Södermanland, sometimes referred to under its Latin form Sudermannia or Sudermania, is a historical province or landskap on the south eastern coast of Sweden. It borders Östergötland, Närke, Västmanland and Uppland. It is also bounded by lake Mälaren and the Baltic sea.
In Swedish, the province name is frequently shortened to Sörmland.
Södermanland means "Southern man land". It was used as a directional reference to lake Mälaren, compared to Uppland (north) and Västmanland (west).
Södermanland is one of the ancient Swedish provinces. People probably settled there in the early Stone Age, from which time the earliest remains date. There are a total of 96,000 known ancient remains such as grave fields, coins, knives, etc. There are prominent finds especially from the Younger Stone Age, but also a substantial amount from the Nordic Bronze Age. From the older Iron Age, before 0 AD, the finds are however more sparse. Then from the 5th and 6th century the finds are again plenty, now of gold. In 1774, a treasure of 12 kilograms of gold from that time was found on a farm in Tureholm.
The earliest recorded history is generally of the legendary kind. Before the 7th century it is deemed to have been governed by petty kingdoms. This period ended when Ingjald the Ill-Ruler allegedly had a number of local rulers arsoned around 640.
The oldest city with the historical city status in Södermanland was Södertälje, a privilege granted around 1000. Nyköping received the privilege in 1187. In the 13th century, Stockholm was granted the privilege; in the 14th century followed by Strängnäs, Torshälla and Trosa.
Around 1100, Strängnäs became the episcopal seat with a bishop and cathedral. It was for a long time the only diocese of the province. In 1942 the Diocese of Stockholm was established, claiming parts of the Strängnäs territory.
The first affirmative records date from the 13th century. King Magnus Ladulås was given the province in 1266, and settled himself on the manor at Nyköping. Nyköping became one of the most important cities in Sweden. In 1317, Nyköping become the location of the infamous Nyköping Banquet where King Birger had both his brothers murdered to take possession of the crown and avenge earlier wrong-deeds.
In 1523 the King Gustav Vasa, referred to as the Sweden's father of the nation, was crowned in Strängnäs. The date, June 6, eventually is commemorated as the national holiday. Charles IX, a son of Gustav Vasa, favoured the province, fortifying castles and establishing early industries.
Dukes and Duchesses of Södermanland