Kvenland - Woman-land - Terra Feminarum

header photo





Based on medieval accounts, primeval Finnic rulers of Finland, Kvenland and Got(h)land gave birth to the Yngling and Rurik Dynasties, from which founders and rulers of many countries descended, including – but not limited to – the ruling families of England, Denmark, France, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Normandy, Norway, Orkney Islands, Rome, Russia, Scotland, Sweden and Ukraine.

Medieval accounts discussing lineages sprung from the primeval Finnic King Fornjót and his descendants, mainly the brothers Gór and Nór – the founders of Denmark and Norway –, leading to the rulers of the aforementioned and other countries include, but are not limited to, the following:

Beowulf (8th – early 11th century) • Íslendingabók (8th–10th century) • Hyndluljóð (a Norse poem from c. 800-1000, often considered a part of the Poetic Edda) that was compiled later • Ynglingatal (early 10th century) • Primary Chronicle (c. 1095) • Historia Norvegiæ (late 12th century) • Gesta Danorum (started c. 1185, finished c. 1216) • Skáldskaparmál (c. 1220) • Ynglinga saga (c. 1225) • Orkneyinga saga (c. 1230) • Heimskringla (c. 1230) • Hversu Noregr byggðist (oldest surviving transcript dates to 1387) • and its appendage Ættartolur (1387).

• Fornjót – King of Kvenland

Test Link


It is therefore not surprising that in addition to the world's most Viking Age coins – for instance – having been found in the Finnish Häme region, more Merovingian era (c. 550–800) swords have been found in Finland and Germany than anywhere else.

More of the prestige Viking Age Ulfberht swords and their Viking Age copies have been found in Finland and Norway than anywhere else, in both countries over 40 of the total of c. 160 ever found. Of the 80 Merovingian era ring-hilted swords ever found in Europe, 14 are from Finland. These swords were prestigious, prized possessions, probably reserved for kings and high nobility.

• Viking Age swords in Finland

Among medieval texts discussing Finnic royals, Icelandic sagas written in the 12th–14th centuries provide 30 references to Finnic kings from the 1st millennium AD. Among them, in Egil's saga Faravid (Finnish: Kaukomieli) is said to have been the "King of Kvenland". The saga focuses in the era in c. 850–1000, in the Viking Age.

According to 'History of the Earls of Orkney' ("Orkneyinga saga"), written in c. 1230 – centuries after some of the events it records –, the early 1st millennium ruler Fornjót was a "king", who "reigned over Gotland, which we now know as Finland and Kvenland".

According to Professor Emeritus Kyösti Julku, no geographical errors have been found in the descriptions of Orkneyinga saga. He asks why, therefore, the existence of the people discussed should be suspected ('Kvenland - Kainuunmaa', 1986.) The information is also supported by other medieval accounts, and today also by archaeological and DNA discoveries.

Historian Barbara E. Crawford says that Orkneyinga saga has "no parallel in the social and literary record of Scotland". Source: 'Scandinavian Scotland' (Scotland in the Early Middle Ages, 2), 1987, p. 221.

According to the medieval Hversu Noregr byggðist ("How Norway was Inhabited/Founded"), Snær the Old ("Old Snow") was a great-grandson of Fornjót and – as in Orkneyinga saga – son of "Frost(i) son of Kári" (Frosti was the King of Finnmark, according to Sturlaugs saga), and Snær was the father of Thorri, and Snær and Thorri were kings, and Thorri "ruled over Gothland, Kvenland (Kænlandi) and Finland".

According to both accounts, a great sacrifice was made yearly at mid-winter, offered either by Thorri (in Orkneyinga saga) or by Kvens to Thorri (in Hversu Noregr byggðist). Thorri had the sons Nór, who founded Norway, and Gór – the alleged founder of Denmark – and a daughter named Gói ('Thin Snow').

Both Orkneyinga saga and Hversu Noregr byggðist are found in the Islandic Flatey Book (Flateyjarbók), compiled in the late 14th century, but – largely, if not entirely – of much older sources.

The legendary Fennoscandian King Snær the Old is mentioned also in Ynglinga saga (c. 1225), in relation to Finland (Snær/Snaer in Finnish: Lumi / in English: Snow / in Latin: Nix, Nivis / in Old Norse: Snærr / in East Norse: Sniō).





Kvens are a Finnic people of Northern Europe, historically inhabiting the realm – or today a region – referred to in medieval accounts as Kvenland (Finnish and Kven: Kainuunmaa, Kainu(u), Pohjola).

