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History of Sweden

History of Sweden

Overview
Modern Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 started out of the Kalmar Union
Kalmar Union
The Kalmar Union is a historiographical term meaning a series of personal unions that united the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway , and Sweden under a single monarch, though intermittently and with a population...

 formed in 1397 and by the unification of the country by King Gustav Vasa
Gustav I of Sweden
Gustav I of Sweden, born Gustav Eriksson of the Vasa noble family and later known simply as Gustav Vasa , was King of Sweden from 1523 until his death....

 in the 16th century. In the 17th century Sweden expanded its territories to form the Swedish empire
Swedish Empire
The Swedish Empire refers to the Kingdom of Sweden between 1561 and 1721 . During this time, Sweden was one of the great European powers. In Swedish, the period is called Stormaktstiden, literally meaning "the Great Power Era"...

. Most of these conquered territories had to be given up during the 18th century. In the early 19th century Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 and the remaining territories outside the Scandinavian peninsula
Scandinavian Peninsula
The Scandinavian Peninsula is a peninsula in Northern Europe, which today covers Norway, Sweden, and most of northern Finland. Prior to the 17th and 18th centuries, large parts of the southern peninsula—including the core region of Scania from which the peninsula takes its name—were part of...

 were lost. After its last war in 1814, Sweden entered into a personal union
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

 with Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 which lasted until 1905.
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Modern Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 started out of the Kalmar Union
Kalmar Union
The Kalmar Union is a historiographical term meaning a series of personal unions that united the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway , and Sweden under a single monarch, though intermittently and with a population...

 formed in 1397 and by the unification of the country by King Gustav Vasa
Gustav I of Sweden
Gustav I of Sweden, born Gustav Eriksson of the Vasa noble family and later known simply as Gustav Vasa , was King of Sweden from 1523 until his death....

 in the 16th century. In the 17th century Sweden expanded its territories to form the Swedish empire
Swedish Empire
The Swedish Empire refers to the Kingdom of Sweden between 1561 and 1721 . During this time, Sweden was one of the great European powers. In Swedish, the period is called Stormaktstiden, literally meaning "the Great Power Era"...

. Most of these conquered territories had to be given up during the 18th century. In the early 19th century Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 and the remaining territories outside the Scandinavian peninsula
Scandinavian Peninsula
The Scandinavian Peninsula is a peninsula in Northern Europe, which today covers Norway, Sweden, and most of northern Finland. Prior to the 17th and 18th centuries, large parts of the southern peninsula—including the core region of Scania from which the peninsula takes its name—were part of...

 were lost. After its last war in 1814, Sweden entered into a personal union
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

 with Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 which lasted until 1905. Since 1814, Sweden has been at peace, adopting a non-aligned
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

 foreign policy in peacetime and neutrality in wartime.

Pre-historic age: 9,000 BC–AD 800


Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, as well as the adjacent country Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, has a high concentration of petroglyph
Petroglyph
Petroglyphs are pictogram and logogram images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images...

s (hällristningar in Swedish) throughout the country, with the highest concentration in the province of Bohuslän
Bohuslän
' is a Swedish traditional province, or landskap, situated in Götaland on the northernmost part of the country's west coast. It is bordered by Dalsland to the northeast, Västergötland to the southeast, the Skagerrak arm of the North Sea to the west, and the county of Østfold in Norway to the north...

. The earliest images can, however, be found in the province of Jämtland
Jämtland
Jämtland or Jamtland is a historical province or landskap in the center of Sweden in northern Europe. It borders to Härjedalen and Medelpad in the south, Ångermanland in the east, Lapland in the north and Trøndelag and Norway in the west...

, dating from 5000 BC. They depict wild animals such as elk, reindeer, bears and seals. The period 2300–500 BC was the most intensive carving period, with carvings of agriculture, warfare, ships, domesticated animals, etc. Also, petroglyphs with themes of sexual nature have been found in Bohuslän; these are dated from 800–500 BC.

Early Swedish history: 800–1500


For centuries, the Swedes were merchant seamen well known for their far-reaching trade. In the 9th century, Nordic Vikings raided and ravaged the European continent as far as the Black and Caspian Seas. During the 11th and 12th centuries, Sweden gradually became a unified Christian kingdom that later included Finland. Until 1060 the kings of Uppsala ruled most of modern Sweden except the southern and western coastal regions, which remained under Danish rule until the 17th century. After a century of civil wars a new royal family emerged, which strengthened the power of the crown at the expense of the nobility, while giving the nobles privileges such as exemption from taxation in exchange for military service. Finland was taken over. Sweden never had a fully developed feudal system, and its peasants were never reduced to serfdom.

The Vikings from Sweden mainly traveled east into Russia. The large Russian mainland and its many navigable rivers offered good prospects for merchandise and, at times, plundering. During the 9th century, extensive Scandinavian settlements began on the east side of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

.

About 1000, the first king known to rule over both Svealand
Svealand
Svealand , Swealand or Sweden proper is the historical core region of Sweden. It is located in south central Sweden and is one of three lands of Sweden, bounded to the north by Norrland and to the south by Götaland. Deep forests, Tiveden, Tylöskog, Kolmården, separated Svealand from Götaland...

 and Götaland
Götaland
Götaland , Gothia, Gothland, Gothenland, Gautland or Geatland is one of three lands of Sweden and comprises provinces...

 was Olof Skötkonung, but the further history is obscure with kings whose periods of regency and actual power is unclear. In the 12th century, Sweden was still consolidating with the dynastic struggles between the Erik
House of Eric
The House of Eric was one of the two clans, which were rivals for the kingship of Sweden between 1150 and 1220. The first king from the clan of the Erics who had won the power struggle against the Sverkers was Eric IX of Sweden whom the later world has dubbed Saint Eric...

 and Sverker
House of Sverker
After the extinction of the House of Stenkil and the ascension of Sverker I of Sweden in 1130, a civil war commenced. In the beginning, there were several pretenders, of whom Sverker I emerged as victorious, for a time...

 clans, which finally ended when a third clan married into the Erik clan and founded the Folkunga
House of Bjelbo
The House of Bjelbo , also known as the House of Folkung , was an Ostrogothian Swedish family that provided for several medieval Swedish bishops, jarls and kings.- Name and origin :...

 dynasty on the throne. This dynasty gradually consolidated a pre-Kalmar-Union
Kalmar Union
The Kalmar Union is a historiographical term meaning a series of personal unions that united the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway , and Sweden under a single monarch, though intermittently and with a population...

