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TBR News July 12, 2018

Jul 11 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8

Washington, D.C. July 12, 2018: ” Trump Supporter Engineering Exam

  1. Calculate the smallest limb diameter on a persimmon tree that will support a 10-pound possum.
  2. Which of the following cars will rust out the quickest when placed on blocks in your front yard? 66 Ford Fairlane, 69 Chevrolet Chevelle, 64 Pontiac GTO.
  3. If your uncle builds a still that operates at a capacity of 20 gallons of shine per hour, how many car radiators are necessary to condense the product?
  4. A woodcutter has a chain saw that operates at 2700 rpm. The density of the pine trees in a plot to be harvested is 470 per acre. The plot is 2.3 acres in size. The average tree diameter is 14 inches. How many Budweisers will it take to cut the trees?
  5. If every old refrigerator in the state vented a charge of R-12 simultaneously, what would be the decrease in the ozone layer?
  6. A front porch is constructed of 2×8 pine on 24-inch centers with a field rock foundation. The span is 8 feet and the porch length is 16 feet. The porch floor is 1-inch rough sawn pine. When the porch collapses, how many hound dogs will be killed?
  7. A man owns a Tennessee house and 3.7 acres of land in a hollow with an average slope of 15%. The man has 5 children. Can each of the children place a mobile home on the man’s land?
  8. A 2-ton truck is overloaded and proceeding 900 yards down a steep grade on a secondary road at 45 mph. The brakes fail. Given the average traffic on secondary roads, what are the chances that it will strike a vehicle that has a muffler?
  9. A coalmine operates a NFPA Class 1, Division 2 Hazardous Area. The mine employs 120 miners per shift. A gas warning is issued at the beginning of 3rd shift. How many cartons of unfiltered Camels will be smoked during the shift?
  10. At a reduction in gene pool variability rate of 7.5% per generation, how long will it take a town that has been bypassed by the interstate to breed a country-western singer?
  11. An Alabama redneck passed away and left his entire estate in trust for his beloved widow. She can’t touch it until she’s 14.

The Table of Contents

  • Why Europe Will Ignore Trump’s Wrath Over Nord Stream 2
  • Trump: How much of Germany’s gas comes from Russia?
  • ‘Make them pariahs’: how shaming Trump aides became a resistance tactic
  • Trump and Brexit Have Chaos in Common — A Symptom of Political Self-Harm
  • Coastal Cities Race to Keep Tabs on Rising Seas, Skyrocketing Costs
  • Where did the Finns come from? 

 Why Europe Will Ignore Trump’s Wrath Over Nord Stream 2

July 11, 2018

Sputnik International

There are clear signs that European countries are unlikely to tear up their energy cooperation agreements with Russia, regardless of Donald Trump’s vocal dissatisfaction, especially when it comes to the Nord Stream 2 project, which involves all the major European gas and oil giants.

Berlin is unlikely to cave in to Washinton’s pressure, Sergei Kalashnikov, first deputy chair of the Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy, told Sputnik, commenting on US President Donald Trump’s recent attacks on Nord Stream 2.

“It’s pretty clear for everyone that at the core of [Trump’s] statement lie the commercial interests of American businesses,” Kalashnikov underscored. “The US is trying to palm its own liquefied gas — which is far more expensive than Russian natural gas — off on Germany and Europe in general.”

Earlier on July 11, the US president subjected Berlin to harsh criticism during his breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the US Embassy in Brussels. According to Trump, it’s inappropriate that Germany is “making massive oil and gas deals with Russia.”

He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is a chairman of the board of Nord Stream AG, an operator of pipelines delivering gas from Russia to Germany. Apparently, the US president was not aware of the fact that the pipeline project was initially proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Schroeder in 2005

We are supposed to protect you against Russia but they [Germany and other European countries] are paying billions to Russia,” the US president said. “Germany is totally controlled by Russia.”

German Chancellor Angela immediately responded to Trump’s remark: “I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union. I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany. Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions.”

“We are not prisoners, neither of Russia nor of the United States. We are one of the guarantors of the free world and that will stay that way,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on the sidelines of a NATO summit.

For his part, Jens Stoltenberg urged Trump to keep the Russian gas pipeline project out of the NATO summit agenda

“There are different views on the Nord Stream pipeline, that’s well known,” Stoltenberg said, as quoted by Forbes. “But it’s not for NATO to decide, this is a national position.”

The Trump administration has repeatedly attacked the Nord Stream 2 endeavor, even threatening to impose sanctions on European energy giants involved in the project, namely, ENGIE, OMV, Shell, Uniper and Wintershall.

Washington’s two main arguments against the project are European energy security, and Ukraine’s potential economic losses. However, neither holds water

Moscow was supplying gas to Western Europe even during the Cold War regardless of the Reagan administration’s vocal displeasure. USSR-European cooperation did not undermine NATO’s security, but in some sense facilitated the thaw between the two rival blocs.

On the other hand, the Kremlin has repeatedly highlighted that the Ukrainian route will continue operating if it corresponds with the economic interests of the parties involved.

‘Europe Will Continue Ignoring US Sanctions’

In May 2018, Forbes economic observer Kenneth Rapoza predicted that Europe would continue ignoring Trump’s sanctions on Nord Stream 2 no matter what.

“Gazprom was sanctioned by Obama in July 2014, but not by Europe. Europe relies on Gazprom as its chief foreign source of natural gas,” Rapoza wrote. “This is particularly true in Germany, where Russian gas accounts for nearly a third of supply.”

The journalist recalled that in August 2017, Washington had introduced discretionary sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and in February 2018 added Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller to its sanctions list. “But Europe is not giving up on them. Not the French. Not the Germans. Not the Brits, either,” the economic observer highlighted.

As of yet, Denmark remains the only European state that hasn’t given the “green light” to the pipeline’s construction in its territorial waters. Earlier, Germany, Finland, and Sweden provided Nord Stream 2 AG, the pipeline’s operator, with the necessary permits.

Presumably, Copenhagen’s hesitance could be explained by Washington’s pressure. However, Gazprom has already signaled that it has a Plan B if the Danish authorities try to stop the construction of the pipeline.

“The construction of the Nord Stream 2 offshore section will begin in strict accordance with the schedule, in the summer of this year…. Yes, there is still a problem with receiving a permission from Denmark. But there is also a plan in place for solving this issue,” Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller told the press on June 29, adding that Gazprom’s gas exports to Europe may reach a figure of at least 205 billion cubic meters in 2018.


Trump: How much of Germany’s gas comes from Russia?

July 11, 2018

by Reality Check team

BBC News

The claim: Germany imports 60% to 70% of its energy from Russia.

Reality Check verdict: Germany relies on Russia for most of its imports of natural gas. But gas makes up less than 20% of Germany’s energy mix for power production.

At a Nato summit, US President Donald Trump criticised Germany for importing so much of its gas from Russia while expecting the US to pay to protect it from Russia.

“Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting from 60% to 70% of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline,” he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has responded by saying that having had experience of a time when part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union, she is now confident that the whole country is independent.

