This article deals with royal administration in the eastern province of Jemtland in the period circa 1300-1500. Jemtland was under the rule of the King of Norway from the late 12th century, but kept a certain amount of autonomy and a low level of royal interference in internal affairs. The article looks at four aspects of royal rule: taxation, juridical power, military obligations and the presence of royal officials. All these aspects point in the same direction: there was a mutual interest in keeping royal presence at a low level. The economy of the region supplied the crown with taxes paid in furs, a commodity of good value for the crown but not labour-intensive for the population. In the period of Scandinavian unions, the region was not of strategic importance, and military duties were negligible. The legal system was under local control, and decentralized. Paradoxically, this low level of royal presence which guaranteed a high degree of local autonomy also secured legitimacy for the crown.
Historians have often portrayed the medieval Realm of Norway as a colonial enterprise, orchestrated by a dominant metropolitan power in Norway, and enforced upon submissive communities in the North Sea and North Atlantic. This understanding of the realm assumes an economic imbalance between the central and peripheral parts and implies that the outlying communities were subject to economic exploitation by the Norwegian crown. Recent studies, however, suggest a degree of localism, home rule and consensus between the central and peripheral parts, leading to the suggestion that the realm was more of a commonwealth than an imperial or colonial undertaking. Using the case of medieval Orkney, this paper seeks to determine whether Norwegian kings attempted or succeeded in economically exploiting that local community. Applying Johan Galtung’s structural theory of economic dependency, it examines the degree to which resources were extracted from Orkney to the benefit of the metropolitan center in Norway. The focus lies on four potential sources of economic exploitation: penal fines, land rents, trade and taxation. Findings reveal that the Norwegian crown generally allowed revenues to be maintained and implemented within Orkney’s local community, thereby facilitating a decentralized, federalized economic order.
This article examines an occupation that is no longer found in Norway. Floating was for many hundred years the most common method of transporting logs and an important part of the work was gathering the logs from the river and sorting them. The boom at Glennetangen was such a workplace, where up to 400 men could be employed. Until 1985, the largest sorting-boom in Norway was in the lower Glomma river, with strong links to the locality as a workplace. Glennetangen was peculiar as a workplace, in being an industrial site in an otherwise rural area. This article sheds light upon some of the distinctive aspects of Glennetangen as a workplace, and focuses on such themes as recruitment, seasonal work, the system of payment, and companionship among the workers.
150 years ago, two big emigrant ships sailed directly from Tromsø in the north of Norway to America, a quite unusual event. At that time, and also later, it was thought that dissenters constituted an essential part of the emigrants, with considerable negative effects on their Free Apostolic congregations left behind at home.
This article describes the extent of this emigration and the development of the congregations. It also discusses possible factors behind the weakening of the Free Apostolic Church during the 1860s. The part played by emigrating dissenters is less than what was, to some degree, supposed earlier, but it was still considerable. From the two important Free congregations in Tromsø and Balsfjord, about a quarter of the members emigrated within a few years. Some of the minor congregations lost many members, too. Six out of nine leaders emigrated as well. Four of them were not replaced, and their congregations were formally dissolved.
Not only emigration weakened the free congregations. They also lost members because of regional migration, internal conflicts and/or switching to competing dissenter groups such as Quakers and Baptists.
Finally, the article discusses whether a religious factor might be a particular aspect of this emigration.
From 1941 to 1945, approximately 93,000 Soviet Prisoners of War were sent to Norway by the Nazi regime to work as slave laborers. Many of them died due to exhaustion, undernourishment and executions.
In the summer of 1951, the Norwegian government authorized a plan to relocate close to 8,000 Soviet Prisoner of War graves in Northern Norway. The operation was given the code name «Asphalt» and from August to November the remains were moved to the island of Tjøtta, close to the town Sandnessjøen.
The official reason given by the Norwegian cabinet was to simplify supervision, by relocating them to a single grave site. The unofficial consideration was probably the possibility of eliminating an excuse that Soviet representatives used to travel around in Norway.
The operation caused a great deal of negative response, but few demonstrations took place. The work was completed according to plan, except in one town where local communists and other inhabitants protested intensely against the excavation.
Since 1951, and throughout the following decades, «Operation Asphalt» remained a story rarely told. The last few years have brought new information to the public and made the incident quite well known, following many years of limited focus on the history of the Soviet Prisoners of War in Norway during the German occupation.
The Jaeren region is an intensive agricultural area, with green grass fields divided by stone walls. The cultural biography of stone walls is studied in this article, and it is shown how they have been classified and reclassified, from the Iron Age to the present. They served a practical purpose as borders until the late eighteenth century, when they became an important part of the modernization project, symbolizing the Jaeren farmers as hard-working people. At the same time, stone walls became useful stone storages. In the twentieth century, they were looked upon as a hindrance to the modernization process as new machines were introduced, and stone walls were removed and the stones buried. This practice then created problems for farming, and building stone walls was once again introduced. Now they are made by professional stonemasons. Stone walls have communicated how farmers take care of the traditional cultural landscape, and are said to be the link between past and present. Now they are also built in private gardens, and around public buildings and shopping malls. By passing on the knowledge of how these objects have been classified, it is possible to argue that both old and new stone walls are an important part of our cultural heritage.