Early Vasa Era

History of Sweden between 1523 - 1610

The Early Vasa era is a period that in Swedish history lasted between 1523–1611. It began with the reconquest of Stockholm by Gustav Vasa and his men from the Danes in 1523, and Sweden's consequent abandonment of the Kalmar Union, and continued with the reign of Gustav's sons Eric XIV, John III, John's son Sigismund, and finally Gustav's youngest son Charles IX.

In 1520, Stockholm was taken by Christian II of Denmark and became the scene of the Stockholm Bloodbath. By 1521, Gustav Eriksson, a nobleman and relative of Sten Sture the Elder, managed to gather troops from Dalarna in north-west Sweden and help from Lübeck, with the purpose of defeating the Danes. In August 1521, his men elected him their monarch. The Swedish War of Liberation started, and would last until the capture of Stockholm, in June 1523. Gustav Vasa then consolidated his rule against claims from Denmark.

Tax reforms took place in 1538 and 1558, whereby multiple complex taxes on independent farmers were simplified and standardized throughout the district; tax assessments per farm were adjusted to reflect ability to pay. A war with Luebeck in 1535 resulted in the expulsion of the Hanseatic traders, who previously had had a monopoly of foreign trade. With its own businessmen in charge Sweden's economic strength grew rapidly. Sweden now built the first modern army in Europe, supported by a sophisticated tax system and government bureaucracy. Gustavus proclaimed the Swedish crown hereditary in his family, the house of Vasa. It ruled Sweden (1523–1654) and Poland (1587–1668).

After Gustav's death, his oldest son Eric XIV ascended the throne. His regency was marked by Sweden's entrance into the Livonian War and the Northern Seven Years' War, and the mutual relation between his developing mental disorder and the opposition with the aristocracy, leading to the Sture Murders (1567) and the imprisonment of his brother John (III), who was married to Catherine Jagiellonica, the sister of Sigismund II of Poland. A magnates' uprising led by John led to Erik's deposition and the kingship of John, followed by the regency of John's son Sigismund. Sigismund however was not able to defend the throne against Gustav's youngest son Charles (IX).

Gustav's reign was marked by internal political and religious reforms, including the Protestant reformation and a unification of the provinces. At the death of Gustav of 1560, he was succeeded by his oldest son Eric. Eric was intelligent and skilled, but was in a constant strain with his brother and other noblemen. He engaged in warfare against Denmark, Russia and Poland, but suffered periods of insanity in 1567. In 1568 he was dethroned and succeeded by his brother John. John stabilized the international situation and made peace. He also wanted to partially restore Roman Catholicism but the idea did not come through in the end.

At the death of John in 1592, his son Sigismund succeeded him. Sigismund was at that time already king of the Polish throne, through his mother, and he would rule Poland from 1587 to 1632. He set up regency and continued to reside in Poland. On learning about the Uppsala Synod, that finally declared Sweden's Lutheran doctrines, he returned home to protest. He found that the Riksdag of the Estates had already dethroned him and replaced him by Gustav Vasa's youngest son, his uncle, Charles IX. A brief civil war ensued that Sigismund lost in 1598, where after he fled the country never to return.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 1523 and 1610 in Sweden

German Church

The German Church, or the Church of Saint Gertrude, was founded in 1571. it started as a Guild Lounge for german merchantmen in Stockholm who where a large part of the population in the 16th century. Hans Jakob Kristler enlarged the chapel in 1638-1642 to the present two-nave church. During the 17th century, while the choir of the school participated at the royal concerts, the church became an important centre for church ...
Founded: 1571 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Saint James's Church

The origin of the Saint James's Church dates back to a chapel belonging to the Solna parish and at the time built on the outskirts of the parish. It is first mentioned in 1311. The present church, originally founded in the 16th century, took a long time to complete. As a consequence it includes a wide range of architectonic styles, such as Late Gothic,Renaissance and Baroque, the design of architects: Willem Boy (1580-159 ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Klara Church

The convent and church of St. Clare was founded on the site in 1280s. It was to be one of the very first convents to be dissolved during the Swedish Reformation. Gustav Vasa had the church and convent torn down in 1527. The new Lutheran church, built under the order of King John III in 1572, is a cruciform shaped. It has the second highest tower in Scandinavia, over one hundred metres high. The interior contains a fine a ...
Founded: 1572 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Malmö Stortorget