 Sweden to an actual nation, which essentially fell apart after the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

.

The conversion from Norse paganism
Norse paganism
Norse paganism is the religious traditions of the Norsemen, a Germanic people living in the Nordic countries. Norse paganism is therefore a subset of Germanic paganism, which was practiced in the lands inhabited by the Germanic tribes across most of Northern and Central Europe in the Viking Age...

 to Christianity was a complex, gradual, and at times possibly violent (see Temple at Uppsala) process. The main early source of religious influence was England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 due to interactions between Scandinavians
Scandinavians
Scandinavians are a group of Germanic peoples, inhabiting Scandinavia and to a lesser extent countries associated with Scandinavia, and speaking Scandinavian languages. The group includes Danes, Norwegians and Swedes, and additionally the descendants of Scandinavian settlers such as the Icelandic...

 and Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 in the Danelaw
Danelaw
The Danelaw, as recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , is a historical name given to the part of England in which the laws of the "Danes" held sway and dominated those of the Anglo-Saxons. It is contrasted with "West Saxon law" and "Mercian law". The term has been extended by modern historians to...

, and Irish missionary monks
Hiberno-Scottish mission
The Hiberno-Scottish mission was a mission led by Irish and Scottish monks which spread Christianity and established monasteries in Great Britain and continental Europe during the Middle Ages...

. German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 influence was less obvious in the beginning, despite an early missionary attempt by Ansgar
Ansgar
Saint Ansgar, Anskar or Oscar, was an Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen. The see of Hamburg was designated a "Mission to bring Christianity to the North", and Ansgar became known as the "Apostle of the North".-Life:After his mother’s early death Ansgar was brought up in Corbie Abbey, and made rapid...

, but gradually emerged as the dominant religious force in the area, especially after the Norman conquest of England
Norman conquest of England
The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

. Despite the close relations between Swedish and Russian aristocracy (see also Rus'
Rus' (people)
The Rus' were a group of Varangians . According to the Primary Chronicle of Rus, compiled in about 1113 AD, the Rus had relocated from the Baltic region , first to Northeastern Europe, creating an early polity which finally came under the leadership of Rurik...

), there is no direct evidence of Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 influence, possibly because of the language barrier.

This consolidated state of Sweden already included Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 presumably from an early crusade into the area of Tavastland
Tavastia (historical province)
Tavastia, Tavastland or Häme, Russian Emi or Yemi, is a historical province in the south of Finland. It borders Finland Proper, Satakunta, Ostrobothnia, Savonia and Uusimaa.- Administration :...

in central current day Finland.

After the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 and internal power struggles in Sweden, Queen Margaret I of Denmark
Margaret I of Denmark
Margaret I was Queen of Denmark, Norway and Sweden and founder of the Kalmar Union, which united the Scandinavian countries for over a century. Although she acted as queen regnant, the laws of contemporary Danish succession denied her formal queenship. Her title in Denmark was derived from her...

 united the Nordic countries in the Union of Kalmar
Kalmar Union
The Kalmar Union is a historiographical term meaning a series of personal unions that united the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway , and Sweden under a single monarch, though intermittently and with a population...

 in 1397, with the approval of the Swedish nobility
Swedish nobility
The Swedish nobility were historically a legally and/or socially privileged class in Sweden, part of the so-called frälse . Today, the nobility is still very much a part of Swedish society but they do not maintain many of their former privileges...

. Continual tension within the countries and within the union gradually led to open conflict between the Swedes and the Danes in the 15th century, however. The union's final disintegration in the early 16th century brought on a long-lived rivalry between Denmark on one side and Sweden on the other.

Modern Sweden: 1523




In the 16th century, Gustav Vasa fought for an independent Sweden, crushing an attempt to restore the Union of Kalmar and laying the foundation for modern Sweden. At the same time, he broke with the papacy
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and established a reformed church
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

.

The Union of Kalmar's final disintegration in the early 16th century brought on a long-lived rivalry between Norway and Denmark on one side and Sweden (including Finland) on the other. The Catholic bishops had supported the Danish King Christian II
Christian II of Denmark
Christian II was King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden , during the Kalmar Union.-Background:...

, but he was overthrown by Gustavus Vasa
Gustav I of Sweden
Gustav I of Sweden, born Gustav Eriksson of the Vasa noble family and later known simply as Gustav Vasa , was King of Sweden from 1523 until his death....

 (1490–1560), and Sweden (with Finland) was now independent again. Gustavus used the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 to curb the power of the church and became King Gustavus I in 1523. In 1527 he persuaded the Riksdag of Västerås (comprising the nobles, clergy, burghers, and freehold peasants) to confiscate church lands, which comprised 21% of the farmland. Gustavus took the Lutheran reformers under his protection and appointed his men as bishops. Gustavus suppressed aristocratic opposition to his ecclesiastical policies and efforts at centralisation.

Tax reforms took place in 1538 and 1558, whereby multiple complex taxes on independent farmers were simplified and standardised throughout the district; tax assessments per farm were adjusted to reflect ability to pay. Crown tax revenues increased, but more importantly the new system was perceived as fairer and more acceptable. A war with Luebeck in 1535 resulted in the expulsion of the Hanseatic traders
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

, who previously had had a monopoly of foreign trade. With its own businessmen in charge Sweden's economic strength grew rapidly, and by 1544 Gustavus controlled 60% of the farmlands in all of Sweden. Sweden now built the first modern army in Europe, supported by a sophisticated tax system and government bureaucracy. Gustavus proclaimed the Swedish crown hereditary in his family, the house of Vasa. It ruled Sweden (1523–1654) and Poland (1587–1668).

Early Modern


During the 17th century, after winning wars against Denmark, Russia, and Poland, Sweden–Finland (with scarcely more than 1 million inhabitants) emerged as a great power by taking direct control of the Baltic region, which was Europe's main source of grain, iron, copper, timber, tar, hemp, and furs.



Sweden had first gained a foothold on a territory outside her traditional provinces in 1561, when Estonia
Swedish Estonia
The Duchy of Estonia , also known as Swedish Estonia, was a dominion of the Swedish Empire from 1561 until 1721, when it was ceded to Russia in the Treaty of Nystad, following its capitulation in the Great Northern War. The dominion arose when the northern parts of present-day Estonia were united...

 opted for vassalage to Sweden during the Livonian War
Livonian War
The Livonian War was fought for control of Old Livonia in the territory of present-day Estonia and Latvia when the Tsardom of Russia faced a varying coalition of Denmark–Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Union of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland.During the period 1558–1578,...

