Table of Contents
The rise of The Swedish Empire
In 1592 Sigismondo III Vasa, king of Poland and Sweden, succeeded his father, John III. However, his attempts to restore Catholicism and impose absolutist solutions arouse opposition from the Protestant majority and the aristocracy. In 1599 he effectively left the throne to his uncle Charles IX who in 1604 also became king de jure. From this moment, the destinies of Poland and Sweden separate, leaving behind them a trail of conflicts.
The dispute within the Vasa dynasty is part of the growing confessional tension between Protestantism in its various expressions. And Catholic counter-reformist activism. Still, it also depends on the reason of the state and the contrast between the ambitions of the Baltic states. Which results in an intricate sequence of wars. In addition to the war with Poland, Sweden was engaged between 1611 and 1613. In the Kalmar war with Denmark and the attempt to impose its candidate as Tsar of Russia after the dynastic crisis. That opened with the death of Boris Godunov in 1605. Both conflicts ended unfavorably for Sweden.
The peace of Knäred of 1613 confirms the Danish pre-eminence in the region. In the same year, Michele Romanov has crowned Tsar. And the candidacy of Carlo Filippo Vasa definitively fades. However, with the peace of Stolbovo in 1617, Gustavo II Adolfo. In exchange for Michael’s recognition, the new king succeeded his father, Charles, in 1611. Obtained necessary territorial concessions from Russia – Ingria and the county of Kexholm. Which consolidated Sweden’s position in the Baltic, further strengthened by the conquest of Riga, wrested from Poland in 1621.
The Swedish Empire in the Thirty Years of War
The military alliance, economic cooperation with the United Provinces, and Sweden’s position on the European Protestant front are the foundations on which the next phase of Swedish Empire politics rests during scriptural times.
Both sectarian motivations and raison d’état dictate Sweden’s leading position in the anti-Hapsburg coalition. After the defeat inflicted on Denmark by the imperial leader Wallenstein in the so-called Danish phase of the Thirty Years’ War, Gustav II Adolfo was urged to intervene by the German Protestants on whom complete ruin was looming. On the other hand, the northward march of the imperials inevitably brings them on a collision course with Swedish interests in the Baltic.
The successes of Swedish weapons find an explanation, as well as in the tactical skills of the sovereign and his generals, in the military reforms introduced in previous years. Gustavo Adolfo is responsible for a compulsory form of conscription. Each community must provide one soldier for every ten to twenty men, which subsequently rose to a fifth. The Swedish army is composed, at least in part, of subjects with patriotic and religious motivations and not of mercenaries like its antagonists.
You might also want to know.
The Swedish Empire is still considered a country of social justice and minor income differences. However, a recent OECD report now puts a question mark on the Swedish welfare state model. Compared with other western industrialized countries, income inequality in Sweden has increased the most since the mid-1990s, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Accordingly, the proportion of households with less than half of the average income at their disposal has more than doubled and is now 9 percent. On the other hand, the more affluent parts of the population have increased their income. Sweden had a minor income disparity back then and is 14th on the OECD list.
In the Swedish Empire itself, the reasons are seen in the politics of the bourgeois government. And it’s the so-called “work line.” While working people have been enjoying tax breaks since 2006. And having good social security, the unemployed or those on sick leave quickly become financially disadvantaged. Because social benefits have been cut. The gap between rich and poor continues to widen. The conurbations, in particular, are already struggling with the resulting tensions.
During the first part of the reign of Charles XI, Sweden was in the position of a client state of France of Louis XIV. And it is only thanks to the French intervention that it emerges without too much damage. With the peace of Lund and Saint-Germain from the new conflict. The war of Scania sees it as opposed to Denmark and Brandenburg.
Therefore, Sweden has adhered to a prudent policy for the following twenty years. Which aims to reorganize her power’s financial and military bases and preserve the Baltic status quo. And reconnect with the Netherlands. However, the ambitions of all the other regional powers converge on the vast but dispersed Swedish possessions. Those in decline, such as Denmark or Poland, and those on the rise, such as Brandenburg and Peter I’s Russia.