History of Sweden between 1722 - 1771
The Age of Liberty (Frihetstiden) is the half century long period of parliamentarianism and increasing civil rights in Sweden, beginning in 1721 after Great Northern War and ending with Gustav III's self-coup in 1772. The shift of power from the Monarch to the Parliament was a direct effect of the disastrous Great Northern War.
The Great Northern War (1700–21) was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire. The war started when an alliance of Denmark–Norway, Saxony and Russia declared war on the Swedish Empire, launching a threefold attack at Swedish Holstein-Gottorp, Swedish Livonia, and Swedish Ingria. Sweden was ruled by the young Charles XII, who was eighteen years old and inexperienced at the time. Sweden was first victorius against Danish and Russian and Poland. Charles XII moved from Saxony into Russia to confront Peter I, but the campaign ended with the destruction of the main Swedish army in Poltava (now Ukraine), and Charles's exile in Ottoman Bender. After Poltava, the initial anti-Swedish coalition was re-established and subsequently joined by Hanover and Prussia. The remaining Swedish forces in the plague stricken areas south and east of the Baltic Sea were evicted, with the last city, Riga, falling in 1710. Sweden proper was invaded by Denmark–Norway from the west and by Russia from the east, occupying all of Finland by 1714. Though the Danish attacks were repulsed, Russia managed to occupy Finland. Charles XII opened up a Norwegian front, but was killed in Fredriksten in 1718. The war ended with a defeat for Sweden, leaving Russia as the new major power in the Baltic Sea and an important new player in European politics. In Sweden, the absolute monarchy had come to an end with Charles XII's death, and the Age of Liberty began.
Early in 1720 Charles XII's sister, Ulrika Eleonora, who had been elected queen of Sweden immediately after his death, was permitted to abdicate in favour of her husband Frederick the prince of Hesse, who was elected king 1720 under the title of Frederick I of Sweden; and Sweden was, at the same time, converted into the most limited of monarchies. All power was vested in the people as represented by the Riksdag, consisting, as before, of four distinct estates, nobles, priests, burgesses and peasants, sitting and deliberating apart. The conflicting interests and mutual jealousies of these four independent assemblies made the work of legislation exceptionally difficult.
The Pomeranian War 1757-1762 was a theatre of the Seven Years' War. The term is used to describe the fighting between Sweden and Prussia between 1757 and 1762 in Swedish Pomerania. The war was characterized by a back-and-forth movement of the Swedish and Prussian armies, neither of whom would score a decisive victory. Neither this war was succesful to Sweden. The death of Elizabeth of Russia in January 1762 changed the whole political situation in Europe. A Russo-Prussian alliance threatened to make Russia an enemy not an ally of Sweden. The secret committee thus decided on March 13 that year that Sweden would seek a separate peace. Via the queen's mediation, the Swedes signed the peace of Hamburg with Prussia and Mecklenburg on 22 May, accepting their defeat - Prussia and Sweden were restored to the status quo ante bellum.
In Sweden, the unpopularity of this costly and futile war meant that the Hats' control on government began to falter and the confusion the war caused led to a deficit which resulted in their fall in 1765.
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.