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The Swedish Empire was a European great power that exercised territorial control over much of the
Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countries/states refer to slightly different combinations of countries in the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of t ...
during the 17th and early 18th centuries ( sv, Stormaktstiden, "the Era of Great Power"). The beginning of the empire is usually taken as the reign of
Gustavus Adolphus Gustavus Adolphus (9 December _19_December.html" ;"title="/nowiki> 19 December">/nowiki> 19 December15946 November _16_November.html" ;"title="/nowiki> 16 November">/nowiki> 16 November1632), also known in English as Gustav II Adolf or Gustav ...
, who ascended the throne in 1611, and its end as the loss of territories in 1721 following the
Great Northern War The Great Northern War (1700–1721) was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Northern Europe, Northern, Central Europe, Central and Eastern Europe. The i ...

Great Northern War
. After the death of Gustavus Adolphus in 1632, the empire was controlled for lengthy periods by part of the high
nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm that p ...
, such as the
Oxenstierna Image:Seal of Oxenstierna-Sweden.jpg, 250px, Seal Oxenstierna ( , ) is a Sweden, Swedish noble family, originally from Småland in southern Sweden which can be traced up to the middle of the 14th century. The Oxenstierna family held vast estates in ...
family, acting as regents for minor monarchs. The interests of the high nobility contrasted with the uniformity policy (i.e., upholding the traditional equality in status of the Swedish estates favoured by the kings and peasantry). In territories acquired during the periods of ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' noble rule,
serfdom Serfdom was the status of many peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to manorialism, and similar systems. It was a condition of debt bondage and indentured servitude with similarities to and differences from slavery, which developed ...
was not abolished, and there was also a trend to set up respective estates in
Sweden proper Sweden proper ( sv, Egentliga Sverige) is a term used to distinguish those territories that were fully integrated into the Kingdom of Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), ...
. The Great Reduction of 1680 put an end to these efforts of the nobility and required them to return estates once gained from the crown to the king. Serfdom, however, remained in force in the dominions acquired in the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
and in
Swedish Estonia Estonia under Swedish rule signifies the time between 1561 and 1710, when parts of present-day Estonia (and after 1645 all of the present-day country) were under Sweden, Swedish rule. In the wake of the breakup of the State of the Teutonic Order ...
, where a consequent application of the uniformity policy was hindered by the treaties by which they were gained. After the victories in the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Weste ...
, Sweden reached the climax of the great-power era during the
Second Northern War The Second Northern War (1655–60), also First or Little Northern War) was fought between Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic countries, Nordic country i ...
, when its primary adversary,
Denmark–Norway Denmark–Norway (Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestr ...
, was neutralized by the
Treaty of Roskilde The Treaty of Roskilde was concluded on 26 February (OS) or 8 March 1658 (NS) during the Second Northern War The Second Northern War (1655–60), also First or Little Northern War) was fought between Sweden and its adversaries the Polish ...
in 1658 (this is when the Swedish empire was at its largest extent). However, in the further course of this war, as well as in the subsequent
Scanian War The Scanian War ( da, Skånske Krig, , sv, Skånska kriget, german: Schonischer Krieg) was a part of the Northern Wars "Northern Wars" is a term used for a series of wars fought in northern and northeastern Europe from the 16th to the 18th c ...
, Sweden was able to maintain its empire only with the support of its closest ally,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...
.
Charles XI of Sweden Charles XI or Carl ( sv, Karl XI; ) was King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Fo ...

Charles XI of Sweden
consolidated the empire. But a decline began with his son,
Charles XII Charles XII, sometimes Carl XII ( sv, Karl XII) or Carolus Rex (17 June 1682 – 30 November 1718 O.S.), was the King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state of Sweden,See the #IOG, Instrument of Government ...
. After initial Swedish victories, Charles secured the empire for some time in the
Peace of Travendal The Peace of Travendal was a peace treaty A peace treaty is an agreementAgreement may refer to: Agreements between people and organizations * Gentlemen's agreement A gentlemen's agreement, or gentleman's agreement, is an informal and legally ...
(1700) and the
Treaty of Altranstädt (1706):''For the Swedish-Habsburg convention regarding Silesian Protestants, see Treaty of Altranstädt (1707).'' The Treaty of Altranstädt was concluded between Charles XII of Sweden and Augustus the Strong of Electorate of Saxony, Saxony and Polish–L ...
, before the disaster that followed the king's war in Russia. The Russian victory at the
Battle of Poltava A mass burial of Russian soldiers who died in The Battle of Poltava, alt= The Battle of Poltava; russian: Полта́вская би́тва; uk, Полта́вська би́тва (8 July 1709) was the decisive victory of Peter the Great (P ...

Battle of Poltava
put an end to Sweden's eastbound expansion, and by the time of Charles XII's death in 1718 only a much-weakened and far smaller territory remained. The last traces of occupied continental territory vanished during the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
, and Finland went to Russia in 1809, with Sweden's role as a great power vanishing as well.
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
is the only
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sa ...

Scandinavia
n country to have ever reached the status of a military great power.


History


Emergence as a great power

Sweden emerged as a great European
power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one joule per second. In older works, p ...
under
Axel Oxenstierna Axel Gustafsson Oxenstierna af Södermöre (; 1583–1654), Count of Södermöre, was a Swedish statesman. He became a member of the Privy Council of Sweden, Swedish Privy Council in 1609 and served as Lord High Chancellor of Sweden from 1612 unti ...

