The Sami (Laplanders) as described in Historic Encyclopedias



Brockhaus 1809-1811, Brockhaus 1834-1838, Brockhaus 1837-1841, Pierer 1857-1865, Meyer 1902-1909





Brockhaus Conversations-Lexikon 1809-1811, Article : Lappland oder Sameland
...
The inhabitants are of average height, mostly brown in colour, refer to themselves as Same, roam around, without agriculture and proper livestock breeding, are not without mechanical skills; their greatest wealth are their reindeers.

source in German, posted by Zeno


Brockhaus Damen-Conversations-Lexikon 1834-1838, Article : Lappen
Northern Norway, Sweden and Russia, the present seat of these people [the Lapps] does not to have belonged to them originally, and it is more than probable, that they used to dwell further to the south and were pushed northward by a more powerful people which moved up from Asia. The Lapps, of very small stature, rarely over 4 feet tall, are of a fine, proportionate physique. By main occupation they are divided in Reindeer and Sea Lapps, also called Mountain, Hunting and Fisher Lapps. The latter live exclusively of catching seals, who provide them with all necessities, as they eat the meat, drink the train oil, make clothes and boats of their skins, thread out of their strings, arrowheads and darts from their bones and teeth, but they leave it to the women and children to catch sea fish with fishing rod or net, which are dried during the short but hot summer, and which are eaten during the winter instead of bread. The lifestyle of the Reindeer Lapps is of more manifold nature. They mainly engage in livestock breeding and hunting, in the southern and central parts of the country also a little grain cultivation. The most important present of their otherwise poor country is the reindeer, which they have domesticated in herds of often more than a thousand animals. Its milk, meat, blood serves them for their nutrition; the latter is mixed with finely grinded birch bark and baked. It serves during the larger part of winter as bread. Clothes are made from their skin, needles made from their bones, threads of their strings, the large, stretchable intestines turned into window panes, their hooves into drinking cups etc. Furthermore, in the mountains live game in abundance, which they kill with arrows or darts, and thus are protected against famine. The total number of Lapps is estimated at 20,000, who live scattered over a large area. In the southern parts of the country, already in May, June and July at night it turns hardly dark, on the longest day the sun does not go down at all, in the northern part the sun stays above the horizon for three months. This permits grain species, plants and bushes, which are not perennial, exceedingly fast, so that they are fully grown aleady seven weeks after having been sown. On the other hand the winters also last 3 quarters of the year, and in it they (i.e. those living in the northernmost part) have uninterrupted night for 3 months, which is brightened up only by very clear moonshine, and by the brightest of all meteors, the northern light [aurora borealis]. Although almost all of them have been converted to Christianity, they still regard in this ray of fire [the northern light] the fury of their ancient gods to whom they have become unfaithful. In recent times Lappland has been organized in parishes, each of which has a priest, who preaches, baptises and marries couples in the language of the Samolaches. As soon as a child is born, two vessels, one with hot and one with cold water, are prepared. The child is immersed in both. If the child survives the sudden change from hot to cold, it is deemed fit, and is baptised. Already at a young age the children have to learn the use of bow and arrow which later needs to nourish them. In order to give them an incentive, their food is placed at a distance, and they are not given it before they hit it with an arrow.
source in German, posted by Zeno