Various spellings used for the name Kven in historical sources include – but are not limited to – Cwen, Kvæn, Quen and Qven. Finnic synonyms for Kven include kainu(u)lainen, pohjalainen and kveeni. Like other Finnic peoples/tribes, they are indigenous to both Fennoscandia and Europe, similar to the Finno-Ugric Saami (a.k.a. Sami).

Fennoscandia has been continuously inhabited by the Finno-Ugric peoples from at least since the end of the last ice age in c. 9,500 BC, but possibly already from long before too. Read about excavation of habitation in Finland from c. 8,700 BC at and about possible pre-ice-age habitation in what now is Finland at

Scientists have recently sequenced a 37,000-year-old genome. The results show that the present-day Fennoscandians are the closest living relatives to the first people in Europe:

When and how Kvenland was born and what were its boundaries at various points, is not known. In 5,500 BC all of northwestern Eurasia above Central Europe – where the Finno-Ugric Hungarian still today is spoken – belonged to the Finno-Ugric language zone, says Professor Kalevi Wiik ( That zone gradually shrank. In 814 AD, Kvenland covered all of Fennoscandia north of roughly the level of Stockholm, according to the University of Texas:

The Norse seafarer Ohthere of Hålogaland visited England in c. 888 and provided a contemporary report of his recent travels in and knowledge of Fennoscandia to King Alfred the Great of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex (reigned in 871–899). Alfred had Ohthere's report incorporated into his Anglo-Saxon version – written in Old English – of the early 5th century Latin historical study by the Romano-Hispanic author Paulus Orosius, called Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII, a.k.a. "Seven Books of History Against the Pagans".

Alfred's version of Orosius' study is believed to have been completed in Wessex in Alfred's lifetime (849 – October 26, 899) or shortly after his death. The earliest surviving copy of King Alfred's work is attributed to the area of Wessex and approximately to the year 899. According to information provided, where Germany ended, Kven Sea ("Qwensae") began (Finnish: Kainuunmeri).

• Later old spellings for Kven Sea

Based on Ohthere's report, there were ongoing battles between Kvens and Norse at the time. Below are excerpts from Alfred's version of Orosius' study, in which the information provided by Ohthere is discussed:

• "[Ohthere] said that the land of Norwegians' (Norðmanna) was very long and very narrow ... and to the east are wild mountains, parallel to a cultivated land. Finnas inhabit these mountains ... Then along this land southwards, on the other side of the mountain (sic), is Sweden ..."

• "... and along that land northwards, Kvenland (Cwenaland). Kvens (Cwenas) sometimes make depredations on Northmen over the mountain, and sometimes Northmen on them; there are very large [freshwater] meres among the mountains, and Kvens carry their ships over land into the meres, and thence make depredations on Northmen; they have very little ships, and very light."

• "... the Swedes (Sweons) have to the south of them the arm of the sea called East (Osti), and to the east of them Poles (Sermende), and to the north, over the wastes, is Kvenland (Cwenland), to the northwest are Saami (Scridefinnas), and Norwegians (Norðmenn) are to the west."

Following the Viking Age, the Finnic ethnic zone and the southern border of Kvenland in what today are Norway and Sweden gradually moved northbound, especially from the 16th century onward, largely due to the enforcement of harsh Norwegianization and Swedification policies. In the end of the 16th century, the Finnish-Swedish linguistic border in what now is Sweden ran at the lovel of Heletti (Swedish: Skellefteå) (Kustaa Vilkuna: 'Kansantieteilijän työpöydältä: Kainuu-Kvenland')

• Decline of Kvenland

From the 17th century onward, most historians have placed the heartland of the late medieval Kvenland around the Bay of Bothnia, primarily in what today are Norrbotten in Sweden and Ostrobothnia in Finland.





Traditional Eastern Finnish name used for this area was Kainuu, a term also known from the Northern Saami language, although with slightly different spelling. Accordingly, historians have determined that the non-Finnic name Kvenland and the Finnic names Kainuu and Kainuunmaa mean the same thing.

Synonyms used in old texts and folklore for the name Kvenland also include – but are not limited to – Caienska Semla, used in old maps (Julku, 1986); Pohjola (in Finnish folklore); and 'terra feminarum' (by Adam of Bremen in 1075).

In some classical era (a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, lasting up to c. mid-5th century) and the following medieval era texts, it is not in all cases clear which groups of people the authors are referring to by the names they have used in their texts.

