Swedish Empire

History of Sweden between 1611 - 1721

The Swedish Empire refers to the Kingdom of Sweden's territorial control of much of the Baltic region during the 17th and early 18th centuries, a time when Sweden was one of the great European powers. The beginning of the Empire is usually taken as the reign of Gustavus Adolphus, who ascended the throne in 1611, and the end as the loss of territories in 1721 following the Great Northern War. In Swedish, the period is called Stormaktstiden, literally meaning "the Great Power Era".

After the death of Gustavus Adolphus in 1632, the empire was, over lengthy periods, controlled by part of the high nobility, most prominently the Oxenstierna family, acting as tutors for minor regents. The interests of the high nobility contrasted with the uniformity policy, i.e., the upholding of the traditional equality in status of the Swedish estates favoured by the kings and peasantry. In territories acquired during the periods of de facto noble rule, serfdom was not abolished, and there was also a trend to set up respective estates in Sweden proper. The Great Reduction of 1680 put an end to these efforts of the nobility and required them to return estates once gained from the crown to the king. Serfdom, however, remained in force in the dominions acquired in the Holy Roman Empire and in Swedish Estonia, where a consequent application of the uniformity policy was hindered by the treaties by which they were gained.

After the victories in the Thirty Years' War, the climax of stormaktstiden was reached in the Second Northern War, when the primary adversary Denmark was neutralized by the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. However, in the further course of this war as well as in the subsequent Scanian War, Sweden was able to maintain her empire only by support of her closest ally, France. Charles XI of Sweden consolidated the empire and ensured a period of peace, before Russia, Saxony and Denmark started a concerted attack on his successor, Charles XII. After initial Swedish victories, Charles secured the empire for a last time in the Peace of Travendal (1700) and the Treaty of Altranstädt (1706), before the Battle of Poltava (1709) brought the stormaktstiden of Sweden to a sudden end.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 1611 and 1721 in Sweden

Finnish Church

Finland was a part of Sweden until 1809, and the national parish of the Finnish Church was established in Stockholm in 1533, at the time accommodated in the old abbey of the Blackfriars. A building constructed on the present site 1648-1653, originally intended for ball games, and thus called Lilla bollhuset ('Small Ball House'), but mostly used as a theatre, was taken over by the Finnish parish in 1725 from when ...
Founded: 1648-1653 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Axel Oxenstierna Palace

Axel Oxenstierna palace in the Old Town of Stockholm was designed by architect Jean de la Vallée to Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna and the construction started in 1653. The palace became the headquarters for the 1668-1680 Swedish Central Bank and after a series of state institutional policy. The palace is uniquely conserved in particular to the exterior. There are state historic building since 1935 and is one of the ...
Founded: 1653 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Tessin Palace

Tessin Palace is a baroque town house located in Gamla Stan, the old town in central Stockholm. The mansion was constructed between 1694 and 1700 by architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. The building was inherited by Tessin"s son Carl Gustaf Tessin who had to sell it in 1750 for financial reasons. The palace later became property of the crown and has been used as residence for the Over Governor and later Governor o ...
Founded: 1694-1700 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Royal Palace

The Stockholm Palace (Kungliga Slottet) is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch. The offices of the monarch and the other members of the Swedish Royal Family as well as the offices of the Royal Court of Sweden are located there. The palace is used for representative purposes by the King whilst performing his duties as the head of state. The first building on this site was a fortress with a ...
Founded: 17th - 18th century | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Bonde Palace

Bonde Palace (Bondeska palatset) is located between the House of Knights (Riddarhuset) and the Chancellery House (Kanslihuset). It is, arguably, the most prominent monument of the era of the Swedish Empire (1611–1718), originally design by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder and Jean De la Vallée in 1662-1667 as the private residence of the Lord High Treasurer Gustaf Bonde (1620–1667) it still bears his name, wh ...
Founded: 1662-1667 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

