The Duchy of Södermanland

At the Council of State on 21 April, The King announced that Prince Alexander had been assigned the Duchy of Södermanland.

Södermanland, även kallat Sörmland, är ett landskap i östra Svealand. Namnet betyder Södermännens land. Södermännen var det folk som bodde söder om Mälaren.

Geography

Södermanland is bordered by Östergötland to the south, Närke to the west, Västmanland to the northwest and Uppland to the north. Södermanland is 8,343 km² in size, and has 1,267,950 inhabitants (2014 figure).

The province consists of the whole of Södermanland County (except for part of Aspö in Strängnäs, which is part of Uppland) and southern parts of Stockholm County (the municipalities of Botkyrka, Haninge, Huddinge, Nykvarn, Nynäshamn, Salem, Södertälje and Tyresö and the majority of Nacka Municipality, the city of Stockholm south of Slussen and Nämdö Parish in Värmdö Municipality).

The province also includes the parishes of Kung Karl and Torpa in Kungsör Municipality, Västmanland County.

The province flower is the white water lily, and the province animal is the osprey.

The Duchy of Södermanland. Click to view a larger map. Source: NE.se

The Duchy of Södermanland. Click to view a larger map. Source: NE.se

History

There have been a number of previous Dukes of Södermanland, including King Oscar I (1799-1859) and Prince Wilhelm (1884-1965). Prince Wilhelm lived on the Stenhammar Estate near Flen.

Of Södermanland's cities, Nyköping, Strängnäs, Torshälla, Trosa and Södertälje date back to the Middle Ages. Nyköping and Strängnäs were certainly towns before the end of the 13th century, while Torshälla was granted town status in 1317 and the latter two had been designated as towns by the end of the 1380s.

Södermanland's province shield. Image: NE.se

Södermanland's province shield. Image: NE.se


The animal on the province shield is a griffin, a heraldic legendary beast with the front end of an eagle and the rear end of a lion. This is thought to refer to the powerful 14th century landowner Bo Jonsson Grip ('grip' is the Swedish word for 'griffin'), who had Gripsholm Castle built and named after his own personal heraldic emblem, the head of a griffin.


Perhaps the best-known rune stone was found as a threshold stone at Gripsholm, and now stands outside the castle. The roughly engraved but well-written wording says:

Photo: B.K. Johansson/SANF

"Tola had this stone raised in memory of her son Harald, Ingvar's brother

They travelled valiantly
far for gold
and in the east
gave food to the eagle.
They died in the south
in Serkland."

According to an Icelandic saga, Ingvar the Far-Travelled led an unsuccessful Viking attack around 1040. The food given to the eagle was the slain enemies.