Monday, December 04, 2006

Early Swedish history

The Swedish pre-history ended around 800 CE, when the Viking Age began. The Viking Age lasted to the midth 11th century, when the Christianization broke through. Circa 1050 to 1350 – when the Black Death struck – is considered to be Older Middle Ages. Between 1350 and 1523 – when king Gustav Vasa was crowned – is considered the Younger Middle Ages.

During this period, Sweden was gradually consolidated. Scandinavia was fully Christianized around 1100 AD. The Kalmar Union between the Scandinavian countries was established in 1389 and lasted until Gustav Vasa broke off at seizing power.

Viking Age

Around 800, the Scandinavian people had settled in villages and established small societies based on petty kingdoms and their kings, mainly known from legends. The Scandinavian people now became more distinguished as separate people, and started going out on expedition to foreign countries, that lead them to accumulate some wealth. Nation borders were lain inside the country, because the seas were more easy to travel than the forests in the inland, which is why some southern and northern territories were either unexplored or belonged to other kingdoms up until the 17th century.

It is also around 800 that the earliest concrete influences from foreign countries are to be found, including early contact with Christianity and a development of the runic alphabet.


Voyages to foreign countries
Viking expeditions (blue); the expeditions going into Russia were Swedish VikingsThe Danish and Norwegian vikings turned their attention to western countries, England, France and the Atlantic. The vikings of Sweden, however, traveled east into Russia. The large Russian mainland and its many navigable rivers offered good prospects for merchandice and, at times, plundering.

During the 9th century extensive Scandinavian settlements were made on the east side of the Baltic sea. The Russian Tale of Bygone Years (dated to 1113) writes about how the tribe Varangians arrived in Constantinople, and of piratical expeditions on the Black Sea and on the Caspian Sea. The legendary expeditions by Rurik (Rørik) and Askold (Haskuld) established settlements that resulted in Kievan Rus', a predecessor state of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

The Varangians accumulated some wealth from its foreigh trades. A centre of trade in northern Europe developed on the island Birka, not far from where Stockholm was later constructed, in midth Sweden. Birka was probably demolished already during the 11th century, but remains show its wealth in the 9th and 10th century. Thousands of graves, coins, jewelry and other luxury items have been found there.

There are also other locations in Sweden where precious treasures have been found, revealing a widespread trade between Sweden and eastern countries down to Asia.


Early rulers
Medieval Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon sources tell of Migration Age Swedish kings belonging to the Scylfing dynasty, also known as Ynglings. Some sources, such as Íslendingabók, Ynglinga saga and Historia Norwegiæ trace the foundation of the Swedish kingdom back in the last centuries BC.

Some of these sources, the Anglo-Saxon Widsith and Beowulf, may date to the 8th century in their present forms, but retain oral traditions that are considerably older. Native Scandinavian sources are generally held to date no earlier than the 9th century in the form of skaldic poetry, such as Ynglingatal. As the Scandinavian sources were not put to paper until the 11th century, and later, their historic validity is controversial.

Consequently, historians can differ in the value they ascribe to the sources, in different contexts. Historians also vary in how they define Sweden, some distinguishing between Sverige (the modern Swedish name for Sweden) and Svea rike (the medieval form of the Swedish name for Sweden) as two different nations.

Many kings only ruled over parts of the present territory of Sweden (See further Semi-legendary kings of Sweden), and so their validity as kings of Sweden may be questioned.

The first undisputed king of Sweden was Eric the Victorious, who lived around 970–994. He was succeeded by King Olof (late 960s – circa 1020), the first Christian king of Sweden.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Early history

Archeological evidence suggests that hunter-gatherers were already settled in the lowlands north of the Alps in the late Paleolithic period. By the Neolithic period, the area was relatively densely populated. Remains of bronze age pile dwellings have been found in the shallow areas of many lakes. Around 1500 BC, Celtic tribes settled in the area. The Raetians lived in the eastern regions, while the west was occupied by the Helvetii.

In 58 BC, the Helvetii tried to evade migratory pressure from Germanic tribes by moving into Gaul, but were defeated at Bibracte by Julius Caesar's armies and then sent back. The alpine region became integrated into the Roman Empire and was extensively romanized in the course of the following centuries. The center of Roman administration was at Aventicum (Avenches). In 259, Alamanni tribes overran the Limes, putting the settlements on Swiss territory on the frontier of the Roman Empire.

The first Christian bishoprics were founded in the 4th century. With the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Germanic tribes entered the area. Burgundians settled in the west; while in the north, Alamanni settlers slowly forced the earlier Celto-Roman population to retreat into the mountains. Burgundy became a part of the kingdom of the Franks in 534; two years later, the dukedom of the Alamans followed suit. In the Alaman-controlled region, only isolated Christian communities continued to exist and Irish monks re-introduced the Christian faith in the early 7th century.

Under the Carolingian kings, the feudal system proliferated, and monasteries and bishoprics were important bases for maintaining the rule. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 assigned Upper Burgundy (the western part of what is today Switzerland) to Lotharingia, and Alemannia (the eastern part) to the eastern kingdom of Louis the German which would become part of the Holy Roman Empire.

In the 10th century, as the rule of the Carolingians waned Saracenes ravaged the Valais, and Magyars destroyed Basel in 917 and St. Gallen in 926. Only after the victory of king Otto I over the Magyars in 955 in the Battle of Lechfeld, were the Swiss territories were reintegrated into the empire.

In the 12th century, the dukes of Zähringen were given authority over part of the Burgundy territories which coverd the western part of modern Switzerland. They founded many cities, including Fribourg in 1157, and Berne in 1191. The Zähringer dynasty ended with the death of Berchtold V in 1218, and their cities subsequently became reichsfrei (essentially a city-state within the Holy Roman Empire), while the dukes of Kyburg competed with the house of Habsburg over control of the rural regions of the former Zähringer territory.

Under the Hohenstaufen rule, the alpine passes in Raetia and the St. Gotthard Pass gained importance. The latter especially became an important direct route through the mountains. Uri (in 1231) and Schwyz (in 1240) were accorded the Reichsfreiheit to grant the empire direct control over the mountain pass. Most of the territory of Unterwalden at this time belonged to monasteries which had previously become reichsfrei.

The extinction of the Kyburg dynasty paved the way for the Habsburg dynasty to bring much of the territory south of the Rhine under their control, aiding their rise to power. Rudolph I of Habsburg, who became Holy Roman Emperor in 1273, effectively revoked the status of Reichsfreiheit granted to the "Forest Cantons" of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden. The Forest Cantons thus lost their independent status and were governed by reeves.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

cards



Cheap International Calls


Phone Cards

Phone cards
IP-telephony phone cards experience great popularity all over the world.
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As a rule, residents of these two countries not only have an access to the Internet, but also use it actively to make purchases from Internet-shops.
Immigrants, students, tourists and visitors use long-distance communication for business or personal contact most frequently