Brockhaus Conversations-Lexikon 1837-1841, Article : Lappland
...
The Lapps, or Sami, as they call themselves, are the inhabitants of the country. They are related to the Finns, small and ugly, but strong and hardy. Their character is a mixture of goodness, irascibility, suspicion, unsociability and honesty. Their wealth is in their herds of reindeer. Their skills they show in the production of their clothes and tools. Reindeer breeding, fishery, hunting are their main occupations; only a few live in the parishes of manual labour and as beggars. By their lifestyle they are divided in Reindeer Lapps, Fish Lapps and Parish Lapps, of whom the former are the most prosperous, the last the poorest and the most despised. There are Reindeer Lapps who own 300 - 400 reindeer. ... The most faithful companion of the Lapp, and with them a guardian of the herd, is the dog, who shares their meal and their camp. Clothing of men and women is almost the same, only that women have more delicate seams on their clothes, and occasionally a particular headdress. The coat is made of sheepskins the wool of which is facing inside, and which occasionally is ornated wih otter fur. The leggings are made from coarse cloth or leather, the backside of coarse skins. The skin of the heads of reindeer provides the shoes, which are filled with straw or moss, and which are tied to the feet. The gloves are of a similar consistance. On top of the aforedescribed coat, which is worn on bare skin, the Lapps have a similar overcoat of coarse cloth or reindeer skin, and in case of severe winter cold to these is added a coat of reindeer skin ... The headdress of the Lapps is mostly a tipped cap which has been made by sewing four pieces of cloth onto each other, with a colourful tassle sewn to the tip, and the rim ornated by fur. In case the weather is bad, they wear a fur cap instead, which covers head and neck in such a way that only the face is unprotected. The Lapp lives in a low, small hut which it held together by four bent sticks, and which is covered with treebark. If the weather is really bad, a piece of sailcloth is covered over it. At the top the hut has an opening through which the smoke escapes, of the fire which burns in the center of the hut. The Lapps customarily put their small children into treetrunks which they had hollowed out, and they carry the children in these containers on their back, or which are hung in a tree. All Lapps confess to Christian faith, but their religious concepts contain much old pagan superstition. They love liquor and smoking, and think their country is the most beautiful land in the world, and they long for it if they are taken elsewhere. In total there are only 8,000, of whom 4,000 live under Swedish rule, 3,000 under Norwegian and 1,000 under Russian rule. In the last century the original inhabitants have been joined by the Quanes, immigrants from Finland and elsewhere, who srongly increase in numbers, while the number of Lapps seems to decline more and more. ...

source in German, posted by Zeno


Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Lappen (3)
Lapps (Lapplanders, or as they refer to themselves, Sami or Samelads), a people of Finnish origin who inhabit Lappland, a country named after them located in the far north of Europe, and who belong in part to Norway, in part to Sweden and in part to Russia. The Lapps are of small stature, they only reach a height of 4 to 5 feet, have a flat-pressed, wide, bleak face, a thin beard, black hair, their body is strong, hardy and very agile. By temper they are vivacious and good-natured, honest, superstitious, faithful, obedient, peace-loving; they have no obvious vices, but neighter any apparent virtues. They display great indifference, but they love their country over any other. The Lapps are skilled in the tanning of skins, the making of threads from the strings of reindeer, the weaving of blankets, knitting of gloves, they make tools of wood, make sleds and boats, make their own clothing. Men and women wear caps, overcoats, long leggings, boots of leather, fur or coarse cloth. In