At the heart of Malmö lies the Big Square (Stortorget). There is a statue of King Karl X Gustav of Sweden, who took the city from Danish dominion. The ornate Malmö City Hall (built in 1546) is on the east side, and in the northwest corner is Kockska Huset, the house of Jörgen Kock, a German immigrant who became mayor of the city and achieved wealth simply and directly: by taking control of the city mint. In ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Malmö, Sweden

Maria Magdalena Church

The history of Maria Magdalena Church dates back to the 1350s when King Magnus Eriksson with the permission of Pope Clement VI had a funeral chapel built on the location and dedicated it to Mary Magdalene. When Gustav Vasa liberated Stockholm in the early 1520s, his troops led by Peder Fredag encamped in the chapel and suffered severe losses when the troops of Christian II of Denmark attacked from the city. This might hav ...
Founded: 1588-1634 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Kungshuset

Kungshuset, the "King's House", was built by the Danish king Frederick II between 1578–1584 and originally intended as the residence for the bishop of Lund. After the secession of the Scanian lands to Sweden at the Treaty of Roskilde 1658, and the foundation of Lund University in 1666 to enhance the Swedification of the Danish provinces, the house was incorporated to serve as the university's main building and libra ...
Founded: 1578-1584 | Location: Lund, Sweden

Gripsholm Castle

Gripsholm Castle is regarded as one of Sweden's finest historical monuments. A fortress was built at the location around 1380 by Bo Jonsson Grip, and belonged to his family until the confiscation of mansions and castles by King Gustav I in 1526. The King tore it down, and built a fortified castle with circular corner towers and a wall, for defensive purposes. Of the original medieval fortress, only the façade of a ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Mariefred, Sweden

Uppsala Castle

Uppsala Castle is a 16th century royal castle in the historical city of Uppsala. Throughout much of its early history, the castle played a major role in the history of Sweden. It was built during the time Sweden was on its way to become a great power in Europe. King Gustav Vasa began construction of Uppsala Castle in 1549. Kings Erik XIV, John III and Charles IX all remodeled and expanded the citadel into a representativ ...
Founded: 1549 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Vadstena Castle

Vadstena Castle was originally built by King Gustav I in 1545 as a fortress to protect Stockholm from enemies from the south. The fortress consisted of three smaller stone buildings facing the lake, Vättern, three 31 meter wide ramparts, a courtyard, a moat and four circular cannons turrets. The original ramparts were torn down in the 19th century and the present ramparts were inaugurated in 1999. The stone buildings ...
Founded: 1545 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Vaxholm Castle

Vaxholm Castle was originally constructed by Gustav Vasa in 1544 to defend Stockholm against shipborne attacks from the east, but most of the current structure dates from 1833-1863. The stretch of water below the building was formerly the main sea route to Stockholm. Thus, the fortress was strategically situated to defend the city from naval attacks. The castle was attacked by the Danes in 1612 and the Russian navy in 171 ...
Founded: 1544, 1833-1863 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Jukkasjärvi Church

The wooden Jukkasjärvi Church was built in 1607-1608. It is very rare sample of so-called 'buttress' church type; there are 10 existing churches in Finland and this is the only one in Sweden. The church was enlarged in 1726 and the gallery was added in 1785. The external belfry dates from the 1740s.
Founded: 1607-1608 | Location: Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Uraniborg Observatory Ruins

Uranienborg (Uraniborg) was a Danish astronomical observatory operated by Tycho Brahe. It was built circa 1576-1580. Shortly after its construction the observatory was expanded with an underground facility, Stjerneborg, on an adjacent site. The building was dedicated to Urania, the Muse of Astronomy and named Uranienborg, "The Castle of Urania." It was the first custom-built observatory, and the last to be built without a ...
Founded: 1576 | Location: Sankt Ibb, Sweden

Halmstad Castle

Halmstad Castle (Halmstads slott) is a 17th-century castle dating from the time when Halland was a province of Denmark. In 1595 the farm on the site where the castle now stands was purchased for use as a residence for the Danish Christian IV on his visit to Halmstad. It was under the authority of King Christian that the castle was constructed. Construction on the castle and nine adjoining lots started in 1609. Constructi ...
Founded: 1609-1615 | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

Landskrona Citadel

Landskrona Citadel was initially built 1549–1559 as a purely defensive fortification with two complete moats, the inner with a width of 70 metres. The outer (complete) moat is between 40 and 70 metres wide, and has cross fire bastions for artillery and guns. Outside the outer moat, a third narrower moat covers the northwest and northeast. There also exist remains of a fourth moat (between the two outer moats). The forti ...
Founded: 1549-1559 | Location: Landskrona, Sweden

