Nylands Karoliner

Nylands Karoliner is a group reenacting the Finnish troops in the great Swedish empire pre 1809, after which Finland was separated from the empire resulting in the two separate states of Sweden and Finland today.

Our purpose is to assemble reenactors from Finland and Europe to stand under our regimental colors in uniform dress. The era we are reenacting spreads from 1700 to 1809. Our current uniforms are the later Carolinian uniform of 1706 in blue and yellow and the grey and blue uniform of 1802. The development of Nylands regimental colors during the Great Northern War can be seen here.

Nylands Regemente Reenactment Routine

Before each international reenactment we perform a general muster and enrollment of soldiers coming from their rotes. Each soldier is paid and alloted their position after which excercises will be performed to achieve unified command.

All enrolled soldiers act together as one infantry company and/or cannon detail under the command of the Captain and NCO’s using original commands in Swedish.

During the reenactment all soldiers maintain military discipline from the enrollment until discharge. Activity in the camp is also part of the reenactment. When ever the drum roll is heard all soldiers immediately dress up and form a line by the drummer and follow orders accordingly. Reprimands and retributions may be sanctioned for poor military discipline. All reenactors are expected to participate with good humor to achieve a great and fun reenactment experience.

At the end of the reenactment soldiers are discharged with pay and are free to their own will.

History of Rotes and Soldiers

(from Hans Högman The Alltoment System )

The regiments normally had 1200 soldiers. Therefore each province was divided into 1200 districts (allotments) called “rote” (its one “rote” but two “rotar”). The farmers within each “rote” had to provide one soldier to the regiment of that province. In return the farmers were exempted from having to serve as a soldier (as long as they provided a soldier). The closest word in English to a “rote” would be a milirary ward. One of the farmers in the “rote” (normally the largest farm) was in charge of the responsabilities of the“rote”. He was called “rotemästare” (warden).

Each “rote” had to provide the army with one soldier. This meant that it was the responsibility of the “rote” to recruit a soldier, to give him recruitment money (lega), a cottage/croft with land so that the soldier could feed his family, an annual amount of money and an annual supply of hay, seed etc (“hemkall”). The soldiers on the other hand, when they were not training with the army or had to go to war, had to work on the “rote” farms. The “rote” also had to provide the soldier with the uniform.

Volunteers were during the period of the Allotment System (1682 – 1901) a group of soldiers separated from the Allotment System. They were paid in cash and had to equip them self by their own means. Volunteers were regarded as a pool of future officers.

When a soldier was enrolled he was given a special “soldier name” by the Captain of the Company. In each company the soldiers had to have a unique last name. When an order was given to a certain soldier only one soldier was to react. A lot of soldiers with the same last name could generate problems.

A Colonel commanded the Regiment as well as the First Battalion. A Lieutenant Colonel commanded Second Battalion. A Captain commanded each Company. The 1st Company in each Regiment was called the Life Company or the LifeGuard Company.

History of the Regiment

Nylands regemente, or Uudenmaan rykmentti in Finnish, is one of the original seven Finnish provincial infantry regiments of the Swedish army when Finland was part of the Swedish empire until 1809.

The original seven Finnish provincial infantry regiments:

  • Björneborgs läns regemente (Björneborg Province Regiment)
  • Nylands infanteriregemente (Nyland Regiment of Foot)
  • Savolax och Nyslotts läns regemente (Savolax and Nyslott Province Regiment)
  • Tavastehus läns regemente (Tavastehus Province Regiment)
  • Viborgs läns infanteriregemente (Viborg Province Regiment of Foot)
  • Åbo läns infanteriregemente (Åbo Province Regiment of Foot)
  • Österbottens regemente (Österbotten Regiment)

Later raised Finnish infantry regiments:

  • Finska värvade bataljonen (Finnish Enlisted Battalion)
  • Nylands och Tavastehus västra infanteriregemente (Nyland and Tavastia West Infantry Regiment)
  • Savolax jägarregemente (Savonia Ranger Regiment)
  • Vasa regemente (Vasa Regiment)
  • Östra Nylands infanteriregemente (East Nyland Infantry Regiment)

Later raised Finnish temporary infantry regiments:

  • Åbo, Björneborgs och Nylands tremänningsregemente till fot (Åbo, Björneborg and Nyland Third Man Foot Regiment)
  • Nylands femmänningar till fot (Nyland Foot Fifth Men)
  • Österbottens femmänningar till fot (Österbotten Foot Fifth Men)
  • Österbottens tremänningar till fot (Österbotten Foot Third Men)
  • Savolax femmänningsregemente till fot (Savonia Fifth Man Foot Regiment)
  • Tavastehus, Viborgs och Nyslotts läns tremänningsregemente till fot (Tavastia, Viborg and Nyslott County Third Man Foot Regiment)

Nyland cavalry regiments:

  • Nylands och Tavastehus läns kavalleriregemente (1632–1721)
  • Nylands och Tavastehus dragonregemente (1721–1791)
  • Nylands lätta dragonkår (1803–1805)
  • Nylands lätta dragonregemente (1805–1809)

The Nyland regiment has its origin in the Nyland knights (Swedish: Nylands ryttare) raised in 1618. In 1632, this unit was organized into a cavalry regiment. The regiment’s soldiers were conscripted mainly from the county of Nyland and Tavastehus. It was one of the original eight Swedish cavalry regiments mentioned in the Swedish constitution of 1634. The regiment’s first commander was Torsten Stålhandske. Finnish horsemen were also known as “Hakkapeliitat”.

In the spring of 1700 the regiment was transferred to General Wellingk’s army corps in Swedish Livonia. From 1702 on, the regiment, with six of its eight companies, had joined the main army. In 1705–1706 it was part of Carl Gustaf Rehnskiöld’s corps. After the Battle of Poltava in 1709, the regiment was present at the capitulation in Perevolochna. The regiment had to be completely reraised. It was then stationed with the army in Finland. The regiment was part of General Armfeldt’s army of 7,500 men which invaded Norway through Jämtland in August 1718.

The cavalry regiment was reorganized into Nyland and Tavastehus dragoon regiment in 1721. In 1791, the regiment was converted to infantry. The northern battalion was incorporated into Tavastehus county infantry regiment as its third battalion, while the southern battalion was incorporated into Nyland infantry regiment.