Gustav II Adolf (9 December 1594 – 6 November 1632, O.S.), widely
known in English by his Latinised name Gustavus Adolphus or as Gustav
II Adolph, was the King of
Sweden from 1611 to 1632 who is credited
for the founding of
Sweden as a great power (Swedish: Stormaktstiden).
Sweden to military supremacy during the Thirty Years' War,
helping to determine the political as well as the religious balance of
power in Europe. He was formally and posthumously given the name
Gustavus Adolphus the Great (Swedish: Gustav Adolf den store, Latin:
Gustavus Adolphus Magnus) by the
Riksdag of the Estates
Riksdag of the Estates in
He is often regarded as one of the greatest military commanders of all
time, with innovative use of combined arms. His most notable
military victory was the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631). With a superb
military machine, good weapons, excellent training, and effective
field artillery, backed by an efficient government that could provide
necessary funds, Gustavus Adolphus was poised to make himself a major
European leader. He was killed a year later, however, at the Battle
Lützen (1632). He was ably assisted in his efforts by Count Axel
Oxenstierna, the Lord High Chancellor of Sweden, who also acted as
regent after his death.
In an era characterized by almost endless warfare, Gustavus Adolphus,
inherited three simultaneous and ongoing wars of his father at the age
of sixteen. Two of these were border wars with Russia and Denmark, and
a more personal war (at least for his father) with Gustavus' first
Sigismund III Vasa
Sigismund III Vasa of Poland. Of these three wars that
were passed onto his rule, the Danish war was the most acute one.
During his reign,
Sweden rose from the status of a
Baltic Sea basin
regional power to one of the great powers of
Europe and a model of
early modern era government. Gustavus Adolphus is famously known as
the "father of modern warfare", or the first great modern general.
Under his tutelage,
Sweden and the
Protestant cause developed a number
of excellent commanders, such as Lennart Torstensson, who would go on
to defeat Sweden's enemies and expand the boundaries and the power of
the empire long after Gustavus Adolphus' death in battle. Spoils of
Adolphus' enemies meant he became a successful bookraider in Europe,
specifically with Jesuit Collections.
Called "The Golden King" and "The Lion of the North", he made Sweden
one of the great powers of Europe, in part by reforming the
administrative structure. For example, he began parish registration of
the population, so that the central government could more efficiently
tax and conscript the people. Historian Christer Jorgensen argues
that his achievement in the field of economic reform, trade,
modernization, and the creation of the modern bureaucratic autocracy
was as great as his exploits on the battlefields. His domestic
reforms, which transformed a backward, almost medieval economy and
society, were in fact not only the foundations for his victories in
Germany, but also absolutely crucial for the creation and survival of
the Swedish Empire.
He is widely commemorated by
Europe as the main
defender of their cause during the
Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War with multiple
foundations and other projects named after him, including the
2 Military innovator
3 Political reforms
4 Military commander
12 In popular culture
13 See also
17 External links
Gustavus Adolphus was born in
Stockholm as the oldest son of Duke
Charles of the Vasa dynasty and his second wife, Christina of
Holstein-Gottorp. At the time, the King of
Sweden was Gustavus
Adolphus' cousin Sigismund. The staunch
Protestant Duke Charles forced
the Catholic Sigismund to let go of the throne of
Sweden in 1599, a
part of the preliminary religious strife before the Thirty Years' War,
and reigned as regent before taking the throne as Charles IX of Sweden
in 1604. Crown Prince Gustav Adolph had Gagnef-Floda in Dalecarlia as
a duchy from 1610. Upon his father's death in October 1611, a
sixteen-year-old Gustavus inherited the throne (declared of age and
able to reign himself at seventeen as of 16 December), as well as
an ongoing succession of occasionally belligerent dynastic disputes
with his Polish cousin. Sigismund III wanted to regain the throne of
Sweden and tried to force Gustavus Adolphus to renounce the title.
In a round of this dynastic dispute, Gustavus invaded
Livonia when he
was 31, beginning the Polish–Swedish War (1626–29). He intervened
on behalf of the Lutherans in Germany, who opened the gates to their
cities to him. His reign became famous from his actions a few years
later when in June 1630 he landed in Germany, marking the Swedish
Intervention in the Thirty Years' War. Gustavus intervened on the
anti-Imperial side, which at the time was losing to the Holy Roman
Empire and its Catholic allies; the Swedish forces would quickly
reverse that situation.
Gustavus was married to Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg,[a] the daughter
of John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg, and chose the Prussian city
of Elbing as the base for his operations in Germany. He died in the
Lützen in 1632. His early death was a great loss to the
Lutheran side. This resulted in large parts of
Germany and other
countries, which had been conquered for Lutheranism, to be reconquered
for Catholicism (via the Counter-Reformation). His involvement in the
Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War gave rise to the saying that he was the incarnation
of "the Lion of the North", or as he is called in German "Der Löwe
aus Mitternacht" (Literally: "The Lion of Midnight").
See also: Military of the Swedish Empire
Historian Ronald S. Love finds that in 1560–1660 there were "a few
Maurice of Nassau and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden,
whom many scholars credit with revolutionary developments in warfare
and with having laid the foundations of military practice for the next
two centuries." Scholars all agree that Gustavus Adolphus was an
extremely able military commander. His innovative tactical
integration of infantry, cavalry, logistics and particularly his use
of artillery, earned him the title of the "Father of Modern Warfare".
