Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Sweden
SWEDEN (Swedish, Sverige), a kingdom of northern Europe comprising with Norway and Lapland the whole of the Scandinavian peninsula, of which it forms the E., S., and most important portion; having N. E. Russian Finland; E. and S. the Gulf of Bothnia and the Baltic; S. W. the Sound, Cattegat, and Skagerrack; and W. and N. Norway, from which it is for the most part divided by the great mountain chain of Scandinavia. Length N. to S. 950 miles; average breadth about 190 miles; area 173,035 square miles; pop. (1918) 5,813,850. Capital, Stockholm; pop. 408,456.
Topography—Sweden is divided into three principal regions: Gœthland (Gothia) in the S.; Sweden proper, occupying the center; and Norland (by far the largest part), comprising the remainder. These three regions are again subdivided into 24 lans, or districts. Sweden is mountainous in the W., but, in general, flat; and it is remarkable that along the whole road from Gottenburg in the W., to Stockholm in the E., there is not a single acclivity of consequence till within a few miles of the latter.
Climate—The climate is less severe than might be expected in so high a latitude. In Stockholm the average temperature throughout the year is 4 degrees higher than at St. Petersburg. The summers are hot, and spring is almost unknown. In the N., snow covers the ground for 5 or 6 months in the year; and the W. coasts are milder and more humid than the E.
Rivers—The rivers are numerous. The principal are the Dal and the Klar rising in the mountains bordering on Norway, and flowing into the Gulf of Bothnia and the lake of Wener. The Angerman, the Umea, the Skeleftea, the Pitea, the Lulea, and the Tornea, are in Lapland.
Lakes—Nearly one-eighth of the country is covered with lakes. The largest are the Wener, Wetter, and the Malar, all in the S. provinces. In point of size Wener is the third lake in Europe.
Forests.—There are extensive forests. More than 3 parts of the country are under timber. The principal trees are fir, birch, with oak, elm, and beech in the more S. parts.
Zoölogy.—The domestic animals are the same as those of Great Britain. The others are hares and foxes, beavers, wolves and, in the cold provinces of the N., bears, the leming and the reindeer. Water fowl are abundant and the mosquitoes are as troublesome as they are in tropical countries.
Agriculture.—Sweden is essentially an agricultural country. About 50 per cent. of the people are engaged in agricultural pursuits. There are about 450,000 farms under cultivation. The area and yield of the principal crops in 1919 was as follows: Wheat, 140,913 hectares, production 258,792 tons; rye, 372,068 hectares, production 586,689 tons; barley, 166,672 hectares, production 280,678 tons; oats, 712,372 hectares, production 1,111,730 tons; mixed corn, 260,782 hectares, production 475,749 tons; peas, beans, etc., 44,748 hectares, production 67,756 tons; potatoes, 168,689 hectares, production 2,111,213 tons; sugar beet and fodder roots, 127,650 hectares, production 3,838,372 tons; hay, 1,342,878 hectares, production 4,300,969 tons. There were in 1920 about 720,000 horses and about 2,600,000 head of cattle.
Industries.—The chief industries are related to the mining and production of minerals and metals, and to lumbering and dairying. In the north are found the chief iron ore mines and important saw-mills. The production of iron and steel is found chiefly in central Sweden, Among specialized products are the manufacture of cream separators, lighthouse apparatus, motors and electrical machinery. The manufacture of porcelain and glass is also important, as are timber and woodworking industries. Among the principal industries are the following, with the value of output in kroners: Bar iron and steel works, 500,850,759; mechanical workshops, 496,073,165; iron and steel goods factories, 191,488,782; flour and grain mills, 131,924,056; shoe factories, 112,340,571. There are about 300,000 men, about 60,000 women, about 40,000 boys, and about 15,000 girls employed in the factories of the country.
Commerce.—The imports for 1917 were £41,773,733 and the exports £76,465,387. The chief articles of import were minerals, chiefly coal, metal goods and machinery, animals, textile manufactures, and hair, hides and other animal products. The principal exports were wood, pulp, paper, and paper manufactures, metals, timber, metal goods, and minerals. Prior to the World War Germany took the greater part of the exported goods. The second place was occupied by Great Britain, the third by Norway, and the fourth by Denmark. The imports were chiefly from Germany, Denmark, the United States, Great Britain, Norway and the Netherlands.
Transportation.—There are about 10,000 miles of railway in the country, of which about 3,400 belong to the state. There are about 50,000 miles of telegraph wire and about 400,000 miles of telephone wire. There are over 1,000 sailing vessels in the merchant marine and nearly 20,000 steam and motor vessels.
Education.—There are about 20,000 elementary schools, with about 25,000 teachers and 715,000 pupils. In 1918 there were 77 public secondary schools, with 26,313 pupils; 49 people's high schools, with 2,976 pupils; 15 normal schools for elementary teachers; and elementary technical schools, navigation schools, military schools, agricultural schools, and other special schools. An elementary education is compulsory and free. The universities are at Upsala and at Lund. There are also private universities at Stockholm and at other cities.