Mr Trump is right that Germany relies on Russia for most of its gas imports. Eurostat estimates that Russia is responsible for between 50% and 75% of Germany’s gas imports.

The commodities brokerage Marex Spectron told Reality Check that about 60% of Germany’s gas was imported from Russia, with most of the rest coming from Norway.

But that does not mean that 60% of Germany’s energy comes from Russia – Germany’s energy mix for power production is about 40% coal, more than 30% renewables, less than 20% gas and 10% nuclear, according to Marex Spectron.

The country is trying to reduce its use of coal and cut out nuclear altogether, which means its use of gas and renewables is likely to increase.

Some of the extra gas is likely to come from Russia as a result of the building of a new pipeline under the Baltic Sea called Nord Stream 2, which Mr Trump referred to.

The German government has stressed that the €9.5bn ($11.1bn; £8.4bn) pipe from Russia to Germany is being funded by private companies and that no German taxpayer money will be spent on building it.

Nonetheless, President Trump pointed out that former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was involved in the leadership of the project.

But even with the new pipeline, the use of gas in Germany will not increase by nearly enough to mean 60% to 70% of energy will be coming from Russia.


‘Make them pariahs’: how shaming Trump aides became a resistance tactic

After another week saw leading Republicans accosted in public places, many on the left are arguing that harassment is legitimate

July 11, 2018

by Sam Wolfson

The Guardian

The day after Sarah Sanders was asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia, Maxine Waters, the representative for the California 43rd who has become a leader of the anti-Trump resistance within Congress, addressed a rally in Los Angeles. Up until that point, national Democratic leaders had mostly urged respectful protest in response to the Trump administration.

“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up,” she said to cheers from the crowd. “And if you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome any more, anywhere.”

In the days that followed, other leading Democrats, among them Nancy Pelosi and David Axelrod, distanced themselves from the comments and called for civility. Trump personally attacked Waters, calling her an “extraordinarily low IQ person”. But Waters gave voice, and perhaps legitimacy, to what has become a prominent form of activism since Trump took office: accosting members of his team in public places.

Over the weekend, Steve Bannon was called “a piece of trash” by a heckler at a bookstore; a bartender gave Stephen Miller the middle finger, apparently causing Miller to throw away $80 of sushi he’d just bought in disgust; and Mitch McConnell was chased out of a restaurant in Kentucky by protesters, who followed him to this car yelling “turtle head” and “we know where you live”.

These follow similar encounters for other members of Trump’s top team. The homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, was confronted by protesters chanting “shame” while she ate at a Mexican restaurant. Last week, Scott Pruitt was accosted by Kristin Mink while he was eating lunch. Mink, a teacher, held her two-year-old child as she asked him to resign “before your scandals push you out”. Days later, Pruitt did resign, and although he was probably asked to do so by Trump, in his letter he cited “the unrelenting attacks on me” as his reason for leaving.

After each case, the merits of such an approach have been debated – many have called for civility or argued that protesters leave themselves open to attack if they pursue Trump-like techniques. There has been some consensus that encounters like Mink’s, which are eloquent and non-aggressive, are more acceptable than when protesters chant personal attacks or use threatening language.

Yet while their morality is debated, there is an overall feeling, including from the targets of the attacks, that these encounters have created exactly what Waters was advocating, a feeling that those who chose to work with Trump are “not welcome” in many parts of society.

“Public shaming of Trump regime officials isn’t just useful, it’s a moral imperative in these difficult times,” says Markos Moulitsas, the founder of Daily Kos and the author of last year’s The Resistance Handbook: 45 Ways to Fight Trump, which offers practical advice for protesters and advocacy groups. “We have a Republican party that has surrendered to the Russians, encourages white supremacists and Nazis, separates families, and locks up children in cages, and we’re supposed to treat these people as respected members of society? We have no choice but to turn them all into pariahs, now and forever into the future.”

It doesn’t hurt the cause that each occurrence of shaming is reported widely. At a time when every weekend marks another rally or march, it’s often difficult for protest movements to get media attention. But addressing members of the cabinet or leading Republicans directly, particularly if there is accompanying video footage, is a near-certain way to ensure a protest makes an impact.

A number of the incidents, including those involving Pruitt and Bannon, have also involved female protesters addressing male politicians, notable considering how much of the anti-Trump movement has been led by women. Emma Gray, author of A Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance, a book that seeks to capitalize on the political energy of the Women’s March, agrees that this is a positive way to protest. “We’re way past hand-wringing over ‘civility in a democracy’ when basic human rights are at stake. There’s nothing ‘civil’ about stripping away women’s access to reproductive healthcare or ripping children away from their parents at the border with no plan to reunite them.”

Most establishment Democrats are telling protesters not to harass members of the administration. The minority leader, Chuck Schumer, made a speech on the Senate floor calling for civility following Waters’ comments, saying: “If you disagree with a politician, organize your fellow citizens to action, and vote them out of office, but no one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That’s not right – that’s not American.”

The ACLU, which has helped organize many of the major Trump resistance efforts, has also said that Sanders should have been allowed to eat at the Red Hen restaurant. In a statement on their website, it said Sanders had the same rights to eat at the Red Hen as the gay couple who wanted a wedding cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop, arguing that “once one chooses to operate a business open to the public, one takes on at least a moral – and often a legal – obligation to adhere to the norms that underlie the very definition of ‘public’. When a business turns away a customer, whether it’s the Red Hen refusing service to Sanders, or Masterpiece Cakeshop refusing service to Charlie Craig and David Mullins, it says, ‘You aren’t a legitimate member of the public.’”

For Moulitsas, though, that’s exactly the point. Excluding Trump officials from the public sphere is a powerful political tool. He says it’s up to Trump officials to decide whether destroying other people’s lives is worth the public shame. “None of them should ever be allowed to have a peaceful meal in public, unless they want to spend all their time in rural flyover country they pretend to love so much. They are destroying lives every single day, literally killing people in many cases, so they don’t get to be treated like royalty. They need to be confronted with the reality of their choices.”


Trump and Brexit Have Chaos in Common — A Symptom of Political Self-Harm

July 11, 2018

by Mehdi Hasan

The Intercept

Quiz question: Can you guess which country I’m in right now?

A few clues: Politics here are in utter chaos. A controversial member of the cabinet has resigned. There’s constant speculation about the future of the nation’s leader. Talk of trade wars dominates the headlines. Businesses are threatening to up and leave. Migrants have been abused and deported. Racism and xenophobia are on the rise. And the country’s reputation on the international stage fades by the day.

If you guessed the United States, you’d be wrong — but I wouldn’t blame you. I’m in the United Kingdom this week, and there seem to be eerie echoes of Donald Trump’s America almost everywhere.

For Trump himself, read Brexit.

For Scott Pruitt, read Boris Johnson.

For Harley-Davidson, read Airbus.

For U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids and the separation of migrant families, read the Windrush scandal.

I could go on and on. Thanks to Brexit, “Theresa May’s premiership has been a rolling series of crises,” declared the Financial Times on Tuesday. Whose presidency does that remind you of? “In 2016, the British people voted on an abstract question with virtually no knowledge of what it meant in practice,” thundered the Irish Times on Monday, referring to the fallout from the referendum on leaving the European Union. Again, sound familiar?

