The New Student's Reference Work/Gustavus II

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Gustavus II or Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden from 1611 to 1632, was born at Stockholm, Dec. 19, 1594. He was highly educated, knew eight languages and was a fine musician. Upon coming to the throne, when 17, he found his country involved in wars and internal quarrels; and reorganized his government by promising the nobles their privileges, subject to military service to the crown. He then defeated Denmark, and in 1617 concluded peace with Russia, recovering many cities which had been lost. In 1618 he traveled secretly through Germany, and two years later he married the daughter of the elector of Brandenburg. He next turned his attention to Poland, ending the dispute by a six years' truce in 1629. In 1630 Gustavus marched into Germany at the head of 15,000 men to join the Protestants against the Catholic League. The German forces were under the command of Tilly and Wallenstein, but the latter was soon removed from the service. Gustavus waited long for the Protestant princes to join him, but they did not do so until Tilly had taken the rich city of Magdeburg and burned everything but the cathedral. Soon after, Gustavus defeated Tilly at Breitenfeld, took the Palatinate and Mainz, and in 1632 defeated Tilly at the Lech. Then the emperor, Ferdinand II of Austria, recalled Wallenstein, who raised an army of 60,000 and advanced to Nuremberg to await the Swedish army on its way to Vienna. On Nov. 6, 1632, at Lützen near Leipsic, they came together in a dense fog, and Gustavus, becoming separated from the cavalry at whose head he rode, was surrounded by a body of Croats and killed. He was the great hero of the Thirty Years' War. See Memoir by J. L. Stevens; Gustavus Adolphus in Germany by French; and Schiller's Thirty Years' War.