In this article I discuss the Nordic province of Bohuslan in the decade after it became 'Swedish' in 1658, at the stage I describe as the province's 'transitional period'. The aim of the study is to show how the traditional understanding of what happens when national borders are redrawn needs to be understood in the light of the nature of the early modern state. Records from the district court of Orust-and-Tjorn (one of five district courts in seventeenth-century Bohuslan) and petitions from the local nobility to the Swedish parliament are used in a complicated mixture of references to a variety of identities analysed here. Peter Sahlins's conclusions in his study of the French-Spanish borderland in the same period are particularly useful as a theoretical framework, especially the identity schemes that he uses to suggest that each identity originates in a counter-identity. The present study includes an attempt to use the source material to reconstruct the landscape of identities and counter-identities, and the results suggest how a collective identity was constructed in the province during the transitional period. My main conclusion is that the transition from Danish to Swedish government was one of chronology as far as the locals were concerned. Their affiliation to the Norwegian kingdom, and of course to the local community, remained unaffected by the shift of government. This conglomerate of identities could be to the locals's advantage in negotiations with the state. On the other hand, their Norwegian affiliation became problematic when the Norwegian army, the long arm of the Danish state, attacked the province; both the local communities and the representatives of the Swedish crown were directly affected. The situation exemplifies the division of a national connection - in this instance to a Norwegian identity - into an identity and a counter-identity. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that the Swedish government and the local community had this particular counter-identity in common.
|Translated title of the contribution||Changing identities: the province of Bohuslan after the Treaty of Roskilde|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|
- regional identities
- treaty of Roskilde