Some swedish history

As you can read from the headline this section is about the history of Sweden and the cities of Sweden. To make a trip to a city more interesting it is good to know its history. For example, it can be of value to know that the many birch trees in Umea were planted in order to stop fire from spreading amongst the houses at a possible city fire. This is something that most cities in Sweden has experienced during the years. Umea burned down totally in 1888. Sundsvall has also had an extensive fire. One thinks that a spark from the chimney on a steamboat, travelling just outside Sundsvall, started the terrible fire 1888. This boat was later known as the “arson”. One regards this as the largest fire ever hitting a Swedish city. It seems a bit strange that these large city fires broke out with just a few days apart. The houses at this time were built in wood. After many large fires it was decided to build buildings and houses in other materials.

One thing that has affected many of our Swedish cities in the Southern part of Sweden is the many wars with Denmark. For a long time the border towards Denmark was located a bit higher up Sweden than today. Skane and Blekinge were for many years part of Denmark. Cities near the border were affected both for good and bad. Some cities bloomed during these times due to trading near the borders. When Skane and Blekinge became Swedish these large trade-cities lost a lot of income. Kalmar has for some periods of time belonged to Denmark and for some belonged to Sweden. The large castle of Kalmar has been considered are the key to Sweden when it should protect Sweden towards the fighting the people from Denmark.

The Spanish illness hit Sweden hard in the beginning of 1900. Close to 40 000 people died in this illness at this time. The city that was hit the hardest of the Spanish illness was probably Ostersund. One might think that this illness should not find its way to the isolated city in the mountains, and that this city should be better off than the cities closer to Europe, but that was not the case. Ostersund was called the “capital of the Spanish illness”. The first reported person ever to die in the Spanish illness was discovered in Spain, this is the reason the name of the illness.

Years ago people lived far away from each other and for the rare occasions when they should meet, for example at a visit to the church, they had to travel for large distances. At a christening, funeral or a marriage one visited the church in the village. Often one had to travel on bad and difficult roads with a horse and carriage or just by walking. So was also the case for a regular Sunday church service. Since the distances were so large, sometimes one could not get there and back during one day. In the areas around the churches small cottages were built for the church visitors to stay overnight. This has resulted in that many of the cities and towns of Sweden still have its old church villages left. Some, very well kept, have become famous places worth visiting. In this way Gammelstads church town in Lulea has grown and one has managed to keep the church town intact. This is fantastic to visit this town, stroll around and to be able to experience how people lived a long time ago.

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