Axel Oxenstierna
and King
Gustavus Adolphus Gustavus Adolphus (9 December _19_December.html" ;"title="/nowiki> 19 December">/nowiki> 19 December15946 November _16_November.html" ;"title="/nowiki> 16 November">/nowiki> 16 November1632), also known in English as Gustav II Adolf or Gustav ...
. As a result of acquiring territories seized from Russia and the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland, was a country and bi-federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is ...
, as well as its involvement in the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Weste ...
, Sweden found itself transformed into the leader of
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
ism. During the Thirty Years' War, Sweden managed to conquer approximately half of the member states of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
. The fortunes of war would shift back and forth several times. After its defeat in the
Battle of Nördlingen (1634) The Battle of Nördlingen (german: Schlacht bei Nördlingen; es, Batalla de Nördlingen; sv, Slaget vid Nördlingen) was fought in 1634 during the Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War (, ) was a conflict fought primarily in modern G ...
, confidence in Sweden among the Swedish-controlled German states was damaged, and several of the provinces refused further Swedish military support, leaving Sweden with only a couple of northern German provinces. After France intervened on the same side as Sweden, fortunes shifted again. As the war continued, the civilian and military death toll grew, and when it was over, it had led to severe depopulation in the German states. Although exact population estimates do not exist, historians estimate that the population of the Holy Roman Empire fell by one-third as a result of the war. Sweden founded overseas colonies, principally in the New World.
New Sweden New Sweden ( sv, Nya Sverige; fi, Uusi Ruotsi; la, Nova Svecia) was a Swedish colony along the lower reaches of the Delaware River The Delaware River is a major on the coast of the . It drains an area of in four s: , , and . Rising i ...
was founded in the valley of the
Delaware River The Delaware River is a major on the coast of the . It drains an area of in four s: , , and . Rising in two branches in New York state's , the river flows into where its waters enter the Atlantic Ocean near in New Jersey and in Delawar ...

Delaware River
in 1638, and Sweden later laid claim to a number of Caribbean islands. A string of Swedish forts and trading posts was constructed along the coast of West Africa as well, but these were not designed for Swedish settlers.


Peace of Westphalia

At the conclusion of the Thirty Years' War, the
Peace of Westphalia The Peace of Westphalia (german: Westfälischer Friede, ) is the collective name for two peace treaties signed in October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the ...
in 1648 granted Sweden territories as
war reparations War reparations are compensation payments made after a war War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), ...
. Sweden demanded
Silesia Silesia (, also , ) is a historical region of Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of Western Europe, Southern Europe and East ...

Silesia
,
Pomerania Pomerania ( pl, Pomorze; german: Pommern; Kashubian: ''Pòmòrskô'') is a historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the , enclosed by , , , , , , northeast , , and the . The sea stretches fr ...
(which had been in its possession since the
Treaty of Stettin (1630) The Treaty of Stettin ( sv, Traktaten or ''Fördraget i Stettin'') or Alliance of Stettin (german: Stettiner Allianz) was the legal framework for the occupation of the Duchy of Pomerania by the Swedish Empire during the Thirty Years' War. Concluded ...
, and a war indemnity of 20,000,000 Riksdaler. Through the efforts of
Johan Oxenstierna Johan Axelsson Oxenstierna af Södermöre (24 June 1611 – 5 December 1657) was a Count and a Sweden, Swedish statesman. Biography The son of Lord High Chancellor of Sweden, Lord High Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna, he was born in Stockholm. He co ...
and
Johan Adler Salvius Johan Adler Salvius (born in 1590 in Strängnäs; died on 24 August 1652 in Stockholm) was a Swedish baron of Örneholm, chancellor, confidant and representative of the Christina, Queen of Sweden at the Treaty of Osnabrück, peace negotiations at O ...

Johan Adler Salvius
it obtained: *
Swedish Pomerania Swedish Pomerania ( sv, Svenska Pommern; german: Schwedisch-Pommern) was a Dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was formally accorded ...
, the Swedish share of the former
Duchy of Pomerania The Duchy of Pomerania (german: Herzogtum Pommern, pl, Księstwo Pomorskie, 12th century – 1637) was a duchy in Pomerania on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark De ...
since the
Treaty of Stettin (1653) The Treaty of Stettin (german: Grenzrezeß von Stettin) of 4 May 1653Heitz (1995), p.232 settled a dispute between Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state in the northeast of Germany ) , imag ...
, consisting of **
Western Pomerania Historical Western Pomerania, also called Fore Pomerania, Front Pomerania or Hither Pomerania (german: Vorpommern), is the western extremity of the historic region of the Duchy of Pomerania, Duchy, later Province of Pomerania (1815–1945), ...
, with the islands of
Rügen Rügen (; also lat. ; ) is Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , d ...

Rügen
,
Usedom Usedom (german: Usedom , pl, Uznam ) is a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, divided between Germany and Poland. It is the second largest Pomeranian island after Rügen, and the most populous island in the Baltic Sea. It is situated north of the ...
and , as well as the towns of
Stettin Szczecin * sv, Stettin * Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...
,
Greifswald Greifswald (), officially the University and Hanseatic City of Greifswald (german: Universitäts- und Hansestadt Greifswald, Low German: ''Griepswoold'') is a city in northeastern Germany. It is situated in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, at ...

Greifswald
, and
Stralsund Stralsund (; Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used ...

Stralsund
; **a strip of
Farther Pomerania ("Hinterpommern", yellow). Farther Pomerania, Further Pomerania, or Eastern Pomerania (german: Hinterpommern, Ostpommern), is the part of Pomerania Pomerania ( pl, Pomorze; german: Pommern; Kashubian: ''Pòmòrskô'') is a historical region o ...
on the right side of the
Oder The Oder ( , ; Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is ...

Oder
, including the towns of Damm and Gollnow, with the right of succession to the rest of Farther Pomerania in the case of the extinction of the
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Brandenburg
s; * the town of
Wismar Wismar (; Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their us ...