However, according to historians the names used for either the Finnic Kvens, Finns and/or Saami in texts written during the 1st millennium AD – and the authors using the names – include e.g. the following:

  • Aeni, Aeningia (in reference to "Fenningia") – Pliny the Elder, c. 77;
  • Fenni, Sitones – Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus, c. 98;
  • Phinnoi – Ptolemy, c. 150;
  • Qwnio, Qwen – Ulfilas (in Gothic: Wulfila), c. 352;
  • Finni, Finnaithae, Screrefennae, Vinoviloth, Adogit – Jordanes, c. 550;
  • Finns, Scridefinns – in Widsith (author unknown), c. 600;
  • Skridfinnar, Winnili – Paul the Deacon, c. 790;
  • Finnas, Cwenas – Ohthere of Hålogaland, c. 888;
  • Finnas, Cwenas, Qwen ("Qwensae") – King Alfred the Great, c. 890.

The term meaning "Skiing Finn" in the above-listed texts, with spellings such as "Screrefennae", "Scridefinns" and "Skridfinnar", has possibly been used in reference to the Saami people, according to a view shared by many historians.

As a name for a realm or a geographical region, the term Kvenland – in that or close to that spelling – appears to gradually have gone out of ordinary usage in the late Middle Ages.





Finnish women were the world's first women to gain the right to both vote and – at the same time – to be candidates in nationwide parliamentary elections. Starting in 1893, a part of the New Zealand women were allowed to vote, ahead of Finnish women, but they could not be candidates in parliamentary elections.

Different views exist on why medieval scholars have made references to the ancient Finnic realm of Kvenland as an area dominated by women.

• Kvenland in 814 AD

Among sources used in the related debate by historians is the following statement made in 97–98 AD by Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus, a senator and historian of the Roman Empire:

"Upon the Suiones, border the people Sitones; and, agreeing with them in all other things, differ from them in one, that here the sovereignty is exercised by a woman. So notoriously do they degenerate not only from a state of liberty, but even below a state of bondage."

The term Sitones (Kvens) shares etymological origins with Sigtuna, which much later had a Latin spelling Situne. According to Disas saga, the Sitones were ruled by a queen.

According to Thomas William Shore, the English language term "queen" derives from the term "qwen", a spelling used for the Kvens e.g. by Wulfila in c. 352 AD and King Alfred the Great of Wessex in c. 890 AD.

Whatever the etymological origin of the name Kven is, the word effortlessly translates to "woman" in Old Norse. Proto-Germanic *kwinōn, *kunōn, *kwēni-z and *kwēnō for "woman" developed into kona, kvǟn, kvān, kvɔ̄n, kvendi, kvenna and kvinna in Old Norse.

It is plausible that this led learned speakers of Old Norse to identify Kvenland with the land of the Amazons in the Greek legend. The German medieval chronicler Adam of Bremen, for instance, makes references to Amazons in his writing about the far North.

Adam of Bremen in his 1070s' study Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum (Medieval Latin for "Deeds of the Bishops of Hamburg") refers to the land of the Finnic Kvens and/or Finns as Terra Feminarum, "Woman-land", stating the following:

"Meanwhile Swedes (Sueones), who had expelled their bishop, got a divine revenge. And at first King's son called Anund, whose father had sent him to enlarge his kingdom, after arriving to the Land of Women (patriam feminarum), whom we consider to be Amazons, was killed along with his army from poison, that they had mixed to the spring water." (III 15) ...

"After that come the Swedes (Sueones) who rule wide areas up to the Land of Women (terram feminarum). Living east of these are said to be Wizzi, Mirri, Lamiy, Scuti and Turci, up to the border of Russia (Ruzziam)." (IV 14)

Adam's work is a historical treatise written between 1073 and 1076. He made additions (scholia) to the text until his death (possibly 1081; before 1085). It is one of the most important sources of the medieval history of Northern Europe, and the oldest textual source reporting the discovery of the coastal North America (Vinland).

In the related debate references are sometimes also made to the Finnish epic Kalevala, according to which Pohjola was ruled by women called Louhi and Pohjan-akka (or the names can refer to a same woman).

• Related trivia: Finland was the first in the world to introduce a 'Freedom of the Press Act', in 1766 (Source: World Economic Forum / Library of Congress, on a video –





In 1187, Finnic warriors raided Sigtuna. Based on some evidence, the raiders were likely Kvens, possibly in co-operation with Karelians.

• Main article





The oldest remaining Scandinavian written documents and maps, and the oldest non-Scandinavian texts pertaining to Scandinavia from the 1st century onward, discuss Kvens.

