The Age of Liberty

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.

Trofeer från slaget vid Svensksund bäres in i Storkyrkan, målning av Pehr Hilleström
Trophies from the Battle of Svensksund
brought into the Storkyrkan in Stockholm.
The policy of the Hats party was a return to the traditional alliance between France and Sweden. The first blunder of the Hats was the hasty and ill-advised war with Russia. The European complications consequent upon the almost simultaneous deaths of Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor and Empress Anne of Russia seemed to favour the Hats' adventurous schemes. The Hat's Russian war was not succesful. After some defeats Swedish forces were so demoralized that the mere rumour of a hostile attack made them retire panic-stricken to Helsinki; and before the end of the year all Finland was in the hands of the Russians. By the Treaty of Åbo 7 May 1743 the terms of the empress were accepted and only that small part of Finland which lay beyond the Kymi River was retained by Russia. In March 1751 the old King Frederick died. His slender prerogatives had gradually dwindled down to vanishing point.

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.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 1722 and 1771 in Sweden

Adolf Fredriks kyrka

Adolf Fredriks kyrka ("The Church of Adolf Frederick") was built in 1768-1774, replacing a wooden chapel from 1674, which was dedicated to Saint Olof. René Descartes was first buried to the cemetery in 1650 (before his remains were moved to France). Inside the church is a memorial to the memory of Descartes installed by Gustav III. Other famous people buried in the church cemetery include Swedish Prime Minister Olo ...
Founded: 1768-1774 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Hedvig Eleonora Church

Hedvig Eleonora Church was consecrated in 1737 and is named after the Swedish Queen Hedvig Eleonora (1636-1715), wife of King Charles X of Sweden. Hedvig Eleonora Church is an octagonal church. It is one of Stockholm's most popular for weddings, christenings and funerals.
Founded: 1737 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

East India Company House

The old East India Company House (now the City Museum) was once the hub of Sweden's trade with the Far East. Most seafaring nations in the 18th century had an East India company which held a monopoly on trade with the East. Scottish merchants were not part of the lucrative dealings of the English, so Scot Colin Campbell, in association with Niclas Sahlgren in Gothenburg, devised an idea for a Swedish East India Company, w ...
Founded: 1750-1762 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Vaxholm Church

The construction of Vaxholm Church was began in 1760, but it was not completed until 1803. It has been designed by Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz and Olof Tempelman. The font, made of sandstone in Gotland, dates from the 14th century. The cruficix date from the 18th century.
Founded: 1760-1803 | Location: Vaxholm, Sweden

Naval Museum

Marinmuseum (Naval Museum) is Sweden"s national naval museum, dedicated to the Swedish naval defense and preservation of the country"s naval history. Marinmuseum is one of Sweden"s oldest museums, established in 1752 when King Adolf Frederick began the collection and documentation of naval objects in what was called the Model Room (Modellkammaren). He also ordered the preservation of ship models and ship bu ...
Founded: 1752 | Location: Karlskrona, Sweden

Arboga Town Hall

The town hall was originally built as a church in the 15th Century. During the reformation in the 16th Century Gustav Vasa gave the church to the people of Arboga and its new purpose was to be the town hall. However the king used the house as his own private residence instead. His daughter, Cecilia, Countess of Arboga, also lived here in 1570. From 1640 to the present day Arboga’s town council has had offices here. The ...
Founded: 1752-59 | Location: Arboga, Sweden

Alingsås Museum

The industrial history of Alingsås began in 1724 when Jonas Alström established there a factory. The factory had 1,000 employees already in the mid-18th century. The Alströmerska warehouse at the Lilla Torget is the city’s oldest secular building. It was built in the beginning of the 1730s and is the only property left from the Alströmerska époque. The building was first used by Jonas Als ...
Founded: 1730s | Location: Alingsås, Sweden

Klippan

Klippan is located just below Älvsborgs bridge. The area of Klippan was a precursor to the community that would later become the city of Gothenburg. There used to be salting-houses, glassworks and foundries here during the 18th century. The Scottish Carnegie family owned sugar refineries and breweries in the area later on. Today, Klippan is a cultural heritage centre. You will also find a café, hotel and res ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Norrtälje Church

In 1719, during the Great Northern War, large parts of the central town were burnt down by a Russian army. The new stone church wasn"t finished until 1726. The tower was erected in 1752.
Founded: 1726 | Location: Norrtälje, Sweden

Åsle Tå

Åsle Tå lies in the countryside just to the east of Falköping. It is a living museum made up of a historic collection of traditional crofters’ cottages. This is the place to come if you are interested in the way of life of ordinary farmers in the area in the past. There is a restaurant here and a shop. Guided tours are available for groups by arrangement.
Founded: 18th century | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Karlstad Cathedral

Karlstad cathedral, which replaced an earlier one in a different location that was destroyed by fire, was built in the 1730 by design of Christian Haller. It is constructed of natural stone and brick which is plastered over. It took around sixty years to complete the interior decorations. The church, which is in a baroque style, has some neo-classical features. It has a light interior.
Founded: 1730 | Location: Karlstad, Sweden

St. Olaf's Church

St. Olaf"s Church (Sankt Olai kyrka) was built betw 1765-1767 to the site of earlier church, which was badly damaged during the attack of Russian army in 1719. The altarpiece is painted by Pehr Hörberg in 1797.
Founded: 1765-1767 | Location: Norrköping, Sweden

