The Tornedalians are descendants of Finns who in some point in history settled to the areas of today's Northern Sweden near the Torne Valley district and west from there.

Tornedalians migrated from today's Southwestern Finland, mainly from Häme and Karelia. Settlement began around the northern end of the Gulf of Bothnia and along the river valleys nearby ("River Kalix", Torne River, and Kemijoki River). Migration started at the latest in the beginning of the 14th century CE on areas loosely controlled by Russians and Karelians.

The taxation of the Sami people, fur trade and large hunting grounds were among the most important factors contributing to the migration of the "Tornedealians" up north. "Tornedalians" also helped the Swedish expansion to the areas that today are part of northern Sweden.

Despite the Finnish and Russian demands of including much of today's Swedish Torne River Valley territory into the autonomous Russian Grand Duchy of Finland, the area remained part of the Kingdom of Sweden as a result of the peace treaty signed between Russia and Sweden in 1809. The Swedish-Finnish border was drawn at the "River Tornio", and that border has stood official up to date.

Cultural imperialism, in combination with a fear of Russia, led to Swedish attempts to assimilate and "Swedify" the Finnish-speaking population between 1850 and 1950. Since the 1970s, efforts have been made to reverse some of the effects of the "Swedification", notably in education. The minority status of the "Tornedalians" was officially recognized by the Swedish government in 1999 by the recognition of the local Finnish dialect Meänkieli as one of the acknowledged minority languages in Sweden. A written standard of "Meänkieli" has been established and taught, which has given rise to critical remarks from Finland, suggesting that standard Finnish would be of more use to the pupils.

Sweden does not distinguish minority groups in population censuses, but the number of people who identify themselves as "Tornedalians" is usually estimated to be between 30,000 and 150,000. Estimates are complicated by the fact that the remote and sparsely-populated "Tornedalen" area has been particularly struck by the twentieth century urbanization and unemployment. In 2006, a large radio survey about Finnish/Meänkieli speakers was conducted in Sweden. The result was that 469,000 individuals in Sweden claim to understand/speak Finnish or/and Meänkieli. Those who can speak/understand Meänkieli is estimated to be 150,000-175,000.

Bengt Pohjanen is a Tornedalian author, who has written the first novel in meänkieli, the language of Torne Valley. He has written dramas, screen-plays, songs and opera. He is trilingual in his writing.The novel "Populärmusik från Vittula" ("Popular Music from Vittula") (2000) by Tornedalian author Mikael Niemi became very popular both in Sweden and in Finland. The novel is composed of colourful stories of everyday life in the Tornedalian town of Pajala. The novel has been adapted for several stage productions, and as a film in 2004. Mikael Niemi does not speak meänkieli.

ee also

*Kola Norwegians
*Sweden Finns

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sápmi (area) — Sápmi …   Wikipedia

  • Kven people — This article is about the contemporary ethnic group in Norway. For ancient Kvens, see Kvenland. Kven Total population 10,000 60,000 Regions with significant populations Norway (Finnmark, Troms) Languages Kven/ Finnish …   Wikipedia

  • Sweden Finns — Infobox Ethnic group group = Sweden Finns population = estimated c. 470 000 caption= Linda Lampenius • Mark Levengood • Markoolio • Lisa Miskovsky Markus Mustonen • Arja Saijonmaa • Jari Sillanpää • Sami Sirviö region1 = Stockholm pop1 = 46 927… …   Wikipedia

  • Finns — Ethnic group group=Finns caption= poptime= 6.5 7.0 million (est.) regions=flagcountry|Finland:nbsp|6 approx. 5,300,000 [ [ 2006 2007 03 23 tie 001.html Finnish Population Registry Center 31.12.2006] …   Wikipedia

  • Ingrian Finns — Ingrians The Ingrian flag Regions with significant populations Russia, Finland Languages Russian, Finnish …   Wikipedia

  • Norrbotten County — Norrbotten Norrbottens län   County of Sweden   …   Wikipedia

  • Karelians — Infobox Ethnic group group = Karelias population = 504,000 region1 = RUS pop1 = c 140,000 [official Russian records, see Minahan pp. 369] ref1 = region2 = FIN pop2 = c 140,000 [Finnish records of people born in Karelia, the areas ceded to the… …   Wikipedia

  • Meänkieli — Spoken in Sweden, Finland Region Torne Valley Native speakers 40,000 70,000  (date missing) …   Wikipedia

  • Torne Valley — The Torne Valley or Torne River Valley (Finnish: Tornionjokilaakso , Swedish: Tornedalen ) lies at the border of Sweden and Finland. It is named after the Torne River flowing through the valley and into the Gulf of Bothnia. Geographically the… …   Wikipedia

  • Nordic bread culture — has existed in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden from prehistoric time through to the present. Contents 1 Prehistoric time (until around 1000 AD) 2 Denmark 2.1 History …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.