. While in 1590 Sweden had to cede Ingria
Ingria
Ingria is a historical region in the eastern Baltic, now part of Russia, comprising the southern bank of the river Neva, between the Gulf of Finland, the Narva River, Lake Peipus in the west, and Lake Ladoga and the western bank of the Volkhov river in the east...

 and Kexholm to Russia, and Sigismund
Sigismund III Vasa
Sigismund III Vasa was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, a monarch of the united Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1587 to 1632, and King of Sweden from 1592 until he was deposed in 1599...

 tried to incorporate Swedish Estonia
Swedish Estonia
The Duchy of Estonia , also known as Swedish Estonia, was a dominion of the Swedish Empire from 1561 until 1721, when it was ceded to Russia in the Treaty of Nystad, following its capitulation in the Great Northern War. The dominion arose when the northern parts of present-day Estonia were united...

 into the Duchy of Livonia
Duchy of Livonia
The Duchy of Livonia was a territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania — and later the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth — that existed from 1561 to 1621...

, Sweden gradually expanded at the eastern Baltic during the following years. In a series of Polish–Swedish War (1600–1629)
Polish–Swedish War (1600–1629)
The Polish–Swedish War was twice interrupted by periods of truce and thus can be divided into:* Polish–Swedish War * Polish–Swedish War...

 and the Russo-Swedish Ingrian War
Ingrian War
The Ingrian War between Sweden and Russia, which lasted between 1610 and 1617 and can be seen as part of Russia's Time of Troubles, is mainly remembered for the attempt to put a Swedish duke on the Russian throne...

, Gustavus Adolphus
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
Gustav II Adolf has been widely known in English by his Latinized name Gustavus Adolphus Magnus and variously in historical writings also as Gustavus, or Gustavus the Great, or Gustav Adolph the Great,...

 retook Ingria and Kexholm (formally ceded in the Treaty of Stolbovo
Treaty of Stolbovo
The Treaty of Stolbovo is a peace treaty of 1617 that ended the Ingrian War, fought between Sweden and Russia.After nearly two months of negotiations, representatives from Sweden and Russia met at the village of Stolbova, south of Lake Ladoga, on 27 February 1617.From the outset, Sweden had gone...

, 1617) as well as the bulk of Livonia
Swedish Livonia
- Swedish infantry and cavalry regiments:Infantry regiments:* Garnisonsregementet i Riga * Guvenörsregementet i Riga * Livländsk infanteribataljon I...

 (formally ceded in the Treaty of Altmark, 1629).

Sweden's role in the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 determined the political as well as the religious balance of power in Europe. From bridgeheads in Stralsund (1628)
Battle of Stralsund (1628)
The Siege of Stralsund was a siege laid on Stralsund by Albrecht von Wallenstein's Imperial Army during the Thirty Years' War, from May to 4 August 1628. Stralsund was aided by Denmark and Sweden, with considerable Scottish participation. The siege ended Wallenstein's series of victories, and...

 and Pomerania (1630)
Treaty of Stettin (1630)
The Treaty of Stettin or Alliance of Stettin was the legal framework for the occupation of the Duchy of Pomerania by the Swedish Empire during the Thirty Years' War...

, the Swedish army advanced to the south of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, and in a side theater of the war deprived Denmark–Norway of Danish Estonia
Danish Estonia
Danish Estonia refers to the territories of present-day Estonia that were ruled by Denmark firstly during the 13th–14th centuries and again in the 16th–17th centuries....

, Jämtland
Jämtland
Jämtland or Jamtland is a historical province or landskap in the center of Sweden in northern Europe. It borders to Härjedalen and Medelpad in the south, Ångermanland in the east, Lapland in the north and Trøndelag and Norway in the west...

, Gotland
Gotland
Gotland is a county, province, municipality and diocese of Sweden; it is Sweden's largest island and the largest island in the Baltic Sea. At 3,140 square kilometers in area, the region makes up less than one percent of Sweden's total land area...

, Halland
Halland
' is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden , on the western coast of Sweden. It borders Västergötland, Småland, Scania and the sea of Kattegat.-Administration:...

, Härjedalen
Härjedalen
' is a historical province or landskap in the centre of Sweden. It borders the country of Norway as well as the provinces of Dalarna, Hälsingland, Medelpad, and Jämtland...

, Idre and Särna
Älvdalen Municipality
Älvdalen Municipality is a municipality in Dalarna County in central Sweden. Its seat is located in the town of Älvdalen....

, became exempted from the Sound Dues
Sound Dues
The Sound Dues were a toll on the use of the Sound which constituted up to two thirds of Denmark's state income in the 16th and 17th centuries...

, and established claims to Bremen-Verden
Bremen-Verden
Bremen-Verden, formally the Duchies of Bremen and Verden , were two territories and immediate fiefs of the Holy Roman Empire, which emerged and gained Imperial immediacy in 1180...

, all of which was formalized in the Treaty of Brömsebro (1645). In 1648, Sweden became a guarantee power for the Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

, which ended the Thirty Years' War and left her with the additional dominions of Bremen-Verden, Wismar
Wismar
Wismar , is a small port and Hanseatic League town in northern Germany on the Baltic Sea, in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern,about 45 km due east of Lübeck, and 30 km due north of Schwerin. Its natural harbour, located in the Bay of Wismar is well-protected by a promontory. The...

 and Swedish Pomerania
Swedish Pomerania
Swedish Pomerania was a Dominion under the Swedish Crown from 1630 to 1815, situated on what is now the Baltic coast of Germany and Poland. Following the Polish War and the Thirty Years' War, Sweden held extensive control over the lands on the southern Baltic coast, including Pomerania and parts...

. Since 1638, Sweden also maintained the colony of New Sweden
New Sweden
New Sweden was a Swedish colony along the Delaware River on the Mid-Atlantic coast of North America from 1638 to 1655. Fort Christina, now in Wilmington, Delaware, was the first settlement. New Sweden included parts of the present-day American states of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania....

 along the Delaware River
Delaware River
The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States.A Dutch expedition led by Henry Hudson in 1609 first mapped the river. The river was christened the South River in the New Netherland colony that followed, in contrast to the North River, as the Hudson River was then...

 in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

.

