The Peasant Revolt of 1597-97, called
the "Club War", was fought in South Ostrobothnia. All adult
males were recruited to form an army of club-bearing peasants. They were
defeated by the cavalry in Ilmajoki on 24 Feb. 1597.
The Peasant Revolt of 1597-97, called the "Club War", was fought in South Ostrobothnia. All adult males were recruited to form an army of club-bearing peasants. They were defeated by the cavalry in Ilmajoki on 24 Feb. 1597.
During the 1600s, witch hunts raged in the area. About half of the 500 known witch trials in the 17th century were held in Ostrobothnia. During that time there was a dispute about tax collection. Fief holders wanted to pay the tax in goods, especially tar, but the peasants wanted to pay in money.
During the Great Northern War (1700-1721), also known as Stora Ofreden, or The Great Wrath, South Ostrobothnian peasants joined, in greater numbers than elsewhere, the Swedish Army fighting in Finland in order to protect their province from the Russians. When they were put farthest behind the front troops, the Russian cavalry managed a surprise attack on the rear of the Swedes in the Battle of Napue in Isokyrö in 1714. The losses were horrible some parishes, such as Isokyrö, appear to have lost every able-bodied adult male. The South Ostrobothnian peasants participated in the peoples resistance in the War of Finland (1808-09) when the Russians conquered Finland.
During the 19th centure religious revival movements, so-called Early Pietism gained a foothold in South Osstrobothnia. During the 19th century Ostrobothnia became a haven for revival movements, and at the same time violent crime reached enormous levels. During 1790-1890 about 2,000 South Ostrobothnians lost their lives to violent crime. Although the province held only 1/10 of the countrys population, at least 1/3 of criminal homicides were committed there.
Around 1885 emigration to North America took off. About 2,000 people from the area emigrated across the ocean. By 1930 about 120,000 people had emigrated from South Ostrobothnia to North America. Nowhere else did emigration have such an impact on a region.
Ostrobothnia played a notable role in the process by which Finland gained independence. The region sent proportionately the largest number of people to Jäger training in Germany. The German Empire agreed in 1915-16 to train Finnish activists who could be used against the Russian government. The German trained Jäger corps of 2,000 men decided the outcome of the Civil War of Finland of 1918. The Jägers were recruited almost exclusively for the White side. The Whites were superior to the Reds in education and training. The role of South Ostrobothnia in 1917 and 1918 is accentuated by the fact that it served as the most important stronghold of the White side. The Senate fled there from Helsinki and South Ostrobothnian volunteers delayed the Reds long enough to allow the conscription army from the north to get organized.
It has been popular to cite the Ostrobothnian mentality. South Ostrobothnians are described as a people controlled by strong social ties; said to display herd mentality. Their genes are thought to contain violence-causing elements. The South Ostrobothnian is quick to pull his knife and attack, especially when drunk. Another characteristic is a strong hereditary trait of a love of freedom.
Reference is made to studies that inhabitants of South Ostrobothnia are the most dark-blooded in the country. There are also indications that the mysterious Kainuu people had originally inhabited the area of South Ostrobothnia. A rich iron-age culture flourished, but findings do not continue past the first half of the 9th century. It is apparent that these people were called Kainuu people. In the world history of Alfred the Great from the end of the 9th century, the Kainuu people are placed in the same area. It is certain that the majority of ancestors of the current population came from Satakunta and Tavastland (Häme).
Witch hunts flourished mostly in areas where a primitive barter economy had begun to emerge. This excerpt is from my Warg family history:
Ostrobothnia first exported furs and pelts, animal food stuffs and tar. This was an early form of capitalistic economy in the 1500s which attracted rural peasant traders to the coastal regions and riverbanks.
In the 17th century, the tar burning industry became more important for Ostrobothnia. Colonization and colonial wars demanded larger sailing fleets, which created an endless demand for tar. When Swedens eastern border was moved westward to the River Kymi in 1743, access to transportation from the forests of eastern Finland to the coast was denied. The easily navigated rivers and the long coast of Ostrobothnia made transportation inexpensive. This led to Ostrobothnias rise to the most significant storehouse of tar in all of Sweden and eventually all of Europe. The tar towns on the coast invested their money in large-scale shipbuilding. With the gradual depletion of the pine forests, the tar industry was pushed northward and inland. The region found compensation for the fading tar industry. These circumstances were the reason pastor Anders Chydenius, d. 1803, became a champion of a free market economy. His writings expressed thoughts similar to those of Adam Smith. Chydenius writings were in response to the social conditions caused by the struggle against the patronage of Stockholm on the coastal cities of Ostrobothnia which had achieved wealth from the tar industry.
In the latter half of the 1700s the population growth exceeded the rate in other parts of the country. A large number of children of farm owners were left without a farm of their own. The younger sons were first offered crofters positions, then they became cottagers, and finally had to make a living as day-wage-workers in the homes of their former peers who were successful. The farmers son who had been left without a farm felt guilty and inferior. So he turned to alcohol and fighting.
Emigration to North America guided the development of South Ostrobothnia into new directions. North America appealed to Ostrobothnians who were ready to move when the opportunity presented itself. The lack of money in southern and eastern Finland was an obstacle to emigration for the people who were poor. In South Ostrobothnia the property was sold, the wife and children were put in rented quarters and the man went to America to earn the money for tickets for the family to travel to America. The great emigration wave improved conditions for those who were too poor to emigrate. The decline in the supply of workers led to higher wages and the price of land went down.
Extracted from an article by Heikki Ylikangas from "Exploring Ostrobothnia"
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