Finland 1525-1809

War of the Clubs, 1596-1597

A.) Prehistory of the War

Sweden, of which Finland was a province, was ruled by King Sigismund, a Roman Catholic who also was King of Poland and resided in Poland, while in Lutheran Sweden opposition against him was mounting, which soon was to result in his expulsion.
In Finland, a small group of Swedish nobles ruled a population of largely illiterate Finnish peasants. A lengthy war between Sweden and Russia, which had affected Finland especially, as it bordered on Russia, had just been terminated (Peace of Täusina 1595).

B.) The War

The Finnish peasants were upset about the excessive burden placed on them. On November 25th 1596 they took up arms; Governor of Finland Clas Eriksson Fleming lead a force against them; the rebellion was crushed by February 24th 1597.
The war caused 3,000 dead, or about 1.5 % of the population of Finland.

Klubbekriget på Internet, despite title Finnish language site
Swedish language review of Ylikangas, Klubbekriget, from Nordisk Tidskrift, by Henrik Helenius
REFERENCE Heikki Ylikangas, Klubbekriget. Det blodiga bondekriget i Finland 1596-1597 (The War of the Clubs. The Bloody Peasants War in Finland 1596-1597), Lund : Atlantis, 1999, in Swedish

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on July 29th 2003, last revised on November 17th 2004

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