Gävle Castle

Gävle Castle is the northest one of so-called Vasa castles, built by Gustav Vasa of Sweden or his sons. The construction started in 1583 by the religious King John III of Sweden. The design was made by Willem Boy and the center of castle was a chapel. The castle was completed in 1597, five years after John"s death. In 1727 the chapel and the top floor were destroyed by fire. Gävle castle stayed damaged unt ...
Founded: 1583-1597 | Location: Gävle, Sweden

North Gate

North Gate (Norre Port) is the only existing part of the Halmstad city wall. It was completed in 1601 by King Kristian IV of Denmark. The gate was restored in 2005 and is one of the rare survived city gates in Sweden.
Founded: 1601 | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

Torup Castle

Torup Castle, completed around 1540, is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Sweden. It was built by Görvel Fadersdotter (Sparre). Torup Castle was restored between 1602-1630 to the the appearance it has today. Later Torup was owned by Stjernblad and Coyet families and since 1970 the Malmö municipality. On May 21, 1775 a tragic accident occured at Torup Castle. Cornet Fredrich Trolle along with his aun ...
Founded: 1540 | Location: Svedala, Sweden

Bäckaskog Castle

Bäckaskog Castle was originally a monastery built in the 13th century. It was transformed into a castle in the 16th century. The castle is located on the isthmus between Ivö Lake (Scania's largest lake) and Oppmanna Lake. The monastery was closed down by the Danish Crown in 1537 during the Reformation. In 1584-1653, the noblemen Henrik Ramel and his son Henrik Ramel Junior gave the castle its present appearance. Today i ...
Founded: 1584-1653 | Location: Fjälkinge, Sweden

Stjerneborg Observatory

Stjerneborg (Star Castle) was Tycho Brahe's underground observatory next to his palace-observatory Uraniborg, located on the island of Hven in Oresund. Tycho Brahe built it circa 1581. He writes: "My purpose was partly to have placed some of the most important instruments securely and firmly in order that they should not be exposed to the disturbing influence of the wind, and should be easier to use, partly to separate my ...
Founded: ca. 1581 | Location: Sankt Ibb, Sweden

Visingsborg Castle Ruins

The foundations of Visingsborg Castle date from 1560s. It was square formed with a moat four towers. The Brahe Family lived in Visingsborg Castle during the 16th and 17th centuries. During their time was one of the most impressive buildings in Sweden. Sculptures and paintings embellished the walls and a large number of books filled the library. The castle also had an armoury that equipped up to 800 soldiers. Outside the w ...
Founded: 1560s | Location: Visingsö, Sweden

Krapperup Castle

The Krapperup estate dates from medieval times, but the existing manor, except the wings, is from the 16th century. When the Podebusk family built the castle, Skåne was still part of Denmark. The seven-pointed star, which is Gyldenstierne’s coat-of-arms, was added to the facades at the beginning of the 1600s. Denmark lost Skåne to Sweden in 1658, with Krapperup’s first Swedish owner being Maria Sop ...
Founded: 1570s | Location: Höganäs, Sweden

Wånas Castle

Wanås Manor, first owned by Squire Eskild Aagesen (around 1440), has one of the most fascinating histories of all of Skåne’s stately homes. Its geographical location left Wanås vulnerable during the Swedish-Danish wars, and the original castle was burned to the ground in the Northern Seven Years’ War. A new building erected in 1566 incorporated what remained of the old one. Drawings from 1680 ...
Founded: c. 1566 | Location: Knislinge, Sweden

Gräfsnäs Castle Ruins

Gräfsnäs Castle today consists of a heavily restored main building with barred windows and surrounding dry moat. The ruins are remnants of the original palatial fortress built in Swedish-French Renaissance style. The castle, which met with such a tragic fate, was constructed in c. 1571 and belonged to many different owners (like Leijonhufvud, Sparre and Holstein-Augustenburg families) before it was finally aband ...
Founded: c. 1571 | Location: Sollebrunn, Sweden

All Saints Church

All Saints (Alla Helgona) Church was built in the late 1200s, but during the Duke Karl"s time (1590-1618) it went through a radical transformation. At the restoration in 1909 the church received its small ridge turrets, which is a replica of the tower on Erik Dahlberg´s engravings of Nyköping. In 1665 the church was ravaged by fire. At the recent restoration in 1959-1960 were the pillars restored in to ori ...
Founded: 1590-1618 | Location: Nyköping, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.