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The New International Encyclopædia/Sweden

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SWE'DEN (Sw. Sverige). The eastern and larger part of the Scandinavian peninsula. It is separated from Denmark on the southwest by the Cattegat and on the west, north, and east is bounded by Norway, Finland, and the Baltic Sea. It extends from latitude 55° 20' N. to 69°, and from longitude 11° E. to 24°. Area, 172,876 square miles. In several physical aspects it differs much from Norway. It contains more level land and is more fertile and therefore adapted to support a larger population. Its coasts are not so deeply indented; its climate is continental instead of oceanic; and its harbors may be blocked with ice for five months, while those of Norway are unfrozen. Sweden comprises three main divisions. The northern half, which is very scantily inhabited, is called Norrland. The southern half comprises Svealand (Svearike), in the north, and Gotland (Götarike), in the south.

Topography. The area of all the islands that are a part of Sweden is about 3000 square miles. A group of islands without mountains or vegetation skirt the Cattegat north of Göteborg; and north of Kalmar, on the Baltic side, are many islets, chiefly low rocks in shallow water, the continuation seaward of the Swedish plain. Two large islands in the Baltic lie off the southern or peninsular part of Sweden. The smaller, Oland, a narrow strip of land, 80 miles long, was once a part of the chalk shore of the mainland, from which it is separated by only two miles at the narrowest part of Kalmar Sound. The other, Gotland, is farther at sea, but connected with the mainland by a submarine bank. Only a comparatively small part of Sweden is very mountainous—the portion lying along the Norwegian border. The frontier region is not all mountains, but a part of it is a high and bleak plateau. (See Topography in Norway) The greatest heights are in the northwest, Kebnekaisse being 7004 feet. In the south is a hilly district rising from a plateau that is several hundred feet above the surrounding plains of the coast, and is separated from the mountains of the north by the great depression occupied by the southern lakes. Most of the remainder of Sweden is a plateau sloping rapidly from the mountain fringe to a plain which stretches along the east coast to the southern extremity of the country, and which includes the fertile lowlands of Gotland, strewn with erratic boulders, where the largest and most productive farm lands are found.

Hydrography. Sweden is well watered and is rich in lakes. Many rivers flow from the mountains southeast to the Gulf of Bothnia or the Baltic, affording much water power, but little navigation, on account of their rapid fall. They pass through many lakes, particularly in the upper part of their courses, and the lakes have the effect of equalizing the floods so that the rivers are quite regular in their discharge. The numerous falls and rapids give picturesque charm to the rivers. The Klar Elf (‘large stream’), the largest river, flows south into Lake Vener. The Göta Elf, which discharges the waters of Lake Vener into the Cattegat, is more important, because its falls and rapids have been circumvented by canals, making it a part of the waterway system of South Sweden. The principal river emptying into the Baltic is the Dal Elf. Many of the Swedish lakes are large and beautiful, and are distinguished by the clearness of their water and their picturesque surroundings. The four great lakes of the country lie in the depressed area north of the plateau of Southern Sweden. Lake Vener, the largest of them, is the third largest in Europe (over 2000 square miles). Lakes Vetter (about 700 square miles), Hjelmar, and Mälar (about 670 square miles) drain into the Baltic.

Climate and Soil. As the western mountains shut off the tempering influence of the Atlantic, the climate is much colder than in Norway. The country being in the latitude of Labrador, the summer is short and the winter is cold and long. At Stockholm the mean temperature in January is about 25° F. and in July about 61°. The climate of Sweden is very healthy. The mountains prevent the greater part of the precipitation from reaching the eastern plateaus and plains, so that the mean rainfall in Sweden is only about 20 inches. The greatest rainfall is on the southwest coast, facing the Cattegat, where the average is 35 inches annually. The country is almost completely covered with snow in winter, when snow traveling on ski, or long wooden runners attached to the feet, is a favorite amusement. The splendid and extensive forests and the farms of Gotland and Scania, where the grain fields return as much to the acre as in England, show that the soils of the central and southern parts of the country are not deficient in fertility.

