This Swedish and Norwegian name of GUSTAFSON was from an Old Norman personal name composed of the tribal name GAUT and STAF (staff, cudgel). The name is also spelt Gustar, Gustav, Gustafsson and Gustafsen. In the 17th century, so-called 'soldiers' names are found as the earliest kind of hereditary surnames in Sweden. These names were derived from vocabulary words, usually martial-sounding monosyllables such as Rapp (prompt) Rask (bold), or occasionally names of animals and birds. The names were bestowed on soldiers for administrative purposes, and no doubt in some cases derived from pre-existing nicknames. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. Eriksson GUSTAV (1496-1560) the first Swedish king of the House of Vasa. He was born into the Swedish nobility at Lindholmen in Uppland. In 1518, during the patriotic struggle against king Kristian II of Denmark and Norway, he was carried off to Denmark as a hostage; after a year he escaped to Lubeck and thence back to Sweden, where he wandered for months with a price on his head, trying to raise resistance against the Danes. Eventually he was elected king in 1523. An orator of impressive presence and a hard worker, he imposed peace and order on the kingdom. He fostered schools, promoted trade and built roads, bridges and canals.
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