History of Sweden

By | April 28, 2022

According to historyaah, the first man appeared on the territory of Sweden about 12 thousand years ago. However, only from the 9th c. the Scandinavians were talked about in Europe, where the Vikings began to penetrate by sea, engaging in robbery and trade. The Swedish Vikings managed to reach the Black and Caspian Seas along the Russian rivers (the path “from the Varangians to the Greeks”) and trade with Byzantium and the Arabs. In the 11th and 12th centuries. Sweden begins to act as a single state. Christianity becomes the dominant religion, and in 1164 an archbishopric in Uppsala is established. The process of centralization of the state under royal authority continued for two centuries (from the middle of the 12th century). In 1397, the Danish Queen Margareta united Denmark, Norway and Sweden in the so-called. Kalmar Union under the Danish crown.

Constant strife both within the states united by the union and between them gradually led to an open conflict between the Swedes and the Danes. The final collapse of the union in the beginning. 16th century led to a series of fierce wars between Denmark and Norway, on the one hand, and Sweden and Finland, which in the 12-13 centuries. was conquered by the Swedes, on the other. The culmination was the so-called. The Stockholm bloodbath in 1520, when more than 100 famous representatives of various classes in Sweden were executed during the accession to the throne of the Danish king Christian II. This event led to an uprising, which resulted in the deposition of the Danish king and the enthronement of the Swedish nobleman Gustav Vasa, who was elected king of Sweden in 1523. See ehistorylib for more about Sweden history.

Gustav Vasa, advocating Swedish sovereignty, resolutely stopped attempts to revive the Kalmar Union and carried out a number of important reforms that played a big role in the life of the country. During the reign of Gustav Vasa (1523–60), the foundations of the Swedish national state were laid. He breaks with Catholicism and carries out the Reformation. The head of the Swedish church was declared the king. In 1544 he introduces a hereditary monarchy (previously there was an elective one). Eric XIV (1560–68), Johan III (1568–92) and Sigismund (1592–99) failed to attempt to reassert their power during the reigns of Erik XIV (1560–68). During the reign of Charles IX (1599-1611) and Gustav II Adolf (1611-32), the monarchy strengthened its position. After the death of Gustav II Adolf in the Battle of Lützen, the highest nobility managed to introduce a new Constitution – the Form of Government 1634, according to which a number of central administrative bodies were created and part of the power passed into her hands. However, this Constitution was applied under Christina (1632-54), Charles X Gustav (1654-60) and lost its effect in 1680 under Charles XI (1660-97). After that, the nobility turned into a bureaucratic class, in everything obedient to the will of the king.

After the rupture of the Kalmar Union, Swedish foreign policy was aimed at dominance in the Baltic, which led from the 1560s. to frequent wars with Denmark. After Sweden entered the Thirty Years’ War on the side of the German Protestants in 1630, Sweden under Gustav II Adolf became one of the leading European monarchies and defeated Denmark twice: in 1643–45 and 1657–58. These victories allowed Sweden to conquer the former Danish provinces of Skåne, Halland, Blekinge and Gotland and the Norwegian Bohuslän, Jämtland and Härjedalen. Finland, a number of provinces in Northern Germany (Pomerania, Bremen), Estonia, Latvia, Ingermanland (at the mouth of the Neva) also belonged to Sweden. After the Westphalian 1648 and Roskilde 1658 peace treaties with Denmark, Sweden became a great power in Northern Europe. Sweden even briefly established a colony in North America (where Delaware is now located).

However, Sweden remained a purely agrarian country with a subsistence economy (apart from small smelters and copper mining in Falun) and did not have the resources to maintain its position as a great power for a long time. In 1700, Russia, Saxony, in alliance with Poland, as well as Denmark and Norway, together opposed the strengthening of the Swedish Empire. Although the young Swedish king Charles XII (1697-1718) won victories in the first period of the Great Northern War (1700-21), nevertheless, the vast plan to force Russia to surrender by siege of Moscow turned out to be beyond his power. The defeat in the Battle of Poltava in 1709, and then the death of Charles XII during the siege of the Norwegian fortress in 1718 and the conclusion of the Treaty of Nystadt with opponents, which were later joined by England, Hanover and Prussia, put an end to the Swedish great power.

The Russo-Swedish War of 1808–09 led in 1809 to the loss of Finland. Sweden also lost its last holdings in Northern Germany during the Napoleonic Wars. Sweden’s compensation for its participation in the anti-Napoleonic coalition was the receipt of Norway, which in 1814, by decision of the Congress of Vienna, from Denmark to Sweden. The union, which annexed Norway to Sweden, lasted until 1905 and was terminated at the initiative of Norway as a result of peace negotiations.

After a short war with Norway in 1814, when creating the union, Sweden no longer participated in wars and, since World War I, pursued a foreign policy of freedom from alliances in peacetime and neutrality in time of war. After the death of Charles XII and the defeat of Sweden in the Great Northern War, the Swedish Parliament, the Riksdag, has been in constant operation since the 15th century. and originating from the election of tribal elders and leaders among the Vikings, introduced a new Constitution that abolished royal absolutism and transferred power to the hands of the Riksdag. During the so-called. era of freedoms (1719-72) in Sweden there was a government that was formed by the party that dominated the Riksdag and was responsible to the Riksdag. However, Gustav III (1771–92) limited the power of the Riksdag in a bloodless coup in 1772 and later, in 1789, restored absolutism.

In 1809 a new constitution was introduced based on the division of power. Soon the Napoleonic marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte was elected heir to the Swedish throne, and in 1818 he became King Charles XIV Johan (1818–44). His policy was conservative, but at the same time there was an influential liberal opposition. The reigns of his son Oscar I (1844–59) and grandson Charles XV (1859–72) saw many important developments, including the introduction of compulsory education in 1842, the abolition of the guild system in 1846, the transition to free trade, the introduction of local government in 1862, and and finally, the implementation of parliamentary reform in 1866. The last reform replaced the one that had existed since the 15th century. a four-estate riksdag into a bicameral one.

In con. 19th century broad popular movements arose: free churches, sobriety, women and, most importantly, workers. The latter arose with the industrialization of the country and was of a reformist nature. The first representatives of the Social Democracy entered the government as early as 1917. Universal suffrage was introduced in 1909 for men and in 1921 for women. In 1932, the Social Democrats became the ruling party, put forward plans for building a welfare society, and carried them out after World War II.

History of Sweden