Little Bits of History

May 7

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 7, 2017

1697: Fire destroys most of Tre Kronor. Tre Kronor or Three Crowns was the name given to the Palace in Stockholm, Sweden. Sweden became an independent nation when King Gustav Vasa (ruled 1523 – 1560) broke up the Kalmar Union (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden were enmashed since 1397). At the time, there was a citadel in Stockholm and King Gustav made it his most important government seat. He expanded the castle’s defensive capability. His son, John III of Sweden, rebuilt the castle in the renaissance style and added the castle church. The castle consisted of two part – the main castle and walled in gardens surrounding it and there was a tall tower in the middle.

On this day, a fire was discovered by the castle’s keeper. The fire marshal told the royal staff that it was impossible to extinguish the fire because the equipment lay beyond the flames and he was unable to get to it. The royal family and court had to evacuate while servants attempted to rescue as much of the royal possessions as possible. The fire spread quickly through the nearly 400 year old building since it was made of wood and copper. The copper plates grew so hot they helped to spread the fire. Most of Sweden’s national library and royal archives were destroyed by the flames.

While investigating the event, three men were named as responsible for the fire’s unusually rapid spread. Sven Lindberg, the fire marshal for the castle, and two of his soldiers, Anders Andersson and Mattias Hansson, who were supposed to be on watch for the night. Andersson was running a personal errand for Mrs. Lindberg rather than at his post and Hansson left his post to go to the kitchen to get something to eat. The royal court concluded that Lindberg was taking bribes to hire people into positions in the castle and then using them for his private gain.

Lindberg and Hansson were both sentenced to death for their part in the disaster and Andersson was sentenced to run the gauntlet. The death sentences were commuted to running the gauntlet and six years of forced labor. Running the gauntlet has been used as corporeal punishment since antiquity. The name comes from the Swedish gatlopp which is from gata or “lane” and lopp for “course, running”. The guilty party is forced to run between two rows of soldiers who strike out and attack them. The soldiers might have some non-edged weapons with which to assault the guilty. In some instances, the guilty is redeemed after one pass of running the course. In others, he may be forced on repeated trips until he is eventually beaten to death. This was not the case in this instance. The ruined castle was rebuilt on the foundation left after the fire and the Stockholm Palace was completed in 1754 and still stands.

Solitary confinement is too terrible a punishment to inflict on any human being, no matter what his crime. Hardened criminals in the men’s prisons, it is said, often beg for the lash instead. – Emmeline Pankhurst

If the same punishment is prescribed for two crimes that injure society in different degrees, then men will face no stronger deterrent from committing the greater crime if they find it in their advantage to do so. – Cesare Beccaria

We need to understand the difference between discipline and punishment. Punishment is what you do to someone; discipline is what you do for someone. – Zig Ziglar

Just vengeance does not call for punishment. – Pierre Corneille




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