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Sweden (Konungariket Sverige) is a nation in northern Europe. It borders Norway and Finland. It is one of the wealthiest nations on the continent and is considered by many leftists and socialists to be a near-utopian society.
It is not known exactly how or when the kingdom of Sweden was born, though the list of monarchs is drawn from the first kings to have ruled Svealand (Sweden) and Götaland (Gothia) as one nation, beginning with Eric the Victorious. Sweden and Gothia were two separate nations long before that into antiquity. It is not known for exactly how long it existed; the epic poem Beowulf describes the legendary Swedish-Geatish wars in the 6th century. Saint Ansgar is credited with introducing Christianity in 829, though the religion didn't replace Norse paganism until the 12th century. From 1050, Sweden was counted as a Christian nation. The period between 1100 and 1400 was characterized by internal power struggles and competition among Nordic states. Sweden expanded their territory into modern-day Finland, which created conflict with the Rus. Feudalism never reached Sweden, except in the southern provinces of Scania, Blekinge, and Halland, which were owned by Denmark. Slavery also wasn't common in Sweden, and what did exist of it was driven out by the spread of Christianity. Both slavery and serfdom were abolished by a decree of King Magnus IV in 1335. Despite this, Sweden remained a poor and economically backward nation in which barter was the predominant means of exchange. In the mid-14th century, the Black Death hit Sweden, and decimated its population. The population of Sweden didn't pass the previous amount until the beginning of the 1800s. In 1397, Queen Margaret I of Denmark put into effect the personal union between her nation, Sweden, and Norway in 1397 through the Kalmar Union.
During the 1700s, Sweden emerged as an European great power. Sweden rose to prominence on a continental scale during the reign of king Gustavus Adolphus, who seized territories from Russia and Poland-Lithuania during the Thirty Years' War. During this war Sweden conquered nearly half of the states of the Holy Roman Empire, planning to rule over a united Scandinavia and Germany; however, he died at the Battle of Lützen in 1632. However, the German provinces wrested Swedish control one by one, leaving only Pomerania, Bremen-Verden, and Wismar. In the 17th century, Sweden was the largest European nation in landmass, only surpassed by Russia and Spain. Sweden also engaged in numerous wars with Poland-Lithuania, allowing Sweden access to the Baltic coast. After the Battle of Navra in 1700, Russia was so severely devastated that Sweden had an open chance to invade them; however they decided to invade Poland-Lithuania instead. This was a bad idea for Sweden as they would later have to fight against a revived Russian military and exposure to Cossack raids and the bitter Russian winter. In 1721, Sweden was forced to cede the Baltic coast to their Russian enemies, taking away Sweden's place as a great European empire and giving it to Russia.
Sweden allied themselves against their traditional ally, France in the Napoleonic Wars. Sweden's role in the Battle of Leipzig gave it the authority to force Denmark-Norway, an ally of France, to cede Norway to the Swedes, making up for the loss of Finland to Russia in 1809. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Sweden experienced major population growth, which the writer Esaias Tegnér in 1833 attributed to "the peace, the smallpox vaccine, and the potatoes". However, mass emigration to America was the only way to stop famine and rebellion; over 1% of the population emigrated annually during the 1880s. Sweden remained a poor, largely agricultural economy, even as Denmark and Western Europe began industrialization. Despite the slow rate of industrialization, many important changes were taking place in the agrarian economy during the 19th century due to constant innovations; including enclosure, aggressive exploitation of agricultural land, and the introduction of new crops such as the potato. Between 1870 and 1914, Sweden began developing the industrial economy which exists there today.
World War & Modern Era
Sweden was officially neutral during the World War, although they were put under German pressure to aid the Allies. They did take minor steps in order to hinder the Central Powers, such as allowing Germans to use Swedish facilities as well as the Swedish secret cipher. Sweden also allowed volunteers to fight for the White Army along with Germany in hopes for the two of them gaining new territory in what was the Russian Empire. Sweden still remains a neutral state to this day, though it has joined the European Union.
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