The first written sources

Foreign people were already writing about the Sami hundreds of years ago. Most had never met any Sami themselves, but simply wrote down hearsay. The Sami were considered to be a fascinating and exotic people. For example, it was considered remarkable that both men and women hunted.

The first written document to mention the Sami is believed to date from 98 AD. This is when the Roman historical writer Tacitus, in his book 'Germania', wrote about a people he called the Fenni: "They eat herbs, dress in animal skins and sleep on the ground. The only thing they trust are their arrows with bone tips. Men and women follow each other and support themselves on the same hunt.''

Ottar's account
There is an account of tax collection from the Sami dating from the 9th century. At that time, a chieftain lived on his farm in the region around what is now Tromsö. He was called Ottar and was in the employ of King Alfred the Great of England. It was King Alfred who gave the order for Ottar's account to be written down. Ottar claimed to own 600 tame reindeer, six of which were `lure reindeer'. Every year he collected taxes from the Sami. The richest had to pay 15 martin skins, five reindeer skins, one bearskin, ten bushels of feathers, one bear or otter fur, one ship's cable made of walrus skin and one made of seal skin, each measuring 60 ells (approximately 36 metres). The tax that the Sami were forced to pay was Ottar's most important source of income.

Egil Skallagrimsson's saga
The Icelandic Egil Skallagrimsson's saga dating from the 13th century tells of how the Viking Torolv Kvällulfsson from Iceland made tax collection and trading voyages to the Sami. He was accompanied by an armed escort of up to 90 men. Regarding the meeting with the Sami, it was said that: ``Torolv also had a large amount of trading goods with him, and he immediately arranged a meeting with the Finns, collected taxes and held trading meetings. Everything proceeded in an understanding and cordial manner, and fear also played its part in the amenability.''


under medeltiden ville tre stater ha makten i norr, Sverige/Finland, Danmark/Norge och Ryssland.

samerna tvingades betala skatt till alla tre.

på 1600-talet inledde kyrkan och staten på allvar kristnandet av samerna.

samerna tvingades att besöka de nybyggda kyrkplatserna såsom Jokkmokk, Jukkasjärvi, Arvidsjaur och Lycksele. är en webbplats för dig som vill veta mer om samerna och sápmi.

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