the summer they live in tents, their winter dimiciles are huts made of bent sticks covered by birch twigs and sod. The smoke from the fire in the middle of the hut finds an exit in an airhole in the ceiling. By main occupation the Lapps are divided in (a) the Mountain or Reindeer Lapps who live a nomadic life, move from pasture to pasture with their herds of reindeer, who in the winter take up residence in lower Lappland, but who move to the higher pastures in the summer, where they find more reindeer moss, as well as protection against the mosquitos. The herds of reindeer form the proper and only wealth of the Lapps, and provide them with almost all necessities of life. Some own more than 200, a few over 1000 reindeer. (b) the Forest Lapps, who mainly live of fishery and hunting, and who have the few reindeer they own guarded by the Reindeer Lapps, (c) the Fisher Lapps, who live mainly of fishing, while they may own one or he other reindeer or cow, (d) the Poor Lapps, who either enter the service of others, as herdsmen herding reindeer, or who roam the country.
In addition to fishing, the catching of seals, birds and Eider ducks is a not inconsiderable source of revenue for a number of families; a few Lapps also conduct trade. The total number of the Lapps is given in a range of figures, most of which are too high (up to 28,000); in reality it may not be higher than 10,000. Under Swedish sovereignty are 5,000, under Norway about 3,000 (in Finnmark), under Russia about 2,800, of whom 1,000 fall on Finland, 1844 on Russia proper. The Lapps now are Christians and confess either to Lutheran or to Greek Orthodox faith, but they have retained many remnants of their former idolatry (see religion of the Lapplanders). The language of the Lapps belongs to the Finnish branch of the Altaic family of languages (see Lappish language). The best reports on the Lapps, their land, their traditions and customs, their beliefs and their language in recent times have been provided by Castren.
It is uncertain from where the Lapps originally came, perhaps in the past they and the Finns were one and the same people. The name Lapp seems to be given to them by the Swedes or Finns, in the 11th or 12th century, and originally had a pejoratory meaning. Since King Magnus I. Ladulas (1275), under whom the Swedish Lapplanders were subjected to Swedish rule, attempts have been made to spread Christianity among them, without geting beyond the introduction of baptism and marriage. Since King Gustav I. (since 1524), with more sustained effort it was tried to have hem instructed in Lutheran dogma, and a first Lapponian school was established in the city of Piteå. Under Charles IX. (1600) they were given churches, which were filial churches of adjacent Swedish parishes, until Queen Christina had them supplied with preachers of their own. From this period onward Sweden, by the division of the country in parishes, the establishment of schools and colonies, has attempted to gradually cdivilize the country.
In Finnmark, the former Danish Lappland, Christian IV. (around 1600) pursued a strict policy of extinguishing paganism. The Bishop of Drontheim, Erik Bredahl (1643-1672) and his successors in vain strove to religiously enlighten the Lapps. Olsen, a poor man, at the beginning of the last century spent 14 years in the mountains (Kölen Rock) with converting them, and King Frederik IV (1706) decided to establish a separate mission for their conversion, for the purpose of which after preparations in Copenhagen and Drontheim a seminar was established in Drontheim, and profided with funding (1715/1717). The area of responsibility was extended over all of Finnmark, divided in 13 districts (1720). King Frederik I of Sweden (1748) also was very concerned about the spread of Christianity among the Lapps, but with little success. In 1809 in the Peace of Frederikshamn Sweden had to cede its part of Lappland to Russia, and in 1814 in the Treaty of Kiel was given the Danish part of Lappland. In recent times most of all Stockfleth has gained merit for the conversion of the Lapps.

