Swedish African travelers

Swedish African travelers.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, but above all the 19th century, Swedish emigration was extensive. Through this emigration, most Swedes have relatives in usually America and/or Denmark. However, significantly fewer Swedes are aware that extensive emigration from Scandinavia also took place to southern Africa, to countries such as Angola, Namibia, Congo and South Africa.

Swedes were attracted to Africa by work at the large trading posts. Many Swedes also built their own trading stations, where either weapons and supplies were sold on to the mines in the area, or where trade in ostrich feathers and ivory from Africa to Europe took place. Many Swedes made large fortunes from this trade.

Project Afrikafararnarun by, among others, the Royal The Academy of Sciences and Vänersborg Museum. In this collaboration, Kiviks Museum has a part in the work, as many of the Swedes who emigrated to Africa came from Skåne, Blekinge and Halland. Kiviks Museum is responsible for collecting stories and documentation about these southern Swedes and for furthering the research about them through relatives, letter collections and much more. A database will be gradually built up on our website.

You can read more in Kiviks Museum's exhibitionThe African explorersfrom 2014 about the project, the Swedish emigration and about Carl Edward Bergh, who after his return from Africa as a wealthy man with many exotic stories and artifacts lived on Kivik's Esperöd.

The director of Vänersborgs Museum, Peter Johansson, has written several books about some of the Swedes who emigrated. You can also see the trailer hereThe Africa of my dreamsfor an upcoming film about the Swedish migration to Africa.

Contact us for more information about Project Afrikafararna or to share materials and images.