Flora. Forests cover about two-fifths of the country, pines and firs predominating, and extend beyond the Arctic Circle. Over 2000 European plants have their northern limit in the Scandinavian peninsula. In Sweden beeches are found only in the extreme south, the oak disappears a little north of Stockholm, while the pine, fir, and alder extend nearly to the limit of arboreal vegetation. The forests of the southern plains differ little in appearance from those of the more temperate parts of Europe, but farther north, in the region of prevailing conifers, the labyrinth of moss-covered boulders, amid which the towering trees rise, where even a path is scarcely possible, gives a special character to the woodlands. The Dal Elf, north of Stockholm, is practically the northern limit of wheat, but barley is grown to the Arctic Circle.

Fauna. The bounties paid for bear, lynx, wolf, and fox skins and for birds of prey have resulted in nearly exterminating the leading wild animals. The beaver and hare survive, but the wild reindeer is no longer found. Fish are much less abundant in Swedish than in Norwegian waters.

Geology and Mineral Resources. Archaean rocks are predominant, and in some districts, especially around the great lakes, they are overlaid by Cambrian and Silurian formations. In large areas also the ancient rocks are covered by extensive glacial deposits of clay, sand, gravel, and erratic boulders. Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous locks appear only in Scania, in the extreme south. Some time after the glacial epoch the Scandinavian peninsula subsided till the sea level, in relation to the land, stood 500, 700, and in some places 1000 feet higher than before, as is shown by marine deposits resting on rocks that had been scarred by glacial ice. Then the land began to rise again and the gradual upheaval is still in progress. The movement is best observed, of course, along the coasts. It is nowhere so rapid as on the Swedish side of the Gulf of Bothnia, and it is most rapid at the northern extremity of the Gulf, where the upheaval is estimated at about 5 feet in the past century. In the extreme south no change of level has been observed. Thus the Gulf of Bothnia appears to be slowly draining into the southern basin of the Baltic.

The mining industry competes with difficulty against the powerful rivalry of the leading European countries, although it is more important than that of Norway. Sweden is poorly supplied with coal (only 271,509 tons having been mined in South Sweden in 1901). Manufacturers are compelled to import coal or use charcoal. The most important and valuable mineral product is iron. In 1901 2,793,566 tons of iron ore were mined in the kingdom. While about 1,000,000 tons are mined every year near Gefle, Falun, and Dannemora, the largest supply comes from Gellivare (q.v.), 130 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Swedish iron is regarded as unsurpassed in the world, as it is almost entirely free from phosphorus (.05 per cent, or less), and is therefore of superior value for the manufacture of steel. For this reason it now rivals the ores of Spain in British and German markets, and large quantities are exported. Magnetite and manganese ores (2271 tons of manganese in 1901) used in steel-making also abound. The copper industry of Falun was long widely renowned, but the yield was formerly much larger than at present (23,660 tons of ore in 1901). Three-fourths of the total yield of zinc ore (48,630 tons in 1901) is produced at the Ammeberg mines, on the north side of Lake Vetter. The silver product in 1901 was 1557 kilograms, and the yield of lead was 988,396 kilograms. The number of persons engaged in mining declined from 35,000 in 1890 to 30,776 in 1901.



Area Yield



Wheat 192,413  4,726,700
Rye 1,015,417  21,447,900
Barley 537,225  12,954,425
Oats  2,037,503   55,210,375
Mixed grain   320,606  8,372,925
Pulse 114,114  1,612,325
Potatoes 381,862  44,841,775


Agriculture, Live Stock, and Fisheries. Three-fourths of the population support themselves by agriculture, though only about 8 per cent. of the land area is under cultivation. Hay meadows and pastures cover 4 per cent. of the surface, forests 44.2 per cent., and 43.6 per cent. is unproductive. In 1900, 388,416 farms were under cultivation, of which about two-thirds were from 5 to 45 acres in extent. The preceding table shows the area (in acres) under the chief crops in 1900 and the yield (in bushels).

