A Brief History
On February 24, 1597, the Battle of Santavuori Hill was fought in Finland, the final battle of the Cudgel War.
You may know a cudgel is a thick stick or club used as a weapon, and in an age of firearms and sophisticated steel armor and weapons the cudgel may have seemed out of date. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and the peasants fighting for Finland against the oppressors from Sweden had to make do against their well-armed and well armored foes.
Blunt force weapons such as cudgels, maces, and flails were surprisingly effective against their armored enemy. Of course, the pastoral Finns also employed swords and cannon when and where available, but the largescale use of club type weapons gave this war its odd name.
The Swedes eventually won the war and some of the rebel leaders were executed. Despite the romantic notion of low-tech peasants fighting a high tech overlord, in the end, cudgels were no match for modern weapons.
Question for students (and subscribers): What battle or war do you think has the goofiest name? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Derry, T.K. A History of Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2000.
Meinander, Henrik. History of Finland. Oxford University Press, 2020.
The featured image in this article, a painting by Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905), is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer.
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