History of Sweden


In its early days Sweden was a nation of seafarers who traded all over the world. The actual creation of the country itself is complex and happened over many years as disputes over land and regions by various clans was finally settled into the creation of the country. Early attempts to bring the country together were spoiled by an outbreak of the Black Death which devastated the country.

The establishment of Sweden later also saw the inclusion of Finland into the country. By the late 1300s Sweden became part of the Kalmar Union which was an agreement that linked together all of the Scandinavian countries through the work of Queen Margaret I of Denmark. This union was not a happy one and Sweden clashed with Denmark on a regular basis during the 15th century.

By the 16th century the union was dissolved leaving a rivalry that went down the ages between Norway and Denmark on the one hand and Sweden and Finland on the other. It is thought that it was at this point that Sweden was born in modern terms. Later in this century and in the following one Sweden entered the Reformation and became a major international power after wars with Russia, Denmark and Poland and significant involvement in the Thirty Years War. At this stage Sweden still ruled over Finland and various Danish regions, parts of Russia, Estonia, Germany and Latvia.

In the early 1700s Sweden lost much of its power and many of its territories during the Great Northern War against Russia, Denmark/Norway and Saxony/Poland. By the early 1800s Sweden lost more territories and finally lost Finland to Russia. During this century Sweden fought with the allied forces against Napoleon and saw a merger of the Swedish and Norwegian monarchies in return for the territory it had lost earlier in Germany. This joint monarchy lasted until the early 1900s.

Despite its success as a nation in various battles Sweden now started to take a pacifist stance towards conflict. This neutral stance has kept Sweden free from conflict ever since. At this time the country also started to establish a strong export economy and a comprehensive welfare state.

In 1995 Sweden joined the EU even though the country still held a military neutral status. Membership was given to Sweden on the basis that the country does not have to take part in any EU-led conflicts. Sweden also opted out of the ERM and has, to date, not taken up the Euro as its currency.