Sweden (Swedish: Sverige), officially the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: Konungariket Sverige), is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden shares borders with Norway to the west and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark by Øresund Bridge.
At 449,964 sq km (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of approximately eight million. Compared to continental Europe, Sweden has a relatively low population density of 21 inhabitants per sq km (54 /sq mi) with the population concentrated to the southern half of the country. Over 85% of the population live in urban areas. Sweden's capital city is Stockholm, and with a metropolitan population of over two million, it is also Sweden's largest city.
Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, the country expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire. The empire grew to be one of the great powers of Europe in the 17th and early 18th century. Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries. The eastern half of Sweden, present-day Finland, was lost to Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Sweden by military means forced Norway into a personal union. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, adopting a non-aligned foreign policy in peacetime and neutrality in wartime.
Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy of government and a highly developed economy. In 2010, it ranked fourth in the world in The Economist's Democracy Index and ninth in the United Nations' Human Development Index. In 2010, Sweden had the fastest economic growth and highest innovation in the European Union, while the World Economic Forum ranked Sweden as the second most competitive country in the world. Sweden is recognized as an industrial and technological leader in several fields.