Future commanders who studied and admired Gustav II Adolf include
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon I of France and Carl von Clausewitz. His advancements in
military science made
Sweden the dominant Baltic power for the next
one hundred years (see Swedish Empire). He is also the only Swedish
monarch to be styled "the Great". This decision was made by the
Swedish Estates of the Realm, when they convened in 1633. Thus, by
their decision he is officially called Gustaf Adolf the Great
(Gustavus Adolphus Magnus).
The Lion of the North: Gustavus Adolphus depicted at the turning point
Battle of Breitenfeld (1631)
Battle of Breitenfeld (1631) against the forces of Count Tilly.
Gustavus Adolphus was the main figure responsible for the success of
Swedish arms during the
Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War and led his nation to great
prestige. As a general, Gustavus Adolphus is famous for employing
mobile artillery on the battlefield, as well as very aggressive
tactics, where attack was stressed over defense, and mobility and
cavalry initiative were emphasized.
Among other innovations, he installed an early form of combined arms
in his formations, where the cavalry could attack from the safety of
an infantry line reinforced by cannon, and retire again within to
regroup after their foray. Inspired by the reform of Maurice of Nassau
he adopted much shallower infantry formations than were common in the
pike and shot armies of the era, with formations typically fighting in
5 or 6 ranks, occasionally supported at some distance by another such
formation—the gaps being the provinces of the artillery and cavalry
as noted above. His artillery were themselves different—in addition
to the usual complements of heavy cannon he introduced light mobile
guns for the first time into the Renaissance battlefield. These were
grouped in batteries supporting his more linearly deployed formations,
replacing the cumbersome and unmaneuverable traditional deep squares
(such as the Spanish
Tercios that were up to 50 ranks deep) used in
other pike and shot armies of the day. In consequence, his forces
could redeploy and reconfigure very rapidly, confounding his
enemies. He created the modern Swedish navy, which
successfully transported troops and supplies to the Continental
von Clausewitz and
Napoleon Bonaparte considered him one of the
greatest generals of all time, an evaluation agreed with by George S.
Patton and others. He was also renowned for his constancy of purpose
and the equality of his troops—no one part of his armies was
considered better or received preferred treatment, as was common in
other armies where the cavalry were the elite, followed by the
artillery, and both disdained the lowly infantry. In Gustavus' army
the units were extensively cross trained. Both cavalry and infantry
could service the artillery, as his heavy cavalry did when turning
captured artillery on the opposing Catholic
Tercios at First
Breitenfeld. Pikemen could shoot—if not as accurately as those
designated musketeers—so a valuable firearm could be kept in the
firing line. His infantrymen and gunners were taught to ride, if
needed. Napoleon thought highly of the achievement, and copied the
tactics. However, recent historians have challenged his reputation. B.
H. Liddell Hart says it is an exaggeration to credit him with a
uniquely disciplined conscript army, or call his the first military
state to fight a protracted war on the continent. He argues that he
improved existing techniques and used them brilliantly. Richard
Brzezinski says his legendary status was based on inaccurate myths
created by later historians. Many of his innovations were developed by
his senior staff.
Engraving of Gustavus Adolphus
While Gustavus has been widely credited for re-emphasizing the shock
role of European cavalry, his innovations were hardly new, Huguenot
cavalry under Henry IV and
Gaspard II de Coligny
Gaspard II de Coligny having fought in
exactly the same fashion during the French Wars of Religion. As a
matter of fact his opponent
Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly
Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly also
favored the same ferocious charges the
Swedish cavalry would become
famous for. Neither was the Swedish practice of integrating shot and
horse, the so-called "commanded shot", a new one, with the Huguenot
horsemen at the battle of Coutras having the same supporting shooters.
What made the Swedish army unique in this regard was the fact that the
use of "commanded shot" became the standard tactical doctrine of its
horse, and this in turn was adopted by other armies of the period,
including its Imperial opponents and that of the English Civil
Adolphus better deserved the credit of introducing a standard caliber
light muskets to his infantry forces, replacing the previous mix of
arquebus and heavy musket common in Imperial tercios. The shallower
infantry formation of the Swedish brigade, much more conducive to
massed firepower, was inspired by the work of Maurice. However
Adolphus perfected the system and introduced the use of salvo fire,
where two or three ranks of musketeers fired simultaneously, usually
at point blank range, rather than one rank at a time counter marching
as was common in that era. Delivered at point-blank range, and
immediately followed up by a charge with swords, and pikes, a salvo
became the infantry's most feared tactic because it was much more
effective at breaking the enemy's morale and repulsing cavalry charges
than the earlier method.
