Sweden is a Scandinavian country located in northern Europe. Stockholm is the capital of this country and is also the most populous city.
It is the 5th largest country in all of Europe and has an attractive history and culture that make it one of the most interesting nations to visit. Sweden has been characterized over the years as being known as the territory of the Vikings.
Approximately 14,000 years ago, the territory known today as Sweden was covered by ice. During that time, glaciations were very frequent since it was the Ice Age. However, over time, the high temperatures caused by global warming caused the glaciers to begin to melt little by little.
After several millennia, the ice melted in the southern area, causing the first people to start arriving. These new inhabitants had to engage in hunting and fishing activities to survive. That began to occur between the year 8,000 and 6,000 before Christ.
During the new Stone Age, people (farmers, hunters, and fishermen) had to use weapons and tools made of stone and wood. With the passing of the years, they progressed in knowledge and began to manufacture copper objects after 2,000 B.C.
Copper had become its most innovative and resistant material to manufacture all the tools. This period was known as the Bronze Age. Then, in approximately 500 B.C., the Iron Age arrived. During this time, people learned to make and use objects and tools with iron.
Sweden has been known over the years for its Viking history. In the 9th century, half of Swedes were engaged in commercial expeditions, while the other half carried out piracy acts. Norway and Denmark were interested in invading Western Europe, but Sweden’s interests were mainly linked to trade.
The Vikings were characterized by their ability to build ships and navigate the seas. They fought and traded in other countries of the world, especially in northern European territories. Trading in other countries was made possible by improvements made to the design of the ships. The Viking Age lasted until the 11th century.
The Middle Ages began in the 13th century. The country began to present various changes in agriculture concerning how they were carried out before.
Viking farmers usually had two large fields. The idea behind this was to use each field alternating them for years. That means that one of them was used for sowing for one year while the other (the same year) recovered and regenerated from last year’s harvest. In this way, farmers could plant every year to obtain extraordinary crops.
However, the new changes in agriculture were related to the three-field system. This time, Viking farmers used one field for spring crops, the other for fall crops, and the other for regeneration.
Similarly, during the Middle Ages, trade had several advances thanks to the appearance of new cities and the expansion of old ones. Among those cities was Stockholm, which was founded by Birger Jarl in 1252.
More than a hundred years later, specifically in 1389, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden were united under the reign of Margaret I due to the inheritances and union between dynasties that occurred at that time. The association of these three nations was called the Kalmar Union. In 1521, the three countries were under the mandate of King Gustav Vasa.
Vasa’s reign laid the foundations for the Sweden of the future.
Sweden was improving the country’s economy through natural science research. That is why in 1740, the Academy of Natural Sciences was founded. In addition, during this new era, there were various changes, including improvements in population literacy or questioning the church’s power.
In the 16th century, Sweden attempted to become the leading power in the Baltic Sea by declaring war on Denmark. During that time, the country also managed to seize part of the Norwegian territories. That allowed Sweden to become the most significant Scandinavian power. This country was not only related to the Nordic countries but also had a presence in North America.
In 100 years spanning 1750 to 1850, Sweden went through a modernization process in which agriculture evolved. The villages of that time became private agricultural farms during the industrial revolution. Thanks to this, agricultural production improved substantially. However, many agricultural workers were left without property and therefore had to look for work in other cities in the country or even in other countries.
That glorious situation was not going to last forever. In the 18th century, Sweden fell in times of decline and was reduced to the Sweden we know today. That was because this Scandinavian country lost most of its southern provinces as well as the eastern Baltic. That happened due to its war with Denmark, Russia, and Poland. That war was known as the Great Northern War.
In the 20th century, specifically in 1905, Norway became independent from Sweden. Sweden was to recover, so it remained neutral during the First World War.
The 1920s were good times for this country, but it was affected in the early 1930s due to the Great Depression. Unemployment increased considerably, so the country had to apply measures to help agriculture and create public works. At the end of that decade, the unemployment rate was still high, but at least the economy managed to stabilize.
Recent History of Sweden
Sweden used to be one of the poorest countries at that time. However, at the end of the 20th century, its economy improved considerably, and industries became more important. Today, it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world where people have a high-quality life.
In 1995, Sweden joined the European Union after applying for membership in 1991. Today, it is one of the most critical countries in the world in different respects. The country is among the twenty economic powers in the world.
In 2009, the country suffered a significant recession, reaching a high level of unemployment. However, thanks to its considerable economic power, it managed to recover quickly. Sweden is one of the most prosperous countries today.