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Aeroe History

jettehytteAeroe History

The history of Aeroe Island and Archaeological excavations prove settlements going back to earlier than 8000 BC. There are some burial mounds on the island, as well as an old Ting place. Relics of antiquity are found all over the island. Burial mounds, passage graves, and dolmens bear witness of human activity through more than 10,000 years.

In Aeroe’s new history, especially the period of the duchies is of interest. During this period – from the 14th century to the year 1864 – Aeroe was united and separated, alternately, in a number of enclaves. Aeroe was outside the tariff wall of the Kingdom, leading to flourishing smuggling which was a way of living for many of Aeroe ‘s inhabitants. In 1629 the main town of Aeroeskoebing burnt down in a great fire. There was no other disaster of comparable scale. In 1750 the island, previously split in exclaves of numerous duchies, was united as single administrative district.

Until 1864, Aeroe was part of the Danish Duchy of Schleswig – the area of Schleswig/South Jutland is now divided between Denmark (Northern Schleswig) and Germany (Southern Schleswig). King Christian IV’s cousin, also named Christian, was the Duke of Aeroe from 1622 to 1633, and lived with his concubine Cathrine Griebels at Gråsten Manor House.

When the Duke died, a banner was found at Gråsten composed of nine pieces of cloth and in three colours – body colour, sea green, and golden yellow. This banner has provided the inspiration to the flag of Aeroe which is seen today all over the island. When Duke Christian died, Aeroe was distributed among four of his brothers, and this offers one explanation of why two towns developed in the island – Aeroeskoebing and later on Marstal that each came to be in their own “country”.

Gråsten Manor House was abolished in 1766 and the buildings were demolished. The name of Gråsten is still alive today in the farmhouse that stands almost on the same spot as the ducal manor. Gråsten of today offers bed and breakfast accommodation.
Aeroe history records show: Aeroe Island was united in 1750

Aeroe history records also show that it has not since been separated. This is marked by the memorial stone at Olde Mølle (English = Old mill). At the union, the old Code of Jutland from 1241 was applied and even today some of those rules are still valid. In recent history, the fight for survival as an outskirt area is the most important element. The solidarity between the inhabitants of Aeroe was clearly shown in the year 2000, as a movement among the inhabitants saved Marstal Maritime School from closing down. More than two thousand inhabitants travelled to Copenhagen to protest against this, and the politicians were convinced. The Maritime School survived.