Perhaps Adolphus’ greatest contribution, however, was his work in
field artillery. Equipping each of his brigades with up to 12 light
regimental guns, he greatly increased the organic firepower of his
infantry and for the first time allowed the artillery arm to play a
role in the offensive instead of being a static spectator in a battle
Gustav Adolf Grammar School
Gustav Adolf Grammar School in Tallinn, 2007
Gustav II Adolf's politics in the conquered territory of
show progressive tendencies. In 1631 he forced the nobility to grant
the peasants greater autonomy. He also encouraged education, opening a
Tallinn in 1631, today known as Gustav Adolf Grammar School
(Estonian: Gustav Adolfi Gümnaasium). On 30 June 1632, Gustav II
Adolf signed the Foundation Decree of Academia Dorpatensis in Estonia,
today known as the University of Tartu. With policies that
supported the common people, the period of Swedish rule over Estonia
initiated by Gustav II Adolf and continued by his successors is
popularly known by Estonians as the "good old Swedish times"
(Estonian: vana hea Rootsi aeg).
On 27 August 1617, he spoke before his coronation, and his words
I had carefully learned to understand, about that experience which I
could have upon things of rule, how fortune is failing or great,
subject to such rule in common, so that otherwise I would have had
scant reason to desire such a rule, had I not found myself obliged to
it through God’s bidding and nature. Now it was of my acquaintance,
that inasmuch as God had let me be born a prince, such as I then am
born, then my good and my destruction were knotted into one with the
common good; for every reason then, it was now my promise that I
should take great pains about their well-being and good governance and
management, and thereabout bear close concern.
Gustavus Adolphus' landing in Pomerania, near Wolgast, 1630
Gustavus Adolphus in der Schlacht von
Lützen by Jan Asselijn
Gustavus Adolphus inherited three wars from his father when he
ascended the throne: against Denmark, which had attacked Sweden
earlier in 1611; against Russia, due to
Sweden having tried to take
advantage of the Russian Time of Troubles; and against Poland, due to
King Charles's having deposed King Sigismund III, his nephew, as King
The war against Denmark (Kalmar War) was concluded in 1613 with a
peace that did not cost
Sweden any territory, but it was forced to pay
a heavy indemnity to Denmark (Treaty of Knäred). During this war,
Gustavus Adolphus let his soldiers plunder towns and villages, and as
he met little resistance from Danish forces in Scania, they pillaged
and devastated twenty-four Scanian parishes. His memory in
been negative because of that fear. In the winter of 1612, during
a period of two weeks, did he burn down, or otherwise destroyed 24
Scanian parishes and most of their population without meeting any
enemy troops. The largest destroyed settlement was the Town Væ, which
two years later was replaced by Danish King Christian IV as the nearby
Christiansted (after the Swedification process, spelled Kristianstad),
the last Scanian town to be founded by a Danish king.
The war against Russia (Ingrian War) ended in 1617 with the Treaty of
Stolbovo, which excluded Russia from the Baltic Sea. The final
inherited war, the war against Poland, ended in 1629 with the Truce of
Altmark, which transferred the large province
freed the Swedish forces for the subsequent intervention in the Thirty
Years' War in Germany, where Swedish forces had already established a
bridgehead in 1628.
The weak electorate of Brandenburg was especially torn apart by a
quarrel between the
Protestant and Catholic parties. The Brandenburg
minister and diplomat baron Samuel von Winterfeld influenced Gustavus
Adolphus to support and protect the
Protestant side in Germany. When
Gustavus Adolphus began his push into northern
Germany in June–July
1630, he had just 4,000 troops. He was soon able to consolidate the
Protestant position in the north, however, using reinforcements from
Sweden and money supplied by France at the Treaty of Bärwalde. After
Swedish plundering in Brandenburg (1631) endangered the system of
retrieving war contributions from occupied territories, "marauding and
plundering" by Swedish soldiers was prohibited. Meanwhile, a
Catholic army under
Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly
Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly was laying waste
to Saxony. Gustavus Adolphus met Tilly's army and crushed it at the
First Battle of Breitenfeld in September 1631. He then marched clear
across Germany, establishing his winter quarters near the Rhine,
making plans for the invasion of the rest of the Holy Roman Empire.
In March 1632, Gustavus Adolphus invaded Bavaria, a staunch ally of
the Emperor. He forced the withdrawal of his Catholic opponents at the
Battle of Rain, marking the high point of the campaign. In the summer
of that year, he sought a political solution that would preserve the
existing structure of states in Germany, while guaranteeing the
security of its Protestants. But achieving these objectives depended
on his continued success on the battlefield.
Gustavus is reported to have entered battle without wearing any armor,
proclaiming, "The Lord God is my armor!" It is more likely that he
simply wore a leather cuirass rather than going into battle wearing no
battle protection whatsoever. In 1627, near Dirschau in Prussia, a
Polish soldier shot him in the muscles above his shoulders. He
survived, but the doctors could not remove the bullet, so from that
point on, he could not wear iron armor; two fingers of his right hand
were paralyzed.[page needed]
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Gustavus Adolphus' body in Wolgast, on transfer to Sweden, 1633
Gustavus Adolphus's sarcophagus at Riddarholm Church
The Battle of
Lützen (6 November 1632) was one of the most decisive
battles of the Thirty Years' War. It was a
Protestant victory, but the
Protestant alliance lost one of its most important leaders, which
Protestant campaign to lose direction. Gustavus Adolphus
was killed when, at a crucial point in the battle, he became separated
from his troops while leading a cavalry charge on his
Towards 1:00 pm, in the thick mix of gun smoke and fog covering the
field, the king was separated from his fellow riders and suffered
multiple shots. A bullet crushed his left arm below the elbow. Almost
simultaneously his horse suffered a shot to the neck that made it hard
to control. In the mix of fog and smoke from the burning town of
Lützen the king rode astray behind enemy lines. There he sustained
yet another shot in the back, was stabbed and fell from his horse.