The largest and most productive area of farm lands is in East and West Gotland and Scania, in the south of the country. In spite of the improvement in farming in recent years, especially through the importation of modern farm machinery and implements, the country cannot produce wheat and rye enough for home consumption, and about 12,000 tons of breadstuffs more than the kingdom produces are brought in every year, chiefly from the Baltic countries. Nearly half the total grain raised is oats, which is an export crop. The sugar beet thrives in the extreme south, but the acreage given to it is not sufficient to supply the demand for sugar. Flax, tobacco, and hops are cultivated with much success. At the end of 1900 Sweden had 533,050 horses, 2,582,555 head of cattle, 1,261,436 sheep, and 805,805 hogs. Great quantities of butter are exported to Great Britain. The Government has done much to improve agriculture by founding schools of agriculture and by the appointment of peripatetic teachers. The fisheries are important, though much inferior to those of Norway. They do not suffice for the needs of the country. On the other hand, the timber trade is of much greater value than that of Norway.


NIE 1905 Sweden - Norway and Sweden.jpg
COPYRIGHT, 1905, DODD, MEAD & CO.


Manufactures. Although the manufacturing industries have been stimulated in every way by the Government and have made great progress, Sweden is still largely dependent upon foreign countries for most of these commodities. The kingdom lacks the coal, population, and capital for the most successful development in this respect. The industrial advance, however, has been most substantial, as is seen from the following comparisons: From 1896 to the close of 1901 the number of manufacturing establishments increased from 8812 to 10,904; the workpeople in them from 202,293 to 262,229; and the total value of the product from $192,487,400 to $285,010,200. The sawmills in 1901 contributed 13.53 per cent. of the total value of product; flour mills, 7.70 per cent.; textile mills, 5.22 per cent.; machine shops, 5.14 per cent.; and iron and steel manufactures and foundries, 5.01 per cent. The timber industry in all its branches, including wood pulp, is the leading manufacturing industry. The public forests (area, 18,830,000 acres) yielded in 1899 timber valued at $20,085,650. In 1900 43,312 work people in 1148 saw and planing mills produced lumber worth $43,589,544; furniture and other woodwork were also large products. Swedish matches, everywhere famous, are produced chiefly at Jönköping, where one factory employs 1500 hands. There are woolen and cotton factories at Norrköping, Stockholm, and Göteborg, but the manufacture of linen, a household industry, is the only branch of textile manufacture which meets the domestic demand. The most famous iron works are near Eskilstuna and the chief machine shops at Motala. Swedish bar iron, steel goods, blades, armor plates, cables, nails, and knives are highly esteemed.

Commerce. The average annual trade (in million dollars) is as follows:


 1881-85   1891-95  1898 1900





Imports 85.5  97.5   122.0   143.3
Exports   67.5  88.5  92.4  104.8


The kingdom sells abroad the abundant product of its forests, iron and zinc mines, dairies, and oat fields. Its home supplies of textiles, wool, machinery, railroad iron, and many other things are inadequate, and it must supplement them by foreign purchases. The following table gives the value in kronor of the leading imports and exports for two years (a krona equals in value 267.10 cents):


Imports,
1899
Imports,
1900
Exports,
1899
Exports,
1900





Kronor Kronor Kronor Kronor
Textile manufactures 46,738,248  41,958,659  1,579,218  1,544,852
Grain and flour 49,327,777  51,793,392  4,850,080  2,145,094
Groceries 38,634,760  45,584,093  135,289  336,180
Raw textile material and yarn 47,818,471  46,165,793  1,252,671  1,502,842
Minerals, of imports mostly coal 82,388,362  104,052,262  21,421,309  22,518,863
Metal goods, machinery, etc. 74,605,197  65,009,836  22,585,054  25,316,543
Live animals and animal food 23,542,296  29,195,718  48,128,649  43,161,578
Hair, hides, and other animal products   24,459,229  20,438,630  4,300,564  5,370,750
Metals, raw and partly wrought 13,159,371  25,556,124  43,513,013  52,395,037
Timber, wrought and unwrought 4,751,465  5,925,996  178,553,581  200,559,375
Paper and paper manufactures 4,745,770  4,407,698  11,706,764  14,392,265
Other articles 94,617,737  94,846,909  20,158,575  22,090,583