Like to the rest of Fennoscandia, Kvens are indigenous to Norway. According to Professor Emeritus Kyösti Julku ('Kvenland - Kainuunmaa', 1986), in the Northern Norwegian province of Troms alone there are at least 12 prehistoric Kven place-names.

Orkneyinga saga provides a description of the Kven Prince Nór traveling from Kvenland to Norway, in search of his stolen sister, Princess Gói – who at that point had been missing for three years –, and of Nór attacking the area around Trondheim in what today is part of Central Norway, and later a lake district in what today is referred to as Southern Norway, conquering the lands he entered and uniting them under his rule into what became the Kingdom of Norway.

Furthermore, the opening portion of Orkneyinga saga, known as Fundinn Noregr ("Founding of Norway"), is closely paralleled by Hversu Noregr byggdist ("How Norway was Founded"), which also tells that "Norr had great battles west of the Keel", referring to the mountain range that runs through the Scandinavian Peninsula (the Scandinavian Mountains, a.k.a. Scandes). Below are quotes from Orkneyinga saga, pertaining to the arrival of Nór in Trondheim:

• "But Nór, his brother, waited until snow settled down on the moors, so that he could travel on snow-shoes. He went out from Kvenland and skirted the Gulf (a likely reference to the Gulf of Bothnia), and came to the place inhabited by the men called "Lapps" (a likely reference to Saami)."

• "Having traveled for a while, Nór was still "beyond Finnmark". After a brief fight with the Lapps, Nór continued: But Nór went thence westward to the Kjolen Mountains (the Scandinavian Mountains, a.k.a. Scandes), and for a long time they knew nothing of men; but they shot beasts and birds to feed to themselves, until they came to a place where the rivers flowed west of the mountains. Then he went on along the valleys that run south of the fjord. That fjord is now called Trondheim."

Norwegian Professor Michael Schulte points out that the name Nór already existed in the Viking Age, in the well-known Eddaic poem Voluspå. In a feature article in the Norwegian daily newspaper Klassekampen on December 18th 2015, Schulte asserted that Norway is named after King Nor, the first king of Noreg.

The medieval manuscripts Orkneyinga saga and Flateyjarbók have several passages about King Nór and play an important role for Norway. In Orknøyingasaga, the coastal road north of Bergen is described as King Nor’s road, and Nórafjorðr is described as King Nor’s fjord:

• Post-medieval migration waves within Kvenland





Although in science the Viking Age is most commonly interpreted to be the era in 793–1066, in the known Old English literature the term Viking, spelled as "wicing", appears the first time in the 6th or 7th century Anglo-Saxon poem/song Widsith, where also the following is stated:

"Caesar ruled the Greeks, Caelic the Finns ... I was with the Greeks and Finns and also with Caesar …"

The name "Caelic" in Widsith is believed to refer to the primeval Finnic ruler "Kaleva" (a.k.a. Ikuturso, and in Estonia as Kalev/i, in slightly varying spellings), a famous heroic figure in ancient Finnic folklore and the Finnish national epic The Kalevala and the Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg.

• Viking Age – read more





Still in the 9th century, a Finnic ethnic and linguistic zones covered most of Fennoscandia – –, and based on medieval accounts, up to then the offspring of the Finnic King Fornjót ruled the Finnic realms of Finland, Kvenland, Gotland and Got(h)land.

The below-quoted medieval accounts and other evidence suggest that the territory ruled in the primeval era by the descendants of King Fornjót, collectively referred to as the Yngling Dynasty, included the areas of both Gotland and Gothland, which today are part of Southern Sweden:

• According to Orkneyinga saga', Fornjót was "a king", who "reigned over Gotland, which we now know as Finland and Kvenland."

• Hversu Noregr byggdist discusses Snær, a great-grandson of Fornjót, and Snær's son Thorri, stating that Thorri "ruled over Gothland, Kvenland (Kænlandi), and Finland." According to information given, Kvens made sacrifices to Thorri.

Hversu Noregr byggdist ("How Norway was Built/Inhabited") is an account of the origin of various legendary Norwegian lineages. It survives only in the Icelandic Flateyjarbók (Flatey Book) from 1387, but may originally have been written much earlier.

In Hversu Noregr byggdist, Thorri and his father Snær (Old Snow), a great-grandson of Fornjót, are also described as kings. Snær is also known from Ynglingatal, in relation to Finland.