Lying on the ground, he received a final, fatal shot to the temple.
His fate remained unknown for some time. However, when the gunnery
paused and the smoke cleared, his horse was spotted between the two
lines, Gustavus himself not on it and nowhere to be seen. His
disappearance stopped the initiative of the hitherto successful
Swedish right wing, while a search was conducted. His partly stripped
body was found an hour or two later, and was secretly evacuated from
the field in a Swedish artillery wagon.
After his death, Gustavus's wife initially kept his body, and later
his heart, in the castle of
Nyköping for over a year. His remains
(including his heart) now rest in
Riddarholm Church in Stockholm.
In February 1633, following the death of the king, the Swedish Riksdag
of the Estates decided that his name would be styled Gustav Adolf the
Great (or Gustaf Adolf den Store in Swedish, Latinized as Gustavus
Adolphus Magnus). No such honor has been bestowed on any other Swedish
monarch before or since.
The crown of
Sweden was inherited in the Vasa family, and from Charles
IX’s time excluded those Vasa princes who had been traitors or
descended from deposed monarchs. Gustavus Adolphus’ younger brother
had died ten years before, and therefore there was only the King’s
daughter left as a female heir. Maria Eleonora and the king’s
ministers took over the government on behalf of Gustavus Adolphus’
underage daughter Christina upon her father’s death. He left one
other known child, his illegitimate son Gustav, Count of Vasaborg.
Gustavus Adolphus is commemorated today with city squares in major
Swedish cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg and Helsingborg. The
Gustav-Adolf-Werk (GAW) of the Evangelical Church in Germany, founded
on the bicentennial celebration of the Battle of Lützen, has as its
object the aid of feeble sister churches and commemorates the king's
legacy. Swedish royalty visited the GAW headquarters in
Leipzig on the
festivities of Gustavus Adolphus' 400th birthday, in 1994.
Gustavus Adolphus College, a
Lutheran college in St. Peter, Minnesota,
is also named for the Swedish King.
Image of King Gustav Adolph on a wall of
Columbia Encyclopedia sums up his record:
In military organization and strategy, Gustavus was ahead of his time.
While most powers relied on mercenary troops, he organized a national
standing army that distinguished itself by its discipline and
relatively high moral standards. Deeply religious, the king desired
his soldiers to behave like a truly Christian army; his stern measures
against the common practices of looting, raping, and torture were
effective until his death. His successes were due to this discipline,
his use of small, mobile units, the superiority of his firearms, and
his personal charisma. Although he was deeply interested in the
internal progress of his kingdom, much of the credit for the
development of Swedish industry and the fiscal and administrative
reforms of his reign belongs to Oxenstierna.
The German Socialist
Franz Mehring wrote a biography of Gustavus
Adolphus with a
Marxist perspective on the actions of the Swedish king
during the Thirty Years' War. In it, he makes a case that the war was
fought over economics and trade rather than religion. The Swedes
discovered huge deposits of copper, which were used to build brass
cannon. The cottage-industrial growth stimulated an armaments
Bust of King Gustav Adolph on campus at
Gustavus Adolphus College
Gustavus Adolphus College in
In his book "Ofredsår" ("Years of Warfare"), the Swedish historian
Peter Englund argues that there was probably no single
all-important reason for the king's decision to go to war. Instead, it
was likely a combination of religious, security, as well as economic
This view is supported by German historian Johannes Burkhardt, who
writes that Gustavus entered the 30 Years War exactly 100 years after
the publication of the Confessio Augustana, the core confession of
faith of the
Lutheran Church, and let himself be praised as its
saviour. Yet Gustavus' own "manifesto of war" does not mention any
religious motivations at all but speaks of political and economical
Sweden would have to maintain its integrity in the face of
several provocations and aggressions by the Habsburg Empire. The
manifesto was written by scholar Johann Adler Salvius in a style
common of the time that promotes a "just war". Burkhardt argues that
traditional Swedish historiography constructed a defensive interest in
security out of that by taking the manifesto's text for granted. But
to defend Stockholm, the occupation of the German Baltic territories
would have been an extreme advance and the imperial
Baltic Sea fleet
mentioned as a threat in the manifesto had never reached more than a
quarter of the size of the Swedish fleet. Moreover, it was never
maintained to challenge
Sweden but to face the separatist Netherlands.
So if ruling the
Baltic Sea was a goal of Swedish strategy, the
Germany were not a defensive war but an act of expansion.
From Swedish Finland, Gustavus advanced along the
Baltic Sea coast and
eventually to Augsburg and Munich and he even urged the Swiss
Confederacy to join him. This was no longer about Baltic interests but
the imperial capital of Vienna and the alpine passes that were now in
close reach of the Swedish army. Burkhardt points out that the Gothic
legacy of the Swedes, coalesced as a political program. The Swedish
king was also "Rex Gotorum" (Latin: King of the Goths), and the list
of kings was traced back to the Gothic rulers to construct continuity.
