Allotment Sea Men on Öland


In older times and all the way to the 1660´s sea men were obtained to the Swedish Naval Forces by recruitmen t. Mostly from abroad . During the 1640´s the so called Allotment System came into use. Through a decision, all the parishes that lied within a Swedish mile from the coast should form one navy allotment. The purpose of this was that Sweden always should have a trained navy. The lowest age to be appointed as a sea man was 16 and the upper limit was 36.

The parishes were divided into files and every file had to support one allotment sea man. On Öland one file usually contained 4 homesteads . It had as a result that there were many farmers who had to help each other with the wages benefits for one allotment sea man. Through this system neither the farmers or their sons needed to be mobilised to active service. The allotment sea men on Öland, apart from the ones on the mainland, had to provide themselves with their own crofters holding. The allotment sea men on Öland were divided into two companies, the 1 st Company (the north part of Öland) and the 2 nd Company (the south part of Öland). The allotment sea men should usually be in active service for one year and then be off duty for two years. During wartime they had to be in service for as long as the war lasted.When the allotment sea men were in active service they were stationed at Karlskrona naval port. They went from Öland to Karlskrona by boat.

At home, when the sea man was off duty, he took care of his little crofters holding, worked for the farmers or maybe practised a workmanship. The social structures during the 18 th and 19 th centuries were such that you stuck with your own social class. The farmers sons became farmers themselves and married other farmers daughters. You didn't pass the borders of the social group that you belonged to.

That was often the case with the allotment sea men too.

(source: Lasse Sjöberg, Öland)