How was Sweden founded?
History of Sweden
Sweden: Brief History of Scandinavia's Largest Country
Sweden is the largest country in Scandinavia, but despite its almost island-like location, it is closely connected to the rest of Europe. If you are looking for absolute silence and solitude, you have come to Sweden, because with over 450,000 square kilometers and less than nine and a half million inhabitants, you will find enough areas in which you will not meet anyone for days.
The country got its name "Sverige", the Swedish name for Sweden (the g is pronounced like a j in Sverige) from the Svear tribe, who have been traceable in Central Europe since around the year 300. Places of worship and burial mounds near Uppsala, where the center of power was around the 5th and 6th centuries, testify to their culture.
By the 10th century, the Svearn succeeded in bringing the North Germanic Gauten living in the area of Lake Vänern as well as the islands of Gotland and Öland under their rule. This Svea Rike, completed around 1100, became Sverige, today's Sweden.
Sweden under Norwegian-Danish rule
At the end of the 14th century, Sweden came under the rule of the Norwegian-Danish Queen Margaret I. The Swedes did not want to accept the abandonment of Swedish statehood, sealed in the Kalmar Union in 1397, and the brutal actions of the Danish rulers.
When the Danish King Christian II had a hundred Swedish nobles, supporters of the national resistance, executed in the "Stockholm bloodbath" at Stortorget in Gamla stan in 1520, an open uprising broke out in which Gustav Eriksson Wasa liberated Sweden from Danish rule.
In 1523 he was elected King of Sweden as Gustav I. This was the beginning of the Swedish nation state, which under Gustav II Adolf rose to a great power in northern Europe in the 17th century and ruled all of Finland, provinces of Denmark and Norway, large areas of the Baltic Sea countries and parts of northern Germany for over 100 years.
The Swedish welfare state
As early as the beginning of the 20th century, ideas of social reform had gained widespread use and popularity. The social renewal called for by the Socialist Workers' Party, founded in 1889, formed the basis for a welfare and welfare state in the 1920s.
The idea of the »People's Home Sweden«, formulated by the Social Democrat and later Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson, comes from this time, in which the community of the people should ensure that as many individuals as possible can lead a life in social security and prosperity - including that Right to adequate housing was part of the idea. In the following decades Sweden developed into a welfare state.
Sweden in World War II and in the post-war period
Since the mid-19th century, the country has pursued a policy of strict neutrality, which to this day has prevented it from being drawn into wars - not even into World War II. While German troops invaded Denmark and Norway, which were also neutral, Sweden managed, with luck and tactics, to stay out of the war. The concessions it agreed to make (transport of troops and goods by the German armed forces to and from Norway via Swedish territory) were criticized nationally and internationally.
After the war, Sweden refused membership in NATO, but became involved in the international scene and with the United Nations - for example, the country granted asylum to hundreds of thousands of refugees and politically persecuted people.
Sweden today - a country with a high standard of living
Democracy and equality are very important in Sweden. The country is both a hereditary monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. The king as head of state does not have any political power (the new constitution of 1974 completely disempowered the king from a political point of view), but is considered to represent Sweden worldwide - and the Swedes love their royal family.
Sweden has been a member of the EU since 1995, but in a referendum in 2003 a clear majority of Swedes voted against the introduction of the euro. Sweden is one of the richest countries in the world. And despite the economic crisis, nothing has changed - the majority of the Swedish population is relatively wealthy.
Learn more about Swedish history
Mythology, Christianization and the Middle Ages in Sweden
Much of what we know today about the customs and worldviews of Swedes was in part captured by Christian Europeans. The mythology of the Swedes was shaped by deities like Odin, Freyr and Thor and the opposing powers like the Fenriswolf.
Sweden from the Middle Ages to the 18th century
In 1523 the empire was founded. Under the leadership of Gustav Vasa, the empire experienced a major social and political change. This is where the foundations of modern Sweden lie.
The Stone Age and the Bronze Age
Due to the Ice Age and the associated effects on the landscapes, nature was only able to regenerate itself with great difficulty on the large scree fields. The first vegetations developed and offered new habitats for animals and people.
Sweden and the Napoleonic Wars
Sweden sided with the British in the Napolonic Wars and was forced to cede Finland to Russia in 1809 after the victory of France and Russia. Jean Baptiste Bernadotte was appointed heir to the throne. Because King Gustav II remained childless.
Sweden until 1900
Due to the long peacetime, the population grew rapidly. In 1850 there were already 3.5 million people in Sweden. About 90% of the population lived in the countryside. Sweden was a purely agricultural country. The first industrial plants emerged. The forest industry and the metallurgy and mining industry spread throughout the country. Many new cities sprang up.
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