Prior to his embarkment to northern Germany, Gustavus urged the
Swedish nobility to follow the example of conquests set by their
Gothic ancestors. Had he lived longer, it would have been likely that
Gustavus had reached out for the imperial crown of the Holy Roman
King Gustav Adolph and Queen Mary Eleanor
Gustav II Adolf in Polish 'delia' coat, painting by Matthäus Merian,
December 1594. Gustavus is born in the castle of Tre Kronor, Sweden.
October 1611. Gustavus gains the Swedish throne and three wars (Kalmar
Ingrian War and the Polish War) after his father, Charles IX's,
February 1612. The
Battle of Vittsjö
Battle of Vittsjö against Denmark where Gustavus
January 1613. Gustavus negotiates peace after repulsing the Danish
invasion in the
Kalmar War with the status quo ante bellum. However,
Älvsborg Ransom (1613)
Älvsborg Ransom (1613) had to be paid for Älvsborg fortress.
February 1617. After the pressures of Gustavus siege of Pskov, he
excludes Russia from the
Baltic Sea in the Ingrian War, who cedes
Ingria to Sweden.
November 1620. Gustav Adolph marries Maria Eleanora.
January 1626. The battle of Wallhof where Gustavus successfully uses
effective cooperation between infantry and cavalry.
July 1626. Gustavus Adolphus and his army disembark at Pillau,
Prussia, during the Polish–Swedish War (1626–29).
September 1626. Gustavus defeats a Polish force of Sigismund III Vasa
in the battle of Gniew.
December 1626. Daughter and successor Christina is born.
May 1627. Gustavus is shot and seriously wounded (close to dying) in
the assault on Danzig.
August 1627. The King is seriously wounded in the battle of Dirschau
(Tczew), after being shot twice.
June 1629. His troops meet up with forces of Polish crown field Hetman
Stanisław Koniecpolski and imperial troops under Hans Georg von
Arnim-Boitzenburg in the battle of Trzciana, and there Gustavus is
almost killed or captured twice.
Truce of Altmark
Truce of Altmark —
Estonia is ceded to
Sweden as a result of Gustavus Polish wars.
May 1630 and 6 July Gustav Adolph lands in
Germany to enter the Thirty
April 1631. Gustavus besieges and captures the town of Frankfurt an
der Oder in the war.
July 1631. Werben, First major field-battle between Swedish and
Catholic forces where Gustavus is victorious.
September 1631. At the Battle of Breitenfeld, Gustavus Adolphus
decisively defeats the Catholic forces led by Tilly, even after the
Protestant Saxon army had been routed and fled with the baggage
April 1632. At the Battle of Lech, Gustavus Adolphus defeats Tilly
once more, and in the battle Tilly sustains a fatal wound.
May 1632. Munich yields to the Swedish army.
September 1632. Gustavus Adolphus attacks the stronghold of Alte
Veste, which is under the command of Wallenstein, but is repulsed,
marking the first defeat in the
Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War of the previously
November 1632. At the Battle of Lützen, Gustavus Adolphus is killed
in action, but the Swedes win the fight thanks to Bernhard of
Saxe-Weimar, who assumes command and defeats Wallenstein. The Swedish
war effort was kept up by generals Gustav Horn, Johan Banér, Lennart
Carl Gustaf Wrangel
Carl Gustaf Wrangel and chancellor
Axel Oxenstierna until
the Peace of Westphalia.
A history of Gustavus Adolphus' wars was written by Johann Philipp
GAW Flag in the
Protestant church of Sopron, Hungary
Gustavus Adolphus Day
Gustavus Adolphus Day is celebrated in Sweden,
Estonia and Finland
each year on 6 November, the day the king died at Lützen. One of the
traditions on this day is the Gustavus Adolphus pastry. In Finland,
the day is also called "the Swedish day".
Gustav-Adolf-Werk (GAW), a society under the roof of the
Evangelical Church in Germany, has for its objects the aid of feeble
sister churches. Its responsible for the taking care of the
Diasporawork of the EKD and has separate branches internationally. The
organization in Austria is still called the Gustav-Adolf-Verein. The
project of forming such a society was first broached in connexion with
the bicentennial celebration of the battle of
Lützen on November 6,
1832; a proposal to collect funds for a monument to Gustavus Adolphus
having been agreed to, it was suggested by Superintendent Grossmann
that the best memorial to the great champion of
Protestantism would be
the formation of a union for propagating his ideas. It quickly gained
popularity in German. The lack of political correctness received some
criticism however, the organization uses GAW as its brand in the
meanwhile. The Swedish royalties have been visiting the GAW
Leipzig on the 400th birthday of Gustav Adolf
Swedish Power Metal band Sabaton created the song 'The Lion from The
North' for their album Carolus Rex in 2012. The song celebrates
Gustavus Adolphus's military
triumphs.[better source needed]
(Illegitimate) By Margareta Slots
24 May 1616
25 October 1653
Married Countess Anna Sofia Wied-Runkel and had issue.
Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg
Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg (11 November 1599 – 28 March
24 July 1621
Stillborn, buried in Riddarholmskyrkan.
16 October 1623
21 September 1624
Heiress presumptive to the thrones of
Sweden and Denmark; buried in
Stillborn, buried in Riddarholmskyrkan.
8 December 1626
19 April 1689
Sweden (1632 – 1654), never married; buried in
Basilica of Saint Peter.
Ancestors of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
16. Johan Kristiernsson (Vasa) (sv)
8. Erik Johansson (Vasa)
17. Birgitta Gustafsdotter (Sture)
4. Gustav I of
18. Måns Karlsson (Eka)
Cecilia Månsdotter (Eka)
19. Sigrid Eskilsdotter (Banér)
Charles IX of Sweden
Charles IX of Sweden (Vasa)
20. Abraham Kristiernsson (Leijonhuvud)
10. Erik Abrahamsson (Leijonhufvud)
21. Birgitta Månsdotter (Natt och Dag)
5. Margaret Leijonhufvud
22. Erik Karlsson (Vasa)
11. Ebba Eriksdotter (Vasa)
23. Anna Karlsdotter (Vinstorpa)
1. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
24. Christian I of Denmark
12. Frederick I of Denmark
25. Dorothea of Brandenburg
6. Adolf, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp
26. Bogislaw X, Duke of Pomerania
13. Sophie of Pomerania
27. Anna Jagiellon
3. Christina of Holstein-Gottorp
28. William II, Landgrave of Hesse
14. Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse
29. Anna of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
7. Christine of Hesse
30. George, Duke of Saxony
15. Christine of Saxony
31. Barbara Jagiellon
In popular culture
August Strindberg's play Gustaf Adolf from 1900
Bertolt Brecht's play
Mother Courage and Her Children
Mother Courage and Her Children mentions
Gustavus Adolphus several times in the earlier scenes during which the
characters are traveling with the
Protestant Army. The Cook lampoons
the "Hero King" by pointing out that first he sought to liberate
Poland from the Germans, then sought to liberate
Germany from the
Germans, and made a profit on the deal. His irreverence for the king
also includes the fact that, unlike Mother Courage and the Chaplain,
the Cook is a Dutchman not a Swede.
In the Ring of Fire hypernovel by
Eric Flint and others, Gustavus
Adolphus is a major character, having chosen not to attend the Battle
Lützen in which, historically, he was killed. He helps a community
of West Virginians, cosmically transported back into time, bring about
a revolution of democracy throughout the Germanies. They in turn help
to grow the
Swedish empire through their technological knowledge of
modern-day warfare and the capabilities of mankind. They introduce
many ideas to 17th century
Europe such as radio, submarines, and
airplanes. Gustavus Adolphus is portrayed as a tough, yet
compassionate king with tolerant tendencies toward religion and the
rights of the people to establish their own civil liberties.
Swedish power metal band Sabaton made a song about Gustavus Adolphus,
entitled, "Lion from the North." Its parent album, Carolus Rex, is a
concept album based on the rise and fall of the Swedish Empire.
Gustavus Adolphus is the leader of
Sweden in the turn-based strategy
game, Civilization V, introduced in the Gods and Kings expansion.
History of Sweden – Rise of
Sweden as a Great Power
Gustav Gustavsson af Vasaborg
Gustavus Adolphus College
Gustav Adolf Grammar School
^ See Wedding of Gustav II Adolf and Maria Eleonora.
^ Williamson, David. Debrett's Kings and Queens of Europe.
pp. 124, 128, 194, 207. ISBN 0-86350-194-X.
^ Nils Ahnlund/Michael Roberts Gustav Adolf the Great
American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York, 1940
Anders Fryxell Gustaf II Adolf Norstedts, Stockholm, 1894 p. 435
^ Lis Granlund Riddarholmskyrkan, de svenska konungarnas gravkyrka
Riksmarskalksämbetet, 1980 ill. p. 14 (GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS MAGNUS)
^ In Chapter V of Clausewitz' On War, he lists Gustavus Adolphus as an
example of an outstanding military leader, along with: Alexander the
Great, Julius Caesar, Alexander Farnese, Charles XII, Frederick the
Great and Napoleon Bonaparte.
^ Stephen J. Lee, Aspects of European History 1494-1789 (2nd ed. 1984)
^ Svensk Uppslagsbok, 1950,vol 5,column 353, article "Gustav; 2.
Gustav II Adolf" Quote: (Swedish) "Av de tre krig, det danska, det
ryska och det polska, G. ärvde..." In English "Of the three wars, the
Danish, the Russian and the Polish, Gustav II Adolphus inherited...
^ Same source, and the Quote continues "...hotade det första rikets
existens." English "..did the first one endanger the existence of the
^ Dodge, Theodore Ayrault (1890). Gustavus Adolphus: A History of the
Art of War from Its Revival After the Middle Ages to the End of the
Spanish Succession War, with a Detailed Account ... of Turenne, Conde,
Eugene and Marlborough. Boston and New York: Da Capo Press Inc.
^ Murray, Stuart (2009). The Library: An Illustrated History. War and
a Golden Age: Skyhorse Publishing. p. 118.
