History

How a Swedish spread became a part of New York

We have recently had cause to celebrate here in Sweden. Or in Denmark. Or on the Faroe Islands. You see, some days past it was 375 years since Jonas Bronck bought himself quite a spread just on the outskirts of New Amsterdam, and to this day the area in question still carries his name. The …

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With the attention span of a gnat

When I was a child, dear reader, we had at most two TV channels. (No, it wasn’t black & white, I’m not that old…) In some parts of Sweden, the two Swedish channels were augmented by the Danish single channel. In others, one could peek at Norwegian TV. In the far north, the Finnish channel …

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Swimming with the fishes

Many of us like swimming. Very few of us want to swim with the fishes – at least not for any extended period in time, as reasonably this would mean we are very, very dead. Or mermaids. These days, a majority of the children in the Western world are taught how to swim. Not so …

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The saucy consequences of a naval battle

Yesterday, I treated my family to one of my favourite summer dishes – salt-fried prawns with aioli. I make the aioli myself, and what is not consumed with the prawns is eaten with chunks of bread, dipped in this delicious Spanish sauce that tastes of garlic and oregano. The first time I ever had aioli …

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A footnote in history

In a recent post, I wrote about Margareta of Denmark, a rather impressive woman who ended up as the de facto ruler of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. When Margareta died in 1412, her adopted son Erik of Pommerania took over the reins of government, and I suspect this thirty-year-old man was more than thrilled to be …

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The Funerals of a Prince

Last year for Midsummer, I wrote a little post describing just how we celebrate this the shortest night of the year up here in Scandinavia. Tonight, I am sitting in the late twilight watching the antics of the swifts, and I am preoccupied with the ghost of a long-gone man – or rather his death. …

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The lady with the trousers

Nobody ever called Margareta “the lady with the trousers” to her face. One of her contemporaries was fool enough to call her the “King without breeches” – and she made him bitterly regret doing so. And given that this was back in the 14th century when the general order of things was that men ruled …

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Thomas Seymour, husband to the queen – guest post by Judith Arnopp

Today I have the honour of welcoming Judith Arnopp to my blog. She has visited before (see here) and this time she is back with a post about one of the more intriguing men of the Tudor era, the much maligned Thomas Seymour. This gentleman figures prominently in Judith’s latest book, Intractable Heart. For those of …

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An Amazon in the colonies

For a brief period in history, Sweden was a colonial power. Well, if we’re going to be quite correct, that should be for TWO brief  periods, one in the 17th century (very brief), one longer in the 18th-19th century (almost one hundred years). Let’s leave the latter period to the side for now and concentrate …

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Brotherly love in medieval Sweden

It’s tough being a parent. Even tougher if you were a medieval king, blessed with too many sons. Just look at what happened to poor old England in the aftermath of Edward III, what with him having a number of healthy sons, all of them with their own dynastic ambitions. Maybe things wouldn’t have ended …

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