House of Nobility

The House of Nobility (Riddarhuset, “the House of Knights”) was built in 1641-1672 as a chamber of Estates of the Realm, and as such, a Swedish equivalent to the British House of Lords. After 1866, when the Riksdag of the Estates was replaced by the new parliament, the Swedish House of Nobility served as a quasi-official representation of the Swedish nobility, regulated by the Swedish government. Since 2003, i ...
Founded: 1641-1672 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Wrangel Palace

Wrangel Palace is a townhouse mansion on Riddarholmen islet in the old town of Stockholm. The southern tower used to be part of Gustav Vasa"s defence fortifications from the 1530s. Around 1630, the mansion was turned into a palace for Lars Sparre. From 1652 to 1670, the palace was rebuilt and expanded by architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder for Count Carl Gustaf Wrangel. After a fire in 1693, the palace was rebuilt a ...
Founded: 1652-1670 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Christina Church

The Christina church (or German Church) was consecrated in 1648 and named after Queen Christina. The octagonal chapel for Rutger von Aschenberg was built in 1681, possibly by Erik Dahlberg. The tower, designed by Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz 1780, rises powerfully over the lower urban buildings around it. It became an important symbol of the great German Assembly which included the Dutch who over a period in the 1600s represen ...
Founded: 1648 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Gustavianum

Gustavianum is the former main building of Uppsala University, built 1622–1625 and named after King Gustavus Adolphus. Under the cupola is the theatrum anatomicum, the second oldest in the world added to the building in the mid 17th century by Olaus Rudbeck, professor of medicine and amateur architect, among other things. Although still used for lectures and conferences, most of Gustavianum functions as a museum, i ...
Founded: 1622-1625 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Kronhuset

The old Kronhuset (the Crown House) behind the Gustav Adolf Square is one of the oldest buildings in Gothenburg. It was built in 1642-1654 as a storehouse for military uniforms and other military equipment. Now it is a living craft center in historic buildings. Around Kronhuset is Kronhusbodarna (the Crown House Sheds).The west wing served as carriage storage and warehouse, and was built around 1750 after the previous wo ...
Founded: 1642-1654 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Drottningholm Palace

The Drottningholm Palace is the private residence of the Swedish royal family. It was originally built in the late 16th century. It served as a residence of the Swedish royal court for most of the 18th century. Apart from being the private residence of the Swedish royal family, the palace is a popular tourist attraction. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, mainly because of its Theatre (an opera house located at the ...
Founded: 1662 | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Katarina Church

Katarina kyrka (Church of Catherine) was originally constructed in 1656–1695. It has been rebuilt twice after being destroyed by fires, the second time during the 1990s. The Katarina-Sofia borough is named after theparish and the neighbouring parish of Sofia. Construction of the church started during the reign of Charles X of Sweden, and the church is named after Princess Catherine, mother of the king, wife of John ...
Founded: 1656-1695 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Skansen Kronan

Skansen Kronan is a redoubt built in the later half of the 17th century according to the plans of Erik Dahlberg. Skansen Kronan was introduced in 1698 and was fitted with 23 guns. The roof was not completed until 1700. Skansen has 4-5 metre thick walls made of granite, gneiss and diabase. Skansen Kronan was never attacked and the cannons on the inside have never been used. The fortress and the twin counterpart, Skansen L ...
Founded: 1698 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Borgholm Castle

Borgholm Castle is today only a ruin of the fortress that was first built in the second half of the 12th century and many times rebuilt in later centuries. The construction of the original fortress was probably ordered by king Canute I (1167-1195), who ordered fortresses to be built on the Swedish east coast as defence against enemies from the other side of the Baltic Sea. During the 13th to 15th centuries, additions and ...
Founded: 1654, originally in 1100s | Location: Borgholm, Öland, Sweden

Askersund Country Church

The country church of Askersund was built between 1664-1670 to the site of medieval church, which was destroyed by fire in 1661. The present church is designed by Jean de la Vallée ja Eric Dahlbergh. The font originates from the Middle Ages and the Baroque-style pulpit was made in 1600s.
Founded: 1664-1670 | Location: Askersund, Sweden