But should we really be surprised? Both the Brexit vote in the U.K. and — less than six months later — the presidential election of Donald Trump in the United States were unparalleled and unprecedented acts of political, social, and economic self-harm. Both have become bywords for dysfunction, disunity, and dishonesty. And every passing week brings new evidence of the sheer blatantness and shamelessness with which the president of the United States and the leaders of the “leave” camp are just making it up as they go along. The attendant chaos, therefore, is not a bug, it’s a feature; Trump and Brexit have chaos in common.

Who’d have guessed that voting for a reality TV star with a long history of bankrupting his businesses, stiffing his contractors, and defrauding his customers, and with zero knowledge or understanding of public policy, macroeconomics, or international affairs, would be fundamentally incapable of leading or governing the world’s only superpower?

Who’d have imagined that voting to quit the biggest single market on earth — and the country’s largest export market in goods — in proud defiance of the economic experts, and without a clear plan or exit strategy, would result in political and economic disarray?

Well, a fair few of us, actually. The dire consequences of Trump and Brexit were entirely predictable — and predicted.

The irony is that Trump himself, earlier this week, referring to the ongoing British government divisions over whether to have a “hard” or “soft” Brexit, and the dramatic resignation of his “friend,” the former foreign secretary and arch-Brexiteer, Boris Johnson, talked of “turmoil” in the U.K. and a “situation that’s been going on for a long time.”

Yet the president has been bent on loudly and publicly aligning himself with Brexit for a while. He bizarrely dubbed himself “Mr. Brexit” and told his supporters that they were part of an “incredible movement” that is “sweeping across our country, it’s sweeping frankly across the globe. Look at Brexit, look at Brexit.” He praised the “fantastic” decision to leave the EU and said he thought the U.K. was “so smart in getting out.”

“I really do see a parallel between what’s happening in the United States and what’s happening here,” the then-Republican presidential candidate told reporters on a visit to his Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, the day after the Brexit referendum.

For once, I can’t help but agree with The Donald. There are clear parallels between the election of the 45th president of the United States and the historic vote to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union — but they aren’t the ones Trump thinks they are.

These parallels relate to illiberalism and authoritarianism; nationalism and racism; anti-intellectualism and anti-elitism. The votes in favor of both Brexit and Trump, for example, had much less to do with economic anxiety or poverty, and much more to do with cultural anxiety and racial resentment.

Both Brexit and Trump profited not only from the demonization of immigrants — especially from Syria — but also from subtle anti-Semitism and naked Islamophobia. Both have resulted in a “stark increase” in racism, intolerance, and hate crimes against minorities and people of color.

Both were based on attacking “experts” and “facts” while dismissing key democratic institutions, such as an independent judiciary and a free press, as “enemies of the people.”

Both were presented as populist revolts by globalization’s losers, despite being pushed by billionaires; despite “no consistent proof” that populist voters are “more likely to be unemployed, have lower incomes, come from lower classes or hold a lower education”; and despite alleged Russian involvement, behind the scenes, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Of course, there were a few reasonable arguments in favor of Brexit, while there were none whatsoever in favor of the loathsome Trump. Nevertheless, there is one glaring, monumental, and deeply depressing difference between the two which makes me pity my fellow Brits much more than my American colleagues and neighbors. Trump is president of the United States for a maximum of six more years. But Brexit, well … that’s forever.


Coastal Cities Race to Keep Tabs on Rising Seas, Skyrocketing Costs

July 11, 2018

by Dana Drugmand

Climate Liability News

Major coastal cities—from New York and Boston to San Francisco and smaller communities like Imperial Beach, Calif.—are already preparing for a potentially perilous future because of sea level rise.

But even though these cities have spent years assessing their risks, and found price tags that run into the billions to adapt, new studies of Antarctic ice loss and coastal real estate risk suggest they may be far underestimating the costs that lie ahead.

A recent study published in the journal Nature found that the rate of Antarctic ice loss has tripled in the past five years. That means sea level rise could sink more than 300,000 U.S. coastal residential and commercial properties (worth approximately $117.5 billion) by 2045, according to an analysis also published recently by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

It left open the major question of how cities can keep their risk assessments in line with science as it continually develops. Several of these cities are suing fossil fuel companies to help pay for climate adaptation because that price tag keeps getting higher.

“The costs of adaptation are currently estimated in the billions of dollars, which is why we are seeking to recover damages from the defendants whose products caused harm to New York City,” said Dan Zarrilli, chief resilience officer for the New York City mayor’s office.

New York City filed a public nuisance lawsuit against the five largest oil companies in January and awaits a federal judge’s ruling on the oil companies’ motion to dismiss.

According to the UCS report, New York ranks third in the nation for most homes at risk by the end of the century. The report’s high sea level rise scenario projects an average of 1.9 feet of sea level rise for New York by 2045 and 7 feet by 2100.

Zarrilli said the city continually evaluates new information as sea level rise science continuously evolves.

“Since 2010, New York City has relied on the best available science as developed and peer-reviewed by the New York City Panel on Climate Change, which continues to assess new climate projections,” he said. “All of the City’s resiliency investments take into account this evolving science and are being planned for continued adaptation as projections may change.”

Climate Liability News reached out to several other coastal cities’ representatives to find out how they are preparing for sea level rise and handling new data and changing projections.


At a recent International Mayors Climate Summit in Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh spoke of the “huge challenge” of sea level rise and mentioned several of the city’s resiliency initiatives. “Sea level rise is adding to the urgency here in Boston,” he said.

“The city conducted its own vulnerability assessment in 2016 and is committed to updating it as science evolves,” said Lauren Zingarelli, director of communications in the Mayor’s Office of Environment, Energy, and Open Space. “We’re currently focused on protecting those neighborhoods most at-risk to future sea-level rise, such as building a deployable floodwall across one of the parks in East Boston.”

Currently, the city is using a projection of 40 inches of sea level rise in the medium to long term.

Boston’s climate resiliency and adaptation initiative, called Climate Ready Boston, includes a process to continuously review the best available climate science. A team of regional climate scientists—the Boston Research Advisory Group (BRAG)—has developed a Climate Projection Consensus report. It details the city’s vulnerability to four climate impacts: extreme temperatures, sea level rise, extreme precipitation and coastal storms. BRAG said it reviews the most recent available data on climate change and borrows emissions scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“We plan to reconvene this group every five years to look at the most updated science and reports, and then re-submit the report to the city and see if there’s any changes that the city needs to be making to those projections in the short or long term,” said Mia Mansfield, Climate Ready’s program manager.

Mansfield said that building developers in vulnerable areas are required to include an extra 1 or 2 feet elevation to account for potential higher sea level. “We’re adding in a level of extra safety and extra buffer,” she said, adding that the 40-inch prediction “is a likely scenario that we can anticipate across the different carbon emissions pathways.”

This may not be the number the city always uses in the future, but it is the best estimate for now to inform adaptation planning. “As the science continues to change we’ll reconvene our scientific advisory group and reassess,” Mansfield said.

