Lapland originally extended eastward. However, in 1809 Russia annexed the eastern part of the Swedish realm, and created the Grand Duchy of Finland, which in effect split Lapland into a Swedish part and a Finnish part, both of which still exist today.
Citizens of Sami descent are eligible to stand and vote in elections for the Swedish Sami Parliament, which is the case with Sami people elsewhere in Sweden as well. Sami language has an official minority status in Kiruna Municipality, Gällivare Municipality, Jokkmokk Municipality and Arjeplog Municipality.
Lapland itself was never considered a duchy but on January 18, 1884 the Privy Council gave all Provinces the right of use to a ducal coronet for their arms. Blazon Swedish version: "Argent, a Wildman stantant Gules wrapped with birch leaves Vert on the head and around the waist holding a Club Or in dexter over the shoulder."
The history of Lappland is in many ways connected to the history of Norrbotten County and Västerbotten County, since Lappland is a historic region connected to these counties. During the middle ages, Norrbotten/Lappland was basically a no man's land. The area was sparsely populated by nomadic Sami people, but the region became increasingly settled by Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian settlers, especially along the coasts and large rivers. From the Middle ages on, the Swedish kings tried hard to colonize and Christianize the area using settlers from what is now Finland and southern Sweden. Today, despite large-scale assimilation into the dominant Swedish culture, Finnish and Sami minorities continue to maintain their cultures and identities.
During the industrialization of Sweden, natural resources (hydroelectricity, timber and minerals) from Lappland and surrounding provinces played a key role. Still, mining, forestry and hydroelectric power are the backbone of the local economy, together with municipal services. The unemployment has however been relatively high for several decades and many young people leave for the larger cities by the coast or in southern Sweden.