In historical terms, the concepts Gotland and Gothland appear to sometimes having been in flux in common parlance. Up to the Middle Ages, both areas are known to having been inhabited by the ethnic group of people referred to as Goths.

A DNA study conducted on c. 5,000-year-old skeletal remains of three individuals from Gotland supports the view that the area was ethnically interconnected with Finland and Kvenland during the primeval era — "The hunter-gatherers show the greatest similarity to modern-day Finns", says Pontus Skoglund, an evolutionary geneticist at Uppsala University in Sweden (

This evidence is not only in line with the above-quoted medieval accounts, but also with recent archaeological discoveries made in Finland. In 2013, a Merovingian era silver plate from Gotland, believed to be a piece of a sword scabbard, was discovered in Rautjärvi, Finland:

• "The item has ornamentation originating from Gotland, which in itself is not rare in Finland", says museum teaching assistant Jukka Luoto from the Museum of South Karelia –

• According to Luoto, "this indicates that these areas have independently conducted trade with Gotland" –





Lombards, a.k.a. Longobards (Latin: Langobardi; Italian Longobardi), descended from a Finnic tribe from Finnveden in Southern Scandinavia, when – in the early 1st millennium AD – Finnveden was a Finnic-ruled and primarily Finnic-inhabited territory.

The Lombard historian Paul the Deacon wrote in the Histŏ́rĭa Langŏbardṓrum in c. 790 that Lombards descended from a small tribe called Winnili that dwelt in southern Scandinavia (Scadanan), before migrating southbound during the 1st century. Eventually, Lombards came to rule large parts of the Italian Peninsula, from 568 to 774.

• Lombard migration on a chart





Most commonly, the origin of the ancient Goths of Southern Scandinavia is believed to be in the area referred to in medieval accounts and up to now as "Gothland", or more precisely there on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland, or in Finnveden, or both.

In his 6th century study Getica (The Origin and Deeds of the Getae (Geats) / Goths), the Roman author Jordanes referred to the inhabitants of Finnveden as Finnaithae. The area of the origin of Goths, in the same general region in the southern part of Scandinavia ('Scandza'), Jordanes referred to as Gothiscandza.

Based on Getica and other medieval accounts, as well as archaeological and genealogical evidence, the Goths who abandoned Southern Scandinavia in the early 1st millennium AD were a Finnic people.

DNA similar to that found in Kennewick Man, an individual deceased in 7,300–7,600 BC in what today is the State of Washington, has been found not only in a few individuals of Finland, but – fittingly – also of Asia-Minor (Anatolia), where Goths are known to have migrated in the 3rd century.

• Read more – Kennewick Man

The connection may also be explained by the fact that during the lifetime of Kennewick Man, Asia-Minor likely was part of the ancient Finno-Ugric ethnic and linguistic zone.

• Major European language zones in 5,500 BC

• Study: Finno-Ugric and Sumerian languages are related

This may also explain the high popularity of the Gothic culture in Finland today, and why Finland is considered to be the capital of Heavy Music, or why the now distinct Gothic language term "äiti", meaning mother, is in use in the Finnish language today.





From the end of the medieval era onward, a movement known as Gothism (Gothicismus) in Sweden took pride in the Gothic tradition, according to which the Ostrogoths and their king Theodoric the Great, who assumed power in the Roman Empire, had Scandinavian ancestry. This pride was expressed already in medieval chronicles, in which the authors wrote about Goths as ancestors of people inhabiting Scandinavia.

An important source of knowledge of the origins of the Goths is 'De origine actibusque Getarum' ("The Origin and Deeds of the Getae (Geats) / Goths"), a.k.a. Getica, written by the Roman historian Jordanes in 551. Getica discusses the migration of Goths from southern Scandza (Scandinavia) via Gothiscandza to the coast of the Black Sea. It bears similarities with the story told in the 13th century Gutasaga, which too tells of an emigration associated with the migration of Goths during the Migration Period.

The Migration Period was in 300/375–538, when there were widespread migrations of peoples – notably Germanic tribes and Huns – within or into Europe, during and after the decline of the Western Roman Empire, mostly into Roman territory.

Goths are believed to have abandoned their homeland in Southern Scandinavia during the latter half of the 2nd century, settling initially in the Baltic region. In the 3rd century, they are believed to have migrated to the Black Sea area, including Asia Minor on the south side of the Black Sea.

Archaeological evidence confirms that such migration took place. Supporting archaeological discoveries include for instance findings representing the Wielbark and Chernyakhov cultures, related to Scandinavian-style burial-traditions, artifacts, etc.