While the city does not have a total cost for sea level rise adaptation, it has estimated the costs of neighborhood-specific projects. The deployable sea wall in East Boston is expected to cost $100,000. Elevating main streets in Charlestown is projected to cost $2-3 million.

“It’s going to be expensive, but you have to counter that by looking at the benefits of doing this work, the avoided losses and the investments that can be made into neighborhoods at the same time,” Mansfield said.

Imperial Beach

Situated on the southern tip of San Diego Bay and about 11 miles south of San Diego, the city of Imperial Beach is already experiencing flooding and coastal erosion. The city is surrounded by water on three sides, making it especially vulnerable as sea level rises. The city’s vulnerability analysis has a high-end sea level rise scenario of 6.5 feet by 2100.

The city was one of the first group of California cities to file a suit in state court against the fossil fuel industry to pay for damages related to climate change. It joined with San Mateo and Marin counties to sue 37 fossil fuel companies last year. The latest ruling in the case, keeping it in state court, is currently being appealed by the companies.

Mayor Serge Dedina said the city has projected adaptation costs on the beachfront side alone will surpass $100 million, and he expects them to keep rising.

Dedina said he is aware of the recent NASA study on Antarctic ice loss and keeps abreast of developments in sea level rise science to guide policy efforts. He said the city’s Local Coastal Plan—a state-mandated policy document for coastal planning that includes sea level rise responses—is currently being updated.

According to Dedina, the city’s sea level rise response planning “is already in high gear.” It has worked with other vulnerable coastal cities to develop resilient infrastructure projects. It is also seeking a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers for emergency beach replenishment.

“We’re being diligent and taking steps to be prepared, but we recognize that protecting our city will also require regional solutions that aren’t yet in place,”  Dedina said.

“The most expensive responsive measures undertaken in Imperial Beach so far are large beach nourishment projects undertaken by other agencies, including the State of California,” Dedina said. “Costs to Imperial Beach will increase as its responsive measures get underway.”

San Francisco

Climate adaptation and sea level rise planning is also well underway in the San Francisco Bay Area—a coastal area highly vulnerable to climate impacts and a hotspot for climate liability lawsuits. In addition to the counties of Marin and San Mateo, the cities of Oakland, Richmond, and San Francisco have sued fossil fuel companies seeking compensation for climate impacts. The Oakland and San Francisco lawsuits were recently dismissed by a federal judge and the cities have not yet announced whether they will appeal.

The municipal planners, however, can’t wait for resolution to the lawsuit and are preparing for sea level rise adaptation. Maggie Wenger of the San Francisco Planning Department oversaw the city’s Local Coastal Program amendment, and as with Imperial Beach, San Francisco’s LCP specifically addresses coastal erosion and sea level rise.

Wegner said the city is currently projecting up to 6 feet of sea level rise, plus another 3.5 feet in the case of an extreme flood event.

“The 2018 update to the state’s SLR Guidance includes unlikely but much more extreme scenarios, including accelerating Antarctic ice loss,” Wenger said. “The city is beginning the process of incorporating the new guidance (up to 10 feet of SLR in 2100) in our mapping and planning processes.”

She said there is no official cost estimate for sea level rise adaptation right now. “We are still in the process of assessing our vulnerability to sea level rise impacts and what consequences those vulnerabilities have for people, the environment and the economy. Adapting to sea level rise and other climate impacts will be an ongoing process and will likely include actions taken by the city, private investors, and regional, state and federal government. These factors all make it difficult to estimate a total cost for adaptation.”

Wenger said the city is just beginning to wrestle with how to plan for a worst-case scenario for sea level rise. “Our adaptation planning efforts have always studied a broad range of possible futures but that range may need to expand even more,” she said. “We have also emphasized the need to build adaptive capacity into projects so if we are facing extreme sea level rise, we can retrofit or improve infrastructure accordingly.”


Where did the Swedes come from?

There are numerous geographical studies, archaeological findings, historical accounts and written evidences which confirm much of Scandinavian history.  Most of the written history begins after 600 AD.  The little written evidence of Scandinavian history from 100 BC to about 600 AD comes from contemporary writers of history, like Tacitus and Jordanes.  However, the lack of written history prior to 100 BC does not diminish the provocative past of the Scandinavians.

A reconstruction of the history of these years has been attempted by many scholars.  Most of these attempts come from the interpretation of archaeological finds in view of contemporary European history and culture (Europeanization of history), often disregarding a wider perspective.  Some of these reconstructions contradict one another, do not fit all the facts very well, or are invalidated by new discoveries.

The conclusions here can be attributed to well-studied authors, researchers and historians.  Other information comes from scholarly works, opinion, legend, mythology, professional historiography, and from the analogy of circumstances and evidences too compelling to ignore.

In pursuit of a more accurate evaluation of Scandinavian history, some historical questions will have no easy answers.  For example, who were the Svear and Daner people who lived in the Baltic region (Denmark and southern Sweden) in the BC era?  Who were the Erul people who lived in the Baltic region at the same time?  Were they all kin from Thracian warrior tribes?

There is strong evidence that Swedish predecessors were migratory Thracians, an aggressive refugee “boat-people” who first came from the ancient city of Troy.  Located in northwest Asia Minor (present-day northwest Turkey), the ruins of Troy were discovered in 1870.  In the period beginning about 2500 BC, Troy was populated by an “invasion of peoples on the sea” according to the Egyptians.  These people were called Thracians by the Greeks, and were early users of ships, iron weapons and horses.

Troy (also called Troi, Toas or Ilium) was known as a center of ancient civilizations.  Its inhabitants became known as Trojans (also Trajans/Thracians, later called Dardanoi by Homer, Phrygians or Anatolians by others), and their language was Thracian or Thraco-Illyrian.  Evidence shows the city of Troy endured years of war, specifically with Greek and Egyptian armies.

The famous Trojan War was fought between the Greeks and Trojans with their allies.  Troy was eventually laid in ruins after 10 years of fighting with the Greeks, traditionally dated from around 1194 to 1184 BC, and is historically referred to as the Fall of Troy.  The city was completely devastated, which is verified by the fact that the city was vacant to about 700 BC.

Thousands of Trojans left Troy immediately after the war, beginning about 1184 BC.  Others remained about 30 to 50 years after the war, when an estimated 30,000 Trojans/Thracians suddenly abandoned the city of Troy, as told by Homer (Greek writer/poet, eighth century BC) and various sources (Etruscan, Merovingian, Roman and later Scandinavian).

The stories corroborate the final days of Troy, and describe how, after the Greeks sacked the city, the remaining Trojans eventually emigrated.  Over half of them went up the Danube River and crossed over into Italy, establishing the Etruscan culture—the dominating influence on the development of Rome—and later battled the Romans for regional dominance.