The Swedish Empire: 1648


Sweden's status as an empire did not remain unchallenged. In the Second Northern War
Second Northern War
The Second Northern War was fought between Sweden and its adversaries the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth , Russia , Brandenburg-Prussia , the Habsburg Monarchy and Denmark–Norway...

, she was able to establish control of the eastern bank of the Sound
Oresund
The Sound , is the strait that separates the Danish island Zealand from the southern Swedish province of Scania. Its width is just at the narrowest point between Helsingør, Denmark, and Helsingborg, Sweden...

, formalized in the Treaty of Roskilde
Treaty of Roskilde
The Treaty of Roskilde was concluded on 26 February or 8 March 1658 during the Second Northern War between Frederick III of Denmark–Norway and Charles X Gustav of Sweden in the Danish city of Roskilde...

 (1658), and gain recognition of her southeastern dominions by the European great powers in the Treaty of Oliva
Treaty of Oliva
The Treaty or Peace of Oliva of 23 April /3 May 1660 was one of the peace treaties ending the Second Northern War...

 (1660); yet, Sweden was barred from further expansion at the southern coast of the Baltic. That Sweden came out of the Scanian War
Scanian War
The Scanian War was a part of the Northern Wars involving the union of Denmark-Norway, Brandenburg and Sweden. It was fought mainly on Scanian soil, in the former Danish provinces along the border with Sweden and in Northern Germany...

 with only minor losses was largely due to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 forcing Sweden's adversaries into the treaties of Fontainebleau (1679)
Treaty of Fontainebleau (1679)
The Treaty of Fontainebleau, signed on 23 August / 2 September 1679, ended hostilities between Denmark-Norway and the Swedish Empire in the Scanian War. Denmark, pressured by France, restored all conquests made during the war to Sweden in turn for a "paltry indemnity". The treaty was confirmed,...

 (confirmed at Lund
Peace of Lund
The Peace of Lund, signed on 16 September / 26 September 1679, was the final peace treaty between Denmark-Norway and the Swedish Empire in the Scanian War.The war had started when Sweden on French initiative attacked Brandenburg-Prussia...

) and Saint-Germain (1679)
Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1679)
The Treaty or Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye of 19 June or 29 June 1679 was a peace treaty between France and the Electorate of Brandenburg. It restored to France's ally Sweden her dominions Bremen-Verden and Swedish Pomerania, lost to Brandenburg in the Scanian War...

.

The following period of peace allowed Charles XI of Sweden
Charles XI of Sweden
Charles XI also Carl, was King of Sweden from 1660 until his death, in a period in Swedish history known as the Swedish empire ....

 to reform and stabilize the empire. He consolidated the state finances by the great reduction of 1680
Reduction (Sweden)
In the reductions in Sweden, fiefs that had been granted to the Swedish nobility were returned to the Crown.The first reduction under Charles X Gustav of Sweden in 1655 restored a quarter of "donations" made after 1632. In the Great Reduction of 1680 under Charles XI of Sweden the Crown...

; further changes were made in finance, commerce, national maritime and land armaments, judicial procedure, church government and education.

The Great Northern War: 1700



Russia, Saxony–Poland, and Denmark–Norway pooled their power in 1700 and attacked the Swedish empire
Swedish Empire
The Swedish Empire refers to the Kingdom of Sweden between 1561 and 1721 . During this time, Sweden was one of the great European powers. In Swedish, the period is called Stormaktstiden, literally meaning "the Great Power Era"...

. Although the young Swedish King Charles XII
Charles XII of Sweden
Charles XII also Carl of Sweden, , Latinized to Carolus Rex, Turkish: Demirbaş Şarl, also known as Charles the Habitué was the King of the Swedish Empire from 1697 to 1718...

 (1682–1718; reigned 1697–1718) won spectacular victories in the early years of the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in northern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of...

, most notably in the stunning success against the Russians at the Battle of Narva
Battle of Narva (1700)
The Battle of Narva on 19 November 1700 was an early battle in the Great Northern War. A Swedish relief army under Charles XII of Sweden defeated a Russian siege force three times its size. Before, Charles XII had forced Denmark-Norway to sign the Treaty of Travendal...

 (1700), his plan to attack Moscow and force Russia into peace proved too ambitious.

The Russians won decisively at the Battle of Poltava
Battle of Poltava
The Battle of Poltava on 27 June 1709 was the decisive victory of Peter I of Russia over the Swedish forces under Field Marshal Carl Gustav Rehnskiöld in one of the battles of the Great Northern War. It is widely believed to have been the beginning of Sweden's decline as a Great Power; the...

 in June 1709, capturing much of the exhausted Swedish army. Charles XII and the remnants of his army were cut off from Sweden and fled south into Ottoman territory, where he remained three years. He outstayed his welcome, refusing to leave until the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 joined him in a new war against Tsar Peter I of Russia. In order to force the recalcitrant Ottoman government to follow his policies, he established, from his camp, a powerful political network in Constantinople, which was joined even by the mother of the sultan. Charles's persistence worked, as Peter's army was checked by Ottoman troops. However, Turkish failure to pursue the victory enraged Charles and from that moment his relations with the Ottoman administration soured. During the same period the behavior of his troops worsened and turned disastrous. Lack of discipline and contempt for the locals soon created an unbearable situation in Moldavia. The Swedish soldiers behaved badly, destroying, stealing, raping, and killing. Meanwhile back in the north Sweden was invaded by its enemies; Charles returned home in 1714, too late to restore his lost empire and impoverished homeland; he died in 1718. In the subsequent peace treaties, the allied powers, joined by Prussia and England-Hanover, ended Sweden's reign as a great power. Russian now dominated the north. The war-weary Riksdag asserted new powers and reduced the crown to a constitutional monarch, with power held by a civilian government controlled by the Riksdag. A new "Age of Freedom" opened, and the economy was rebuilt, supported by large exports of iron and lumber to Britain.

The reign of Charles XII (1697–1718) has stirred great controversy; historians have been puzzled ever since why this military genius overreached and greatly weakened Sweden. Although most early-19th-century historians tended to follow Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

's lead in bestowing extravagant praise on the warrior-king, others have criticized him as a fanatic, a bully, and a bloodthirsty warmonger. A more balanced view suggests a highly capable military ruler whose oft-reviled peculiarities seemed to have served him well, but who neglected his base in Sweden in pursuit of foreign adventure. Slow to learn the limits of Sweden's diminished strength, a party of nobles, who called themselves the "Hats", dreamed of revenge on Russia and ruled the country from 1739 to 1765; they engaged in wars in 1741, 1757, 1788, and 1809, with more or less disastrous results as Russian influence grew after every Swedish defeat.