• Main article





Based on medieval accounts and some other evidence, the birth of Sweden – beginning in the aftermath of the Viking Age – was a gradual merger of the peoples and areas on both the modern-day Swedish and Finnish sides of the southern Gulf of Bothnia, initiated by marriages tied between members of the ruling families of Finland and Kvenland and the Finnic-Norse Yngling Dynasty in the late Iron Age and the Viking Age.

Today, this can be safely stated despite of the fact that some ambiguous and contradicting information provided in some medieval texts, especially Eric Chronicle – believed to contain propaganda targeted against Novgorod – may suggest otherwise.

Eric Chronicle is the earliest surviving literary work written in early form of Swedish. It was written in c. 1320–1340, likely in Turku, Finland, based on – among other things – many Finnish words used, such as e.g. usko (vsko) haapio (hapa) and majapaikka (mäio stadha).

The text discusses an alleged crusade to Finland in 1248–1250, later re-dated to the 1150s by Swedish legends. All available details of this mythological crusade are from Eric Chronicle only. The information provided is highly contradictory and not supported by other evidence or scientific discoveries. The work is largely propagandist by nature, written amidst an internal unrest and war against Novgorod.

The terms "Sweden" or "Swedish" are not found in the text, but the Svea, Goth and Uppland peoples are mentioned. This must be because by the 1150s no unified realm known as Sweden had yet become established.

Furthermore, by 1150s Finland had either entirely or nearly entirely become Christian (the modern-day Northern Finland then was part of Kvenland). According to a leading archaeologist specializing in the Bronze and Iron Ages in Northern Europe, Professor Emeritus Unto Salo, a Byzantine style Christianity settled to Finland from easterly direction, at the latest by the 6th century.

From Finland, Christianity spread to the modern-day area of Sweden, where the earliest signs of Christianity date to the 7th century (Source: 'Risti ja Rauta', Unto Salo, 2004.). The vast majority of the modern-day area of Sweden at the time was part of the realm of Kvenland.

• Arrival of Christianity in Fennoscandia

In the late 15th century, Jöns Budde in Naantali, Finland, was the first known translator of the Bible into Swedish. In 1548 – after working on it for 10 years –, Finnish Mikael Agricola completed a translation of the New Testament into Finnish. In 1543, he had published an ABC-book in Finnish, 68 before the first ABC-book was published in Swedish by Johannes Bureus in 1611.

Something about the importance of Turku in Southwest Finland is told by the fact that In the late Middle Ages there were seven times more students from Turku attending the Sorbonne – the University of Paris – than there were students from Uppsala, the earliest capital of what developed into the country of Sweden. In the late Middle Ages, even two rectors of Sorbonne were from Turku.

Based on medieval accounts and other evidence, Finland was part of what became Sweden from the gradual – post-Viking-Age – birth of "Sweden" onward. For various reasons, scholars differ in characterizing early "Sweden" as a country, state or kingdom by definition. Unlike in the history of Norway and Denmark, there is no agreement on a precise or reliable year or date for the birth of a "unified Sweden".

The extreme southwestern part of what today is Finland was in the Middle Ages known as Finland. It together with Uppland in what today is Central Sweden, with its Viking Age strongholds, were the birthplace of an early polity which slowly became formed into what became the Kingdom of Sweden.

The consolidation of Sweden was a long and gradual process, during which the loosely organized social system consolidated under the power of the king. Historians judge differently the sources for the history of Sweden's consolidation. The earliest history blends with the Norse mythology. Early primary sources are foreign; secondary sources were written at a later date.

In 1397–1523, the Kalmar Union led by Danish monarchs joined the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway and an early form of what in 1523 became the kingdom of Sweden ( – which included a southernmost part of what today is Finland –, led by King Gustav Vasa (Gustav I).

The earliest written mention of Stockholm – Sweden's current capital – dates to 1252, around the time of the alleged founding of the former Finnish capital Turku. In 1296–1478, Stockholm's City Council was made of 24 members, half of whom were German-speaking burghers.

When in 1634 Stockholm became the capital of the Swedish Empire (1611–1721), the main language of the upper classes there was German, and c. 20% of Stockholm's residents were German. In the biggest Finnish towns, Turku and Vyborg, the situation was quite similar in this regard.

In 1809, Finland became the Grand Duchy of Finland, an autonomous part of the Russian Empire, before becoming an independent state in 1917.