The remaining Trojans, mainly chieftains and warriors, about 12,000 in all, went north across the Black Sea into the Mare Moetis or “shallow sea” where the Don River ends (Caucasus region in southern Russia), and established a kingdom called Sicambria about 1150 BC.  The Romans would later refer to the inhabitants as Sicambrians.  The locals (nomadic Scythians) named these Trojan conquerors the “Iron people”, or the Aes in their language.  The Aes (also As, Asa, Asen, Aesar, Aesir, Aesire, Æsir or Asir) soon built their famous fortified city Aesgard or Asgard, described as “Troy in the north.”  Various other sources collaborate this, stating the Trojans landed on the eastern shores with their superior weaponry, and claimed land.  The area became known as Asaland (Land of the Aesir) or Asaheim (Home of the Aesir).  Some historians suggest that Odin, who was later worshipped as a god by pagan Vikings, was actually a Thracian/Aesir leader who reigned in the Sicambrian kingdom and lived in the city of Asgard in the first century BC.  He appointed chieftains after the pattern of Troy, establishing rulers to administer the laws of the land, and he drew up a code of law like that in Troy and to which the Trojans had been accustomed.

Historians refer to the Aesir people as the Thraco-Cimmerians, since the Trojans were of Thracian ancestry.  The Cimmerians were an ancient people who lived among Thracians, and were eventually absorbed into Thracian culture.  Greek historian Herodotus of Halicarnassus noted about 440 BC that the Thracians were the second most numerous people in the world, outnumbered only by the (East) Indians, and that the Thracian homeland was huge.  The Thracian homelands included the Ukrainian steppes and much of the Caucasus region.

According to Flavius Josephus, Jewish and Roman historian in the 1st century AD, the descendants of Noah’s grandson Tiras were called Tirasians.  They were known to the Romans as Thirasians.  The Greeks called them Thracians and later Trajans, the original people of the city of Troas (Troy), whom they feared as marauding pirates.  History attests that they were indeed a most savage race, given over to a perpetual state of “tipsy excess”, as one historian put it.  They are also described as a “ruddy and blue-eyed people”.  World Book Encyclopedia states they were “…savage Indo-Europeans, who liked warfare and looting.”  Russian historian Nicholas L. Chirovsky describes the arrival of the Thracians, and how they soon dominated the lands along the eastern shores of the river Don.  These people were called Aes locally, according to Chirovsky, and later the Aesir (plural).

Evidence that the Aesir (Iron people) were Trojan refugees can be confirmed from local and later Roman historical sources, including the fact that the inner part of the Black Sea was renamed from the Mare Maeotis to the “Iron Sea” or “Sea of Aesov”, in the local tongue.  The name remains today as the Sea of Azov, an inland sea in southern European Russia, connected with the Black Sea.  The Aesir were known for their fighting with iron weapons.  They were feared for their warships, as well as their ferocity in battle, and thus quickly dominated the northern trades, using the Don river as their main route for trading.

The Aesir people dominated the area around the Sea of Azov for nearly 1000 years, though the surrounding areas to the north and east were known as the lands of the Scythians.  The Aesir fought with the Scythians for regional dominance, but eventually made peace.  They established trade with the Scythians, and even strong cultural ties, becoming united in religion and law.  The Aesir began trading far to the north as well.

The land far north was first described about 330 BC by the Greek explorer Pytheas of Massalia.  He called the region “Thule”, which was described as the outermost of all countries, probably part of the Norwegian coast, where the summer nights were very short.  Pytheas translated Thule as “the place where the Sun goes to rest”, which comes from the Germanic root word “Dhul-” meaning “to stop in a place, to take a rest.”  Pytheas described the people as barbarians (Germanic/Teutonic tribes) having an agricultural lifestyle, using barns and threshing their grains.  These people had already established trade with the Aesir who later began migrating north around 90 BC from the Caucasus region, during the time of Roman expansion in Europe.  The Germanic/Teutonic tribes first made a name for themselves about 100 BC after aggressively fighting against the Romans.  Not much is known about the Germanic tribes prior to this.  When writing the “Gallic Wars”, Julius Caesar described encounters with those Germanic peoples and distinguishes them from the Celts.  During this time period, many Germanic tribes were migrating out of Scandinavia to Germany and the Baltic region, placing continuous stress on Roman defenses.

Migrating groups were normally smaller groups of different people or tribes, often following a strong leader.  The “nationality” of the leaders would usually appear as the nationality of the migrating group, until later when the group was separated again.  The migrations could take place over several decades, and often when the Germanic tribes were mentioned in the written sources, the Romans had only met raiding groups occupying warriors or mercenaries operating far away from their people.

Around the same time, about 90 BC, the Aesir began their exodus from the Black Sea/Caucasus region.  Their arrival at the Baltic Sea in Scandinavia has been supported by several scholars and modern archaeological evidence.  As told by Snorri Sturluson (a 13th century Nordic historiographer) and confirmed by other data, the Aesir felt compelled to leave their land to escape Roman invasions by Pompeius, and local tribal wars.  Known as Thracian warrior tribes, the aggressive Indo-European nomadic Aesir came north, moving across Europe, bringing all their weapons and belongings in their boats on the rivers of Europe, in successive stages.  Historians note that Odin, who was a very popular Thracian ruler, led a migration about 70 BC with thousands of followers from the Black Sea region to Scandinavia.  It is also told that another Thracian tribe came along with them, a people called the Vanir or Vaner.

Odin’s first established settlement became known as Odense (Odin’s Sanctuary or Odin’s Shrine), inspiring religious pilgrimages to the city through the Middle Ages.  These tribes first settled in present-day Denmark, and then created a power-center in what is now southern Sweden.  About 800 years later during the Viking era, Odin, the Aesir and Vanir had become gods, and Asgard/Troy was the home of those gods—the foundation for Viking religion.  The Aesir warrior gods, and the religious deities of Odin and Thor, were an integral part of the warlike nature of the Vikings, even leading them back down the waterways of Europe to their tribal origins along the Black Sea and Asia Minor.

Aesir became the Old Norse word for the divine (also, the Old Teutonic word “Ase” was a common word for “god”), and “Asmegir” was the Icelandic term for “god maker”—a human soul on its way to becoming divine in the course of evolution.  The Vanir represented fertility and peace gods.  Not unlike Greeks and Romans, the Scandinavians also deified their ancestors.  The Egyptians adopted the practice of deifying their kings, just as the Babylonians had deified Nimrod.  The same practice of ancestor worship was passed on to the Greeks and Romans and to all the pagan world, until it was subdued by Christianity.

Snorri Sturluson wrote the Prose Edda (Norse history and myths) about 1223 AD, where he made an interesting comparison with the Viking Aesir gods to the people in Asia Minor (Caucasus region), particular to the Trojan royal family (considered mythological by most historians today, regrettably).  The Prose Edda is one of the first attempts to devise a rational explanation for mythological and legendary events of the Scandinavians.  Unfortunately, many historians acknowledge only what academia accepts as history, often ignoring material that might be relevant.

