Sweden Old History

By | January 3, 2023

Sweden is an independent nation in Northern Europe. With the capital city of Stockholm, Sweden 2020 population is estimated at 10,099,276 according to countryaah. A unified kingdom with a common king has existed in the landscapes of the Great Lakes in the south since the 1100s. From the 16th century, a state with more central government and hereditary kingship emerged, and in the 1600s conquests were made abroad. The Great Power collapsed in the 18th century and in the early 19th century Sweden also lost Finland, which has been a member of the empire for 500 years. At the end of the century, Sweden was given a two-chamber kingdom day and universal suffrage was introduced in 1921. From the 1930s, the Social Democrats were the dominant party. Sweden managed to stay out of both world wars of the 20th century.

  • AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Sweden, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

The first finds of human life in the area that today constitutes Sweden have been found in Skåne and are up to 13,000 years old. The Roman historian Tacitus is the first to refer in writing around the year 100 AD to the Swedes, the armored Swedes in the north, with whom the Romans had trade exchanges. For Sweden political system, please check computerminus.

The archeological remains after the trading town of Birka in the Lake Region give a picture of the flourishing trade in the 7th and 8th centuries. The Swedish Vikings then controlled the trade routes in Eastern Europe all the way down to Constantinople. The first Christian missionary, Ansgar, had Birka as his base when he tried to Christianize Sweden in the 830s.

The essence of today’s Sweden – the Swealand landscape, Östergötland and Västergötland – emerged as a unit under a common king from the 1100s. In 1350, Sweden received a national team that applied to the whole kingdom. However, Sweden’s borders were not the same as today: after 200 years of expansion along the Finnish coast, Finland had been incorporated under the Swedish krona at the beginning of the 1300s.

The nation state is founded

In 1397, Sweden was incorporated into a union with the Nordic countries under the Danish Queen Margareta – the so-called Kalmar Union. The Union was primarily a defense alliance directed against German princes and the northern German cities of the Hansa Federation, which controlled trade in the Baltic Sea area. The conflict, which affected Swedish exports, led to several uprisings against the Union during the 1400s. At the beginning of the 1520s, the Danish king Kristian II was defeated in a rising led by Gustav Vasa, who was elected king of Sweden in 1523. The new kingdom consisted of Sweden-Finland but did not include Skåne, Halland and Blekinge as well as Bohuslän, Jämtland-Härjedalen and Gotland, which were conquered from Denmark-Norway only in the 17th century. Gustav Vasa ruled until his death in 1560.

Under Gustav Vasa, his sons and, above all, his grandson Gustav II Adolf (regent 1611-1632) laid the foundations for the Swedish national administration, the judiciary, the military organization and the education system. The Swedish expansion in the Baltics was also initiated. In the middle of the 17th century – after victory over Denmark and successes in the thirty-year war on the European continent – in Stockholm, the Baltic Sea could be regarded as an inland sea.

The empire ceases

In 1700, the Great Nordic War began with Sweden being attacked by the coalition Russia, Saxony-Poland and Denmark. A long line of Swedish victories were broken in 1709 at Poltava since Karl XII decided to try to invade Russia. The Swedish superpower now collapsed and the possessions in the Baltics were lost. After the death of Karl XII in 1718, a complete reorganization of the state government took place and power slipped from the king to the parliament and the parliamentary committee. The so-called freedom period was characterized by foreign policy adversities, but also by economic development and cultural flourishing.

A power struggle between various political parties led to the end of the period of freedom in 1772. The king power was restored under Gustav III, whose most important efforts were in the cultural field. But the nobility was dissatisfied with the royal monarchy, which contributed to the assassination of Gustav III in 1792.

Gustav III’s son, Gustav IV Adolf, started a war against Napoleon’s France in 1805. As a result, the Swedes first got rid of the North German possessions. Later, during the war of 1808-1809 against Russia (allied with France), Sweden lost all of Finland.

The dissatisfaction with Gustav IV Adolf’s monarchical rule and failed war policy led to him being forced to hand over the throne to his uncle, Karl XIII. At the same time, a form of government was established which diminished the king’s power.

Karl XIII lacked legitimate heirs. The French Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte was therefore appointed a successor to the throne. He led the Swedish final battle against Napoleon but became king only when Karl XIII died in 1818. Through the peace in Kiel in 1814, Denmark, which stood on the French side, had to resign Norway to Sweden. These were united in a staff union under the Swedish King. The Union existed until 1905.

Democracy is growing

The political system changed when the old state day (with four states: nobility, priests, citizens and peasants) was replaced by a two-chamber kingdom day 1865-1866. Around the turn of the century, the modern political parties were formed: the Social Democratic Labor Party in 1889, the Liberal Union Party in 1900 and the Right Party in 1904. The king had gradually retreated from his powers. The so-called bailiff crisis in 1914 was the last time a Swedish government fell because it did not have the king’s confidence. The crisis emerged from contradictions on defense policy and resulted in a constitutional conflict between Gustav V (King 1907-1950) and the government led by the liberal Karl Staaff. The crisis finally led to the government’s departure. At the same time, it contributed to the development of parliamentarism,

During World War I, Sweden was neutral. In 1920, the first Social Democratic government took office under Hjalmar Branting. It became a short-lived ministry and the period 1920-1936 was characterized by minority governments and changing political alliances. During the first years of the 1930s, Sweden was hit by the international economic crisis. In the same decade, guidelines were also drawn up for future reform and welfare policy, then summarized in the concept of “the people’s home”.

The outbreak of World War II in 1939 led to a unifying government under the incumbent Prime Minister, Social Democrat Per Albin Hansson. Sweden was neutral. The unification government succeeded in keeping Sweden out of the war partly through concessions to Hitler Germany. Sweden exported iron ore to Germany, which needed the raw material for its war industry. In addition, unarmed German troops were allowed to travel through Sweden to Norway and in 1941 the fully equipped German Engelbrecht division was transported from Norway to Finland through northern Sweden.



Amendment of the FRA Act

The Riksdag voted in favor of an amendment that, among other things, requires court decisions to allow FRA to scout (see June 2008).


The pharmacy monopoly is abolished

The pharmacy monopoly that has existed since 1970 will disappear. Private players are allowed to establish themselves in the market.

Record low repo rate

The Riksbank lowers the interest rate to a record low 0.25 percent (see also December 2008).

Sweden becomes EU President

The rotating presidency is valid for six months.


Changes in health insurance

With the figures 138–126, disputed changes are assumed in health insurance: through a faster “rehabilitation chain”, sick leave will soon move on to other tasks or change employers. According to critics, more will now be “fully insured” and without compensation from the Social Insurance Office. Through the reform, the government parties hope to get more people back to work sooner. The changes are already valid from mid-year.

Decision to abolish military service

With the numbers 153-150, the Riksdag decides to abolish the general military duty in peacetime. In recent years, approximately 15 percent of conscripts have completed basic education.


Gender-neutral marriage law

Gay couples get the opportunity to get married when a new marriage law comes into force.


Nuclear decommissioning is halted

Climate change and energy security are cited as reasons when the government deviates from earlier decisions to decommission nuclear power, and says that existing reactors may be replaced.

Sweden Old History