source in German, posted by Zeno


Nordisk Familje-Bok 1876-1899, Article : Lappar (1885)
The Lapps, a people/race who dwell in the northernmost parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland and European Russia, more or less identical with the people who gave the name to the country. They thus belong to three monarchies, but the following description will focus on the Swedish Lapps.
The Lapps are of small growth, of an average height of 1.5 to 1.6 m, and they appear even smaller in consequence of the condition of their clothing, and because they do not use heels on their shoes. They often walk in a tilted manner and are stooped. The body is proportional, the lower limbs often short. Bowed-leggedness is rather common. The color of the skin is light during the youth, with fair complexion and vivid redness, but it darkens quickly. The hair is not blond, but in most cases brunett. But the colour of the headhair and of the iris changes, but dark, even black, is the most common. On the other hand, the hair is mostly straight, and rougher and more watertight among the men then among the women. It does not even grow to the same length than among the latter. They rarely turn grey, and if they do, later than among the Swedes, baldness is rare. On the remainder of the body there is little growth of hair. In the face it is strongest on the upper lip, then on the chin, the weakest on the cheek; among old women mustaches are not uncommon. The development of the body in general is fine and tender, the Lapps for the most part are slim, probably the consequence of a diet consisting mostly of meat. The muscles are well-developed, especially in the lower limbs; the calfs are especially strong, because of hem walking so much, but also because the Lapps do not use heels. The walk is a light one, with short hasty steps, swaying. On migrations and in other work the Lapps can continue for a long time, but they are not capable of putting up great force; at best they can carry 15 to 17 kg, even if only for a very short time. The eyes usually are deep and seem small .......
The Lapps in general are hospitable insofar as they are willing to provide tent, a place to lie down and warmth, as long as they can afford, but here is where hospitality ends, except in the case of emergency. They are cheerful and talkative, if they have not become gloomy because of religious sectarianism. A bit cold, quiet and careful when a stranger enters the tent, even if he is from his own race, the Lapp quickly loosens and talks lively. He is curious and inquisitive. He is quick in question and answer and rather witty, even bitingly. Nicknames are not only common, often they are so fitting that they follow the person throughout the entire life. Occasionally such a nickname has been so attached to the person, that, because of the unfamiliarity of the court with the language, it was used in the court records, even that it appears as a family name in the parish marriage, baptism and burial registers. When Lapps meet in larger groups, they entertain themselves with chat, games, dance and song. Contact between the young of both genders is free and unhindered. In the bedsteads the adults, children and servants lie together. The usual consequences appear, but in general the Lapps have high ethical standards.
The Lapp is thrifty, if not stingy. Wealth, most of all in reindeer, is the largest, if not the only criterion determining one's reputation. Rarely one supplies a service without compensation, and very wealthy Lapps do not shy away from begging the visitor or visited for what they like. The Lapp used to convert his money in silver, which he buried in the ground, occasionally without being able to find it back. Now he likes to deposit it in a bank or lends it for interest. A large share is invested in increasing the herd, less willingly in silver jewelry for the wife, tobacco and the indispensible coffee.
If he wants, or if it is necessary, the Lapp in his work can be very fast, but in other cases time has no value for him, and he wastes time in the execution of a task, while packing, with taking care of the reindeer, in one word : until he gets into gear, for Non-Lapps much remains to be proven. If it comes to a journey it is best to leave him and rise early. If he misses tobacco or something similar, he will follow shortly after. But what task he has taken upon him he executes according to the best of his ability.
Honesty is one of the Lapp's common virtues. maybe because in many situations it is a necessity for him. He can not read more than short texts, and in the open country often has to leave behind tools, food or something else. If these goods left behind are touched and removed by theft, this could have the most dangerous consequences. One may freely enter an unoccupied dwelling, may use the household tools, in case of emergency even food, but one has to leave everything behind in order and has to compensate for what one has damaged or taken. Finding the culprit should not cause any difficulty, if a damage has been done or a violation been committed. But occasionally in certain areas the theft of reindeer is committed, and at the same time difficult to prove in court. Because in partly because the reindeer is the Lapp's most desired property, partly in response to pressure, the Lapps watch out for reindeer theft. This is committed by professional reindeer thieves, mostly Non-Lapps.
The Lapp is self-centered, stubborn and suspicious, but at the same time good-natured. Long-lasting animosity and hatred are rare, perhaps because Lapps are afraid and often have to live lonely in the wilderness. There are no paths, but the direction of the journey is almost always the same. It should therefore be easy to surprise them unnoticed. This good-naturedness also showed itself long before the introduction of Christianity in their concern for women and children. The relation between the parents in general is good, and they spoil their children as few others do.