^ T. K. Derry, History of Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark,
Finland, and Iceland (1979) pp 110-24.
^ Jorgensen (2001) p 228
^ Ålund, Otto Wilhelm (1894). Gustaf II Adolf: Ett 300-årsminne
berättadt för ung och gammal : Med öfver 100 illustr. och
flera kartor (in Swedish). Stockholm: Alb. Bonnier. p. 12.
^ Ronald S. Love, "'All the King's Horsemen': The Equestrian Army of
Henri IV, 1585–1598." The sixteenth century journal (1991): 511
^ Encyclopædia Britannica. 1979. p. 502.
^ Boyd L. Dastrup, The Field Artillery: History and Sourcebook (1994)
^ Michael Roberts, "The Military Revolution, 1560–1660" in Clifford
J. Rogers, ed., The Military Revolution Debate (1995) pp 13-24,
^ Jorgensen (2001) p. 228
^ Jorgensen (2001) p 229
^ Davis, Paul K. (2013). Masters of the Battlefield: Great Commanders
From the Classical Age to the Napoleonic Era. Oxford UP.
^ Showalter, Dennis E.; Astore, William J. (2007). The Early Modern
World. Greenwood. p. 38.
^ Kinard, Jeff (2007). Artillery: An Illustrated History of Its
Impact. ABC-CLIO. pp. 97–98.
^ "Gustav Adolfi Gümnaasium – Ajalugu". www.gag.ee (in Estonian).
Gustav Adolf Grammar School. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
^ "Facts about the History of the University of Tartu". University of
Tartu. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
^ "Kas vana hea rootsi aeg oli ikka nii hea, kui rahvasuu räägib?".
Eesti Ekspress (in Estonian). Retrieved 2011-01-05.
^ Tal och skrifter av konung Gustav II Adolf, Norstedts, Stockholm,
1915, pp. 58–59,
^ Roberts 1992, p. 33.
^ Wilhelm Moberg, "Hur historien förfalskas" or "How history is
falsified" - short story written by famous Swedish author Wilhelm
Moberg who asked to see the King's letter written to his cousin Johan
at Swedish National Archive, and then wrote about it. Moberg's text is
available in Swedish at http://www.janmilld.se/historia/moberg.html
^ Swedish National Archive (the original document can be seen there in
Stockholm, and a copy at the same institution at Lund), Kungsbrev
1600-tal, Kings' Letters, 17th Century
^ Prinz, Oliver C. (2005). Der Einfluss von Heeresverfassung und
Soldatenbild auf die Entwicklung des Militärstrafrechts. Osnabrücker
Schriften zur Rechtsgeschichte (in German). 7. Osnabrück: V&R
unipress. pp. 40–41. ISBN 3-89971-129-7. Referring
to Kroener, Bernhard R. (1993). "Militärgeschichte des Mittelalters
und der frühen Neuzeit bis 1648. Vom Lehnskrieger zum Söldner". In
Neugebauer, Karl-Volker. Grundzüge der deutschen Militärgeschichte
(in German). 1. Freiburg: Rombach. p. 32.
^ Kuosa, Tauno (1963). Jokamiehen Suomen historia II. Sata sotaista
vuotta [Everyman's Finnish History II: Hundred Warlike Years] (in
Finnish). Helsinki: Werner Söderström Publishing Ltd.
^ Brzezinski, Richard (2001).
Lützen 1632. Osprey Publishing.
^ "Die chronik" [The chronicles]. www.gustav-adolf-werk.de (in
^ "Gustavus II" The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
^ Burkhardt, Johann. "Ein Gotenkönig als Friedenskaiser? (lit.: A
Goths as Emperor of Peace?)".
Damals (in German). Vol. 42
no. 8/2010. Abstract in German.
^ "Die Chronik" [The chronicle]. www.gustav-adolf-werk.de (in German).
^ Carolus Rex (album)
Ahnlund, Nils, Gustav Adolf the Great, trans. Michael Roberts.,
Brzezinski, Richard, The Army of Gustavus Adolphus. (Osprey, 1993).
ISBN 1-85532-350-8. excerpt
Lützen 1632: Climax of the Thirty Years’ War
Dupuy, Trevor Nevitt. The Military Life of Gustavus Adolphus: Father
of Modern War (Franklin Watts, 1969).
Earle, E.M. ed. Makers of Modern Strategy: Military Thought from
Machiavelli to Hitler, 1948.
Nordstrom, Byron J. "Gustavus II Adolphus (Sweden) (1594–1632; Ruled
1611–1632)" Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World: Europe, 1450 to
Ringmar, Erik. Identity, Interest and Action: A Cultural Explanation
of Sweden's Intervention in the Thirty Years' War. (Cambridge, 1996).
Roberts, Michael. Gustavus Adolphus, A History of
(two volumes) (London: Longmans, Green, 1953–1958).
Roberts, Michael (1992). Gustavus Adolphus. Profiles in Power (2nd
ed.). London: Longman. ISBN 0582090008.
Roberts, Michael. Gustavus Adolphus and the Rise of
English Universities Press, 1973).
Roberts, Michael. The Military Revolution 1560–1660, (Belfast: M.
Sweden as a great power 1611–1697 (London: St.
