Following the murder of King Gustavus III of Sweden (who belonged to the house of Oldenburg) in 1792, the throne passed to his son Gustavus IV Adolphus, who was then a minor. During his youth, he studied in France, and befriended general Napoleon Bonaparte. Returning home when he came of age, he staged a coup d'etat and became an absolute monarch, like his father. He sided with Napoleon, but switched sides in 1814, aided by amongst other general Bernadotte, who became a Swedish Count Bernadotte af Wisborg, and settled in Sweden after the defeat of Napoleon.

Gustavus IV Adolphus (Gustav IV Adolf in Swedish) died in 1837, and the throne passed to his son Gustavus V, who ruled Sweden until his death in 1877. During his reign, Sweden allied itself with Germany and Russia, thus keeping Sweden's influence in the Baltic area. He also waged wars against Denmark, and conquered the islands of Zealand and Amager and the northernmost part of Norway, Finnmark amt.

The throne passed to Gustavus V's daughter Carola, becoming queen Carola I of Sweden. Being married to King Albert I of Saxony, for a while Sweden and Saxony was in a personal union. She reigned until her death 15 December 1907. During her reign the labor movement started organizing, and voices for liberal reforms were heard, but they were struck down by her government, for many years led by prime ministers such as Count Oscar Bernadotte and Baron Gillis Bildt. Many Swedish (and Finnish) labor leaders and other socialist and liberal politicians went into exile to the United States of America, which, having lost a series of wars, starting with the war between the southern and the northern states in 1861-1865, now only consisted of the original thirteen states on the east coast.

Carola was succeeded by her first cousin once removed, Grand Duke Friedrich II of Baden who became King Fredrik II of Sweden. He ruled until his death 8 August 1928. He allowed some reforms in Sweden. Male adults were given the right to vote. Sweden adopted a system resembling the British parliament: a house of Lords, consisting of the heads of noble families, and a house of commoners, elected by adult males who were not depending upon public assistance and who did not owe taxes.

Having no children, Fredrik/Friedrich II was succeeded by his sister Viktoria I, who became Queen of Sweden (while the Grand Duchy passed to another line, following the salic law). She reigned until her death 4 April 1930. She was married to a Swedish Count, Gustav Bernadotte af Wisborg, a great-grand-son of the earlier mentioned general Bernadotte. As she ruled for a short time, nothing important was done during her reign.

She was succeeded by her son, Gustavus VI Adolphus, during whose reign parliamentarism was finally introduced in Sweden. Gustaf Mannerheim served as prime minister for many years, mostly building his power upon the house of Lords. King Gustavus VI Adolphus died 15 September 1973 and was succeeded by his grandson Charles XIII Gustavus (Carl XIII Gustaf), who is the present ruler of Sweden. He has increased his personal powers at the expense of parliament. His current prime minister is Count Carl Bildt, a great-great-grandson of Baron Gillis Bildt.

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