Finance.—The revenues and expenditures in 1920 balanced at £38,981,167, The public debt amounted to £59,811,509.
Army and Navy.—Military service is universal but is aided by a voluntary enlisted personnel. Liability to service begins at the age of 20 and lasts till the end of the 42d year. The field army consists of 6 divisions, with a total peace strength in 1920 of 86,507. The total number of military age is about 650,000.
The navy is entirely a coast defense force. It includes 13 vessels, varying from 3,700 to 7,180 tons. In addition there were in 1920 10 destroyers, about 50 torpedo boats, and about 14 submarines.
Government.—A constitutional monarchy. The King of Sweden, formerly also King of Norway, must be a member of the Lutheran Church. His person is inviolable. He has the right to declare war and make peace, and grant pardon to condemned criminals. He nominates to all appointments, both military and civil; concludes foreign treaties, and has a right to preside in the supreme court of justice. The king has an absolute veto against any decrees of the Diet, and possesses legislative power in matters of provincial administration and police. In all other respects, the fountain of law is the Diet. This Diet, or Congress of the realm, consists of two chambers, or estates, both elected by the people, but representing different interests.
History.—The two kingdoms, Gothland and Svealand, of which Sweden once consisted, were united in the 13th century by the failure of the royal line in the former. In 1397 by the treaty of Calmar, Sweden became subject to Margaret of Denmark, who has been styled the Semiramis of the North, and who joined the three kingdoms in one. Gustavus Vasa asserted the independence of Sweden and ascended the throne in 1521. He bequeathed the crown to his posterity, who continued to reign, and in general with distinction; but most of them, and in particular, Gustavus Adolphus, his daughter Christina, Charles XII., and Gustavus III., discovered a romantic spirit approaching, in the case of Charles XII., to a degree of infatuation. This dynasty ended in a prince (Gustavus IV.) who had all the eccentricity and hardly any of the talents of his predecessors. In 1809 this last monarch engaging in undertakings totally beyond the resources of his people, was deposed; and next year Marshal Bernadotte of France was elected crown prince, and in 1818 as Charles John XIV., ascended the throne. In 1814 Norway was annexed to Sweden (see Norway). In 1857 Charles XV. succeeded his father, Oscar I., and died in 1872, leaving the crown to his son, Oscar II., who reigned thirty-five years.
During the reign of Oscar II. many important measures of economic and social reform were adopted. These included accident insurance for workingmen, limitation of working hours for women and children, and factory legislation. In 1905 the union between Norway and Sweden was peaceably dissolved. (See Norway.) King Oscar died in 1907 and was succeeded by his son, Gustavus V. In 1909 a bill establishing manhood suffrage for elections to the Lower House, and effecting changes in the qualifications for the members of the Upper House, was passed. At the outbreak of the World War in 1914, Sweden declared her neutrality. On December 18, 1914, a conference was held at Malmö, in which the kings of Sweden, Norway and Denmark took part. As a result of this meeting an agreement to defend the neutrality of these countries and to protect their economic interests, was made. During the early part of 1915 the Swedish Government complained to Great Britain against the arbitrary detention and interference with neutral vessels bound for Sweden. Great Britain based its action on the claim that contraband in large quantities had been imported into Germany by way of Sweden. In order to avoid complications, the Swedish Government published a decree prohibiting exportation to any belligerent country of war munitions or of any material which might be used in their manufacture. A second conference between the rulers of the Scandinavian countries was held in February, 1915. A protest was published against the creation of a war zone by Germany. Throughout the progress of the war there were complaints against both sides on the part of Sweden for alleged violation of her neutrality. In January, 1916, the king urged the strengthening of the Swedish military establishment in order that the country might be prepared against any possible violation of its neutrality. As a result of the Russian revolution in 1917, new problems were faced by Sweden. Chief of these were the recognition of the new republic of Finland. The internal disturbances in that country which were strongly related to Sweden by national and political ties, were reflected in Sweden. It was finally decided, however, to maintain strict neutrality between the Soviet Government and Finland. Following the close of the war Sweden was greatly affected by the German revolution. Encouraged by its results the Independent Socialist Party made attempts for the abolishment of the monarchial form of government and the establishment of a republic. This agitation quickly subsided, however, on the promise of reforms by the government. These included a new election law and the granting of the franchise to men and women on equal terms. In February, 1918, a controversy arose between Sweden and Finland for the possession of the Aland Islands. These had been occupied by Germany after the collapse of Russia, and therefore their disposition remained in the hands of the Peace Conference. Their population, which was purely Swedish, had appealed after the separation of Finland from Russia to the King of Sweden for annexation. The disposition of these islands had not been settled in 1921. In May, 1919, full national suffrage was granted to women, who since 1909 had enjoyed municipal suffrage. In March, 1920, a cabinet composed entirely of Socialists was selected by Hjalmar Branting, prime minister. This was probably the first instance in political history when a Socialist cabinet was in power. The cabinet was accepted by the king.