The article discusses the Hunting Law of 1845, which provided the groundwork for the campaign for the extermination of bears, wolves, lynx, wolverine, golden eagles, sea-eagles, goshawks and eagle-owls. It discusses the background to the law, its justification and goals, and throws light upon explanatory connections between the campaign’s consequences and the deadlocked and complex nature of today’s policy concerning predators.
The parish registers are official books for every parish in Norway, containing information on religious actions. They provide, from the beginning of the 1700s, a countrywide contemporary source on, amongst much else, deaths, but the cause of death was not systematically included until after 1800. From then on, the sexton’s register was written according to the same formula as the vicar’s.
This extensive source material is investigated with an intention to document all mention of predators as a cause of death. A nationwide overview is given, with reference to where the information is recorded. In all, 33 incidents are found, 28 involving bears and 5 wolves, leading to 39 deaths. Lacunae in the burial records and other deficiencies in the records give reason to believe that the number of such fatalities over the past 300 years is somewhat higher. Some instances are recorded in other sources. Nonetheless the evidence from the parish registers is sufficiently comprehensive to conclude that death caused by pedators was seldom in Norway. This also applies to the time that the population of predators was much larger. In the 200-year period from 1705-1906, there were, according to the parish registers, on average 0.2 such deaths per year.
Fear of predators is reasonable when it concerns the loss of domestic animals, but hardly when it comes to people’s life and health, apart from in a few special situations. The policy today is to establish heartlands for predators. These bear little relationship to the geographical spread of incidents recorded in the parish registers.
The article discusses the relationship between local history and the development of democratic competence in Norwegian teaching plans for the social sciences and history. Local history is manifested through the concepts of ’family’, ‘own history’, ’local environment’, ‘monuments’ and ‘place’. Urban history and regional history are absent. National and global perspectives are dominant. In teaching plans that are designed to develop democratic competence with the help of local history, the approach is primarily constructivist. Pupils are to work actively with local source material in order to problematize differing themes. This article demonstrates that the use of local history is based more on educational psychology than academic history. According to the teaching plan for the social sciences, pupils are for the most part finished with local history after the 4th year at school. The general part of the teaching plan explains that the value of local history lies primarily in its nearness. At the same time, the wording of the teaching plans for the social sciences and history is so general that a competent and interested teacher can use local history actively to satisfy the plan’s objectives.
The Russian ethnographer Sergej Sergel was sent in 1907 to the northern parts of Scandinavia to study Sami culture and collect artifacts for the collections at the Russian ethnographic museum in St Petersburg. With his background from the Department of Ethnography at his home city’s university and earlier field work, he was able to give new insights on Sami social life and their adaptation to nature and resources in the region. His varied research methods, in close contact with both Sea-Sami and reindeer herding Sami, resulted in a collection of artifacts, photographs, a report and a book. This article combines his writings and photographs with Norwegian sources both to contextualise his reports and to facilitate source criticism. We also attempt to assess whether or not Sergel was really a Russian spy.
When the borders between Sweden and Norway were drawn in 1751, the right to continue traditional Sami reindeer herding across the national borders was legally secured. Due to population increase among Norwegians and their settling on traditional Sami reindeer pastures, as well as an increase of Swedish Sami families travelling westward to the islands of Troms in search of sufficient food for their animals in the mid-1800s, conflicts between Norwegian farmers and Samis became more frequent. This article examines how the Norwegian central and local authorities described the issues involved, and how they attempted to control the situation. The documents of two court proceedings from Troms in Northern Norway are analysed in terms of the conditions under which Swedish Sami reindeer herders could expect support from the courts when farmers stole their animals. Swedish Sami reindeer herders who stayed on the islands during the winter season, contrary to the authorities’ interpretation of their right according to the 1751 treaty with Sweden and without the permission of each and every property owner, could not expect support from the local courts. Those who had acquired such permission, however, would be protected by the legal system.
In the period 1941–46, around 200 children of Norwegian mothers and German fathers were born in the Finnmark municipality of Sør-Varanger. Given that the population of the municipality was 8,000, this is a strikingly high number, and probably higher than in any other place in Norway. The article discusses the reasons why Sør-Varanger seems to be exceptional. The analysis presupposes a clear relationship between the number of war babies in an area and the total degree of informal contact between German soldiers and the local Norwegian population.
The German military was spread over the whole of Norway, but the at least 10,000 war babies were not distributed equally across the country. The five most northerly counties are markedly overrepresented in the statistics. The exceptional situation in Sør-Varanger is explained by the relative number of Germans, the extent of work for the Germans and the use of private accommodation. The combination of prolonged physical proximity to an overwhelming number of German military and a relatively high tolerance for private association with them led to numerous friendships, courtships and babies.