops and peasant levies.
     
  5. 1367 against the Swedish King Albrekt of Mecklenburg and the Dukes of Holstein, who plundered and scorched the north western parts of Skåne and parts of Blekinge. The cities of Ystad, Simrishamn and Lund were subjected to cruel and meaningless vandalism.
     
  6. 1379 against the Swedish King Albrekt of Mecklenburg who again invaded parts of Skåne.
     
  7. 1381 against the Swedish King Albrekt of Mecklenburg who, for the third time moved into Skåne attempting to conquer Scania.
     
  8. 1434 against the Swedish Royal Administrator Engelbrekt, who, during the month of August, committed acts of warfare and plundering in the provinces of Halland and in north-western Skåne. Peasant levies put an end to extensive looting by chasing Engelbrekt back across the border.
     
  9. 1436 when levies in Blekinge fought Engelbrekt but Brömshus and other towns were devastated and abandoned by the inhabitants.
     
  10. 1452 against the Swedish invasion headed by Karl Knutsson when he in February entered Skåne via the town of Fagerhult. During three weeks the path of arson was felt in all of Scania. He set the city of Helsingborg in flames and all of the ships in the harbour, in Landskrona the same happened. He burnt the city of Lund to the ground as well as the towns of Borgeby and Värpinge. At the town of Dalby a large levy of peasants was massacred. The counties of Gärd and Villand were plundered and the town of Wä was burnt to the ground as well as the mansion of Härlöv. The city of Sölvesborg was also burnt to the ground as well as part of Blekinge and later also Halland.
     
  11. 1506 against the Swedish Royal Council Åke Hansson Natt och Dag plundering Halland and Skåne.
     
  12. 1507 against the same military leader Åke Hansson Natt och Dag who invaded eastern Blekinge meeting heavy resistance from a peasant levy in Blekinge. The resistance could not prevent the city of Lyckå with its castle from disappearing into flames after being plundered.
     
  13. 1510 against Åke Hansson Natt och Dag, this time attacking the province of Skåne via the towns of Markaryd and Örkelljunga. For the second time the old market town Wä was plundered and burnt to the ground.
     
  14. 1523 against Swedish King Gustav Eriksson (Vasa), who opposed Danish King Christian II by invading the province of Blekinge and eastern Skåne, ravaging and destroying much of the land.
     
  15. 1524 in a large popular levy in Scania supporting Christian II under the leadership of the Danish Governor Søren Norrby. A peasant militia headed by Nils Brahe and Otto Stissen met in April the Swedish army near the city of Lund. The consequence for the resistance was a veritable bloodbath with Scanian losses of about 3000 men.
     
  16. 1534 against the Danish nobility supported by Swedish troops under Gustav Eriksson (Vasa), this time for the support of the Danish King Christian II under the military leadership of Count Kristoffer of Oldenburg. The incident is often referred to as the "Clashes of the Counts".
     
  17. 1535 against the Danish nobility supported by Swedish troops under Gustav Eriksson (Vasa). Gustav Vasa. The Scanian army under Count Kristoffer suffered another defeat and bloodbath near the city of Helsingborg.
     
  18. 1563 against the Swedish army leaders Jön Karlsson and Abel Palm who plundered and scorched the towns of Avaskär, Lyckeby, Ronneby and Elleholm in Blekinge in September of that year.
     
  19. 1563 against the Swedish king Erik XIV who ravaged the southern part of the province of Halland. The city of Halmstad was invaded and the area around the city was plundered and scorched.
     
  20. 1564 against the Swedish Commandant Nils Persson Silversparre who, in January, scorched and plundered an area stretching from Göinge in the eastern part of Skåne through the most part of Blekinge without meeting any other resistance than small groups of local resistance partisans.
     
  21. 1564 against another Swede, the Commandant Knut Håkansson Hand who plundered and scorched the whole area around the cities of Kungsbacka and Falkenberg in the province of Halland. The only resistance he met was small groups of local resistance partisans.
     
  22. 1564 against the Swedish king Erik XIV who, in early September, crossed the border at the bridge of Brömsebro. Local peasant levies in the province of Blekinge provided military resistance but on the 4 September the city of Ronneby fell into enemy hands. The consequence for the inhabitants of Ronneby was terrible. No less that 2000 men women and children were murdered and, to top it all off, the old city was first plundered, then burnt to the ground.
     
  23. 1564 against the Swedish commander Klas Kristersson Horn who scourged the western part of the province of Blekinge in the month of September.
     
