Scandinavia Defined

See also Sweden-Nordic Countries presented by J in J&P. Sep 2004
Scandinavia is the region of the Scandinavian Peninsula (below).

The usage and meaning of the term Scandinavia is somewhat ambiguous:

The modern use of the term Scandinavia rises from the Scandinavist political movement, which was active in the middle of the 19th century , chiefly between the First war of Schleswig (1848 <> -1850 <> ), in which Sweden-Norway contributed with considerable military force, and the Second war of Schleswig (1864 <> ) when Sweden’s parliament denounced the King’s promises of military support.

The movement proposed the unification of Denmark <> , Norway <>  and Sweden <>  into a single united kingdom. The background for this was the tumultous events during the Napoleonic wars <>  in the beginning of the century leading to the partition of Sweden (the eastern part becoming the Russian <>  Grand Duchy <>  of Finland <>  in 1809 <> ) and Denmark (whereby Norway <> , de jure in union with Denmark since 1387 <> , although de facto merely a province <> , became independent in 1814 <>  and thereafter was swiftly forced to accept a personal union with Sweden).

Finland <>  being a part of the Russian Empire <>  meant that it would have to be left out of any equation for a political union between the Nordic countries. A new term also had to be invented that excluded Finland from any such inspirations, and that term was Scandinavia. The geographical Scandinavia included Norway and Sweden, but the political Scandinavia was also to include Denmark. Politically Sweden and Norway were united in a personal union under one monarch <> . Denmark also included the dependent territories of Iceland <> , the Faroe Islands <>  and Greenland <>  in the Atlantic ocean <>  (which however historically had belonged to Norway, but unintentionally remained by Denmark according to the Treaty of Kiel).

The end of the Scandinavian political movement came when Denmark was denied military support from Sweden-Norway to annex the (Danish) Duchy <>  of Schleswig <> , which together with the (German) Duchy of Holstein <>  had been in personal union with Denmark. It followed a brief but disastrous war between Denmark and Prussia <>  (supported by Austria <> , the Second war of Schleswig in 1864 <> ), Schleswig-Holstein <>  was conquered by Prussia, and after Prussia’s success in the Franco-Prussian War <>  a Prussia-led German Empire <>  (“2nd Reich”) was created, and a new power-balance <>  of the Baltic sea countries <>  was established.

Even if a Scandinavian political union never came about there was a Scandinavian Monetary Union <>  established in 1873 <> , with the Krona <> /Krone <>  as the common currency, and which lasted until World War I <> .

The modern Scandinavian cooperation after World War I <>  also came to include the independent Finland and Scandinavian as a political term came to be replaced by the term Nordic countries <> , and eventually by the Nordic council <>  institution, in 1952 <> .

The name Scandinavia is most probably derived from the Germanic <>  *Skathin- meaning “danger” (cf. English scathing and unscathed) and *awjo meaning “island”. It may have referred to the dangeous banks around Skanör-Falsterbo in Scania <>  in southern-most Scandinavia. Scandinavia <>  appears in Roman texts, and in Jordanes <>  history of the Goths <>  as Scandza.

The name of the Scandinavian mountain range <> , Skanderna in Swedish <> , is in turn derived from Skandinavien in the 19th century <> , analogous with Alperna for the Alps <> . The commonly used names are Kölen “the Keel” or fjällen “the fells, the mountains”.

See also: Scandinavian languages <>

Scandinavian Peninsula

The Scandinavian Peninsula is a peninsula located at the northwest corner of Europe and encloses the Baltic Sea. It extends from Russia and Finland in the north and almost reaches Denmark in the south. It contains the countries Norway on the west and Sweden on the east. The Scandinavian mountain range separates the two countries.

From on Scandinavian Peninsula

Scandinavia <>  and the Baltic region <>

External links

  • Scandinavia  and the Baltic region <>  at NASA <> ‘s Earth Observatory  
  • Scandinavian  Peninsula in Winter <>  at NASA’s Earth Observatory\n