Wismar
, with the districts of Pod and
Neukloster Neukloster is a town in the east of the district of Nordwestmecklenburg Nordwestmecklenburg (''Northwestern Mecklenburg Mecklenburg (; nds, label=Mecklenburgisch dialect, Low German, Mękel(n)borg ) is a historical region in northern Germany ...
; * the secularized bishoprics of
Bremen-Verden ), which is a public-law corporation established in 1865 succeeding the estates of the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen (established in 1397), now providing the local fire insurance in the shown area and supporting with its surplusses cultural effort ...

Bremen-Verden
, with the town of
Wildeshausen Wildeshausen ( Low Saxon: ''Wilshusen'') is a town and the capital of the Oldenburg district in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, ...

Wildeshausen
; and * 5,000,000 Riksdaler. These German possessions were to be held as
fief A fief (; la, feudum) was the central element of feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the hist ...
s of the Holy Roman Empire. This allowed Sweden a vote in the
Imperial DietImperial Diet means the highest representative assembly in an empire, notably: * Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire), general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire (962–1806) * Diet of Japan, Has been going on since 1889 (1889 ...
and enabled it to "direct" the
Lower Saxon Circle The Lower Saxon Circle (german: Niedersächsischer Reichskreis) was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories ...
alternately with
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Brandenburg
. France and Sweden, moreover, became joint guarantors of the treaty with the Holy Roman Emperor and were entrusted with carrying out its provisions, as enacted by the executive congress of
Nuremberg Nuremberg ( ; german: link=no, Nürnberg ; in the local East Franconian dialect: ''Nämberch'' ) is the second-largest city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Bavaria after its capital Munich, and its 518,370 (2019) inhabitants ...

Nuremberg
in 1650. After the peaces of
Brömsebro Brömsebro () is a bimunicipal village situated in Karlskrona Municipality, Blekinge County and Torsås Municipality, Kalmar County in south-east Sweden with 213 inhabitants in 2005. Two Dano-Swedish treaties were signed in Brömsebro: the First ...
and Westphalia, Sweden was the third-largest area of control in Europe by land area, only surpassed by Russia and Spain. Sweden reached its largest territorial extent during this time under the rule of
Charles X Gustav Charles X Gustav, also Carl Gustav ( sv, Karl X Gustav; 8 November 1622 – 13 February 1660), was King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state of Sweden,See the #IOG, Instrument of Government, Chapter 1, Articl ...
(1622–1660) after the
Treaty of Roskilde The Treaty of Roskilde was concluded on 26 February (OS) or 8 March 1658 (NS) during the Second Northern War The Second Northern War (1655–60), also First or Little Northern War) was fought between Sweden and its adversaries the Polish ...
in 1658.


Domestic consolidation

For the moment,
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
held a tenuous position of leadership. Careful statesmanship might mean permanent dominion on the Baltic shore, but left little room for mistakes. Unfortunately, the extravagance of Gustavus Adolphus's two immediate successors,
ChristinaChristina may refer to: People * Christina (given name), shared by several people * Christina (surname), shared by several people Places * Christina, Montana, unincorporated community, United States * Christina, British Columbia, Canada * Christi ...
and
Charles X Gustav Charles X Gustav, also Carl Gustav ( sv, Karl X Gustav; 8 November 1622 – 13 February 1660), was King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state of Sweden,See the #IOG, Instrument of Government, Chapter 1, Articl ...
, caused great difficulties for the new empire. Christina's financial extravagance brought the state to the verge of bankruptcy, and the financial difficulties caused public unrest before her abdication. The Swedish people feared that the external, artificial greatness of their country might be purchased with the loss of their civil and political liberties. The Swedish people looked to a new king to address the problem of too much power vested in the nobility. Charles X Gustav was a strong arbiter between the people and the nobility. Primarily a soldier, he directed his ambition towards military glory; but he was also an unusually sharp-sighted politician. While placing great emphasis on military strength, he also understood that domestic unity was necessary for a powerful foreign policy. The most pressing domestic question was the reduction, or restitution of alienated crown lands. At the
Riksdag of the Estates Riksdag of the Estates (formally sv, Riksens ständer; informally sv, Ståndsriksdagen) was the name used for the Estates of Sweden Sweden (; sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a ...
of 1655, the king proposed that noble holders of crown property should either: 1) pay an annual sum of 200,000 Riksdaler out of the lands they would receive, or 2) surrender a fourth of the property itself, worth approximately 800,000 Riksdaler. The nobility wished to avoid taxation and stipulated that November 6, 1632, the day of Gustavus Adolphus's death, should be the limit to which retrospective taxes could be collected, and that there should be no further restitution of alienated crown property. Against this, the over-taxed lower estates protested, and the Diet had to be suspended. The king intervened, not to quell the commons, as the senate insisted, but to compel the nobility to give way. He proposed a special committee to investigate the matter before the meeting of the next Riksdag and that a proportional contribution should be levied on all classes in the meantime. Both groups accepted this arrangement. Charles X Gustav had done his best to recover from the financial extravagance of Christina. However, his own desire for military glory may have caused problems for his country. In three days, he persuaded the Swedish estates of the potential of his attack on the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland, was a country and bi-federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is ...
. However, when he left Stockholm for
Warsaw Warsaw, * la, Varsovia (Polish language, Polish: ''Warszawa'' ), officially the Capital City of Warsaw, is the capital and List of cities and towns in Poland, largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula, River Vistula in e ...

Warsaw
on July 10, 1654, he gained more personal glory than advantage for his country. The Polish-Swedish War expanded into a general European war. He achieved passage over the Belts and emerged triumphant, only to die of sheer exhaustion. Immediately after his death, a regency was appointed to govern Sweden during the minority of his only son and successor,
Charles XI of Sweden Charles XI or Carl ( sv, Karl XI; ) was King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Fo ...