The women participate in all tasks of the men, according to their power, but deal with no hard work, work outside mostly falls to the man. In regard to taking care of the reindeer, men and young women share the work. The men catch and hold cows, women milk them. Noteworthy is that cooking is mainly done by the man, which, without a doubt, is based on old religious tradition. The woman alone does all sewing. Servants are treated equally to the older children.
The Lapps, who by the Danes and Norwegians are called Finns, in their own language are called Same or Sabme (plural Sameh) or Same-late, which has the same roots as the name the Finns apply to themselves, Suoma-laisset, and the Soom-lasse of the Estonians. The word "Lapp", without a doubt, is of Finnish origin; the Finnish word "lappaan" means to move from here to here, to roam around. A nomadic life had always characterized the Lapps, more in the past than in the last 50 years. The differences in lifestyle which became apparent in this period caused scholars to divide the Lapps since the 1830s into certain groups, in Sweden and Finland into Highland, Forest and Fisher Lapps (in Finland there are only a few Forest Lapps), in Norway, Sea, Highland and River Lapps. In Russia, almost exclusively Fisher and Sea Lapps are found. A smaller number of Reindeer Lapps appears in the northwest, toward Norway. But this division is artificial; it is motivated entirely by the natural conditions under which they make a living, or based on purely personal conditions. There are no inner, deeper differences.
Originally a nomad, with the reindeer as the only domesticated animal and with the dog as his helper, the genuine Lapp now wanders since ancient times forward and back, over long distances, at times which are determined by reindeer moss and by tradition, in part also by the temperature and by the mosquitos. A little more vivid life, migrations over longer distances, once up to the highland, once down to the bank of the lake or to the sea, characterizes the Highland Lapp, almost exclusively living of reindeer breeding. A less mobile life, less extended migrations, and these below the plateau, caused by the opportunity to engage in other activities such as hunting and fishing, characterises the Forest Lapps. If the Lapp is not tied to large herds of reindeer, near the water where fishery is rewarding the year round, where there is even the opportunity to raise cattle, there he settles down near a river, which also is the summer route connecting the sea and the lower plateau, he becomes a River Lapp. If the Lapp, by another reason, is driven down to the sea with its large fish, or he visits a land rich in seas and fish, which lacks sufficient summer pasture for the necessary number of reindeer, or if he finds himself losing animals because the wolf killed his reindeer, or due to any other disaster or by his own fault, or if his religion (such as in Russian Lappmark) changes his diet for the largest part of the year, he takes on hunting and fishery as his main occupation, he becomes a Sea or Fisher Lapp. But if fate improves his situation, he returns to the life of a nomadic Lapp, or more commonly as a farming and cattle raising settler in Sweden, as a coastall resident with a fixed house in Norway. The Highland and Forest Lapps are still nomads, more so the former. The Fisher Lapps in their lifestyle form the transition from the Lapp type. The Highland Lapps, organized in "towns", still migrate regularly on the same paths for 300 years through forests and valleys, over the highland or at least onto it. Their territory consists of all Swedish Lappmarks, and of the larger part of Norway's Finnmark as well as of a smaller part of Finland's Lappmark. In the southern parts of Swedish Lappmarks, Lapps move down from the highland to the vicinity of the Botten. They also go sometimes, in the northern part of Swedish Lappmark regularly, across the mountains to the western or northern sea, and on later journeys in a passage to Köngaämä River, across the Finnish-Russian border, but now to a lesser extent than they used to, when they still had permission to do so. The Forest Lapps belong to the middle stretch of northern Sweden, from south to north, the Sea Lapps mainly the Norwegian and Murmansk coasts, the River Lapps mainly dwell on the large Norwegian rivers in the north, the Alten, Tana and Pasvig Rivers, and the Russian Kola River. Fisher Lapps in general are found everywhere, especially concentrated on the lakes, small and large, where they are found, from Röros in Norway and Storsjön near Helagsfjället in Härjedalen (at about 62 1/2 degrees northern latitude, 30 degrees eastern longitude) to Lake Enare in Finland (69 degrees northern latitude, 46 degrees eastern longitude).
It is representative as a nomad where the Lapp shows his proper ethnic characteristics. He does so by his peculiar domesticated animal, the reindeer, with which he lives night and day. From the reindeer he gains all he needs. He consumes the blood, meat, intestines and marrow; the skin is used for shoes and clothing, which is sewn with the strings; bones and horns are turned into tools or ornaments; of what is left a soup is cooked (mostly consumed by the dogs) or glue is extracted of it. ... Only by selling reindeer products (skins, meat, cheese, glue) the Lapp can obtain what he needs from others : cloth (mostly woolen), salt, coffee, tobacco. ....