Total  504,788,683   534,935,110   358,184,767   391,333,962

The trade of Sweden is chiefly with the countries bordering on the Baltic and North Seas. The value of its trade in two years with the leading countries in its commerce was:


COUNTRY  Imports from 
(1899)
 Imports from 
(1900)
Exports to
(1899)
Exports to
(1900)





Kronor Kronor Kronor Kronor
Great Britain  154,563,118   176,504,553   157,198,342   169,248,313
Germany 184,113,227  187,897,874  54,860,864  65,244,540
Denmark 60,681,189  62,525,129  43,298,276  47,682,183
Norway 20,449,954  21,761,911  6,451,052  7,186,593
Russia (including Finland)   28,502,131  34,358,984  15,861,424  14,027,846
France 8,992,214  9,692,566  29,065,568  29,807,333
Spain 1,767,701  1,736,294  2,851,295  3,649,832
Netherlands 10,390,719  11,184,842  25,666,540  29,941,211
Belgium 16,804,527  13,166,401  13,783,461  14,839,185

The exports of the United States to Sweden and Norway in 1899 were $10,000,000, and the imports were $4,000,000; in 1901 the exports to Sweden and Norway were $11,000,000 and the imports were $3,000,000. Among the things that the United States sells to these countries are provisions, wheat, machinery, tools, and cotton.

Transportation and Communication. Railroads are cheaply built because of the small cost of land, lumber, and iron. Uninterrupted rail communication extends between Gellivare in the north and Malmö in the south, over 1200 miles. A line has been constructed from Gellivare to Ofoten Fiord, Norway, giving the iron ore of North Sweden an outlet on the Atlantic coast. The total length of railroads in 1900 was 7023 miles. Southern Sweden has an excellent system of waterways by which a series of canals and canalized rivers unite the great lakes with both the North and Baltic seas, providing about 2500 miles of interior navigation. In 1900, 100,806 ships and boats passed through the canals. Swedish trade, like that of Norway, is predominantly maritime, and Swedish vessels are engaged both in the home and foreign trade. The mercantile fleet in 1901 comprised 2987 vessels, of 613,792 tons, including 911 steamers, of 325,105 tons. Göteborg is the principal port, with Stockholm, Malmö, and Helsingborg following.

Banking. The National Bank of Sweden (Riksbank) belongs to the State, regulates financial relations with foreign countries, receives private accounts, and lends money on security to non-speculative enterprises. The bank is under the guarantee of the Diet, its capital and reserve are fixed, and its note circulation is limited by its metallic stock and its current accounts. Its actual circulation is kept far within the authorized limit. The assets and liabilities of the Swedish banks balanced (in kronor) on Januarv 1, 1902, as follows: National Bank, 245,255,457; private banks, 874,039,400; joint-stock banks, 581,424,650.

Government. Since 1814 Sweden has been united with Norway under a common king, but each is in effect a separate kingdom with its own government. The fundamental laws of Sweden have never been embodied in any single written constitution, but consist of various enactments of the Diet from 1809 to 1866. By the fundamental laws a limited monarchy is constituted, at the head of which is a king, who is required to be a member of the Lutheran Church and who is bound by oath to observe the laws of the land. By the law of succession women are excluded from the throne. In case of failure of succession the King is to be chosen by the Swedish and Norwegian Diets acting separately. The King has the exclusive right of legislation as regards trade, commerce, manufacturing, mines, and forests. He is also empowered to issue police regulations and to make rules concerning vagrancy, sanitation, protection against fire, etc. In legislating on other matters he must act with the consent of the Diet. He possesses the right to declare war and make peace upon the advice of a Council of State representing both monarchies. He nominates higher officials, military and civil, negotiates treaties with foreign countries, and presides in the Supreme Court. He is advised and in some manner assisted by a Council of State consisting at present of eleven Ministers, at the head of which is the Minister of State. They have seats in the Diet with the privilege of debate and the right to initiate legislation. They sometimes resign in case of serious disagreement with the Diet, but the principle of Ministerial responsibility is not yet freely recognized.

