What was that about, riot in Skänninge 1806, said to be caused by a elephant?
The riot actually took place is well documented. For those who want to immerse themselves in the subject, there is a lot of material - everything from student papers with causal analysis to brochures and books.
Here we have recovered fragments of the sequence of events from a brochure issued by the municipality of Mjölby.
The first real elephant came to Sweden 1804. It was a young Asian elephant bull from the then Ceylon, tillhörig Herr Jean Baptiste Gautier, ancestor of Diana Rhodin who currently owns the circus Brazil Jack elephants. Gautier had bought the elephant in London and came through Prussia, Poland, Russia and Finland to Stockholm with his family and caregiver Anton Agazzi. Where it was shown to the public at Brunkebergstorg.
After the elephant exhibited in Stockholm in almost two years, Gautier toured around in Sweden. The elephant was pulled on a carriage pulled by 8 couple of horses and on market day 11 August 1806 reached Skanninge. The elephant was housed in the Town Hall (!) where he was on public display against payment.
The peasantry was curious and there were long queues. But we thought it was expensive
and furthermore did not, that a foreigner had the right to display such an animal against payment. The mayor could show a state but it did not calm the crowd gathered outside the town hall. Fight arose and began to throw stones at the windows, even the mayor was hit by a stone in the head!
The mayor escaped with the help of assistant pastor Sundelius and got safe passage away while people came in to the elephant. They took back 60 crowns and forced Agazzi to give free performances. The next day the mayor managed to keep the people quiet by requisitioning 20 military.
The governor sent a judge to hold hearings with the local register office, but because the peasants threatened to burn down Skanninge about what occurred leading to the prosecution, there was no trial.
Gautier and the elephant then ended up in Denmark, where the elephant is said to have died in a bombardment during the British siege 1807. The elephant appeared then as stuffed in Copenhagen.