Charles XI of Sweden
, who was four years old. The regency council moved quickly to end the war with Sweden's numerous enemies, which now included the
Tsardom of Russia The Tsardom of Russia or Tsardom of Rus' (russian: Русское царство, translit=Russkoye tsarstvo, later changed to: ), also externally referenced as the Tsardom of Muscovy, was the centralized Russian state from the assumption of the ...
, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the
Electorate of Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state in the northeast of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_typ ...
and Denmark-Norway.


Peace of Oliva

The
Peace of Oliva The Treaty or Peace of Oliva of 23 April (OS)/3 May (NS) 1660Evans (2008), p.55 ( pl, Pokój Oliwski, sv, Freden i Oliva, german: Vertrag von Oliva) was one of the peace treaties ending the Second Northern War The Second Northern War (1655 ...
on May 3, 1660, put an end to the long feud with
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...
. French mediation of this treaty also ended the quarrel between Sweden, the Holy Roman emperor and the elector of
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...
. This treaty confirmed both Sweden's possession of
Livonia Livonia ( liv, Līvõmō, et, Liivimaa, fi, Liivinmaa, German and North Germanic languages, Scandinavian languages: ', archaic German: ''Liefland'', nl, Lijfland, Latvian language, Latvian and lt, Livonija, pl, Inflanty, archaic English ...
and the elector of Brandenburg's sovereignty over
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
; and the king of
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland, was a country and bi-federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is ...
renounced to all claims to the Swedish crown. The treaty compelled
Denmark–Norway Denmark–Norway (Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestr ...
to reopen direct negotiations with Sweden. Eventually, under the Treaty of Copenhagen on May 27, 1660, Sweden kept the three formerly Danish Scanian provinces and the formerly Norwegian
Bohuslän Bohuslän (; da, Bohuslen; no, Båhuslen) is a Provinces of Sweden, Swedish province in Götaland, on the northernmost part of the country's west coast. It is bordered by Dalsland to the northeast, Västergötland to the southeast, the Skagerrak ...

Bohuslän
province, which Denmark-Norway had surrendered by the
Treaty of Roskilde The Treaty of Roskilde was concluded on 26 February (OS) or 8 March 1658 (NS) during the Second Northern War The Second Northern War (1655–60), also First or Little Northern War) was fought between Sweden and its adversaries the Polish ...
two years previously; but Sweden had to relinquish the Norwegian province of
Trøndelag Trøndelag () ( sma, Trööndelage) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (pu ...
and the Danish island of
Bornholm Bornholm (; non, Burgundaholmr) is a Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people ...

Bornholm
, which had been surrendered at Roskilde. Denmark–Norway was also compelled to recognize the independence of the dukes of
Holstein-Gottorp Holstein-Gottorp or Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp is the historiographical name, as well as contemporary shorthand name, for the parts of the duchies of Duchy of Schleswig, Schleswig and Duchy of Holstein, Holstein, also known as Ducal Holstein, that ...
. The
Russo-Swedish War (1656–1658) The Russo-Swedish War of 1656–1658 was fought by Russia and Sweden as a theater of the Second Northern War. It took place during a pause in the contemporary Russo-Polish War (1654-1667) as a consequence of the Truce of Vilna. Despite initial ...
was terminated by the
Treaty of Cardis The Treaty of Cardis was a peace settlement made in 1661 between Tsardom of Russia The Tsardom of Russia or Tsardom of Rus' (russian: Русское царство, translit=Russkoye tsarstvo, later changed to: ), also externally referenced as ...
on July 2, 1661, through which the
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
surrendered the Baltic provinces to Sweden —
Ingria Historical Ingria ( izh, Ingermaa, fi, Inkeri or '; russian: link=no, Ингрия, ''Ingriya'', , ''Izhora'', or , ''Ingermanlandiya''; sv, Ingermanland; et, Ingeri or ') is the geographical area located along the southern shore of the , ...
,
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden ...
and
Kexholm Priozersk (russian: Приозе́рск,Not ''Priozyorsk'' (russian: Приозёрск). ( fi, Käkisalmi, sv, Kexholm) is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though ...
. Thus, Sweden emerged from the war not only a military power, but also one of the largest states of Europe, possessing more than twice as much territory as modern Sweden. The land area of Sweden was 1,100,000 km2. While modern Sweden is bounded by the Baltic, during the 17th century the Baltic formed a bond between various widely dispersed
dominions The term dominion was used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other De ...
. All the islands in the Baltic, except the Danish group, belonged to Sweden. The estuaries of all the great German rivers lay within Swedish territory, which also included two-thirds of
Lake Ladoga Lake Ladoga ( rus, Ла́дожское о́зеро, r=Ladozhskoye ozero, p=ˈladəʂskəjə ˈozʲɪrə or rus, Ла́дога, r=Ladoga, p=ˈladəɡə, fi, Laatokka arlier in Finnish ''Nevajärvi'' ; vep, Ladog, Ladoganjärv) is a Fresh ...

Lake Ladoga
and one-half of
Lake Peipus Lake Peipus ( et, Peipsi-Pihkva järv; russian: Псковско-Чудское озеро, Pskovsko-Chudskoye ozero; german: Peipussee) is the largest International waters, trans-boundary lake in Europe, lying on the border between Estonia and Ru ...

Lake Peipus
.
Stockholm Stockholm (; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smalle ...

Stockholm
, the capital, lay in the very centre of the empire, whose second greatest city was
Riga Riga (; lv, Rīga , liv, Rīgõ, ) is the capital of Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links ...

Riga
, on the other side of the sea. This empire contained about a quarter of the population of modern Sweden, at only 2,500,000 people, or about 2.3 people per square kilometer. However, Sweden's expansion had been possible partly due to turmoil and weakness in countries in its vicinity, and when they became more stable, they began to look for chances to regain what was lost.


