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is a historical province (landskap) in southern Swedenmarker.Småland borders Blekingemarker, Scania or Skåne, Hallandmarker, Västergötlandmarker, Östergötlandmarker and the island Ölandmarker in the Baltic Seamarker. The name Småland literally means Small lands. The highest summit in Småland is Tomtabackenmarker with its 377 m.


The traditional provinces of Sweden serve no administrative or political purposes, but are historical and cultural entities. The province is divided into the three administrative counties: Jönköping Countymarker, Kalmar County and Kronoberg County, which roughly cover the entire Småland province. Smaller areas of Småland are situated in the counties of Halland Countymarker and Östergötland Countymarker.


For details, see: Heraldry of Småland

The current coat of arms was granted in 1569 and pictures a rampant red lion on a golden shield carrying a crossbow. The arms is represented with a dukal coronet. Blazon: "Or a lion rampant Gules langued and armed Azure holding in front paws a Crossbow of the second bowed and stringed Sable with a bolt Argent."


The population of Småland was 716,106, as of December 31 2007, distributed over five counties as follows:

County Population
Jönköping Countymarker, largely 316,183
Kalmar County, largely 209,291
Kronoberg County, entirely 180,776
Halland Countymarker, peripherally 7,034
Östergötland Countymarker, peripherally 2,811
Blekinge Countymarker, peripherally 11


An image from a canyon in the forested Småland.
The geography is dominated by a forested high plain where the soil is mixed with sand and small boulders, making it barren in all except the coastal areas, and unsuited for agriculture except in certain locations, notably the Kalmarmarker Plains. The province is rich in lakes and bogs. The coast consists of an archipelago of islands and bays in the north and cultivated flatlands in the south. In total, cultivated land covers 14%, meadows 7% and forest 50%.

Largest towns are Jönköpingmarker in the north-west, Växjömarker in the south, and Kalmarmarker on the east coast near Ölandmarker Island.


The area was probably populated in the Stone Age from the south, by people moving along the coast up to Kalmarmarker. Smaland was populated by Stone Age peoples by at least 6000 BC, since the Alby People are known to have crossed the ice bridge across the Kalmar Straitmarker at that time.

The name Småland ("small lands") comes from the fact that it was a combination of several independent lands, Ydre, Kinda, Tveta, Vista, Vedbo, Tjust, Sevede, Aspeland, Handbörd, Möre, Värend, Finnveden and Njudung. Every small land had its own law in the Viking age and early middle age and could declare themselves neutral in wars Sweden was involved in, at least if the King had no army present at the parliamentary debate. Around 1350, under the king Magnus Eriksson a national law was introduced in Sweden, and the historic provinces lost much of their old independence.

The city of Kalmarmarker is one of the oldest cities of Sweden, and was in the medieval age the southernmost and the third largest city in Sweden, when it was a center for export of iron, which, in many cases, was handled by German merchants.

Småland was the center of several peasant rebellions, the most successful of which was Dackefejden led by Nils Dacke in 1542–1543. When officials of king Gustav Vasa were assaulted and murdered, the king sent small expeditions to pacify the area, but all failed. Dacke was in reality the ruler of large parts of Småland during the winter, though heavily troubled by a blockade of supplies, before finally being defeated by larger forces attacking from both Västergötlandmarker and Östergötlandmarker. Dacke held a famous battle defence at the (now ruined) Kronoberg Castlemarker, and was shot while trying to escape to then Danish-ruled Blekingemarker.

In the 19th century, Småland was characterized by poverty, and had a substantial emigration to North America, which additionally hampered its development. The majority of emigrants ended up in Minnesotamarker, with a geography resembling Sweden, combining arable land with forest and lakes.

Ikea was also founded in the Småland city of Älmhult.

Historical cities

Towns with former city status were: Eksjömarker (chartered around 1400), Grännamarker (1652), Huskvarnamarker (1911), Jönköpingmarker (1284), Kalmarmarker (approximately 1100), Ljungbymarker (1936), Nybromarker (1932), Nässjömarker (1914), Oskarshamnmarker (1856), Sävsjömarker (1947), Tranåsmarker (1919), Vetlandamarker (1920), Vimmerbymarker (approximately 1400), Värnamomarker (1920), Västervikmarker (approximately 1200), Växjömarker (1342)

National Parks

Småland has three national parks:


In comparison with much of Sweden, Småland has a higher level of religious intensity and church participation.

In terms of Lutheran ecclesiastical boundaries, most of the province encompasses the diocese of Växjö. Parts of northern Småland are in the diocese of Linköping.

Småland is also known for its free churches.

Politically Småland is the strongest province for Kristdemokraterna , and both the current leader Göran Hägglund and his predecessor Alf Svensson live in Jönköping Municipalitymarker in northern Småland.


Farmhouses in Småland are typically red with white corners.
The Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus, sw. Carl von Linné, (1707-1778), often called the father of taxonomy or "The flower-king", was born in Älmhultmarker in Småland. He gave the Twinflower its Latin name based on his own (Latin: Linnea borealis), because of his particular fondness of it. The flower has become Småland's provincial flower.

Another notable person from Älmhult is Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the global concern IKEA. The name "Småland" is used as the name of the children's play areas at some IKEA stores.


The Swedish emigration to North America in the 19th century is best depicted in the suite of novels by Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg, which is also the basis for the musical "Kristina from Duvemåla" by ex-ABBA musicians/composers Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.

Children's book author Astrid Lindgren often portrayed scenes from her own childhood growing up on a farm in Småland, in her writing.


In the 20th century, Småland has been known for its high level of entrepreneurship and low unemployment, especially in the Gnosjöregion. Some suggest the harsh conditions has throughout history forced the inhabitants of the region to be cunning, inventive and cooperative.

This is how the Swedish encyclopedia Nordisk familjebok described the people:
the Smalandian is by nature awake and smart, diligent and hard-working, yet compliant, cunning and crafty, which gives him the advantage of being able to move through life with little means.

A running joke, or stereotype, in Sweden, is that of the Smalandian being very economical, or even cheap. Ingvar Kamprad said that the Smalandian are seen as the Scotsmen of Sweden


The local tongue is a Swedish language dialect known as Småländska (Smalandian). This may in turn be separated in two main branches, with the northern related to the Götaland dialects and the southern to the Scanian dialects.


For details, see: Districts of Småland

Small lands

After the unification of Sweden, around 800-1200 AD, Småland was for consistency divided into chartered cities and into hundreds.


The historical sub-divisions of all Sweden's provinces were through hundreds. These were Småland's hundreds:

See also


  1. This figure is from Nordisk familjebok (see details and link below). A guess would be that meadows have decreased since.
  2. Smålänningen är till sin natur vaken och intelligent, flitig och sträfsam, rask och hurtig, men likväl foglig till lynnet, händig och slug, hvilket allt medför åt honom den förmånen, att han äfven med små medel kan taga sig fram i lifvet. . p.62; source as above.
  3. SSR TSR March 24 2006


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