For example, Snorri wrote that the Aesir had come from Asia Minor, and he compared the Ragnarok (Norse version of the first doom of the gods and men) with the fall of Troy.  Sturluson noted that Asgard, home of the gods, was also called Troy.  Although Snorri was a Christian, he treated the ancient religion with great respect.  Snorri was writing at the time when all of Scandinavia (including Iceland) had converted to Christianity by 11th century, and he was well aware of classical Greek and Roman mythology.  Stories of Troy had been known from antiquity in many cultures.  The Trojan War was the greatest conflict in Greek mythology, a war that was to influence people in literature and arts for centuries.  Snorri mentioned God and the Creation, Adam and Eve, as well as Noah and the flood.  He also compared a few of the Norse gods to the heroes at the Trojan War.

The Aesir/Asir were divided into several groups that in successive stages immigrated to their new Scandinavian homeland.  Entering the Baltic Sea, they sailed north to the Scandinavian shores, only to meet stubborn Germanic tribes, who had been fighting the Romans.  The prominent Germanic tribes in the region were the Gutar, also known as the Guta, Gutans, Gotarne or Goths by Romans.  These Germanic tribes were already known to the Aesir, as trade in the Baltic areas was well established prior to 100 BC.

The immigrating Aesir had many clans and tribes, and one prominent tribe that traveled along with them were the Vanir (the Vanir later became known as the Danir/Daner, and subsequently the Danes, who settled in what is now present-day Denmark).  However, the most prominent clan to travel with the Asir were the Eril warriors or the “Erilar”, meaning “wild warriors”.  The Asir sent Erilar north as seafaring warriors to secure land and establish trade (these warriors were called “Earls” in later Scandinavian society).  The clans of Erilar (also called Jarlar, Eruls or Heruls by Romans, and Eruloi or Elouroi by Greek historian Dexippos) enabled the Asir clans (later called Svi, Sviar, Svea, Svear or Svioner by Romans) to establish settlements throughout the region, but not without continuous battles with the Goths and other migrating Germanic tribes.

The Eruls/Heruls eventually made peace with the Goths who ruled the region.  The tribes of Svear, Vanir, and Heruls soon formed their own clans and dominated the Baltic/Scandinavian region.  The Gothic historian Jordanes (or Jordanis), who was a notary of Gothic kings, told in about 551 AD that the Daner were from the same stock as the Svear, both taller and fairer than any other peoples of the North.  He called the Svear, “Sve’han”.

The Svear population flourished, and with the Heruls and Goths, formed a powerful military alliance of well-known seafarers.  The Svear and Heruls then gradually returned to their ancestral land, beginning in the 2nd century AD, building a fleet of 500 sailing ships.  Sometimes sailing with the Goths, they terrorized all of the lands and peoples of the Black Sea and parts of the Mediterranean, even the Romans.  They were the pre-Vikings.  In the 3rd century (267 AD) the Heruls controlled all of the Roman-occupied Black Sea and parts of the eastern Mediterranean.

There are several accounts about how the Herul warriors returned to ravage the shores of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, alone and together with the Goths.  The Romans noted that “the Heruls, a Scandinavian people, together with the Goths, were, from the 3rd century AD, ravaging the Black Sea, Asia Minor and the Mediterranean.”

While the Romans called the Scandinavian region “Thule” (after Pytheas), the Greeks called it “Scandia” (from ancient times), and others called the area “Scandza”.  The term Scandia comes from the descendants of Ashkenaz (grandson of Noah in the Bible).  Known as the Askaeni, they were the first peoples to migrate to northern Europe, naming the land Ascania after themselves.  Latin writers and Greeks called the land Scandza or Scandia (now Scandinavia).  Germanic tribes, such as the Teutons and Goths, are considered the descended tribes of the Askaeni and their first settlements.

The first time Thule (Scandinavia) was mentioned in Roman written documents was in the 1st century (79 AD) by the Roman citizen Plinius senior.  He wrote about an island peninsula in the north populated by “Sviar”, “Sveonerna” or “Svearnas” people, also called “Sveons”, “Svianar”, “Svetidi” or “Suetidi” by others.  Later in 98 AD the learned civil servant Cornelius Tacitus wrote about northern Europe.  Tacitus writes in the Latin book Germania about tribes of “Sviones” or “Suiones” (Latin Sviones was derived from Sviar) in Scandinavia, who live off the ocean, sailing in large fleets of boats with a prow at either end, no sail, using paddles, and strong, loyal, well-armed men with spikes in their helmets.  They drove both the Goths and Lapps out of Scandinavia.  Archaeological finds have provided a vivid record of the evolution of their longships from about the 4th century BC.  Tacitus further wrote, “And thereafter, out in the ocean comes Sviones (also “Svionernas” or “Svioner”) people, which are mighty not only in manpower and weaponry but also by its fleets”.  He also mentions that “the land of Svionerna is at the end of the world.”

In the 2nd century (about 120 AD) the first map was created where Scandinavia (Baltic region) could be viewed.  Greek-Egyptian astronomer and geographer Ptolemaios (Ptolemy of Alexandria) created the map, and at the same time wrote a geography where he identified several different people groups, including the “Gotarne”, “Heruls”, “Sviar” and “Finnar” who lived on peninsula islands called “Scandiai”.  During the Roman Iron Age (1-400 AD), evidences are convincing for a large Baltic seafaring culture in what is now Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Estonia.

Many clans of Aesir and Germanic peoples were united by settlements.  For example, the Aesir clan Suevi (also Suebi) settled among Germanic peoples in a region called Swabia (named after themselves), which is now southwest Germany.  Those clans became known as the Alemanni, first mentioned about 213 AD after attacking the Romans.  Called Suevic tribes by historians, they formed an alliance for mutual protection against other Germanic tribes and the Romans, and retained their tribal designation until the late Middle Ages.

By the 5th century, the Aesir Heruls were in great demand as soldiers in the Roman Imperial Guards.  The Romans were impressed with the war-like Heruls, and recruited them to fight in the Roman Army.  Herul factions were making settlements throughout Europe, fighting and battling everywhere they went.  In the late 5th century, the Heruls formed a state in upper Hungary under the Roman ruler Cæsar Anastasius (491-518 AD).

Later they attacked the Lombards, but were beaten, according to Greek-Roman author Prokopios (born at the end of the 5th century).  He was a lawyer in Constantinople and from the year 527 private secretary to the Byzantine military commander Belisarius on his campaigns against the Ostrogoths.  Prokopios says by the early 6th century (about 505), the remaining Heruls in upper Hungary were forced to leave.

Some of them crossed the Danube into Roman territory, where Anastasius allowed them to settle.  Historians mention that remaining clans of Heruls sailed northwards, back to Thule to reunite with their Svear brethren.  Prokopios noted that there were 13 populous tribes in Thule (the Scandinavian peninsula), each with its own king.  He said, “A populous tribe among them was the Goths, next to where the returning Heruls settled”.  Prokopios also mentions that “the Heruls sent some of their most distinguished men to the island Thule in order to find and if possible bring back a man of royal blood.  When they came to the island they found many of royal blood.”

Evidence of their existence during this time period can be found on the frequent appearance of runic inscriptions with the name ErilaR “the Herul”.  While it is thought that the ancient Scandinavian alphabet, called futhork or runes, is of Latin origin, the evidence suggests that it was used far to the northeast of Rome where Roman influence did not reach.  The runes are a corruption of an old Greek alphabet, used by Trojans along the northwest coast of the Black Sea.  From examples of Etruscan, Greek, and early Roman scripts, it is not difficult to see that earlier runes resemble archaic Greek and Etruscan rather than Latin.

