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Jamtland, "Republic" of (Sweden)

Jämtland, Jamtland

Last modified: 2014-05-29 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: jamtland | harjedalen |
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[Flag of Jämtland] image by Antonio Martins

[Seal of Jämtland]
The Seal of Jämtland (use permission from Bo Oscarsson's homepage)


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What is Jämtland?

Jämtland is both a historical province (landskap) and a modern county (län) in the middle of Sweden and on the border of Norway. The modern county of Jämtland is larger in area than the traditional province, and includes the historical province of Harjedålen and the district Ravund (also called Ragunda). Today the county of Jämtland covers ca. 50,000 square km. The population is about 136.000.

From the 1100's Jämtland and Harjedålen were a part of Norway, and later went with Norway into the union with Denmark. The Kingdom of Denmark-Norway lost Jämtland to the Kingdom of Sweden in 1645, and the area has been under Sweden since.

The Republic of Jamtland, or in full the United Republics of Jamtland, Harjedålen and Ravund, has been proclaimed by the Liberation Movement and its quasi-militant faction the Jamtland Republican Army (JRA). The Republic and the Republican movement is far from as militant their names indicate. In fact, the movement and the Republic is closely associated with the Storsjöyran cultural festival ('Great Lake Dizzy festival'). The Republic is somewhat of a gimmick, though it also reflects deeper sentiments and channels regional protest. This protest surfaced first in the 1960's, with suggestions of administrative- territorial reforms that proposed to unite Jämtland with other parts of Norrland and move the county capital from Ostersund in Jämtland. At the same time, more and more people moved southwards, and regions such as Jämtland experienced population losses.
Jan Oskar Engene, 25 August 1995


Something about Herjeådalen, Jamtland and Ravund: Herjeådalen has from early Viking age to the time of Swedish permanent occupation been a province in Norway like any other now existing provinces of Norway - when the king was to be selected Herjeådalen had a representative. But the case of Jamtland was different: we have never joined this event, that is, we didn't participate in the election (I'm talking of the medieval time). What about Ravund then? Ravund was an area in the of Swedes colonized Norrland (which Jamtland and Herjeådalen now is considered to be a part of), or Helsingjaland in old Norse (including Jamtlandic. Note that there exists a province of Sweden called Hälsingland, situated between Jamtland and Stockholm region). In the late 13th century Ravund became a part of Jamtland by some agreement of Sweden and Norway.
Jens Persson, 6 March 2000


Notes about the flag

The flag of Jämtland was introduced in 1983, and is made up of three bands of blue, white and green with a seal on the white band. The proportions are about 2:3, judging from photographs. It was hoisted for the first time on 15. July 1983. The designers were Kent Backman, who came up with the idea of the colours in the three horizontal bands, and Bo Oscarsson, who suggested that the seal should be added.

Originally, the symbolism related to nature of the region, blue representing the mountains, white the snow and green the forest. Later, the three colours have also been associated with the three units making up the Republic. In this interpretation, the blue is for the mountainous Jamtland, white is for the snow rich Harjeådalen, and green is for the forests of Ravund. The seal is in black, is the one given to Jämtland by the King of Norway late in the 1200's or in the early 1300's (the oldest surviving sample is from 1303).

The seal features the Royal arms of Norway, the crowned lion holding an axe differenced by a border with nails or trefoils. Two men, half kneeling, supports the shield, and behind them are two hunters chasing squirrels (the province had to pay its taxes with the fur). Around the seal is an inscription reading "SIGILLUM COMMUNITATIS DE IEMTHALANDIA" (Seal of the Community of Jämtland). The seal was given to the province to emphasize that it was under the rule of Norway, and it is therefore somewhat ironic that such an emblem should be used by a movement seeking independence (not unification with Norway). However, the Jämts see the seal as a symbol of their historical origins and special status as a province.

The flag has no official position, but it is in frequent use, also by local mayors and other representatives of the established order.

Sources:

  • The information about the flag is from:
    Eivind Torp: "Jämtlandsflaggan - ett uttryck for regional identitet?", in Fran falttog till folkfest: Nordiska flaggor, fanor och symboler, Uddevalla: Lacko Institut, 1993
  • Some details about the seal are found in:
    Hallvard Tratteberg: "The Coat of Arms of Norway", American-Scandinavian Review, Vol 52, No. 2, 1964, pp. 134-146
Jan Oskar Engene, 25 August 1995

The Norwegian seal on our flag represents our bounds to the Norwegian culture.
Jens Persson, 6 March 2000


Notes on spelling

There are some variations as to how the names of the areas are spelled, and I have used the spelling preferred by the Jamts/Republicans. The Jamts, prefer their region to be called Jamtland. The Swedes call them "Jämts", and the region "Jämtland". The Swedish 'Härjedålen', is spelt Herjeadålen in the local language. Ravund, as it is known locally, is Ragunda to the Swedes. In some other names appearing above, as well as in the title of the article of Eivind Torp, I have left out the dots and rings and left the a-s and o-s to stand for themselves.
Jan Oskar Engene, 25 August 1995


As a jamtlander (jamt) I'm interested in looking for international writings about my home land. We call ourselves 'jamt' in singularis and 'jamtar' in pluralis. The Swedes calls us 'jämte' or 'jämtlänning' in singularis and 'jämtar' or 'jämtlänningar' in pluralis. The province of 'Härjedalen' is in our (jamtsk) spelling rules spelled as 'Herjeådalen'. Obviously Jan-Oskar Engene did a mis-print when writing the article.
Jens Persson, 6 March 2000



 
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