Martin's Press, 1968)
Schürger, André. The Battle of Lützen: an examination of 17th
century military material culture (University of Glasgow 2015) .
Jorgensen, Christer. "Gustavus Adolphus II" in Charles Messenger, ed.
(2013). Reader's Guide to Military History. Routledge.
pp. 218–19. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) .
Murray, Jeremy. "The English-Language Military Historiography of
Gustavus Adolphus in the Thirty Years’ War, 1900–Present," Western
Illinois Historical Review (Spring 2013) vol 5. online
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gustav II Adolf.
Works by or about Gustavus Adolphus of
Sweden at Internet Archive
Works by Gustavus Adolphus of
LibriVox (public domain
The Great and Famous Battle of Lutzen..., transcription
Texts on Wikisource:
"Gustavus II". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914.
"Gustavus II. Adolphus". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.).
"Gustavus II. Adolphus". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
"Gustavus II., Adolphus". The American Cyclopædia. 1879.
Gustav II Adolf
House of Vasa
Born: 9 December 1594 Died: 6 November 1632
King of Sweden
Monarchs of Sweden
c. 970–c. 1060
Eric the Victorious
Emund the Old
c. 1060–c. 1130
Eric and Eric
Håkan the Red
Halsten / Inge the Elder
Inge the Elder
Philip Halstensson / Inge the Younger
Magnus the Strong
Houses of Sverker and Eric
Sverker · Eric
Sverker the Elder
Eric the Saint
Kol / Boleslaw
Canute I Eriksson
Sverker the Younger
Canute II the Tall 1
Mats Kettilmundsson 2
Magnus Ericsson / Haakon Magnusson3
Margaret4 / Eric of Pomerania4
Eric of Pomerania4
Eric of Pomerania4
Christopher of Bavaria4
Bengt Jönsson (Oxenstierna)
Bengt Jönsson (Oxenstierna) / Nils Jönsson (Oxenstierna)
Jöns Bengtsson Oxenstierna
Jöns Bengtsson Oxenstierna / Erik Axelsson Tott
Kettil Karlsson (Vasa)
Kettil Karlsson (Vasa)
Jöns Bengtsson Oxenstierna
Erik Axelsson Tott
Sten Sture the Elder
Sten Sture the Elder
Sten Sture the Younger
Gustav Eriksson (Vasa)
Gustav (Eriksson) Vasa
Gustav II Adolf
Charles X Gustav
Gustav IV Adolf
Charles XIV John3
Gustaf VI Adolf
Carl XVI Gustaf
1 Lineage uncertain
3 Also Norwegian monarch
4 Also Norwegian and Danish monarch
5 Also king of Poland
The generations indicate descent from Gustav I, of the House of Vasa,
and continues through the Houses of Palatinate-Zweibrücken,
Holstein-Gottorp; and the Bernadotte, the adoptive heirs of the House
of Holstein-Gottorp, who were adoptive heirs of the
King Eric XIV
King John III
Prince Magnus, Duke of Östergötland
King Charles IX
King Sigismund I
Gustav, Prince of Uglich
Prince John, Duke of Östergötland
King Gustav II Adolf
Prince Charles Philip, Duke of Södermanland
King Władysław IV of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania#
Prince John Casimir#
King John II Casimir of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania#
Prince Alexander Charles#
John Albert, Prince-Bishop of Warmia and Kraków#
Prince Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Opole#
Prince Sigismund Casimir#
Prince John Sigismund#
King Charles XI
King Charles XII
Prince Charles Gustav
King Frederick I~
King Adolf Frederick*
King Gustav III
King Charles XIII
Prince Frederick Adolf, Duke of Östergötland
King Gustav IV Adolf
Prince Carl Gustav, Duke of Småland
Prince Carl Adolf, Duke of Värmland
Crown Prince Charles August*
King Charles XIV John*,**
Crown Prince Gustav, Prince of Vasa
Prince Carl Gustaf, Grand Duke of Finland and Duke of Småland
King Oscar I**
Prince Louis of Vasa
King Charles XV**
Prince Gustaf, Duke of Uppland**
King Oscar II**
Prince August, Duke of Dalarna**
Prince Carl Oscar, Duke of Södermanland**
King Gustaf V**
Prince Oscar, Duke of Gotland**,^
Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland**
Prince Eugen, Duke of Närke**
King Gustaf VI Adolf**
Prince Wilhelm, Duke of Södermanland**
Prince Erik, Duke of Västmanland**
Prince Carl, Duke of Östergötland^
Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten
Prince Sigvard, Duke of Uppland^
Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland
Prince Carl Johan, Duke of Dalarna^
Prince Lennart, Duke of Småland^
King Carl XVI Gustaf
Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland
Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland***
Prince Oscar, Duke of Skåne
Prince Alexander, Duke of Södermanland
Prince Gabriel, Duke of Dalarna
Prince Nicolas, Duke of Ångermanland
* prince through adoption or election
** also prince of Norway
^lost his title due to an unequal marriage
#also prince of Poland and Lithuania
Sweden by birth and marriage
*** Prince of
Sweden by marriage
ISNI: 0000 0001 1021 0464
BNF: cb11968139b (data)