The National Parliament or Diet (Riksdag) consists of two Chambers, both of which are representative in principle. The Upper Chamber consists at present of 150 members chosen for a term of nine years by the provincial legislatures (Landstings), 25 in number, and by the municipal governments of those towns which are not represented in the provincial assemblies. These towns are Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö, Norrköping, and Gefle. The members are distributed on the basis of one to every 30,000 of the population, and are required to be 35 years of age and in the possession for at least three years prior to their election of property of the taxable value of about $22,000, or an annual income of about $1100. They receive no compensation for their services. The Lower Chamber consists at present of 230 members chosen for a term of three years. Of these, 80 are chosen by the towns and 150 by the rural districts. The rural members are distributed on the basis of one member to every 40,000 inhabitants, while the towns are allowed one member for every 10,000 of the population. All native Swedes 21 years of age possessing property of the taxable value of about $280, or who cultivate for a period of five years a certain amount of land, or who pay an annual income tax on an income of about $225 are qualified voters. Any elector twenty-five years of age is qualified for membership in the Lower Chamber. The number of electors in 1899 was 339,876, less than 7 per cent. of the population, and but 40 per cent. of these actually voted. The members of the Second Chamber receive compensation.

The union of Norway and Sweden under the same executive makes necessary some provision for the administration of those affairs which are common to both monarchies, such as the conduct of their foreign relations. In this domain the King is given power to act for both countries, but his action is subject to the approval of the joint Council of State. Thus he may declare war and make peace, send and recall ambassadors, use ships of war, etc., with the consent of the joint council. This does not, however, destroy the individuality of either nation as regards foreign affairs, since the King may conclude treaties which affect but one of his kingdoms. Matters of common interest not within the power of the King are regulated by concurrent action of the two Diets. For the purposes of local administration Sweden is divided into 24 läns or provinces, each under the supervision of a prefect nominated by the King. In each province there is a general council or Landsting, which regulates internal affairs. The city of Stockholm, the capital, constitutes a separate administrative division. In the communes there is almost complete local self-government, all taxpayers being voters. Some of the communes have primary assemblies very much like the town meetings of New England, while those which are larger and more populous have municipal councils. In the parishes there are local assemblies for regulating ecclesiastical affairs.

Finance. The sources and amount of revenue and the expenditures for 1902 and 1903 were as follows:


REVENUE 1902 1903   EXPENDITURE 1902 1903






Kronor Kronor Kronor Kronor
Domains, railways, land taxes, etc.   21,578,000  26,546,000   (a) Ordinary:
Customs 49,000,000  48,500,000  Royal household 1,321,000  1,321,000
Post 12,400,000  13,340,000  Justice 3,852,420  3,911,815
Stamps 6,500,000  6,500,000  Foreign affairs 652,050  659,150
Impost on spirits, beet sugar, etc. 30,000,000  32,000,000  Army 33,775,094  37,204,600
Tax on incomes, etc. 10,500,000  26,950,000  Navy 10,461,982  11,865,917
Net profit of the National Bank 2,000,000  2,716,200  Interior 19,319,100  25,015,315
Surplus from the previous years 24,165,000  15,916,000  Education and ecclesiastical affairs 13,721,011  14,115,333
Finance 7,299,821  7,338,705
Agriculture 4,680,915  4,859,600
Pensions 3,649,115  3,786,632


98,732,508  110,078,067


 (b) Extraordinary 13,872,492  40,466,033


 (c) Expenditure through the Riksgäldskontor:  
Payment of loans and miscellaneous (diet, etc.) 11,888,000  13,774,100
Carried to floating capital ...............  6,500,000
Fund for insurance against invalidity of workmen, etc.   1,400,000  1,400,000
Fund for insurance against accidents of workmen, etc. 250,000  250,000




Total revenue  156,143,000   172,468,200  Total expenditure  156,143,000   172,468,200

On January 1, 1902, the public liabilities, contracted entirely for railroads, were 349,132,333 kronor, bearing interest at from 3 to 4 per cent. All loans are paid off gradually by means of sinking funds.

Weights, Measures, and Money. Gold is the standard of value. The krona, the unit of coinage, is worth 267.10 cents. The metric system of weights and measures became obligatory in 1889.

Army and Navy. See articles Armies and Navies.

