| Konungariket Sverige
Kingdom of Sweden
|Anthem: Du gamla, Da fria (Thou Ancient, Thou Free)|
|Official Language: Swedish (de facto)|
|Government: Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy|
|Leader: King Carl XVI, Björn Nittmo (PM)|
|Area: 499,964 km2|
|Currency: Swedish krona|
Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: Konungariket Sverige), is a country in Scandinavia, in Northern Europe. It is bordered by Norway in the west and by the Finnish and Lapp Soviet Specialist Republics in the east. The capital is Stockholm. The nation has had a long history of non-alignment in peacetime and neutrality during wars, though this policy is slowly coming to an end.
The area's history begins around 12,000 BC, where Late Paleolithic men hunted reindeer. Flint was discovered around 9300 BC, but the area was still inhabited with small bands of hunter-gatherer-fishers until around 4000 BC, where small rudimentary communities were formed in the south of Sweden.
The southern Swedes were also exposed to the Danish cultural sphere during the Nordic Bronze Age. For the first time, farming and townships became a part of daily life. The Iron Age began around 1000 BC and, not exposed to Roman culture, continued until about 800 AD.
The first king to unite the nation of Sweden was, according to the list of Swedish monarchs, Eric the Victorious. He was the first to unite the two nations of Svealand (middle Sweden) and Götaland (southern Sweden). It is not known for how long the two nations existed before the unification, which came around 970 AD.
St. Ansgar brought Catholicism to Sweden in 830, but the religion did not catch on until the 11th century, replacing the various pagan religions of the area. The next few centuries are full of power struggles between the various Nordic nations The Black Death hit Sweden in the 14th Century, causing Sweden to give greater power to individual cities and to search for allies.
The 14th century saw the unification of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway through the Kalmar Union. However, Swedish nobility were not given power and the Danish kings took control of the Union. King Christian II of Denmark, in 1520, ordered the "Stockholm Bloodbath" to assert his control over Sweden, which sparked resistance against the Union from the Swedish nobility. In 1523, Gustav Vasa was declared King of Sweden, ending Kalmar rule. Vasa also ended Catholic rule and began the Protestant Reformation in Sweden.
Sweden as a Great PowerEdit
The rise of Sweden as one of the Great Powers of Europe began in the 17th Century. The nation became a colonial empire with territory in throughout northern Europe. The most powerful nation in Scandinavia fought many wars, including the Thirty Years War. The Swedish Empire reached its greatest height in 1658, but began to consolidate shortly afterward because of unstable leadership. Their luck in war ran out with a defeat in the Great Northern War that left the empire shattered.
In 1718, Sweden began what they called the Age of Liberty, a 50-year experiment with a parliamentary democracy. Not able to maintain their colonial territories gained during the period of the Swedish Empire, they were lost one by one. The government was largely unsuccessful and in 1772, Gustav III, the enlightened monarch, took power. He was the one to enforce a union with Norway, one that would last until 1905, dissolved by Norway's request.
Sweden industrialized slowly compared to other countries in northern Europe, leading to a largely poor agrarian society as other nations became more and more industrialized. Many Swedes emigrated to the United States, tempering the population boom that occurred during this time. Between 1870 and 1914, Sweden finally became fully industrialized. Democracy became more and more acceptable throughout this time, and the country became fully democratized in 1917, avoiding the socialist revolution that had taken Russia.Sweden remained neutral during World War I and World War II. However, in the latter, they fully collaborated with Hitler, including known Swedish funding of Finland in the Winter War of 1941. This funding did not help the Finns as much as the Swedish government had hoped, and the war was a resounding defeat for Finland.
Facing the possibility of being crushed by the Red Army, the Swedish government claimed and controlled the Aland Islands, then Finnish territory. The Swedes called for help from the Allies. Stalin, enraged by this open defiance, ordered Sweden to give up control of the islands or Stockholm would be bombed. This command caused outrage from the United States and the UK. Churchill, in a statement to Parliament, said about the incident, "We truly are fighting the wrong war." Stalin threatened to invade Sweden, but he realized the possibility of a truce between the Allies and Hitler's Germany, and a possible invasion. Stalin gave up the islands to Sweden, in a resounding victory for them. However, tensions have since been tight between the two nations, and the threats of war act as a dark cloud over the Swedes' heads.
Between the early 20th century and the end of World War II, Sweden believed in neutrality during wartime and a strict non-alignment policy in times of peace. The Aland Islands Conflict and the threat of war with the Soviets has changed this policy. Although they are still against war, the current Swedish government has taken a strong anti-communist stance, friendly with the West and with other nordic nations. The Soviet Union and Sweden, however, are almost always in a tense relationship.
The Swedish government also believes in a moderate foreign presence, including being a leader in foreign aid and peacekeeping. Support to the third world is one of the things Sweden believes strongly in, along with pushing green energy. Since the oil crisis in 1973, Sweden has been a leader in decreasing dependence on fossil fuels and has been a leader of both hydropower and nuclear power, although the latter has been decreasing since the meltdown in Chernobyl and the Three Mile Island accident.
To Be Determined.
To Be Determined.