Are Swedish People Slavic? The Origins of Sweden Explained

Are Swedish People Slavic?

A question that many people ask is if Swedish people are of a Slavic origin? Many people assume that Sweden may have some Slavic origins because Sweden is very close to this part of the world.

Swedish people do not have Slavic origins but come from Northern Germanic people. Since the beginning of Sweden, Northern Germanic tribes settled n Central Sweden. In fact, the Svear and Götar tribes from Northern German joined together to form Svealand, which is now the central part of present-day Sweden.

Sweden has a fascinating history which includes the Northern Germanic tribes migrating to central Sweden and settling there.

The Swedes Are Northern Germanic People

The Swedes are a Northern Germanic people. Even though they live very close to the Baltic and Slavic regions, Sweden has northern Germanic origins, and the Swedes are not of Slavic or Baltic origin.

The origins of Sweden are of two Northern Germanic tribes named the Svear and the Götar. Both the Svear and Götar migrated and lived in mainly the central part of Sweden.

But, Sweden’s history actually started 14,000 years ago when Sweden was still covered with a large thick ice cap. As the ice started to retreat, people started to move in to the region.

The Origins of Early Swedish HIstory

The origins of early Swedish history can be divided into 4 basic stages or periods. Each of these different early stages took place before 1,000 AD when Sweden was formed.

  • Hunters, Gathers, and Fishing – From 8,000 to 6,000 BC, Sweden was populated by people who lived by hunting, gathering, and fishing. These people used simple stone tools. They had dwelling places and graves that date back to this stone age.
  • Bronze Age – During the bronze age, this area (Sweden, Norway, and Denmark) was marked by a highly developed culture; many artifacts show how sophisticated this Swedish Bronze Age culture was.
  • Early Iron Age – During the early Iron Age, the population of Sweden became settled, and agriculture became the basis of their economy and society. From early on, Sweden was a mainly agricultural society.
  • The Viking Age – The Swedish Viking Age was from 800 to 1050 AD. The Viking age was a period of expansion, especially in eastern Sweden. Many Viking expeditions took off from Sweden to plunder and trade along the Baltic coast and travel deep into present-day Russia. The Vikings were known to develop trading links with the Byzantine Empire and the Arab Kingdoms. Because of the Vikings, Christianity first reached Sweden in the 9th Century, but Sweden did not become fully Christian until the 11 century.

Svear and Götar Germanic Tribes Join Together

In about 1,000 AD, the Svear and Götar Germanic tribes joined together in Central Sweden to form Svealand. Svealand is translated to mean “land of the Swedes. The Svear and Götar tribes are believed to be prehistoric clans or tribes; both are thought to have Northern Germanic origins.

The Svear tribe lived around Lake Mälar in Sweden. This area is now in central Sweden, where most of the modern-day Swedes come from. The name Swedes comes from Svear or Sviar in Old Norse, and the word’s root and meaning were “one’s own,” referring to “one’s own tribesmen or relatives.”

The Götar tribe or Goth as many scholars believed lived in Östergötland, Västergötland, and Småland; they are also from Northern Germany. Even today slightly different Swedish dialects remain between the Svear and Götar regions.

In about 1,000 AD, the Götar and Svea Tribes joined into a single unit known as Svealand; this started the formation of present-day Sweden.

Present-day Skåne part of Sweden was not part of Svealand; Skåne was taken from Denmark in the 17th Century. Many Swedes consider Skåne to be very different from other parts of Sweden as the language, and even food is slightly different.

Also, Norrland or the Northern part of Sweden was later colonized by Svealand or Sweden. This area is less populated than the Southern and Central Regions of Sweden and the Northern Swedish language is also slightly different than the central Swedish dialect.

I remember when I went to high school in northern Sweden. My grandmother or mormor was upset because she felt I would not learn the proper Swedish dialect but would speak Swedish with a northern accent. This shows how even in modern-day Sweden, many view the northern Swedish dialect.

Sweden is a Germanic Language

Further proof that Sweden is more closely linked to Germany than the Slavic region is because Sweden is a Germanic language. The roots of the Swedish language are in German.

Sweden is considered to be a Germanic language along with the Afrikaners, Austrians, Danes, Dutch, English, Flemish, Frisians, Germans, Icelanders, Lowland Scots, and Norwegian. All of these groups are considered to have their language roots in German.

Northern And Southern Swedes and Their Genetics

If you may find that your DNA has some Slavic DNA, this question may lie in the answer if your family comes from northern or central Sweden. Recent studies have found that people from northern and southern Sweden differ from each other genetically.

This, of course, could be because the Svear and Götar tribes settled in central Sweden and not the Northern part of Sweden. Northern Sweden has many Sami or Laplanders who are more closely related to the Finns than the actual Swedes. The closest genetic relationships to the Finns are the Estonians; Estonia uses to be part of Russia.

My mother, born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, had a DNA test that showed she had a tiny bit of Finnish and Russian ancestry. Her DNA could have had Finnish and Russian DNA because she has a Swedish ancestor somewhere in her line from Northern Sweden.

According to genetic research, Swedish researchers have discovered this about the genetic differences between Northern and Southern Sweden:

“People from northern and southern Sweden differ from each other genetically, according to the largest genetic study of the Swedish population yet. Swedes also have genetically more in common with Germans and British than with Finns.”

Science Daily

Even the genetics studies help to verify that the Swedes have more in common with Germans and Brits than with any of the Slavic or Baltic regions of Europe. This genetic profiling helps verify that the original Swedes that settled in Central Sweden came from Northern German tribes.

This genetic study shows that even though Northern and Southern Swedes may have some genetic differences, most of the Swedes still have a genetic link to Europe than to the Slavic or Baltic regions. This study also found that the genetic change between north and southern Sweden is gradual; there is no solid or firm genetic borders in Sweden. In other words, even though Northern and Southern Sweden have some genetic differences, they also have a lot of similarities.

Science and history both prove that Sweden is linked to Germany and not to the Slavic countries. Sweden was originally formed by northern German tribes that migrated up to Sweden.

Does Sweden Have Census Records?

Sweden does not have a census collection or records as we have in the United States. The Sveriges Befolkning Records is usually translated from Swedish into English as Sweden’Census Records. Technically speaking, the Sveriges Befolkning Records is not an official census record. The data was collected from the local Swedish Lutheran parish’s household examination records and not by a census bureau or another government organization.

You can discover more by reading Does Sweden Have Census Records? Tips To Finding Your Swedish Family Roots by clicking here.

Why Do So Many Swedish Last Names End in Son?

When doing your Swedish family history research, one of the most important things you need to understand is how Swedish last names work. Many Swedish last names have the ending of “son or “sson” as they are patronymic names.

You can learn more by reading Why Do So Many Swedish Last Names End in Son? by clicking here.

Anita Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Hummel. I live in Hanoi, Vietnam. I love to share with you about my family history and the many parts of the world our ancestors have lived.

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Are Swedish People Slavic?