Enlightenment


Sweden joined in the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 culture of the day in the arts, architecture, science and learning. A new law in 1766 established for the first time the principle of freedom of the press—a notable step towards liberty of political opinion. The Academy of Science was founded in 1739 and the Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities in 1753. The outstanding cultural leader was Carl Linnaeus (1707–78), whose work in biology and ethnography had a major impact on European science.

Following half a century of parliamentary domination came the reaction. King Gustav III (1746–1792) came to the throne in 1771, and in 1772 led a coup d'état, with French support, that established him as an "enlightened despot," who ruled at will. The Age of Freedom and bitter party politics was over. Precocious and well educated, he became a patron of the arts and music. His edicts reformed the bureaucracy, repaired the currency, expanded trade, and improved defense. The population had reached 2.0 million and the country was prosperous, although rampant alcoholism was a growing social problem. But when Gustav made war on Russia and did poorly he was assassinated by a conspiracy of nobles angry that he tried to restrict their privileges for the benefit of the peasant farmers.

Absolute monarchy lasted until defeats in the Napoleonic wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 forced Sweden to cede Finland to Russia in 1809.

Colonies and slavery


Sweden experimented briefly with overseas colonies, including "New Sweden
New Sweden
New Sweden was a Swedish colony along the Delaware River on the Mid-Atlantic coast of North America from 1638 to 1655. Fort Christina, now in Wilmington, Delaware, was the first settlement. New Sweden included parts of the present-day American states of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania....

" in Colonial America
Colonial America
The colonial history of the United States covers the history from the start of European settlement and especially the history of the thirteen colonies of Britain until they declared independence in 1776. In the late 16th century, England, France, Spain and the Netherlands launched major...

 in the 1640s. Sweden purchased the small Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy
Saint Barthélemy
Saint Barthélemy , officially the Territorial collectivity of Saint Barthélemy , is an overseas collectivity of France. Often abbreviated to Saint-Barth in French, or St. Barts in English, the indigenous people called the island Ouanalao...

 from France in 1784, then sold it back in 1878; the population had included slaves until they were freed by the Swedish government in 1847.

Early urbanization


Between 1570 and 1800 Sweden experienced two periods of urban expansion, c. 1580-1690 and in the mid-18th century, separated by relative stagnation from the 1690s to about 1720. The initial phase was the more active, including an increase in the percentage of urban dwellers in Stockholm – a pattern comparable to increasing urban populations in other European capital and port cities – as well as the foundation of a number of small new towns. Increasing populations in the small towns of the north and west characterized the second period of urban growth, which began around 1750 in response to shifts in Swedish trade patterns from the Baltic to the North Atlantic.

Union with Norway: 1814


In 1810 French Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, one of Napoleon's top generals, was elected Crown Prince Charles by the Riksdag. In 1813, his forces joined the allies against Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 and defeated the Danes at Bornhöved
Battle of Bornhöved (1813)
The Battle of Bornhöved or Bornhöft was a battle on 7 December 1813 between a Swedish cavalry regiment under Bror Cederström and Prince Frederik of Hesse's Danish troops reinforced by smaller numbers of Polish cavalry and German infantry. The clash occurred at the small village of Bornhöft in what...

. In the Treaty of Kiel
Treaty of Kiel
The Treaty of Kiel or Peace of Kiel was concluded between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Kingdom of Sweden on one side and the Kingdoms of Denmark and Norway on the other side on 14 January 1814 in Kiel...

, Denmark ceded mainland Norway to the Swedish king. Norway, however, declared its independence
Norway in 1814
1814 was a pivotal year in the history of Norway. It started with Norway in a union with the Kingdom of Denmark subject to a naval blockade being ceded to the king of Sweden. In May a constitutional convention declared Norway an independent kingdom. By the end of the year the Norwegian parliament...

, adopted a constitution and chose a new king. Sweden invaded Norway to enforce the terms of the Kiel treaty—it was the last war Sweden ever fought. After brief fighting, the peace established a personal union between the two states. Even though they shared the same king, Norway was largely independent of Sweden, except Sweden controlled foreign affairs. The king's rule was not well received and when Sweden refused to allow Norway to have its own diplomats, Norway rejected the King of Sweden in 1905 and selected its own king.

During Charles XIV reign (1818–1844), the first stage of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 reached Sweden. This first take-off was founded on rural forges, textile proto-industries and sawmills.

The 19th century was marked by the emergence of a liberal opposition press, the abolition of guild monopolies in trade and manufacturing in favor of free enterprise, the introduction of taxation and voting reforms, the installation of a national military service, and the rise in the electorate of three major party groups—Social Democratic Party, Liberal Party, and Conservative Party.

Modernization of Sweden: 1860-1910



Sweden—much like Japan at the same time—transformed from a stagnant rural society to a vibrant industrial society between the 1860s and 1910. The agricultural economy shifted gradually from communal village to a more efficient private farm-based agriculture. There was less need for manual labor on the farm so many went to the cities; and about 1 million Swedes emigrated
Swedish American
Swedish Americans are Americans of Swedish descent, especially the descendants of about 1.2 million immigrants from Sweden during 1885-1915. Most were Lutherans who affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ; some were Methodists...

 to the United States between 1850 and 1890. Many returned and brought word of the higher productivity of American industry, thus stimulating faster modernization.

The late 19th century saw the emergence of an opposition press, the abolition of guild
Guild
A guild is an association of craftsmen in a particular trade. The earliest types of guild were formed as confraternities of workers. They were organized in a manner something between a trade union, a cartel, and a secret society...

 monopolies on craftsmen, and the reform of taxation. Two years of military service was made compulsory for young men, though there was no warfare.

Health


The steady decline of death rates in Sweden began about 1810. For men and women of working age the death rate trend diverged, however, leading to increased excess male mortality during the first half of the century. There were very high rates of infant and child mortality before 1800. Among infants and children between the ages of one and four smallpox peaked as a cause of death in the 1770s-1780s and declined afterward. Mortality also peaked during this period due to other air-, food-, and waterborne diseases, but these declined as well during the early 19th century. The decline of several diseases during this time created a more favorable environment that increased children's resistance to disease and dramatically lowered child mortality.

