Halland

Contents


Administration

The provinces of Sweden serve no administrative function. Instead, that function is served by the Counties of Sweden. However, the province of Halland is almost coextensive with the administrative Halland County, though parts of the province belong to Västra Götaland County and Skåne County.

As of December 31, 2009, Halland had a population of 303,895. Of these, 287,668 lived in Halland County; 13,980 lived in Västra Götaland County; and 2,247 lived in Skåne County.[1]

Heraldry

During the Danish era the province had no coat of arms and no seal. In Sweden, however, every province had been represented by heraldic arms since 1560.[2] When Charles X Gustav of Sweden suddenly died in 1660 a coat of arms had to be created for the newly acquired province. Each province was to be represented by its arms at the royal funeral. There are several theories about the choice of a lion. Bengt Algotsson, duke of Halland and Finland in the 14th century, used a lion in his personal arms. Blazon: Azure, a Lion rampant Argent langued, armed and dente Gules.

The same coat of arms was later granted for the administrative Halland County, which has almost the same boundaries.

Geography

The streams of Lagan, Ätran, Nissan and Viskan flow through the province and reach the sea in Kattegat. Halland is well known for its good soil and as an agricultural district.

Early history

The Bronze Age was probably a period of relative prosperity in Halland. This is shown in the number of new settlements and the numerous archaeological remains. Over 1,100 tumuli and grave mounds are found.

The end of the Bronze Age witnesses an over-consumption of the resources. Large areas were deforested. This might have been a result of a high demand charcoal in smelting gold or bronze among the local elites.

The worsening climate at the beginning of the Iron Age meant that the local elites no longer could obtain bronze to the same extant as before. As a result the social structures collapsed.

The early Iron Age social structures seems to have been relatively egalitarian, but from around 200 AD there is a trend where villages form larger communities and small kingdoms. This is likely to have been a distant influence from the growing roman empire. During the 5th and 6th century large free-standing farms were created; they grew larger as time passed. An example of such a farm can be found in Slöinge.

It was not just the social structure that changed, so too did the settlement structure. New villages were formed, while old were abandoned. The new centers that were formed became the kernel from which new areas were settled during medieval times.

800-1645 AD

According to information from a trader travelling from Skiringssal, close to the Oslofjord to Hedeby in the 870s it can be concluded that Halland was a Danish area at that time. It would stay so for the larger part of recorded historical times.

Iron extraction is known to have taken place in Hishult and Tvååker/Sibbarp during the Iron Age.

As part of Scanian lands (then part of he Kingdom of Denmark, Halland came under the Scanian Law and participated in the Scanian Thing, one of three Thing electing the Danish king. Local assemblies took place in Getinge.

Halland was the scene of considerable military action from the 13th century and on as Sweden, Denmark and to some degree Norway fought for supremacy in Scandinavia. The many wars made the province poor. Not only were material damages caused by the military action, but the social impact of the fighting was devastating; people lacked the motivation to invest in their land and properties as it was likely to be destroyed anyway.

The county was the site of combat and plunder three times during the 13th Century: in 1256 Haakon IV of Norway invaded, followed by Magnus I of Sweden in 1277 and Eric VI of Denmark in 1294. The county came to be split in two parts for the next century, with river Ätran forming a boundary. The lords of the two parts succeeded each other in a high tempo.

As the Kalmar Union was formed, Halland came for a brief period of time to have a rather central position. The king was to be elected, according to the union treaty, in Halmstad.

During the rebellion of Engelbrekt in 1434 the fortress in Falkenberg was burnt down and two years later Lagaholm was captured by the Swedes. The Swedish-Danish struggles in the early 16th century came to affect the province as well, as in 1519 when the border regions were sacked by the Swedes as a vengeance for similar Danish action in Västergötland.

The Count's Feud, the Northern Seven Years' War and the Kalmar War came all to affect Halland. One of the major battles of the Northern Seven Years' War, the battle of Axtorna took place in Halland.

After 1645

Halland was temporally (for a period of 30 years) transferred to Sweden in 1645 under the terms of the Second Treaty of Brömsebro. The conquest was later made permanent by ceding of the province in the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. The last battle in Halland took place in Fyllebro on 17 August 1676, during the Scanian War.

The more peaceful conditions that followed meant that the province could start to develop again. The 19th century saw the farming develop quickly to become one of the more efficient in the country by the end of the century. Parts of the province did however remain poor and erosion and blown sand remained a problem for much of the century. The county did therefor see a lot of emigration, continuing well into the 20th century.

The 20th century has seen the province becoming one of the fastest growing in Sweden, as it has doubled its population since World War II. This is in part due to the northern parts, such as Kungsbacka and Onsala, more or less becoming suburbs of Gothenburg.

Cities

Privileges to towns in Halland was during the Danish time granted to:

Such privilegies have no official significance nowadays.

Hundreds

Hundreds of Sweden were provincial divisions until early 20th century, when they lost importance. Halland's hundreds were: Faurås Hundred, Fjäre Hundred, Halmstad Hundred, Himle Hundred, Höks Hundred, Tönnersjö Hundred, Viske Hundred and Årstad Hundred.

Culture

The language varieties spoken in Halland are together called halländska, though they belong to two main dialectal groups. In northern Halland a variation of the Götaland dialect is spoken and in the south the spoken language is a variety of Scanian.

Sights

The Varberg Fortress was built in the 13th century and improved with higher walls in the 15th century.

Dukes of Halland

As early as the 13th century, (southern) Halland was given as duchy to a branch of the Danish royal family. In 14th century, it was given to various relatives of Danish and Swedish royal families, such as Benedict, Duke of Halland 1353-57.

Since 1772, Swedish Princes have been created dukes of various provinces. This is solely a nominal title.

See List of Dukes of Halland

References

  1. a b Statistics Sweden (as of December 31, 2009)
  2. Clara Nevéus, Bror Jacques de Wærn: Ny svensk vapenbok. Riksarkivet 1992. (In Swedish)