  24. 1565 against Klas Kristersson Horn who, in the month of january, scorched and burnt the town of Laholm and the whole area between the rivers Lagan and Nissan in the province of Halland. The towns of Båstad and Engelholm in Skåne shared the same destiny as well as the whole countryside around the city of Helsingborg. The Scanian resistance, under the command of Jørgen Lunges, was large in number and provided considerable resistance.
     
  25. 1565 against the Swedish commander Nils Andersson Boije who invaded and plundered the city of Ny-Varberg in the province of Halland.
     
  26. 1565 against a Swedish invasion which stormed and plundered the castle of Varberg. The garrison and those who had taken refuge in the castle were all murdered.
     
  27. 1566 against the Swede Jakob Hästesko who, in january, entered with an army of incendiaries and plunderers into the county of Göinge. The town of Vanås and the two closest villages were burnt to the ground inhabitants refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the (demented) Swedish King Erik XIV.
     
  28. 1568 against the Swedish king Erik XIV and his two brothers, the Dukes Johan and Carl. They raided Scania from the north and entered the counties of Lister, Villand and Eastern Goeinge. The contemporary accounts from these raids talks of "everywhere plunder, scorching and murder". The only resistance consisted of local peasant levies which could not do much more than marginally disturb the activities of the invaders.
     
  29. 1569 against the dukes Carl and Pontus de la Gardie who came across the border from the north. Terrible acts of scorching and merciless murdering took place all over Scania. Again the old town of Wae was burnt to the ground as well as the towns of Ystad and Åhus. The whole county of Villand was put in flames and so was once again the town of Sölvesborg and the county of Lister. Contemporary accounts of the events talk about "the smoke over the land was so intense that it was not possible to see if it was night or day".
     
  30. 1611 against the Swedish prince Gustavus Adolphus (Gustav Adolf, later Gustav II Adolf) plundered and scorched the town and the castle of Kristianopel in the province of Blekinge. Most of the inhabitants, men and women, were murdered.
     
  31. 1612 against the newly crowned king Gustav II Adolf who invaded Scania and scorched and plundered all of the north- western part of Scania including the medieval town of Wae, which was burned to the ground for the fourth time. Gustav II Adolf was particularly cruel to the local population since "we scourged, plundered, scorched and killed totally to our own desire and discretion" the King wrote by his own hand in his report from the mission.
     
  32. 1644 against the Swedish Field Commander Gustav Horn who crossed the border south from the town of Markaryd. Under heavy resistance from Danish-Scanian military forces, reinforced by local peasant militia, Gustav Horn moved forward. In February the City of Helsingborg was invaded and two days later the city of Engelholm as well. He met resistance in the form a large group of Scanian sharpshooters under the command of Bengt Bengt Monsön. Two weeks later the city of Lund fell. In April the city of Landskrona was invaded and plundered. In May the same year Laholm surrendered and shortly thereafter Bengt Monsøn died for his country near Markaryd.
     
  33. 1657 against the Swedish Royal Chancellor Per Brahe moves south from the town of Laholm over the border to Skåne. At the Ridge of Hallandsåsen he met with the combined forces consisting of men from both Halland and Skåne under the command of the legendary Svend Povlsen, the Göinge Chieftain who attempted with only two companies of military men to stop the Swedish army of 3000 men. At the town of Hemmerslöv all of Svend Povlsen's men fell with the exception of 30 who managed to escape to Engelholm.
     
  34. 1658 against invading Swedish troops under the command of king Karl X Gustav. The troops invaded Scania from the south through Denmark. Scania became occupied in February of that year. Scania was occupied by a Swedish army in February of that year. By the Treaty of Roskilde Scania was ceded to the Swedish crown.

    WARS DURING THE TIME THAT SCANIA HAS BEEN A PART OF SWEDEN
     

  35. 1658-60 against the Swedish occupation in the northern forests of Skåne and Blekinge. The uproars were particularly aimed at the occupation power's brutality against the local population
     
  36. 1660-75 against hoards of Swedish military men roaming the countryside plundering, raping and destroying property.
     
  37. 1675-79 against the new masters. This was the time of the Scanian liberation fighting as a result of eighteen years of occupation terror in the Scanian land. It was a war between the terrorised public and the invaders.
     
  38. 1679-1700 during this period guerilla warfare of various intensity was prevailing in Scania. During this period more than 30 companies of volunteer sharpshooters were recruited to combat the Swedish invaders.
     
  39. 1720-1811 During this period numerous uprisings occurred against the Swedish military presence. The period culminated with the massacre of Klågerup 1811 when a Scanian peasant levy was eliminated by Swedish military forces. By this act the era of war and violence, which commenced 1276, hasd come to an end.

© SSF
 

 
 


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