source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg


Meyers Grosses Konversations-Lexikon 1902-1909, Article : Lappland
...
The original inhabitants are the Lapps, to which about 10,000 coloniss have to be added. The Lapps, who call themselves Same, Sabme or Samelad, a name which is connected with that of the Finns, Surmalaiset, while they regard the former name as derogatory, belong to the Finno-Ugric branch of peoples, but in regard to the shape of their bodies they differ greatly from the Finns. They are much smaller than the other inhabitants of Scandinavia, and of Europe in general, he men on average 1.53 m tall, the women 1.47 m. Since olden days they inhabit the far north down to 63 degrees northern latitude. This line they only crossed in the 17th and 18th century. Since about 1880 they advanced into the high plateaus of Norway, down to 59 degrees northern latitude, but they are already on the retreat. Among the Lapps on the coast, who live exclusively of fishery and as pilots, according to Bastian the confinement to sitting in narrow canoes over many generations has lead to a weakening of the body and a shortening of the legs, but to strengthened arm muscles and elongated arms. Their face is wide with a tipped chin, large mouth, protruding jawbones, wide nose, narrowly slit, horizontal eyes. Their hair is dark brown and plain, the colour of their faces yellowish. The main vice of the Lapplanders long has been alcoholism; already in 1723 in the Scandinavian laws strict laws against the sale of liquor to the Lapps have been enacted. Their intellectual potential is not great, but many of them can read and write. As pagans, the Lapps conducted sacrifices to their gods on mountain tops, on islands and in caves. The sacrifices mostly consisted of reindeer. They had no priests, but magicians and soothsayers who exercised great influence. Now all confess Christian faith, the Scandinavian and Finnish Lapps are Lutherans, the Russian Lapps, i.e. the inhabitants of Kola peninsula, are Russian Orthodox. The former have a rudimentary religious literature, among all of them superstition still is of great importance. If, which is not rare, they are inspirited by religious movement, they turn into irate fanatics. Originally the Lapps were a people of hunters and fishers who had no other domesticated animal beside the dog.
The language of the Lapps, rich in flexions and in case forms, belongs to the Finno-Ugric group of the Ural-Altaic family of languages. Grammars were composed by Possart (Stuttgart 1840), Stockfleth (Christiania 1850), Friis (Christiania 1856), a "Laut- und Formenlehre der lulalappischen Dialekte" Wiklund (Stockholm 1891). Dictionaries Stockfleth (Christiania 1850), Friis (Christiania 1885-1887), with Formenlehre, the latter also has been published separately, and Genetz (Helsingfors 1891).
According to their lifestyle the Lapps are divided in Reindeer or Mountain Lapps, the Forest Lapps and the Fisher, Coast or Sea Lapps. The latter make up the larger number and are more civilized than the others. The Mountain Lapps live a nomadic life as they roam with their herds of reindeer. They are the Lapps' only wealth, provide him with all necessities of life, food as well as clothing. But in order to sustain a family, a large number of these animals is necessary; who does not own at least 100 animals has to join somebody else's herd, and thus becomes a servant of the owner of that herd. In order to be regarded independent and prosperous one needs a herd of 300 to 500 animals. But as the area which the Lapps used to cross with their herds has been considerably reduced by the advance of the agricultural population of Norway, and still is, many of the poorer Lapps have been forced to give up nomadic life, to take up fishery in rivers and lakes as well as on the coast, and to take up hunting, which also is conducted by the Reindeer Lapps. They have learned from the Scandinavian peoples how to tame reindeer; their word for taming is of Germanic origin (dahmat, daman). While the Forest and Fisher Lapps for the most part have taken over the style of clothing and housing from Norwegian, Swedish and Russian peasants, the Reindeer Lapps mostly have preserved their old traditions. They tan skins, turn reindeer strings into threads, weave blankets, produce wooden tools, boats, sleds and necessary pieces of clothing. The dress does not differ much by gender. It consists of a fur coat, hoses, shoes, and depending on the season, of a reindeer skin, felt or course cloth. ..
At the beginning of the warm season the Reindeer Lapps move onto the high plateau, from where they return in the fall with their burdened reindeer into the lower country rich in forests. The summer tent consists of a skeleton of poles covered by reindeer skin. The winter tent is more stable, covered on the inside with reindeer skin, on the outside with sod. It often is snowed in completely. The few villages inhabited by sedentary Lapps consist of huts made of earth and timber, which are scattered around a wooden church. The number of Lapps is constantly declining, but this decline has to be explained by assimilation into the neighboring nations. Presently one counts about 33,000 Lapps, of whom 21,000 in Norway.
See : Völker- und Sprachenkarte von Europa (Vol.6), Stockfleth, Bidrag til Kundskab om Finnerne i Norge (1878), Helms, Lappland und die Lappländer, Leipzig 1868, G. von Düben, Lappland und die Lappen (1872), Aubel, Reise nach Lappland (Leipzig 1874), Friis, Lappisk Mythologi, Eventyr og Folkesegn (Christiania 1871) and Laila, Schilderungen aus Lappland (in German Leipzig 1886), Nemiromitch-Dantschenko, Lappland und die Lappländer, Petersburg 1876, Donner, Lieder der Lappen, Helsingfors 1876, Ecker, Lappland und die Lappländer, Freiburg 1878, Poestion, Lappländische Märchen, Volkssagen etc., Wien 1885, Passarge, Fahrten in Schweden, besonders in Nordschweden und Lappland, Berlin 1897, on the mission history of the Lapps H. Hamond, Den nordiske Missions Historie, Copenhagen 1787, J. Vahl, Lapperne og den lapske Mission, Copenhagen 1865, D. Thrap, Thomas v. Westen, Christiania 1862, Qvigstad and Wiklund, Bibliographie der lappischen Literatur 1900. Friis provided a detailed ethnographic map of the Lapps.

source in German, posted by Zeno








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First posted on May 3rd 2009

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