The Heruls used runes in the same way their ancestors did, which have been discovered throughout Europe and Scandinavia.  Scandinavian sagas tell us that the Scandinavian languages began when men from central Asia settled in the north.  Sometime after 1300 AD the runes were adjusted to the Roman alphabet.

The Heruls brought with them a few Roman customs, one being the Julian calendar, which is known to have been introduced to Scandinavia at this time, the early 6th century AD.  When the Heruls returned to join again with the Svear in Scandinavia, the Svear state with its powerful kings suddenly emerges.  Their ancestors were the warring bands of Aesir (sometimes called Eastmen) who became known as the Svear or Suines.  They became the dominant power and waged war with the Goths, winning rule over them.  By the middle of the 6th century, the first all-Swedish kings emerged.  This royal dynasty became immensely powerful and dominated not only Sweden but also neighboring countries.  Gothic historian Jordanes writes of the Suines or Suehans (Sve’han) of Scandinavia, with fine horses, rich apparel and trading in furs around 650 AD.  The Swedish nation has its roots in these different kingdoms, created when the king of the Svenonians (Svears) assumed kingship over the Goths.  The word Sweden comes from the Svenonians, as Sverige or Svearike means “the realm of the Svenonians”.  The English form of the name is probably derived from an old Germanic form, Svetheod, meaning the Swedish people.

By the 7th century, the Svear and Goth populations dominated the areas of what is now Sweden, Denmark and Norway.  However, the term Norway came later.  Latin text from around 840 AD called the area Noruagia, and Old English text from around 880 AD used Norweg.  The oldest Nordic spelling was Nuruiak, written in runes on a Danish stone from around 980 AD.  The Old Norse (Old Scandinavian) spelling became Nordvegr, meaning “the country in the north” or “the way to the north”, and the people were called Nordes.

All of the names were given by people south of Norway to signify a place far to the north.  The people of Norway now call themselves Nynorsk, a name decided by linguists in the 1880s.  The name Denmark originated from the people called the Vanir (or Vaner) who settled the region with the Aesir in the first century BC.  The Vanir were later called Danir (or Daner), and eventually Danes.  By the 9th century AD, the name Danmark (Dan-mörk, “border district of the Danes”) was used for the first time.  In Old Norse, mörk meant a “forest,” and forests commonly formed the boundaries of tribes.  In Modern Danish, mark means a “field,” “plain,” or “open country.”   Hence, Denmark once meant  literally “forest of the Danes.”

During this period, their language Dönsk tunga (Danish tongue) was spoken throughout northern Europe, and would later be called Old Norse or Old Scandinavian during the Viking period.  Old Norse was spoken by the people in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and parts of Germany.

The ancestor of all modern Scandinavian languages, beginning with the Germanic form, was developed from the languages of the Aesir (Thracian tribes) and Goths (Germanic tribes).

When the Aesir integrated with the people of the lands, their families became so numerous in Scandinavia and Germany that their language became the language of all the people in that region.  The linguistic and archaeological data seem to indicate that the final linguistic stage of the Germanic languages took place in an area which has been located approximately in southern Sweden, southern Norway, Denmark and the lower Elbe river which empties into the North Sea on the northwest coast of Germany.

The Germanic tribes began arriving in the area about 1000 BC.  Later, the Aesir brought their language to the north of the world, to Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.  The future rulers of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland trace their names and genealogies back to the Aesir.

The most ancient inscriptions in Old Norse/Scandinavian are from the 3rd and 5th century centuries AD, with other inscriptions dating up to the 12th century.  They were short signs written in the futhork runic alphabet, which had 24 letters (though many variations were used throughout the region).  By the end of the Viking era (11th century AD), the Old Norse language dialect varieties grew stronger until two separate languages appeared, Western Scandinavian, the ancestor of Norwegian and Icelandic, and Eastern Scandinavian, the the ancestor of Swedish and Danish.  Many Old Norse words were borrowed by English, and even the Russian language, due to expansion by Vikings.

The next Svear conquests began in the early 8th century.  By 739 AD the Svear and Goths dominated the Russian waterways, and together they were called Varyagans or Varangians, according to written records of the Slavs near the Sea of Azov.  Like their ancestors, the Svear lived in large communities where their chiefs would send out maritime warriors to trade and plunder.  Those fierce warriors were called the Vaeringar, which meant literally “men who offer their service to another master”.  We later know them by their popularized name, the Vikings.

Thus began the era known as the Viking Age, 750-1066 AD.  They often navigated the Elbe River, one of the major waterways of central Europe.  Their ships were the best in all of Europe—sleek, durable and could travel by both sail or oars.  To the east of the Elbe they were known as Varangians, and west of the Elbe they were called Vikings.

Many called them Norse or Northmen—those from the Scandinavian countries, which consisted of Sweden, Norway and Denmark.  Once again the Svear began returning to the places of their Thracian ancestors in the Caucasus region, sailing rivers which stretched deep into Russia, establishing trading stations and principalities.  Other Vikings raided the British Isles and western Europe, as noted in this Old English prayer:  “A furore Normannorum libra nos, Domine” (From the fury of the Northmen deliver us, Oh Lord).

Vikings never called themselves Vikings.  Unlike Varangian, the term Viking probably originated from Frankish chroniclers who first called them “Vikverjar” (travelers by sea), Nordic invaders who attacked the city of Nantes (in present-day France) in 843 AD.

The word “vik” meant bay or fjord in Old Norse, and later meant “one who came out from or frequented inlets to the sea”.  Viking and Varangian eventually became synonymous, meaning “someone who travels or is passing through,” whether merchant, mercenary, or marauder.

Their activities consisted of trading, plundering and making temporary settlements.

Finnish peoples referred to the Swedish voyagers as Ruotsi, Rotsi or Rus in contrast with Slavic peoples, which was derived from the name of the Swedish maritime district in Uppland, called “Roslagen”, and its inhabitants, known as “Rodskarlar”.  Rodskarlar or Rothskarlar meant “rowers” or “seamen”.  Those Swedish conquerors settled in eastern Europe, adopted the names of local tribes, integrated with the Slavs, and eventually the word “Rusi”, “Rhos” or “Rus” came to refer to the inhabitants.

The Arab writer Ibn Dustah wrote that Swedish Vikings were brave and valiant, utterly plundering and vanquishing all people they came against.  Later, the Arabic diplomat Ibn Fadlan, while visiting Bulgar (Bulgaria) during the summer of 922 AD, saw the Swedish Vikings (Rus) arrive, and he wrote:  “Never before have I seen people of more perfect physique; they were tall like palm trees, blonde, with a few of them red.  They do not wear any jackets or kaftaner (robes), the men instead wear dress which covers one side of the body but leaves one hand free.  Every one of them brings with him an ax, a sword and a knife.”  Their descriptions mirror the physique, dress and armor of Trojan warriors—the Viking ancestors.  The various ancestors of the Vikings included the Thracian tribes (Asir) and the Germanic tribes (Goths).