Population. The population, according to the census of 1901, was 5,175,228. The density of population is 30 to the square mile. The growth of population has been as follows: in 1800, 2,347,303; in 1840, 3,138,887; in 1870, 4,168,525; and in 1890, 4,784,981. The emigration, chiefly to America, has been large for many years, and since 1894 has varied from 8000 to 19,000 a year.

Religion. The Lutheran Protestant Church is recognized as the State religion, and most of the people are professors of that faith, its adherents numbering 4,735,218 in 1890. Other Protestants numbered 44,375 and there were a few followers of the Roman Catholic and other faiths. In the State Church are 12 bishoprics and 2572 parishes.

Education. Education is maintained at a high level. It is under the control of the Government, is compulsory, and practically all the inhabitants of school age and over can read and write. The secondary schools and the universities are modeled on the German system. In 1902 there were 1434 students in the University at Upsala and 644 in the University at Lund. The schools included in 1901: 79 public high schools, 18,085 pupils; 29 people's high schools, 1510 pupils; 14 normal schools for elementary teachers, 1325 pupils: 2 high and elementary technical schools; 10 navigation schools, 729 pupils; and besides schools for deaf mutes and the blind, medical, military, agricultural, veterinary, forestry, weaving, mining, and other special schools. In 1900 the expenditure on elementary education was 23,097,746 kronor, of which about one-fourth came from the national treasury.

Ethnology. The Swedes belong to the Scandinavian branch of the Teutonic stock. Their average stature is 1.705 meters, classing them among the tall races; the average cephalic index is 78.2. The Swedes are blondes, sturdy and robust. In the settlement of Sweden the Goths or Gotar were the first conquerors of whom history tells. They occupied the southern parts, and following them came the Svear, who overran the rest of the country and gave their name to the Svenskar or Swedes of today. The Dalecarlians are thought to preserve best the type of the Svear; they are described as tall, slender, and agile, with blue eyes and broad, open brow, courteous, cheerful, and firm, and with a wide reputation for honesty.

History. Tacitus in the Germania tells of the two great Germanic tribes in the Scandinavian peninsula, the Suiones, or Swedes, in the north, and the Gothones, or Goths, in the south. These two, like other rival Germanic tribes, seem to have been generally at war with each other, and it was not until about the fourteenth century that the country was really organized and unified through the cessation of jealousy between the two sections. The ancient Swedish people had a bond of union in their religion and a common sanctuary at Upsala, which was the early centre of Swedish nationality. The history of Sweden previous to the tenth century is wrapped in obscurity. In the first half of the ninth century Ansgar (q.v.), a Frankish missionary, came to Sweden from Denmark, and began the teaching of Christianity, which slowly became established in the country. Under Eric the Saint (1150-60) the Swedish power was strengthened and extended and Christianity with it. Churches were built and monasteries founded. Eric carried Christianity into Finland with the sword and established Swedish settlements in that country, whose subjugation, however, was not completed until more than a century after his death. He was defeated and killed in 1100 by the Danish prince Magnus Henriksen, who made an unprovoked attack upon Sweden, the beginning of a long series of wars between Sweden and Denmark, productive of national hatred and bitterness. The reigns of the early Swedish kings were short and stormy. In 1389 the Swedish nobles, disgusted with the conduct of their King, Albert of Mecklenburg, offered the crown to Margaret, Queen of Denmark and Norway, daughter of Valdemar IV., who defeated and dethroned Albert, and in 1397 brought about the union of Kalmar, by which the three Scandinavian kingdoms were henceforth to remain united under a single sovereign. This union continued with interruptions for more than a century, but with constant dissensions and wars between Denmark and the Swedish people. The Swedes themselves were divided between the upholders of national sovereignty and the supporters of the pretensions of the Danish kings. In the latter part of the fifteenth century the family of Sture (q.v.) rose to eminence in the struggle for national independence, Sten Sture, the Elder, being proclaimed administrator of the kingdom in 1470. In 1520 Christian II. of Denmark invaded Sweden to enforce his claim to sovereignty. The administrator, Sten Sture, the Younger, was defeated and mortally wounded and Christian entered Stockholm, where he enacted a carnival of blood, executing a large number of the nobles. Sweden soon rose against the tyrant (1521) under the lead of Gustavus Vasa, who was made administrator. He shook off the hated yoke of Denmark and in 1523 became King of Sweden. In 1529 Lutheranism was formally established as the State religion of the kingdom. Gustavus Vasa organized the kingdom as a hereditary monarchy, in which the power of the nobles was circumscribed and that of the clergy subordinated to that of the State. He fostered trade, manufactures, art, learning, and science, and left a full exchequer, a standing army, and a well-appointed navy.

