National holiday: Flag Day, June 6.
Nature and climate: Sweden is the 6th biggest nation of Europe and
oblong (more than 1500 km from north to south) with great differences
in nature and climate.
Close to 10% of the area are lakes, more than 100 000, but most of
them are very small.
The southmost part is a flat lowland. Most of the area is hilly and
on the border to Norway is the Scandinavian mountainchain with the
highest peak, Kebnekaise, reaching 2 111 m.a.s.l.
Percipitation above 600 mm. Temperature in capital Stockholm during
January -4°C and during July +17°C.
People: Mainly Swedes. 5% are immigrants, 3% Finnish, and some Lapps
in the north.
1 million Swedes emigrated at the end of the 19th and beginning of
the 20th centuries, most of them to the USA.
Economy: The industry is based both on rich mineral resources, vast
forests, and a number of Swedish inventions by the turn of the century.
Sweden is one of the worlds leading exporters of iron ore and forest
products (paper pulp and paper). Highquality steel is another Swedish
History: Sweden was covered by ice during the last glacial period and
the first known settlings are from 10000 to 8900 BC. The first farmers
settled about 4000 BC. Todays Swedes are descendants of those farmers,
making the Swedes the oldest original population of Europe.
These farmers had regular contact with other cultures and countries
which culminated during the Viking era 800 to 1050 AD, with trade
and plundering expeditions to Great Britain, Iceland and Greenland
to the west, to Russia, where they took active part in the foundation
of the Russian state, and by the Russian rivers to Istanbul in the
east and along rivers and coasts down to the Mediterranean Sea in
There are different opinions on when the nation was established and
united. Some say during the 9th century, others assert that it
happened about 1000 AD.
In the 12th century Swedes started to colonize Finland, which at
the end of the 13th century became a part of Sweden.
The Christian mission reached Sweden 829, but it was not until
the first king was Christianized an 1000 AD that Christianity
From 1389 to 1523 Sweden, Denmark and Norway was united and reigned
by the Danish kings. At the end of the period several attempts were
made to break the union, which succeeded in an uprising lead by
Gustav Vasa. He was crowned king in 1523.
1527 Sweden broke relations with the catholic church and the
Since the 13th century the Swedish parliament, riksdagen, contains
representatives from all free citizens, which makes it the oldest
in Europe with so wide representation.
Through several wars from the 16th to the 18th century Sweden
gained control over vast areas and became the dominating power
in northern Europe. Besides todays Sweden it contained Finland,
parts of Russia, Estonia, Latvia, and many towns and regions in
In a war against Russia 1808 to 1809 Sweden lost Finland.
1813-1814 Sweden participated in the campaign against Napoleon.
At the peace conference Sweden obtained Norway in exchange for
the dependencies in northern Germany. This was the last war Sweden
have participated in.
The union with Norway was dissolved in a peaceful way 1905.
During the two World Wars Sweden declared armed neutrality.
For many decades the Swedish society has developed towards equality
and solidarity in as many fields as possible. Many nations see
Sweden as a pioneer nation especially in social welfare, others
see it as a warning.