The Vikings included many tribes and kingdoms from around the Baltic Sea, including the Svear from Sweden, the Norde from Norway, the Danes from Denmark, the Jutes from Juteland (now part of Denmark), the Goths from Gotland (now part of Sweden), the Alands from Åland (now part of Finland), the Finns from Finland, and others.  The Svear Vikings traveled primarily east to the Mediterranean (what is now Russia and Turkey), where they had been returning regularly since leaving the region 900 years earlier.  Subsequent Viking raids and expeditions covered areas deep into Russia, the Middle East, Europe and America, ending in the 11th century (about 1066 AD) after the introduction of Christianity around the year 1000 AD.  The kingships and provinces of Sweden then combined to form one country.  The dominant king during the Viking age was from the Erik family of Uppsala.  One of the first Swedish monarchs in recorded history was Olof Skotkonung, a descendant of the Erik family.  Olof and his descendants ruled Sweden from about 995 to 1060.  Sweden’s first archbishop arrived in the 12th century (1164).

Sweden’s expansion continued during the 12th and 13th centuries through the incorporation of Finland into the Swedish kingdom after several crusades, promoted by the Catholic Church.  There was a struggle for power between the Sverker and Erik families, which held the crown alternately between 1160 and 1250.  However, during this period the main administrative units were still the provinces, each of which had its own assembly, lawmen and laws.

It was first during the latter part of the 13th century AD that the crown gained a greater measure of influence and was able, with the introduction of royal castles and provincial administration, to assert the authority of the central government and to impose laws and ordinances valid for the whole kingdom.  In 1280 King Magnus Ladulås (1275 – 1290) issued a statute which involved the establishment of a temporal nobility and the organization of society on the feudal model.  A council containing representatives of the aristocracy and the Catholic church was set up to advise the king.  In 1350, during the reign of Magnus Eriksson (1319 – 1364), the various provincial law codes were superseded by a law code that was valid for the whole country, and Finland became part of the Swedish kingdom.

In 1389, through inheritance and family ties, the crowns of Denmark, Norway and Sweden were united under the rule of the Danish Queen Margareta.  In 1397, the union of the three Scandinavian countries concluded under her leadership lasting 124 years. The whole union period, 1397 – 1521, was marked by conflict, and provoked a rebellion which in 1521 led to the seizure of power by a Swedish nobleman, Gustav Vasa, who was elected king of Sweden in 1523.

The foundations of the Swedish national state were laid during the reign of Gustav Vasa (1523 – 1560).  The position of the crown was strengthened further in 1544 when a hereditary monarchy was introduced.  Before that time the country had been an elective monarchy, and the aristocracy had been able to assert itself every time the throne fell vacant.  The church was turned into a national institution, its estates were confiscated by the state and the Protestant Reformation was introduced in several stages.
Since the dissolution of the union with Denmark and Norway, Swedish foreign policy had aimed at gaining domination of the Baltic Sea, and this led from 1560 onwards to repeated territorial battles with Denmark and Norway.  The efforts of the higher nobility to take back power from the successful Swedish kingships (1560 – 1632) failed in the long run, and the crown was able to maintain and strengthen its position.

In 1630 Sweden entered the historical “30 Years War” (1618 – 1648) with an attack against Germany for more control more of the Baltic region.  With little success, Sweden left the war in 1634, but continued battling with Denmark and Norway for regional superiority.  Sweden finally defeated Denmark and Norway in the two wars of 1643-45 and 1657-58, becoming a leading Lutheran power.  These wars were partly a result of Sweden aggressively expanding its borders through occupation.  For example, from 1563 to 1658, Jämtland (region in west Sweden bordering Norway) was occupied several times until it was conquered from Norway in 1658.

The people of Jämtland were called “the new Swedes”, a term still used today.  These victories led to Sweden becoming a great power in northern Europe, having control of most of the Baltic region, including continued rule over Finland.  The country even founded a short-lived colony in what is now Delaware in North America.

Sweden’s defeat in the Great Northern War (1700 – 1721) against the combined forces of Denmark, Poland and Russia, lost most of its provinces along the Baltic Sea and was reduced to largely the same frontiers as present-day Sweden.  Finland was finally surrendered to Russia in 1809.

To this day, much of western Finland is populated by Swedes, and several cities have both a Swedish and Finnish name with about 8% of Finland’s population speaking Swedish.

In 1810 Sweden succeeded in obtaining Norway, which was forced into a union with Sweden in 1814 after a short war.  This union was peacefully dissolved in 1905.  Since the short war fought against Norway in 1814, Sweden has not been involved in any war and has also since the First World War pursued a foreign policy of nonalignment in peacetime and neutrality in wartime, basing its security on a strong national defense.  Nonetheless, Sweden joined the League of Nations in 1920 and the United Nations in 1946, and within the framework of these has taken part in several international peacekeeping missions.

A new form of government was adopted in 1974 where all public power was derived from the people, who were to appoint the members of Parliament in free elections.  Parliament alone was to pass laws and was entitled to levy taxes.  The government was appointed by and responsible to Parliament, and the King was still the head of state, but his functions are reduced to purely ceremonial ones.

Sweden continued to grow as an economic power throughout the 1980’s, and in January of 1995 joined the European Union (EU).

Now in the new millennium, Sweden is controlled by a Social Democratic government, and the monarchy of King Carl XVI Gustaf.

BC means “Before Christ” which is equivalent to BCE “Before Common Era” (some say “Current” era).
AD means “Anno Domini” (in the year of our Lord) which is equivalent to CE “Common Era”.
Where did the Finns come from? 

The Finns probably originated from somewhere between the middle Volga and the Ural mountains (middle western Russia).  Four thousand years ago a few tribes of hunters and fishermen settled there.  Those tribes were destined to become the European branch of the Finno-Ugric people.  Those people groups set off in opposite directions.  The future Hungarians went south, while the Finns moved northwest where, about 500 BC, one can find traces of their first settlements along the southern coast of the Baltic.  Finnish people are of Finno-Ugrian stock, mainly of western origin (Indo-European) as well as those of the other nations which were proceeding northwards in pre-historic times.  For example, they are loosely related to the Baltic and Germanic people groups, and are closely related to the Estonians across the Gulf, the Magyars who settled in Hungary, and the Siberians in Russia.  Prior to the 14th century, only the most Southwestern part of the country was known as “Finland” and its inhabitants as Finns.  Finnish people consisted of different tribes like Karelians, Tavastians and Finns who are the ancestors of today’s Finnish population.

There is a rock base beneath Finland, part of a great land mass called the Finno-Scandian shield, the oldest and most unyielding stone in the world.  The retreating ice age left behind over 30,000 islands and more than 60,000 lakes.  In many places the land is swamp and lake, bog and marsh.  Finland, in fact, means “the land of fens, or swamps” and the Finns call themselves and their country “Suomi” “suo” meaning bog or marsh.  In the Middle Ages, the country was commonly called Österlandet (Eastland) or Finland, and the southwestern part became Finland Proper.  Finland is the name used in most languages









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