Based on medieval accounts, during the 1st millennium AD marriages were formed between Finnish and Kven-Norse (Yngling) royal families, which also cooperated in wars fought against common enemies.

In 1216, Danish Saxo Grammaticus wrote in Gesta Danorum about the Finnish and Scandinavian royal families. The writings resemble and share many characters and stories with the writings of the Icelandic historian, bishop and poet Snorri Sturluson. According to Gesta Danorum too, many heroic Scandinavian figures come from Finnic origins.

In the 8th century, Gothland – in what today is Southern Sweden – was where Finnic Kvens defended in armed conflicts southern parts of their ancient homeland, Kvenland. Of the legendary Battle of Bråvalla (c. 750) – Sveas against Geats – Saxo Grammaticus writes:

• "Now the bravest of Sveas were these: Arwakki, Keklu-Karl ..."

The soldiers listed had Finnic names, just like their rulers had. Coincidentally, based on medieval texts and some other evidence, this appears to be a time when the collaboration between Kvens and Sveas which gradually – over centuries – led to the formation of what became the country of Sweden was already ongoing.

Nornagests þáttr (only version from c. 1300 survives) too tells about a mid-8th century fight in what today is Southern Sweden. Based on information provided, Sigurd Ring, the king who ruled over Denmark and the land of the Sveas, fought against Curonians and Kvens there:

• "Sigurðr (Sigurd Ring) was not there, as he had to defend his land, Svíþjóð (the land of the Sveas), since Kúrir (Curonians) and Kvænir (Kvens) were raiding there."

The author of Nornagests þáttr may not have fully understood that in this 8th century fighting, of which he wrote about possibly a long time after the fighting took place – and as a foreign observer –, Kvens were likely "raiding" just to defend a southern part of their traditional homeland, against expansionism of the Sveas.

In Ynglinga Saga in 1220, Snorri Sturluson discusses marriages between – and wars of – the Finnish and Svea royal families and the Finnic-Norse Ynglins. Fornjót's great-grandson Snær – a.k.a. 'Old Snow' – is mentioned in relation to Finland.

In c. 1220, in the Skáldskaparmál section of Edda, Sturluson discusses King Halfdan the Old, Nór's great-grandson, and nine of his sons who are the forefathers of various royal lineages, including ...

• "... Yngvi, from whom the Ynglings are descended".

• "One war-king was named Skelfir; and his house is called the House of Skilfings: his kindred is in the Eastern Land."

The Swedish term "Österland" (English: "Eastern Land") at the time meant Finland.

The saga tells about the Ynglings, the oldest known Scandinavian dynasty and a semi-legendary royal Scandinavian clan during the Age of Migrations, in c. 300–700. The clan's kings, including King Ongenpeow (d. c. 515) and his sons Onela and Ohthere, among others, descended from Kven kings.

The name "Ongenpeow" is believed to be a derivation of – or spelling variation for – the Finnish name ''onnenpoika” (English: "lucky boy", "happy boy") (Finnish synonym: “onnenpekka”).

Both double consonants and double vocals are integral parts of both the pronunciation and modern writing of Finnish language words. In the past, however, what were pronounced as double letters in Finnish language words, were in writing typically replaced by just single characters of the alphabet, including by the Finnish author Mikael Agricola still in the 16th century.

Accordingly, the medieval spelling "Onela” – the name of the aforementioned medieval Finnic royal – is in today's official Finnish writing spelled as Onnela. The word means "happy place".

The name "Ohthere" derives from the Proto-Norse name Ōhtaharjaz, which – in return – derives from the Finnish language name 'Ohtaharjas'. "Ohta" means "forehead" in the Ostrobothnian dialect of Finnish, and "harjas" means "bristle", "prickle" and "brush" in the modern standard Finnish.

Ostrobothnia is widely considered to be part of the heartland of the medieval Kvenland. The name 'ohta' can still today be found in place-names in the ancient area of Kvenland, for instance as part of the name of a peninsula in the Northern Norwegian province of Troms.

Ynglings also refers to the Fairhair dynasty, descending from the Kven kings of Oppland, Norway, offspring of King Nór's great-grandson Halfdan the Old.





Prince Rurik was the founder in the 9th century of the early polity that became known as Kievan Rus', which led to the births of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. See a picture of the early stage of Kievan Rus', in 862–912:

According to the Primary Chronicle, compiled in Kiev in c. 1113, Rurik was one of the Rus', known as Varyags in Old East Slavic, also known as Varangians, a Finnic-Varangian tribe likened by the chronicler to Danes, Swedes, Angles, and Gotlanders, although clearly – without enough knowledge of Northern Fennoscandia – the chronicler was not able to explain their Finnic ethnicity in more detail. The Varangians were seafaring warriors and traders who in addition to Rus' included also members of other Finnic peoples/tribes. They spread their influence to large territories southeast from Fennoscandia.