Danish defeat

Sweden had now won considerable political influence, which was lessened by the loss of moral prestige. On
Charles X Gustav Charles X Gustav, also Carl Gustav ( sv, Karl X Gustav; 8 November 1622 – 13 February 1660), was King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state of Sweden,See the #IOG, Instrument of Government, Chapter 1, Articl ...
's accession in 1655, Sweden's neighbours may have become allies; however, territorial loss combined with the loss of religious liberty lessened their ties to Sweden. At Charles X Gustav's death, five years later, Sweden had not only damaged its newly claimed territories but also had become hated by the surrounding states for its lack of defence of Protestantism. Charles X Gustav's attempt to gain the favour of
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...
by dividing Poland not only reversed his original policy, but also created a new southern rival almost as dangerous as
Denmark–Norway Denmark–Norway (Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestr ...
in the west. In 1660, after five years of warfare, Sweden had obtained peace and the opportunity to organize and develop the new vast realm. Unfortunately, the fifteen-year regency that followed Charles X Gustav was unable to manoeuvre through the situation it faced. The administration was internally divided and hindered by the lack of unity and talent among its statesmen. The two major rivals were the military-aristocratic party headed by
Magnus de la Gardie Magnus, meaning "Great" in Latin, was used as cognomen of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus in the first century BCE. The best-known use of the name during the Roman Empire is for the fourth-century Western Roman Emperor Flavius Magnus the assassin, often ...
and the party of peace and economy led by . The aristocratic group prevailed and brought with it a decline of morality which made it notorious to its neighbours. The administration was noted for sloth and carelessness leading to a general neglect of business. Additionally, government corruption led Sweden to be hired by foreign powers. This "subsidy policy" dates from the Treaty of Fontainebleau of 1661, through which Sweden, in exchange for a considerable sum of money, supported the French candidate for the Polish throne. Sweden was torn between
Louis XIV of France Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the of any monarch of a sovereign country in ...

Louis XIV of France
and his adversaries in plans to control the
Spanish Netherlands Spanish Netherlands es, Países Bajos Españoles; nl, Spaanse Nederlanden; french: Pays-Bas espagnols; german: Spanische Niederlande. (historically in Spanish: ''Flandes'', the name "Flanders" was used as a ''pars pro toto ''Pars pro toto'' (, ...

Spanish Netherlands
. The anti-French faction prevailed; and in April 1668, Sweden acceded to the Triple Alliance, which ended the French acquisitions through the
Treaty of Aix-la-ChapelleThere were three Treaties of Aix-la-Chapelle. Although "Aix-la-Chapelle", the French name of the German city of Aachen, is an exonym now rarely used in English, the name Treaty of Aachen is rarely used. *Pax Nicephori, also sometimes called Treaty of ...
. For the next four years, Sweden remained true to the Triple Alliance; but, in 1672, Louis XIV succeeded in isolating the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
and regaining Sweden as an ally. By the Treaty of Stockholm on April 14, 1672, Sweden entered an agreement with the French to protect its sphere of interest containing the Dutch Republic from hostile German claims in return for 400,000 Riksdaler per annum in peace and 600,000 in wartime.


Scanian War

In 1674, Louis XIV called upon Sweden to invade the
Electorate of Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state in the northeast of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_typ ...
. In May 1675, a Swedish army advanced into the Mark but was defeated on June 18 at
Fehrbellin Fehrbellin is a Municipalities of Germany, municipality in Germany, located 60 km NW of Berlin. It had 9,310 inhabitants as of 2005, but has since declined to 8,606 inhabitants in 2012. History In 1675, the Battle of Fehrbellin was fought the ...
and retreated to Swedish
Demmin Demmin () is a town in the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte (Krakower See) in the heart of the Mecklenburg Lakeland. View from the church of St. Mary towards the lake harbour of Röbel. The Mecklenburg Lake Plateau or Mecklenburg Lakeland
Demmin
. The Fehrbellin affair was a mere
skirmish Skirmishers are light infantry or light cavalry soldiers deployed as a vanguard, flank guard or rearguard to Screening (tactical), screen a tactical position or a larger body of friendly troops from enemy advances. They are usually deployed ...
, with actual casualties numbering fewer than 600 men, but it made Sweden appear vulnerable and enabled neighbouring countries to attack in the
Scanian War The Scanian War ( da, Skånske Krig, , sv, Skånska kriget, german: Schonischer Krieg) was a part of the Northern Wars "Northern Wars" is a term used for a series of wars fought in northern and northeastern Europe from the 16th to the 18th c ...
. At this point, the empire began to crumble. In 1675,
Swedish Pomerania Swedish Pomerania ( sv, Svenska Pommern; german: Schwedisch-Pommern) was a Dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was formally accorded ...
and the
Duchy of Bremen ), which is a public-law corporation established in 1865 succeeding the Estates of the Realm, estates of the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen (established in 1397), now providing the local fire insurance in the shown area and supporting with its surpl ...
were taken by the Brandenburgers,
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
ns, and Danes. In December 1677, the elector of Brandenburg captured
Stettin Szczecin * sv, Stettin * Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...
.
Stralsund Stralsund (; Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used ...

Stralsund
fell on October 15, 1678.
Greifswald Greifswald (), officially the University and Hanseatic City of Greifswald (german: Universitäts- und Hansestadt Greifswald, Low German: ''Griepswoold'') is a city in northeastern Germany. It is situated in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, at ...