Kungsholm Church

The Baroque style Kungsholm Church was built in 1672-1688 and it was designed by Matthias Spihler. Anyway the tower, designed also by Spihler, was not erected until in 1810. The finest inventory in Kungsholm church is a font dating from 1707. It was donated by Elsa Guthermuth.
Founded: 1672-1688 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Fredrikskyrkan

Fredrikskyrkan (translation, 'Frederick's Church') construction began in 1720 as a replacement for the city's temporary wooden church, Hedvig Eleonora Church. The church was consecrated in 1744. Fredrikskyrkan was built in the baroque style after a design by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. Though Crown Prince Adolf Frederick was present for the event, the building was named in honor of Frederick I. The spires atop the churc ...
Founded: 1720-1744 | Location: Karlskrona, Sweden

Trefaldighetskyrkan

Trefaldighetskyrkan ('Trinity Church') was built between 1697–1709 for the town's German population. It was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and includes a domed rotunda.
Founded: 1697-1709 | Location: Karlskrona, Sweden

Old Gymnasium

The Gymnasium (Karolinska gymnasiet) was built between 1696-1715 using stones of Kronoberg Castle ruins. It was a grammar school at which Linnaeus, Per Henrik Ling and Peter Wieselgren were pupils.
Founded: 1696-1715 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Caroli Church

Caroli Church is the oldest church in Borås. It was built between 1661-1669 to the site of previous medieval church. The bell tower was erected in 1669 and church has been erected after fires in 1681, 1727 and 1822. The present font and pulpit are designed by Sigfrid Eriksson. The altarpiece is made by Johannes Andersson in 1839.
Founded: 1661-1669 | Location: Borås, Sweden

Trinity Church

Trinity Church (Heliga Trefaldighetskyrkan) was built between 1617 and 1628 by Christian IV of Denmark. He had founded the city of Kristianstad in 1614 at a time when Scania was part of the Kingdom of Denmark. The church's large size and style reveal the king's ambitions for his new city. Designed by the Flemish-Danish architect, Lorenz van Steenwinckel, the grandiose building is widely considered by many to be Scandinav ...
Founded: 1617-1628 | Location: Kristianstad, Sweden

Carlsten

Carlsten is a stone fortress built on the orders of King Carl X of Sweden following the Treaty of Roskilde, 1658 to protect the newly acquired province of Bohuslän from hostile attacks. The site of Marstrand was chosen because of its location and its access to an ice free port. Initially a square stone tower was constructed, but by 1680 it was reconstructed and replaced by a round shaped tower. Successive additions to th ...
Founded: 1658 | Location: Marstrand, Sweden

Lidköping City Hall

Lidköping magnificent wooden city hall (rådhuset) was originally a originally a hunting lodge in the island of Kållandsö. It was donated to the Lidköping city by Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie in 1671. The upper floors were damaged by fire in 1950, but they are restored. Today city hall is the landmark and icon of Lidköping.
Founded: 17th century | Location: Lidköping, Sweden

Uppsala University Botanical Garden

The Uppsala University Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in Sweden. It was founded in 1655 by Olof Rudbeck the elder, professor of medicine. The garden was used for teaching students botany and pharmacy. By the end of the century, more than 1 800 species were grown in the garden, many of them for the first time in Sweden. Olof Rudbecks´ botanical garden was largely destroyed by a fire in 1702. The univ ...
Founded: 1655 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cháteau Comtal

The Château Comtal (Count’s Castle) is a medieval castle within the Cité of Carcassonne, the largest city in Europe with its city walls still intact. The Château Comtal has a strong claim to be called a 'Cathar Castle'. When the Catholic Crusader army arrived in 1209 they first attacked Raymond-Roger Trencavel's castrum at Bèziers and then moved on to his main stronghold at Carcassonne.

The castle with rectangular shape is separated from the city by a deep ditch and defended by two barbicans. There are six towers curtain walls.

The castle was restored in 1853 by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.