The great work of the first Vasa sovereign was almost undone by his son and successor, Eric XIV. (1560-68), who became insane and was deposed, being succeeded by his brother, John III. At the beginning of Eric's reign Esthonia, a fragment of the dominions of the Knights Swordbearers, submitted to Sweden. The reign of John III. (1568-92) was notable for a reaction toward Catholicism. He had married Catharine Jagellon, of the Polish royal house, and in 1587 secured the election of his son Sigismund to the throne of Poland. For this Sigismund had to profess Catholicism. The great majority of the Swedes were strong Protestants, and when Sigismund succeeded his father as King of Sweden and attempted to restore Catholicism he was compelled by the Diet to resign the throne in 1599. His uncle Charles, the only one of Gustavus Vasa's sons who inherited his talents as a ruler, was made administrator of the kingdom and in 1604 was crowned King as Charles IX. The policy of Charles IX. was to encourage the burgher classes at the expense of the nobility; and by his successful efforts to foster trade—in furtherance of which he laid the foundations of Göteborg and other trading ports—to develop the mineral resources of the country, and to reorganize the system of Swedish jurisprudence, he did much to retrieve the calamitous errors of his predecessors. (See Charles IX.) The deposition of Sigismund gave rise to a long war with Poland. Charles was succeeded by his son, Gustavus II. Adolphus (1611-32). This greatest of Swedish kings was confronted at the beginning of his reign by wars with Russia, Poland, and Denmark, which last-named power still owned Scania and other districts at the southern extremity of the Scandinavian Peninsula. These wars were concluded advantageously for Sweden, which acquired Ingria, Karelia, and Livonia (the last-named not formally renounced by Poland until 1660), and the King addressed himself to the task of making Sweden the dominant power on the Baltic. In 1630 Gustavus Adolphus came to the rescue of German Protestantism, which had succumbed to the arms of Tilly and Wallenstein. (For his victorious career in Germany, and the successes of the generals who were trained in his school, see the articles Gustavus II. Adolphus, and Thirty Years' War.) The foreign policy of Gustavus Adolphus was continued after his death at Lützen in 1632 by his able chancellor, Oxenstierna (q.v.), who directed the government during the minority of Gustavus's gifted but eccentric daughter Christina (1632-54). As a result Sweden was for nearly a century the great power of the north. By the Peace of Westphalia (1648) Sweden received Hither Pomerania (west of the Oder), the island of Rügen, and other territories in Germany, and was admitted to representation in the German Diet.