Greifswald
, Sweden's last possession on the continent, was lost on November 5. A defensive alliance with
John III of Poland John III Sobieski ( pl, Jan III Sobieski; lt, Jonas III Sobieskis; la, Ioannes III Sobiscius; 17 August 1629 – 17 June 1696) was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1674 until his death. Born into Polish nobility, Sobieski was ed ...
was rendered inoperative on August 4, 1677, by the annihilation of Sweden's sea-power; the
Battle of Öland The Battle of Öland was a naval battle between an allied Danish- Dutch fleet and the Swedish navy in the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ), officially the Kingdo ...
, June 17, 1676; the Battle of Fehmarn, June 1677, and most notable on July 1 – July 2 the Battle of Køge Bay. The difficulties concerning the Polish king continued. The Scanian provinces (Scania, Halland and Blegind/Blekinge), once eastern Denmark, became the centre of intense fighting between Swedes and Danes, with a large scale confrontation between the main armies near Lund in December 1676. After that, Scania was divided into Danish and Swedish enclaves centering around the main cities for the rest of the war. The remaining territories in Scania were mainly a no man's land where a fierce "little war" took place, with Swedish troops on the one side and Danish official and semi-official troops (freeshooters etc.) in conjunction with armed locals. Through homeland military successes of the young Swedish king and the diplomatic activity of Louis XIV, a peace congress began sessions at Nijmegen in March 1677. In the beginning of April 1678, the French king dictated the terms of a peace. One of his chief conditions was the complete restitution of Sweden, as he needed a strong Swedish ally. However, Charles XI refused to go along with ceding territories to its enemies, which led the French king to negotiate on behalf of Sweden without its consent. By the Treaties of Nijmegen on February 7 and of Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, St. Germain on June 29, 1679, Sweden received almost full restitution of its German territory. By the Peace of Fontainebleau confirmed by the subsequent Peace of Lund on September 2,
Denmark–Norway Denmark–Norway (Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestr ...
was to return all the land it had captured to Sweden on October 4, 1679. While Sweden could never have gained these concessions alone, Charles XI formed a personal dislike of the French king and developed a strong anti-French bias.


Charles XI

The remainder of the reign of Charles XI of Sweden, Charles XI is remarkable for a revolution, in which the government of Sweden was transformed to a semi-absolute monarchy. The king emerged from the war convinced that if Sweden were to retain its position as a great power, it needed to reform its whole economic system radically and circumscribe the power of the aristocracy. Charles XI felt that he could do it now that he had allies in the lower orders to support him. The Riksdag of the Estates, Riksdag of Stockholm, October 1680, began a new era of Swedish history. On the motion of the Estate of Peasants, the question of the recovery of the alienated crown lands was brought before the Riksdag, and a resolution of the Diet directed that all countships, baronies, domains, Manorialism, manors and other estates producing an annual rent of more than a certain amount per annum should revert to the Crown. The same Riksdag decided that the king was not bound by any particular Constitution of Sweden, constitution, but only by law and statutes, and not even obligated to consult the Privy Council of Sweden, Privy Council, but was to be regarded as a sovereign lord. The Privy Council changed its official title from Riksråd (council of state) to Kungligt råd (royal council); a visible sign that the councillors were no longer the king's colleagues, but rather his servants. Thus, Sweden had become an absolute monarchy but enacted the right of the Swedish people, in Riksdag of the Estates, parliament, to be consulted on all important matters. The Riksdag, completely overshadowed by the Crown, did little more than register the royal decrees during the reign of
Charles XI of Sweden Charles XI or Carl ( sv, Karl XI; ) was King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Fo ...

Charles XI of Sweden
; but it continued to exist as an essential part of the government. Moreover, this transfer of authority was a voluntary act. The people, knowing the king to be their ally, trusted and cooperated with him. The Riksdag of 1682 declared that the king was empowered to bestow fiefs and take them back again, making the king the disposer of his subjects' temporal property. Presently, this new principle of autocracy was extended to the king's legislative authority, when on December 9, 1682, all four estates not only confirmed that the king held the legislative powers enjoyed by his predecessors, but even gave him the right of interpreting and amending the common law. The recovery of the alienated crown lands occupied Charles XI for the rest of his life. He created a commission, which was ultimately converted into a permanent department of state. It acted on the principle that the titles of all private landed estates might be called in question, because at some time or other they must have belonged to the Crown, and the burden of proof of ownership lay with the actual owner of the property, not the Crown. The amount of revenue accruing to the Crown from the whole "Reduktion" is impossible to estimate; but by these means, combined with careful management and rigid economy, Charles XI reduced the national debt by three quarters. Charles XI re-established on a broader basis the reorganization of the "indelningsverk" — a system of military tenure in which national forces were bound to the soil. This tied to the "rust hail tenure", under which the tenants, instead of paying rent, were obliged to equip and maintain a cavalry soldier and horse; while the knekthållare supplied duly equipped foot soldiers. Soldiers were provided with holdings on which they lived in times of peace. Formerly, ordinary conscription had existed alongside this indelning, or distribution system, but it had proved inadequate as well as highly unpopular, and in 1682, Charles XI ended it in favor of an extended distribution system. The Swedish Royal Navy was entirely remodeled; and, the recent war having demonstrated the unsuitability of
Stockholm Stockholm (; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smalle ...

Stockholm
as a naval station, the construction of a new arsenal was begun at Karlskrona. After seventeen years of financial difficulties, the twofold enterprise was completed. At the death of Charles XI, Sweden could boast of a fleet of forty-three three-deckers, manned by 11,000 men and armed with 2,648 guns, and one of the finest arsenals in the world.


