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Sweden
Swedish speaking
country
Sweden

Languages

Swedish
Capital Stockholm
Other main cities Goteberg, Malmo, Uppsala
Area (km2) 449,964
Population 8,873,052
Currency Krona
History of Sweden
Sweden, which occupies the eastern part of the Scandinavian peninsula, is the 4th largest country in Europe.

The earliest historical mention of Sweden is found in Tacitus, where reference is made to the powerful king and strong fleet of the Sviones. In the 11th Century, Olaf Skttkonung became the first Swedish king to be baptized as a Christian.

Around 1400, an attempt was made to unite Sweden, Norway, and Denmark into one kingdom, but this led to bitter strife and in 1520, they were conquered by the Danes.

Gustavus Vasa (1523-60) broke away from Denmark and fashioned the modern Swedish state. He also confiscated property from the Roman Catholic Church in Sweden to pay Sweden's war debts.

The king justified his actions on the basis of the doctrines of Martin Luther and the Lutheran Swedish church was eventually adopted as the state church.

Sweden played a leading role in the Thirty Years' War (1618-48) and obtained western Pomerania and some neighboring territory on the Baltic. In 1700, a coalition of Russia, Poland, and Denmark united against Sweden and forced it to relinquish Livonia, Ingria, Estonia, and parts of Finland. Sweden emerged from the Napoleonic Wars with the acquisition of Norway from Denmark and with a new royal dynasty beginning with King Charles XIV (1818-44).

The artificial union between Sweden and Norway led to an uneasy relationship, and the union was finally dissolved in 1905. Sweden maintained a position of neutrality in both world wars.

An elaborate structure of welfare legislation, imitated by many larger nations, began with the establishment of old-age pensions in 1911. Economic prosperity based on its neutralist policy enabled Sweden, together with Norway, to pioneer in public health, housing, and job security programs. Forty four years of Socialist government were ended in 1976 with the election of a conservative coalition.

The Socialists were returned to power in the election of 1982, but Prime Minister Olof Palme, a Socialist, was assassinated in 1986, leaving Sweden stunned. Palme's Socialist domestic policies were carried out by his successor, Ingvar Carlsson. Elections in September 1991 ousted the Social Democrats (Socialists) from power but in 1994 they emerged again after 3 years as the opposition party.

In a 1994 referendum voters approved joining the European Union. Although supportive of a European monetary union, Sweden announced in 1997 that it would not adopt the euro when it debuted in 1999.

Did you know?
There are no "primitive" languages. All languages have a system of sounds, words and sentences that can adequately communicate the content of culture.
Swedish History
Swedish Speaking
Country
» Sweden
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