Club War

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Club War


(Finnish nuijasota: from nuija, “club,” and sota, “war”; evidently clubs were the main weapons of the insurgents), an antifeudal peasant uprising in 1596-97 in Finland (which then belonged to Sweden).

The immediate causes of the uprising were the ruination of the country during the Russo-Swedish War (1590-93), liability to recruitment, the introduction of extraordinary taxes, and an increase in feudal obligations. The struggle between the Swedish aristocracy in Finland, led by the vicegerent, Klas Flemming, and Duke Charles, the ruler of Sweden, contributed to the start of the Club War. The uprising began in November 1596 in the south of the province of Österbotten (Etelä-Pohjanmaa); it was led by Jaakko Ilkka. After winning a victory at Sturkyró, the peasants moved in three detachments numbering 35,000 men toward Abo (Turku), laying waste manorial estates and administering punishment to members of the gentry and tax collectors. Taking advantage of disunity among the peasants, Flemming’s troops succeeded in crushing the uprising in the period from December 1596 to February 1597. (J. Ilkka was captured and quartered.) The Club War, the largest peasant uprising in Finland, has been preserved in the memory of the Finnish people, finding expression in folklore.


Evseev, V. Ia. “Krest’ianskoe vostanie ‘Dubinnaia voina’ i finskoe narodnoe tvorchestvo.” In Skandinavskii sbornik, fasc. 3. Tallinn, 1958.
Yrjó-Koskinen [Y. Z.] Nuijasota: Sen syyt ja tapaukset, 3rd ed. Helsinki, 1929.
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