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Sør-Varanger (Northern Sami: Máttá-Várjjat, Kven: Etelä-Varenki, Finnish: Etelä-Varanki, Russian: Сёр-Вара́нгер) is a municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Kirkenes. Other settlements in the municipality include the villages of Bjørnevatn, Bugøynes, Elvenes, Grense Jakobselv, Hesseng, Jakobsnes, Neiden, and Sandnes. Located west of the Norway–Russia border, Sør-Varanger is the only Norwegian municipality that shares a land border with Russia, with the only legal border crossing at Storskog.

History[change | change source]

For some time until 1826, Sør-Varanger was a district that (at the same time) belonged to Russia and Norway; there was an Eastern Sami (østsamisk)[1] population; the population was under Russia's jurisdiction.

A part of Norway, it became in 1826.[1]

Norway's government had a fear that the county could be lost to Finland[1] or Russia; Finland was under Russian domination (or rule) during 1809 - 1918. Part of the fear was that Finnish-speaking Kven people[2] would help Finland/Russia, to take Northern areas, away from [the government of] Norway. (Cwenas[2] is the Old English name for a group of people of Finnish heritage; this group immigrated to North Norway - from Finland and Sweden.)[3]

During the 19th century, the area was colonized by Sami people from Norway; people from Finland; and Norwegians.[1]

The mining industry in Kirkenes, and at Bjørnevatn, was started in 1906; the majority of the county's population then, were Norwegian.[1]

The people that were Finnish, mostly [lived] at three settlements: Bugøynes in the West, Pasvik in the East, and at Neiden (between Bugøynes and Pasvik); those who spoke Finnish, were in majority (in these 3 settlements).[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Forvirring om hvem er kven [Confusion about who is part of the Kven people
  2. 2.0 2.1 https://snl.no/kvener
  3. Reidun Mellem. "Kvenane blir gløymde i diskusjonen om fornorskningspolitikken. Er myndigheitene framleis redde for at dei ikkje er norske nok? Sanningskommisjon, ja takk" [ Kven people are being forgotten in the discussion regarding the policies of making that group of people, more Norwegian. Is the government still scared that they are not Norwegian enough? Truth commission, yes please]. 2017-08-21. Klassekampen. pages 22-3.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Sør-Varanger at Wikimedia Commons