Charles XII and the Great Northern War

After Charles XI's death, the throne was inherited by his underage son, Charles XII. After a brief regency, he was declared to be of age to rule. Three years later, in 1700, Denmark–Norway, Poland and Russia, the countries that had lost the most territory to Sweden, jointly declared war. Denmark–Norway was soon forced to peace after a joint intervention of Swedish, English and Dutch armies, whereafter the King and much of the Swedish army was shipped to the Baltic provinces, where Russian and Polish armies were laying siege to several towns. The Russian army was soundly defeated in the Battle of Narva (1700), Battle of Narva, after which Charles took the army into Poland with the intent of dethroning the Polish king Augustus II of Poland, Augustus II. This took several years, but in 1706, with the Treaty of Altranstädt (1706), Treaty of Altranstädt, he reached his goal. In the meantime, Russia had managed to take possession of several towns by the Baltic Sea. Instead of trying to retake these, Charles chose to march directly on Moscow, but due to extreme weather, difficulties with his supply lines and the Russian scorched earth strategy, he was forced to turn towards Ukraine. In 1709, the Swedish army was defeated and captured in the
Battle of Poltava A mass burial of Russian soldiers who died in The Battle of Poltava, alt= The Battle of Poltava; russian: Полта́вская би́тва; uk, Полта́вська би́тва (8 July 1709) was the decisive victory of Peter the Great (P ...

Battle of Poltava
; Charles managed to escape south to Bender, Moldova, Bender in the Ottoman Empire. Following the defeat at Poltava, Poland and Denmark re-entered the war, along with other countries wanting parts of the Swedish provinces. In the following years, most of them would fall, and Russia Greater Wrath, occupied the eastern half of Sweden (present-day Finland). Despite these setbacks, Charles XII twice tried to invade Norway to force Denmark-Norway out of the war again. On November 30, 1718, King Charles XII was mortally wounded during the siege of Fredriksten Fortress in Fredrikshald, today's Halden. With his death, Swedish war efforts mostly came to a halt, although Russia continued to harass the civilian population of the Swedish coastal areas until the concluding Treaty of Nystad was finally signed in 1721. Sweden would remain a regional power of varying success until the 19th century, but the Great Northern War put an end to Sweden's time as a great power.


Dominions

As a result of eighteen years of war, Sweden gained small and scattered possessions, but had secured control of three principal rivers in northern Germany—the
Oder The Oder ( , ; Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is ...

Oder
, the Elbe and the Weser—and gained toll-collection rights for those important commercial arteries, benefitting the Swedish economy. Two principal reasons for the small reparations were France's envy and Queen
ChristinaChristina may refer to: People * Christina (given name), shared by several people * Christina (surname), shared by several people Places * Christina, Montana, unincorporated community, United States * Christina, British Columbia, Canada * Christi ...
's impatience. As a result of Sweden's intervention, Sweden helped secure religious liberty in Europe for Protestants, becoming a leading power of Continental Protestantism for 90 years. The elevation of Sweden to the rank of an imperial power required that it remain a military monarchy, armed for possible emergency. Sweden's poverty and sparse population meant the country was ill-suited for imperial status. However, in the middle of the 17th century, with France as a firm ally, the incompatibility between its powers and its pretensions was not so obvious.