The introduction of compulsory gymnastics in Swedish schools in 1880 rested partly on a long tradition, from Renaissance humanism to the Enlightenment, of the importance of physical as well as intellectual training. More immediately, the promotion of gymnastics as a scientifically sound form of physical discipline coincided with the introduction of conscription, which gave the state a strong interest in educating children physically as well as mentally for the role of citizen soldiers. Skiing is a major recreation in Sweden and its ideological, functional, ecological, and social impact has been great on Swedish nationalism and consciousness. Swedes perceived skiing as virtuous, masculine, heroic, in harmony with nature, and part of the country's culture. A growing awareness of strong national sentiments and an appreciation of natural resources led to the creation of the Swedish Ski Association in 1892 in order to combine nature, leisure, and nationalism. The organization focused its efforts on patriotic, militaristic, heroic, and environmental Swedish traditions as they relate to ski sports and outdoor life.

20th century


With a broader voting franchise, the nation saw the emergence of three major party groups – Social Democrat, Liberal
Liberal People's Party (Sweden)
The Liberal People's Party is a political party in Sweden. The party advocates social liberalism and is part of the governing centre-right coalition The Alliance, which achieved a majority in the general election of 17 September 2006...

, and Conservative
Moderate Party
The Moderate Party is a centre-right, liberal conservative political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1904 as the General Electoral League by a group of conservatives in the Swedish parliament...

. The parties debated further expansion of the voting franchise. The Liberal Party, based on the middle class, in 1907 put forth a program for local voting rights later accepted in the Riksdag; the majority of Liberals wanted to require some property ownership before a man could vote. The Social Democrats called for total male suffrage without property limitations. The strong farmer representation in the Second Chamber of the Riksdag maintained a conservative view, but their decline after 1900 gradually ended opposition to full suffrage.

Religion maintained a major role but public school religious education changed from drill in the Lutheran catechism to biblical-ethical studies.


Industrialization: 1910-1939


Sweden was neutral in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. During the war and the 1920s its industries expanded to meet the European demand for Swedish steel, ball bearing
Ball bearing
A ball bearing is a type of rolling-element bearing that uses balls to maintain the separation between the bearing races.The purpose of a ball bearing is to reduce rotational friction and support radial and axial loads. It achieves this by using at least two races to contain the balls and transmit...

s, wood pulp, and matches. Post-war prosperity provided the foundations for the social welfare policies characteristic of modern Sweden.

Foreign policy
Foreign relations of Sweden
The foreign policy of Sweden is based on the premise that national security is best served by staying free of alliances in peacetime in order to remain a neutral country in the event of war. In 2002, Sweden revised its security doctrine...

 concerns in the 1930s centered on Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and German expansionism, which stimulated abortive efforts at Nordic
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

 defence co-operation. Sweden followed a policy of armed neutrality during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and currently remains non-aligned
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

.

Welfare state


Sweden successfully integrated socialism and democracy because of the unique way in which Sweden's labor leaders, politicians, and classes cooperated during the early development period of Swedish social democracy. Because Sweden's socialist leaders chose a moderate, reformist political course with broad-based public support in the early stages of Swedish industrialization and prior to the full-blown development of Swedish interclass politics, Sweden escaped the severe extremist challenges and political and class divisions that plagued many European countries that attempted to develop social democratic systems after 1911. By dealing early, cooperatively, and effectively with the challenges of industrialization and its impact on Swedish social, political, and economic structures, Swedish social democrats were able to create one of the most successful social democratic systems in the world, with no signs of repression or totalitarianism.

When the Social Democratic Party came into power in 1932, its leaders introduced a new political decision-making process, which later became known as "the Swedish model." The party took a central role, but tried as far as possible to base its policy on mutual understanding and compromise. Different interest groups were always involved in official committees that preceded government decisions.

Foreign policy 1920-1939


Foreign policy concerns in the 1930s centered on Soviet and German expansionism, which stimulated failed efforts at Nordic defense cooperation. Sweden followed a policy of armed neutrality during World War II (although thousands of Swedish volunteers fought in the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

 against the Soviets); however, it did permit German troops to pass through its territory to and from occupation duties in its neighbour, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, and it supplied the Nazi regime with steel and much needed ball-bearings.

Sweden during World War II


Sweden remained neutral
Neutral country
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, despite the involvement of all its neighbors. Sweden provided assistance to both warring parties.

Post-war Sweden: 1945


Sweden was one of the first non-participants of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to join the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 (in 1946). Apart from this, the country tried to stay out of alliances and remain officially neutral during the entire Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

; it never joined NATO.

The social democratic party held government for 44 years (1932–1976), they spent much of the 1950s and 1960s building Folkhemmet
Folkhemmet
Folkhemmet is a political concept that played an important role in the history of the Swedish Social Democratic Party and the Swedish welfare state. It is also sometimes used to refer to the long period between 1932-76 when the Social democrats were in power and the concept was put into practice...

(The People's Home), the Swedish welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

. Sweden's industry had not been damaged by the war and it was in a position to help re-build Northern Europe in the decades following 1945. This led to an economic upswing in the post-war era that made the welfare system feasible.

By the 1970s the economies of the rest of Western Europe, particularly that of West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 were prosperous and growing rapidly, while the Swedish economy stagnated. Many economists blamed its large tax funded public sector
Public sector
The public sector, sometimes referred to as the state sector, is a part of the state that deals with either the production, delivery and allocation of goods and services by and for the government or its citizens, whether national, regional or local/municipal.Examples of public sector activity range...

.

In 1976, the social democrats lost their majority. The 1976 parliamentary elections brought a liberal/right-wing coalition to power. Over the next six years, four governments ruled and fell, composed by all or some of the parties that had won in 1976. The fourth liberal government in these years came under fire by Social Democrats and trade unions and the Moderate Party, culminating in the Social Democrats regaining power in 1982.

During the Cold War Sweden maintained a dual approach, publicly the strict neutrality
Neutral country
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 policy was forcefully maintained, but unofficially strong ties were kept with the U.S., Norway, Denmark, West Germany and other NATO countries. Swedes hoped that the U.S. would use conventional and nuclear weapons in case of a Soviet attack on Sweden. A strong ability to defend against an amphibious invasion was maintained, complete with Swedish-built warplanes, but there was no long-range bombing capability.