Edsberg Castle

The first Edsberg building was constructed of wood around 1630 as an estate for Henrik Olofsson. It was very soon after completion signed over to count Gabriel Bengtsson Oxenstierna who changed it into a manor in 1647. Queen Christina of Sweden visited and stayed in the house in 1645. In 1670, when the manor had been inherited by the son Gabriel Gabrielsson Oxenstierna, King Charles XI of Sweden and the Queen Dowager Hedv ...
Founded: 1760 | Location: Sollentuna, Sweden

Linnaeus Hammarby

Linnaeus Hammarby is one of three botanical gardens belonging to Uppsala University in Sweden. It was the former summer home of Carolus Linnaeus and his family. Today, few Swedish manor-houses preserve such an authentic milieu. It reflects the private life of Linnaeus as well as his scientific work. In 1758 Linnaeus bought two small estates: Sävja and Hammarby. During their first summers at Hammarby the Linnaeuses l ...
Founded: 1758 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Hospital Museum

Vadstena Hospital Museum covers the town's hospital tradition. The museum building is an old mental hospital built in 1757. The 16th century Mårten Skinnares House is situated next to the museum and open during guided tours of the museum.
Founded: 1757 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Habo Church

Habo Church (Habo kyrka) is a unique wooden church building which bears resemblance to a cathedral, but is built entirely in wood. It is in the form of abasilica, with a high nave and two lower side aisles. It received its present appearance in 1723. The interior of the church was painted in 1741-1743 by two artists from Jönköping, Johan Kinnerius and Johan Christian Peterson. The paintings illustrate Martin Luther's c ...
Founded: 1723 | Location: Habo, Sweden

Jokkmokk Old Church

The old church was originally constructed in 1753, but burned down totally in 1972 and was reinaugurated in 1976. The exterior was remade exactly as it had been earlier. The colors within the church – blue and red – relate to the colors on the Sámi traditional costume from the Jokkmokk area.The church is open for visitors during summer and the winter market.
Founded: 1753 | Location: Jokkmokk, Sweden

Sofia Albertina Church

The construction of Sofia Albertina Church began in 1754 by the design of Carl Hårleman and it was inaugurated in 1788. It is named after the sister of Gustav III of Sweden. Sofia Albertina replaced the medieval church from the 1400s. The church has unusual design, because it has two towers but it"s not a cathedral of bishop"s seat. The font dates from the 12th century. It was a used as a fountain in loca ...
Founded: 1754-1788 | Location: Landskrona, Sweden

Kristineberg Palace

Kristineberg Palace in Kungsholmen was built around 1750 for the businessman R. Schröder. The palace was surrounded by parks and the property included a great deal of the surrounding land. In 1864 the property was bought by the Swedish Freemasonry and additional construction on the palace was made. Stockholm City bought the land in 1921 and started building the Kristineberg district, and today part of the palace is u ...
Founded: 1750 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Svartsjö Palace

The location of Svartsjö Palace (Svartsjö Slott) has housed several royal buildings. During medieval times there was a stone house where prominent Swedish royalty lived. Gustav Vasa and his sons Erik and Johan erected a lavish renaissance palace with a round inner courtyard. It was at least partly designed by Willem Boy and completed in 1580 but burnt down in 1687. The remaining building material was shipped to ...
Founded: 1734-1739 | Location: Svartsjö, Sweden

Christinehof Castle

Christinehof Castle was built between 1737 and 1740 in the German Baroque style. It was a residence of countess Christina Piper, who had acquired the near Andrarums ironworks couple of years earlier.
Founded: 1737-1740 | Location: Brösarp, Sweden

Övedskloster Castle

In the Middle Ages Övedskloster was a Premonstratensian monastery. In the 16th century Reformation it was moved to Danish Crown. The original castle was destroyed by fire in the beginning of the 17thc century.The current Övedskloster Castle was built in 1765-1776 by Hans Ramel. It was designed by Swedish architect Carl Hårleman. The main building represents the French Rococo style and is built of red sands ...
Founded: 1765-1776 | Location: Sjöbo, Sweden

Åkerö Castle

Åkerö estate was first mentioned in 1281. In 1660 the castle was partially destroyed by fire, but the new castle was not built until 1752-1757 by Carl Gustaf Tessin. It is designed by Carl Hårleman. Today it is a farm, famous for its so-called Åkerö apple variety.
Founded: 1752-1757 | Location: Bettna, Sweden

Singö Church

The wooden church of Singö was built in 1753, but fitments date mainly from Middle Ages. The altar was made around 1490, the pulpit in the 16th century and the votive ship in 1752.
Founded: 1753 | Location: Norrtälje, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Montparnasse Cemetery

Montparnasse Cemetery was created from three farms in 1824. Cemeteries had been banned from Paris since the closure, owing to health concerns, of the Cimetière des Innocents in 1786. Several new cemeteries outside the precincts of the capital replaced all the internal Parisian ones in the early 19th century: Montmartre Cemetery in the north, Père Lachaise Cemetery in the east, and Montparnasse Cemetery in the south. At the heart of the city, and today sitting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, is Passy Cemetery.

Montparnasse cemetery is the burial place of many of France's intellectual and artistic elite as well as publishers and others who promoted the works of authors and artists. There are also many graves of foreigners who have made France their home, as well as monuments to police and firefighters killed in the line of duty in the city of Paris.

The cemetery is divided by Rue Émile Richard. The small section is usually referred to as the small cemetery (petit cimetière) and the large section as the big cemetery (grand cimetière).

Although Baudelaire is buried in this cemetery (division 6), there is also a cenotaph to him (between division 26 and 27). Because of the many notable people buried there, it is a highly popular tourist attraction.