Military history

A major reason why Sweden could be so successful in wars with such a scarce number of soldiers was its advanced military tactics. Sweden was able to reform its military tactics continuously throughout the period. Prior to Gustavus Adolphus's reforms, both his father, Charles IX, and his uncle Erik XIV had tried to reform the army but had effectively failed to do so. Charles IX, like most other rulers, had tried to implement the Dutch system into the army but with limited success. The lack of a strict organisation in the infantry caused the proportion of pikemen to musketeers to be far lower than the preferred ratio of 1 to 1. This, combined with the lack of funds to provide the soldiers with armour, caused the Swedish infantry to be dangerously lightly equipped and unable to deal with cavalry or heavier infantry in open terrain. Charles IX was, however, able to implement the Dutch system for fighting in caracole among the cavalry, with unfortunate results. His partially reformed army suffered Battle of Kircholm, a disastrous defeat at Kircholm against a Polish-Lithuanian army led by Jan Karol Chodkiewicz. The Hussaria were the last shock cavalry in Europe still fighting with lances, yet they proved with terrifying effect the superiority of aggressive charging compared to the more defensive caracole used in the rest of Europe. In the end, Charles IX's revolt against his nephew Sigismund III Vasa, Sigismund of Poland and subsequent rise to the throne of Sweden caused a dynastic struggle for the throne of Sweden that would not finally end until the treaty of Oliva in 1660. Gustav II Adolph inherited the Polish war together with the Kalmar War against Denmark–Norway when Charles IX died in 1611. The war against Denmark–Norway was a terrible loss that forced Sweden to pay Älvsborg Ransom (1613), a ransom of 1 million silverdaler to regain Älvsborg (final payment, 1619). The Polish war was interrupted by a series of truces caused by Sweden's weakness along with the unwillingness of the Polish nobility to fight a war considered only to be in Sigismund III's personal interest. The costly peace with Denmark and Poland–Lithuania's inability to mount a seaborne attack on the Swedish mainland gave time for Gustavus Adolphus to reform his armies. The continuation of the Polish war in 1625–1629 gave Gustavus Adolphus the opportunity to test and further improve his army against the Polish-Lithuanian army with its fearsome cavalry, the Winged Hussars. By the time of the Swedish Intervention in the Thirty Years' War in 1630, Gustav II Adolph had transformed the Swedish (Gustavian) army into an army in which the cavalry fought with aggressive shock tactics, closer to the Polish tactics than the Western European. The Caracole and heavy armor were mostly abandoned, and the saber replaced the wheellock pistol as the primary weapon of the cavalry. Horsemen rode knee-by-knee in a tight formation. When in range, they switched to gallop and charged, and at a range of ten yards, shot both their pistols. A standard regiment numbered 250 simultaneous shots that would blast a hole in the enemy ranks. They then continued the charge with sabres (''värjor''), aiming to break the enemy formation. The infantry was meanwhile employed in a defensive manner, relying on their superior firepower to break enemy attacks. Smaller musketeer detachments (~200 men) were used during the Polish war to support the cavalry against the superior Polish-Lithuanian cavalry. Gustavus Adolphus earned the title "father of modern warfare" because of his revolutionary tactics during the Thirty Years' War, which later inspired other nations and became standard tactics. He became the foremost model of many later List of Swedish monarchs, Swedish kings. At the time Finns were an essential part of the Swedish military. Roughly 2/5 of the infantry and 3/7 of the cavalry in the army were from Finland. They served in their own units which used Finnish language, Finnish as their main language. Also commands were given in Finnish. The Finnish cavalry in the Swedish army was called Hakkapeliitta, Hakkapeliitat after their battle cry "''Hakkaa päälle!''". Approximately 110 000 soldiers from Finland lost their lives serving the Swedish Empire between 1617–1721. Taking into account the contemporary number of inhabitants in Finland, it was relatively equivalent to one million casualties in the 20th Century. Throughout the Thirty Years' War, the infantry's shock ability was continuously improved. The static nature of the infantry that served well against the cavalry-dominated Polish-Lithuanian army was enhanced during the war to produce infantry capable of both providing devastating firepower and executing offensive maneuvers. Initially, at the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631), the infantry was almost entirely reliant on their firepower and saw very limited offensive use; but under the leadership of Johan Banér, who took command after the defeat at Nördlingen, the Gustavian brigade system was finally changed into the battalion system recognisable from the War of the Spanish Succession and the Great Northern War (the depth was lowered from six ranks to three or four when the bayonet was introduced at the end of the 17th century). Swedish tactics once again greatly diverged from the continental tactics during the second half of the 17th century. The continental tactics increasingly emphasized the firepower of the battalion, while the Swedish (Caroleans, Carolean) tactics almost exclusively relied on the shock factor as the infantry and cavalry charged the enemy. As the bayonet was introduced, the pike was discarded in all armies except the Swedish and Russian by 1700. In the Swedish army tactics of that time, retreat was never covered, and they were obliged to attack or fight where they stood. This was a military doctrine that (with the advantage of hindsight) might have proven a bit rash. The infantry shock attack operated as follows. The two rear ranks of musketeers were ordered to shoot when "you could not miss," a range of roughly 50 meters, and then to draw their swords before the battalion resumed their attack. The two foremost ranks then discharged at a range of roughly 20 meters before drawing their swords, and the charge began. At this range, the powerful muskets usually felled many enemy troops and was demoralising to them. Directly after the volley, the Swedes charged the enemy ranks with Pike (weapon), pikes, bayonets and sabres. Note that the pikes were used as an offensive weapon: in close combat, they had the advantage over their foes' weapons thanks to their range. After the bayonet was introduced in the Carolean army (1700–1706), the final volley was delayed until the soldiers were inside bayonet range. Every infantry battalion had grenadiers attached. They supported the infantry attack by lobbing grenades from the flanks. They also formed units of their own. They were otherwise equipped like infantry. Thus, in the latter half of the 17th century, the major difference between the Swedish army and those common on the continent was the relative lack of firepower and the use of pikes and sabres. Sweden and Russia were the only countries at the time using pikes. In contemporary Europe, infantry were equipped with a musket, while in the Swedish army, every third man had a pike. The pikemen were normally deployed four men deep with musketeers of equal depth on the sides. The pike was used to repulse cavalry and to break the enemy lines as they charged.


See also

* History of Denmark * History of Estonia * History of Finland * History of Latvia * History of Norway * History of Pomerania * Military of the Swedish Empire * Swedish overseas colonies


References

*


Further reading

*
free to borrow for two weeks
pp 153–237 * Bain, R. Nisbet. ''Charles XII and the Collapse of the Swedish Empire, 1682–1719'' (1899
online
* Brems, Hans. "Sweden: From Great Power to Welfare State" ''Journal of Economic Issues'' 4#2 (1970) pp. 1–1
online
* * * * * Kirby, David. ''Northern Europe in the Early Modern Period: The Baltic World 1492 - 1772'' (1990). * Lisk, Jill. ''The Struggle for Supremacy in the Baltic 1600 - 1725'' (1967). * Lockhart, Paul Douglas. ''Sweden in the Seventeenth Century'' (2004). * * * * * Oakley, Stewart. ''Scandinavian History 1520 - 1970'' (1984). * Roberts, Michael. ''Sweden as a Great Power 1611 - 1697'' (1968). * Roberts, Michael. ''Sweden's Age of Greatness 1632 - 1718'' (1973). * Roberts, Michael. ''The Swedish imperial experience 1560–1718'' (Cambridge UP, 1984). * Roberts, Michael. ''From Oxenstierna to Charles XII: Four Studies'' (Cambridge UP, 1991). * * (survey by leading scholar) * * Upton, A. ''Charles XI and Swedish Absolutism'' (Cambridge University Press, 1998). *


Historiography and memory

* Kirby, David. "Imperial Sweden – Image and Self-Image" ''History Today'' 40:11 (1990): 34–39. * Stadin, Kekke. "The masculine image of a great power: Representations of Swedish imperial power c. 1630–1690." ''Scandinavian journal of history'' 30.1 (2005): 61–82. * Thomson, Erik. "Beyond the Military State: Sweden’s Great Power Period in Recent Historiography." ''History Compass'' 9.4 (2011): 269–28
online
{{DEFAULTSORT:Swedish Empire Swedish Empire, Early Modern history of Sweden Former empires in Europe Finland under Swedish rule 17th century in Sweden 18th century in Sweden States and territories established in 1611 States and territories disestablished in 1721 1611 establishments in Sweden 1721 disestablishments in Sweden 1611 establishments in Europe 1721 disestablishments in Europe History of Sweden by period