In the early 1960s U.S. nuclear submarine
Nuclear submarine
A nuclear submarine is a submarine powered by a nuclear reactor . The performance advantages of nuclear submarines over "conventional" submarines are considerable: nuclear propulsion, being completely independent of air, frees the submarine from the need to surface frequently, as is necessary for...

s armed with mid-range nuclear missiles of type Polaris
UGM-27 Polaris
The Polaris missile was a two-stage solid-fuel nuclear-armed submarine-launched ballistic missile built during the Cold War by Lockheed Corporation of California for the United States Navy....

 A-1 were deployed not far from the Swedish west coast. Range and safety considerations made this a good area from which to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike on Moscow. The U.S. secretly provided Sweden with a military security guarantee, promising to provide military force in aid of Sweden in case of Soviet aggression. As part of the military cooperation the U.S. provided much help in the development of the Saab 37 Viggen, as a strong Swedish air force was seen as necessary to keep Soviet anti-submarine aircraft from operating in the missile launch area. In return Swedish scientists at the Royal Institute of Technology
Royal Institute of Technology
The Royal Institute of Technology is a university in Stockholm, Sweden. KTH was founded in 1827 as Sweden's first polytechnic and is one of Scandinavia's largest institutions of higher education in technology. KTH accounts for one-third of Sweden’s technical research and engineering education...

 made considerable contributions to enhancing the targeting performance of the Polaris
Polaris
Polaris |Alpha]] Ursae Minoris, commonly North Star or Pole Star, also Lodestar) is the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor. It is very close to the north celestial pole, making it the current northern pole star....

 missiles.

On February 28, 1986, the Social Democratic leader and Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme
Olof Palme
Sven Olof Joachim Palme was a Swedish politician. A long-time protegé of Prime Minister Tage Erlander, Palme led the Swedish Social Democratic Party from 1969 to his assassination, and was a two-term Prime Minister of Sweden, heading a Privy Council Government from 1969 to 1976 and a cabinet...

 was murdered; shocked Swedes worried whether the nation had "lost its innocence".

In the early 1990s there occurred once again an economic crisis with high unemployment and many banks and companies going bankrupt. A few years after the end of the Cold War Sweden became a member of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 in 1995, and the old term "policy of neutrality" fell out of use.

In a referendum held in 2003, voters decided not to adopt the Euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 as the country's official currency.

Historiography


According to Lönnroth (1998) in the 19th century and early 20th century, Swedish historians saw their writing in terms of literature and story telling, rather than analysis and interpretation. Harald Hjärne (1848–1922) pioneered modern historical scholarship. In 1876 he attacked the traditional myths of the social and legal conditions of ancient Greece and Rome inherited from the classical authors. He was inspired by German scholar Barthold Georg Niebuhr
Barthold Georg Niebuhr
Barthold Georg Niebuhr was a Danish-German statesman and historian who became Germany's leading historian of Ancient Rome and a founding father of modern scholarly historiography. Classical Rome caught the admiration of German thinkers...

 (1776–1831), a founder of modern German historiography. As professor of history at Uppsala University, Hjärne became a spokesman for the Conservative Party and the Swedish monarchy by 1900. Hjärne had enormous influence on his students and, indeed, on an entire generation of historians, who mostly became political conservatives and nationalists. Another movement emerged at Lund University around 1910, where critical scholars began using the source critics' methods to the early history of Scandinavia. The brothers Lauritz Weibull and Curt Weibull were the leaders, and they had followers at Lund and Göteborg universities. The result was a half-century of often embittered controversy between traditionalists and revisionists that lasted until 1960. There was a blurring of the ideological fronts resulting from experiences during and after World War II. In the meantime, in the general expansion of university education in the postwar period, history was generally neglected. Only through the activities of the National Research Council of the Humanities and the dedicated efforts of certain ambitious university professors created some expansion of historical scholarship. After 1990 there were signs of revival in historiography, with a strong new emphasis on 20th-century topics, as well as the application of social history
Social history
Social history, often called the new social history, is a branch of History that includes history of ordinary people and their strategies of coping with life. In its "golden age" it was a major growth field in the 1960s and 1970s among scholars, and still is well represented in history departments...

 and computerized statistical techniques to the demographic history of ordinary villagers before 1900.

See also


  • Flag of Sweden
    Flag of Sweden
    The flag of Sweden is a Scandinavian cross that extends to the edges of the flag. This Scandinavian cross represents Christianity. The design and colours of the Swedish flag are believed to have been inspired by the present Coat of arms of Sweden of 1442, which is blue divided quarterly by a cross...

  • History of Denmark
    History of Denmark
    The history of Denmark dates back about 12,000 years, to the end of the last ice age, with the earliest evidence of human inhabitation. The Danes were first documented in written sources around 500 AD, including in the writings of Jordanes and Procopius. With the Christianization of the Danes c...

  • History of Europe
    History of Europe
    History of Europe describes the history of humans inhabiting the European continent since it was first populated in prehistoric times to present, with the first human settlement between 45,000 and 25,000 BC.-Overview:...

  • History of the European Union
    History of the European Union
    The European Union is a geo-political entity covering a large portion of the European continent. It is founded upon numerous treaties and has undergone expansions that have taken it from 7 member states to 27, a majority of states in Europe....

  • History of Finland
    History of Finland
    The land area that now makes up Finland was settled immediately after the Ice Age, beginning from around 8500 BCE. Most of the region was part of the Kingdom of Sweden from the 13th century to 1809, when it was ceded to the Russian Empire, becoming the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. The...

  • History of Germany
    History of Germany
    The concept of Germany as a distinct region in central Europe can be traced to Roman commander Julius Caesar, who referred to the unconquered area east of the Rhine as Germania, thus distinguishing it from Gaul , which he had conquered. The victory of the Germanic tribes in the Battle of the...

  • History of Iceland
    History of Iceland
    -Early history:In geological terms, Iceland is a young island. It started to form about 20 million years ago from a series of volcanic eruptions on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge...

  • History of Norway
    History of Norway
    The history of human settlement in what is present day Norway goes back at least 11,000 years, to the late Paleolithic. Archaeological finds in the county of Møre og Romsdal have been dated to 9,200 BC and are probably the remains of settlers from Doggerland, an area now submerged in the North Sea,...

  • History of Russia
    History of Russia
    The history of Russia begins with that of the Eastern Slavs and the Finno-Ugric peoples. The state of Garðaríki , which was centered in Novgorod and included the entire areas inhabited by Ilmen Slavs, Veps and Votes, was established by the Varangian chieftain Rurik in 862...