Charles X. Gustavus (1654-60) waged a fierce war against the Polish King, John Casimir, in which the Swedish forces overran Poland. He conquered from Denmark the provinces of Scania, Halland, and Blekinge, which rounded out the Swedish boundaries. The war with Poland was closed at his death by the Peace of Oliva (1660). Misgovernment by a regency followed during the minority of Charles X.'s son and successor, Charles XI. (q.v.) (1660-97). This King was involved as the ally of Louis XIV. in European wars, which the regency had not left him the resources to carry on. In 1675 the Swedes suffered a great defeat at the hands of Frederick William, the “Great Elector” of Brandenburg, at Fehrbellin. Charles XI. reorganized the government and was declared an absolute sovereign by the estates in 1693. His son, Charles XII. (1697-1718), by his military genius raised Sweden to an extraordinary pitch of power. Not long after his accession he successfully met a joint attack by Russia, Poland, and Denmark, dealing blows that astonished the world. His inordinate ambition, however, finally brought ruin upon Sweden. Peter the Great wrested from her Karelia, Ingria, Esthonia, and Livonia. Charles met his death in an invasion of Norway, leaving the kingdom overwhelmed with debts and again disorganized. With him the male line of the House of Vasa expired. His sister Ulrica Eleonora, who succeeded him, and her husband, Frederick of Hesse-Cassel, who shared the throne, were mere puppets of the nobles, whose dissensions as the factions of the ‘Hats,’ or French party, and the ‘Caps,’ or Russian party, brought on the country calamitous wars and almost equally disastrous treaties of peace. The weak Adolphus Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp, who was called to the throne on the death of Frederick in 1751 and died in 1771, did little to retrieve the evil fortunes of the State. (See Struensee.) His son, Gustavus III. (q.v.) (1771-92), skillfully availed himself of the general dissatisfaction of the people with the nobles, to destroy the factions of the Hats and Caps, and under a new constitution to restore the power of the Crown and of the popular estates at the expense of the nobles. His extravagance and dissoluteness detracted, however, from his merits as a ruler. He was assassinated in 1792. His son and successor, Gustavus IV. Adolphus (q.v.), was but three years of age at his accession, and was forcibly deposed in 1809, and obliged to renounce the crown for himself and his direct heirs in favor of his uncle, Charles XIII. (1809-18), who was compelled at once to conclude a humiliating peace with Russia, by the terms of which Finland was severed from Sweden. The early part of the reign of Charles, who was childless, was troubled by domestic and foreign intrigues to regulate the choice of an heir to the throne. Finally, hoping to conciliate Napoleon, the dominant party in Sweden elected General Bernadotte to the rank of Crown Prince. Bernadotte led the Swedish forces in support of the Allies against the French Emperor in 1813-14. With the aid of England, Sweden compelled Denmark, in January, 1814, to cede Norway to her, the Swedish possessions in Pomerania being handed over to Denmark. The Congress of Vienna (1814-15) recognized the union of Norway with Sweden; Swedish Pomerania passed to Prussia. In 1818 Bernadotte mounted the throne as Charles XIV. John (q.v.). Under his able administration the united kingdoms of Sweden and Norway made great advances in material prosperity and political and intellectual progress; and although the nation at large entertained very little personal regard for their alien sovereign, his son and successor, Oscar I. (1844-59), and his grandsons, Charles XV. and the present King, Oscar II., who came to the throne in 1872, won a large share of the affections of the Swedes. The great problem of the dual kingdom under the present sovereign has been to satisfy the demands of the Norwegians, who are more democratic than the Swedes and are restive under the union. See Norway.

Bibliography. Höjer, Konungariket Sverige (Stockholm, 1872-84); Rosenberg, Geografiskt-statistiskt handlexikon öfver Sverige (ib., 1883); Nystrom, Handbok i Sveriges geografi (ib., 1895); id., Sveriges rike (ib., 1902); Du Chaillu, The Land of the Midnight Sun (New York, 1882); Hahn, “Schweden,” in Kirchhoff's Länderkunde von Europa (Leipzig, 1890); Passage, Schweden (Berlin, 1897); Thomas, Sweden and the Swedes (Chicago, 1893); Healey, Educational Systems of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (London, 1893); Gandolphe, La vie et l'art des Scandinaves (Paris, 1899); Nathorst, Sveriges geologi (Stockholm, 1894); Andersson, Geschichte der Vegetation Sehwedens (Leipzig, 1896); Nordenström, L'industrie minière de la Suède (Stockholm, 1897); Strindberg and Sjögren, Sveriges natur (ib., 1901); Sundbärg, La Suède: son peuple et son Industrie (ib., 1900; English trans., ib., 1903). History. Dunham, History of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway (London, 1840), a standard small work; Geijer and Carlson, Geschichte Schwedens (Gotha, 1844-75), the German edition of the principal Swedish History; Otté, Scandinavian History (London, 1874), is the chief work in English on this field; Geffroy, Histoire des états scandinaves (Paris), one of the useful series edited by V. Duruy; Save, Sveriges historia under den nyaste tiden (1890), popular; Cronholm, A History of Sweden (Chicago, 1902); and the standard works of Fryxell, Strinnholm, Malmström, Montelius, and Hildebrand.