Kings of Kvenland

Kings of Kvenland

A few Icelandic sagas tell about kings that ruled in Kvenland.

Icelandic sagas

Despite the fact that the legendary title "King of Kvenland" appears widely used in various contexts, it is mentioned only once in sagas: Faravid in Egil's saga [ [ Egil's Saga, Chapter XIV] ] is directly said to be the "King of Kvenland". He also appears to have been a Kven himself.

Two other sagas that mention Kvenland, Hversu Noregr byggdist [ [ Hversu Noregr byggdist] ] and Orkneyinga saga [ [ Orkneyinga saga] ] , do not use the title.

In "Orkneyinga", only Fornjót is said to be "a king" and that he "reigned over Gotland, which we now know as Finland and Kvenland", never stating that he was specifically a "King of Kvenland". "Orkneyinga" neither says that Fornjót or any of his descendants were Kvens which is another common misconception.

"Hversu" has very much the same usage of the title. This time only Fornjót's (who is said to be just "a man") great-grandson Old Snow and his son Thorri are told to be kings, but again not "Kings of Kvenland". Kvenland appears only in relation to Thorri of whom it is said that "he ruled over Gothland, Kvenland, and Finland". Again, no mention that anyone of them had been Kvens. "Hversu" briefly mentions that Kvens made sacrifices to Thorri.

None of the kings mentioned to have ruled Kvenland can be verified to have been historical persons.

Charles IX of Sweden

It is often, and erroneously, referenced that king Charles IX of Sweden would have called himself as the "King of the Kvens". The king expanded his already lengthy title 1607 CE to be as follows (example from year 1608 CE): [ [ Titles of European hereditary rulers - Sweden] Konung Christoffers Landslag. Edictum Regis Caroli IX eius iussu edito textui praescriptum]

"Carl then Nijonde medh Gudz nådhe, Swerikes, Göthes, Wendes, Finnars, Carelers, Lappers j Nordlanden, the Caijaners, och Esters j Lifland, etc. Konung"

The title does not include Kvens, but "Caijaners", Swedish name for inhabitants of Kainuu. His son dropped the "Lappers j Nordlanden, the Caijaners" from the title 1611 CE when he succeeded his father as the king, and the text was not added to it later. The fix in the Charles IX's title is clearly related to the construction of the Kajaani castle 1604 CE close to the Russian border.

ee also

* Kvenland
* Ancient kings of Finland


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