The Rus'-Varangians inhabited the coastal areas of the Gulf of Bothnia, including the Roslagen seashore where Rurik allegedly was born, located in Uppland in what today is part of Sweden. That general area and its Finnic inhabitants were in (non-Finnic) medieval accounts referred to as Kvenland and Kvens. In the early 9th century, when Rurik was born, the territory ruled by Kvens bordered Roslagen, as is shown e.g. in the University of Texas map at

The vast majority of what today is Sweden was in the 9th century part of Kvenland. The names "Rus", "Ruotsi" and "Russia" share a common Finnic origin. In the 9th century already, and up to date, Finns inhabiting the eastern side of the Gulf of Bothnia, i.e. today's Finland, have referred to the area on the western side of the gulf – modern-day Sweden – as "Ruotsi", and an inhabitant of the area as "ruotsalainen", from which terms the names Rus' and Russia derives from.

Only quite recently before Rurik's birth, during the Merovingian era, had the Sveas (Old English: Sweonas; Latin: Suiones, Suehans and Sueones) gradually integrated with the Kvens of the region. The Merovingian era refers to the era of the Merovingian dynasty, the ruling family of the Franks in southwestern and south-central Europe from the middle of the 5th century until 751.

Based on DNA findings and other evidence, Rurik was a Finnic Kven. He likely descended from the early 1st millennium Finnic rulers of Finland, Kvenland and Got(h)land, and their Scandinavian royal offspring. See Rurik's alleged place of birth and the ethnic groups in 840 in what today is Sweden:

Still during the late Viking Age (Viking Age: 793–1066) and beyond, Kvenland extended to the northernmost arctic edges of Europe, based on medieval written sources and other evidence. One such source is a list of countries in 'Leiðarvísir og borgarskipan', a geographical chronicle and a guidebook for pilgrims about routes from Northern Europe to Rome and Jerusalem, written by an Icelandic Abbot Níkulás Bergsson in the monastery of Þverá (Munkaþverá) in c. 1157. Written about three and a half centuries after the birth of Prince Rurik, Abbot Bergsson provides the following description of the lands near Norway:

"Closest to Denmark is little Sweden (Svíþjóð), there is Öland (Eyland); then is Gotland; then Hälsingland (Helsingaland); then Värmland (Vermaland); then two Kvenlands (Kvenlönd), and they extend to north of Bjarmia (Bjarmaland)."

Based on that description and other historical evidence, the southern border of Kvenland had by then shifted northbound considerably from Rurik's lifetime, but Kvenland still then covered the Fennoscandian territory north of Hälsingland and Värmland.

The names "Varangian" and "Varyag" also share ancient Finno-Ugric origins and are related to such Finnish language terms as "vara", "vaara", "varanto", etc. Similarly, the Finnish terms "venäläinen" (meaning "Russian") and "vene" (meaning "boat") and the Estonian term "venelane" ("vene" in spoken language, meaning "Russian") share common Finnic roots. Related to the names "Varangian" and "Varyag" is also the Finnish language name "Varanginvuono" (Sami: Várjavuonna; Norwegian: Varangerfjord; English: Varanger Fjord, meaning literally "Varangian" Fjord/Bay). It is the name of a fjord on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, in the modern-day area of Northern Norway.

In his study 'Kvenland - Kainuunmaa' (1986, p. 113–118), Professor Emeritus Kyösti Julku discusses the maps of Abraham Ortelius from 1570, Gerhard Mercator from 1595 and Adrian Veen from 1613. In these maps, the name "Caienska Semla" is marked next to Varangerfjord. The Ortelius and Mercator maps are pictured in Julku's study. "Caienska Semla" can be seen written west from Vardø (Finnish: Vuoreija, Vuorea) and Varangerfjord.

According to Julku – and others –, the Finnish language meaning of the Latin term "Caienska Semla" is "Kainuun maa", which means "Land of Kainuu". Today, historians widely agree that the Finnic names Kainu, Kainuu and Kainuunmaa and the non-Finnic name Kvenland are synonyms to each other.


• Rurik – continue reading

• Catherine II proud of her Finnish ancestry

• Rollo and William the Conqueror were Kvens