The Letter of Protection by King Birger Magnusson for womankind in Karelia on Oct. 1, 1316.

The original parchment letter was until the end of 19th century kept in the Viipuri (Viborg) city archives. Now it has been moved to the National Archives in Helsinki. The backside of the document contains a writing: Privilege to womankind, wives widows maidens, in Viborg and the whole of Karelia given by King Birger Anno 1316 and similarly confirmed by King Albrecht Anno 1360.
Omnibus presentes litteras jnspecturis, Birgerus dei gracia Sueorum gothorumque rex Salutem jn Domino sempiternam Tenore presencium notum esse volumus tam posteris quam modernis, Nos de consilio et consensu Nobilium virorum Dominorum Kanuti Jonsson legiferi ostgotorum, Thorwi Kætilsson, et Johannis Brunckow dapiferi nostri, nec non et aliorum consiliariorum nostrorum dilectorum firmiter statuisse, quasi pro lege servandum, quod mulieres omnes seu femine nostre dicioni subjecte juxta castrum nostrum Wyborgh vel in terra Karelie habitantes, sint coniugate, vidue, continentes, aut virgines plena debent pace et securitate gaudere, sicut in ipso regno nostro Suecie jn rebus pariter et personis, acerbissima contra transgressores nostra vindicta regia procedente, Quare omnibus et singulis firmiter prohibemus, Ne quis mulieres seu feminas supra dictas, jniurijs aliquibus gravare vel molestare presumat, aut ipsis inferre violenciam aliquam corporalem, sicut regiam nostram evitare voluerit vlcionem, Eam videlicet, que in regno nostro suecie predicto pro lege servatur. Datum Yninge Anno Domini M.o CCC.o sexstodecimo, prima die octobris.


All who will see this letter, we Birger, by the grace of God King of the Swedes and the goths, Salute wishing eternal Salvation in Lord. Through this note we will for both those to come as well for those living now, following the advice and consent of the Noble men Gentlemen Canute Jonsson, the judge (lagman) of the ostrogoths, Thor Kætilsson, and Johannes Brunckow, our high chancellor (drots) and other members of our council, firmly pass a statute, to be obeyed as a law, that all wives and women who live subjected to our castle of Vyborg or in the land of Karelia be they married, widows, nuns or virgins, shall enjoy peace and security like in our realm Sweden herself for both in property and person, so that our royal punishment will most severely meet the transgressors. Therefore all and everyone are strictly prohibited from burdening the foregoing wives and women with any kind of injustice or molesting, or inflicting on them any kind of corporal violence, if he wants in our kingdom to avoid the punishment, which is what is in our Swedish realm told in the due law. Date Yninge Anno Domini 1316, on the first of October.


This translation, which is not a verbatim one, but is very close to it, is based on the Finnish translation by Prof. Numminen. All corrections and suggestions are very welcome. Translation by Pauli Kruhse.
Image (National Archives)

Pictures of the present-day Vyborg.

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