  • History of Scandinavia
    History of Scandinavia
    The history of Scandinavia is the history of the region of northern Europe known in English as Scandinavia, particularly in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.- Pre-historic age :...

  • History of Sweden (1772–1809)
  • List of Prime Ministers of Sweden
  • List of Swedes
  • List of Swedish Monarchs
  • Military history of Sweden
    Military history of Sweden
    -Prehistoric Sweden and the Viking ages :During the prehistoric times, modern Sweden was divided into provinces and in the Svea and Göta kingdoms. There is said that wars were fought between Svear and Götar and that the former were victors...

  • Politics of Sweden
    Politics of Sweden
    Politics of Sweden takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy. Executive power is exercised by the government, led by the Prime Minister of Sweden. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament, elected within a multi-party...

  • Privy Council of Sweden
    Privy Council of Sweden
    The High Council of Sweden or Council of the Realm consisted originally of those men of noble, common and clergical background, that the king saw fit for advisory service...

  • Riksdag of the Estates
    Riksdag of the Estates
    The Riksdag of the Estates , was the name used for the Estates of the Swedish realm when they were assembled. Until its dissolution in 1866, the institution was the highest authority in Sweden next to the King...

  • Sami history
    Sami history
    The Sámi people are the indigenous people of northern Europe inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia...

  • Unions of Sweden
    • Kalmar Union
      Kalmar Union
      The Kalmar Union is a historiographical term meaning a series of personal unions that united the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway , and Sweden under a single monarch, though intermittently and with a population...

    • Union between Sweden and Norway
      Union between Sweden and Norway
      The Union between Sweden and Norway , officially the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, consisted of present-day Sweden and Norway between 1814 and 1905, when they were united under one monarch in a personal union....



External links


Surveys

  • Andersson, Ingvar. A History of Sweden (1956) online edition
  • Derry, Thomas Kingston. A History of Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. (1979). 447 pp.
  • Kent, Neil. A Concise History of Sweden (2008), 314pp excerpt and text search
  • Magnusson, Lars. An Economic History of Sweden (2000) online edition
  • Moberg, Vilhelm, and Paul Britten Austin
    Paul Britten Austin
    Paul Britten Austin was an English author, translator, broadcaster, administrator, and scholar of Swedish literature. He was born in Dawlish, South Devon, England. He was educated at Winchester College...

    . A History of the Swedish People: Volume 1: From Prehistory to the Renaissance, (2005); A History of the Swedish People: Volume II: From Renaissance to Revolution (2005)
  • Nordstrom, Byron J. The History of Sweden (2002) excerpt and text search
  • Scott, Franklin D. Sweden: The Nation's History (1988), survey by leading scholar; excerpt and text search
  • Sprague, Martina. Sweden: An Illustrated History (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Warme, Lars G., ed. A History of Swedish Literature. (1996). 585 pp.

Pre 1700

  • Forte, Angelo. Oram, Richard. Pedersen, Frederik. Viking Empires. (2005)
  • Hudson, Benjamin. Viking Pirates and Christian Princes: Dynasty, Religion, and Empire in North America. (2005).
  • Moberg, Vilhelm, and Paul Britten Austin. A History of the Swedish People: Volume 1: From Prehistory to the Renaissance, (2005)
  • Österberg, Eva. Mentalities and Other Realities: Essays in Medieval and Early Modern Scandinavian History. Lund U. Press, 1991. 207 pp.
  • Österberg, Eva and Lindström, Dag. Crime and Social Control in Medieval and Early Modern Swedish Towns. (1988). 169 pp.
  • Porshnev, B. F. and Paul Dukes, eds. Muscovy and Sweden in the Thirty Years' War, 1630-1635. (1996). 256 pp.
  • Roberts, Michael. The Early Vasas: A History of Sweden 1523-1611 (1968)
  • Roberts, Michael. From Oxenstierna to Charles XII. Four Studies. (1991). 203 pp.
  • Roberts, Michael. The Swedish Imperial Experience, 1560-1718. (1979). 156 pp.

Since 1700

  • Chatterton, Mark. Saab: The Innovator. (1980). 160 pp.
  • Frängsmyr, Tore, ed. Science in Sweden: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 1739-1989. (1989). 291 pp.
  • Fry, John A., ed. Limits of the Welfare State: Critical Views on Post-War Sweden. (1979). 234 pp.
  • Gustavson, Carl G. The Small Giant: Sweden Enters the Industrial Era. (1986). 364 pp.
  • Hodgson, Antony. Scandinavian Music: Finland and Sweden. (1985). 224 pp.
  • Hoppe, Göran and Langton, John. Peasantry to Capitalism: Western Östergötland in the Nineteenth Century. (1995). 457 pp.
  • Lewin, Leif. Ideology and Strategy: A Century of Swedish Politics. (1988). 344 pp.
  • Metcalf, Michael F., ed. The Riksdag: A History of the Swedish Parliament. (1987). 347 pp.
  • Misgeld, Klaus; Molin, Karl; and Amark, Klas. Creating Social Democracy: A Century of the Social Democratic Labor Party in Sweden. (1993). 500 pp.
  • Moberg, Vilhelm, and Paul Britten Austin. A History of the Swedish People: Volume II: From Renaissance to Revolution (2005)
  • Olsen, Gregg M. "Half Empty or Half Full? the Swedish Welfare State in Transition." Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology. v. 16 #2 (1999) pp 241+. online edition
  • Palmer, Alan. Bernadotte: Napoleon's Marshal, Sweden's King. (1991). 285 pp.
  • Pred, Allan. Lost Words and Lost Worlds: Modernity and the Language of Everyday Life in Late Nineteenth-Century Stockholm. (1990). 298 pp.
  • Pred, Allan Richard. Place, Practice and Structure: Social and Spatial Transformation in Southern Sweden, 1750-1850. (1986). 268 pp.
  • Roberts, Michael. The Age of Liberty: Sweden, 1719-1772. (1986). 233 pp.
  • Sejersted, Francis. The Age of Social Democracy: Norway and Sweden in the Twentieth Century (Princeton University Press; 2011); 543 pages; Traces the history of the Scandinavian social model as it developed after the separation of Norway and Sweden in 1905.
  • Söderberg, Johan et al. A Stagnating Metropolis: The Economy and Demography of Stockholm, 1750-1850. (1991). 234 pp.