Bengt Danielsson

Bengt Danielsson

Swedish ethnographer
Date of Birth: 06.07.1921
Country: Sweden

Biography of Bengt Danielsson

Bengt Danielsson was a Swedish ethnographer and the director of the Swedish National Museum of Ethnography from 1967 to 1971. He was born on July 6, 1921, in the town of Kråkeke in the Norrköping commune, Sweden. After completing high school in 1942, he served in the military before enrolling at Uppsala University to study philosophy and sociology. In 1945, he obtained his bachelor's degree.

During the summer months, Danielsson worked as a reporter for the newspaper "Östgöta Correspondenten". In 1946, he participated in a Finnish-Swedish scientific expedition to study the lives of indigenous people in the Amazon basin. By canoeing up the rivers, he arrived in Peru in the spring of 1947. In Lima, Danielsson learned about Thor Heyerdahl's expedition to Polynesia via the Pacific Ocean. Intrigued by the theory of migration, Danielsson met Heyerdahl and gained his consent to join the voyage, becoming the sixth and final member of the crew and the only non-Norwegian. The Kon-Tiki expedition from South America to Polynesia took place from April to August 1947.

In 1948, Danielsson married a Frenchwoman named Maria-Therese in Lima. After their wedding, they settled first on Raroia from 1949 to 1952, and then in 1953, they moved to Tahiti. Their daughter, Maruia, born in 1952, tragically passed away from cancer in 1972.

In 1955, Danielsson earned his doctoral degree in anthropology from Uppsala University for his work titled "Work and Life on Raroia". From 1961 to 1967, he served as the honorary consul of Sweden in French Polynesia. From 1967 to 1971, he held the position of director at the Swedish National Museum of Ethnography.

Danielsson authored numerous works on Polynesia, including a six-volume edition on the history of the islands, as well as popular books that have been translated into various languages. In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Danielsson actively opposed French nuclear testing in Polynesia on the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls. In recognition of his advocacy, he and his wife were awarded the "Right Livelihood Award" in 1991.

Bengt Danielsson passed away on July 4, 1997, and was laid to rest in Mjölby, Sweden.