History of Sweden between 1810 - 1905
In 1810 French Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, one of Napoleon's top generals, was elected Crown Prince Charles by the Riksdag. In 1813, his forces joined the allies against Napoleon and defeated the Danes at Bornhöved. In the Treaty of Kiel, Denmark ceded mainland Norway to the Swedish king. Norway, however, declared its independence, adopted a constitution and chose a new king. Sweden invaded Norway to enforce the terms of the Kiel treaty—it was the last war Sweden ever fought.
After brief fighting, the peace established a personal union between the two states. Even though they shared the same king, Norway was largely independent of Sweden, except Sweden controlled foreign affairs. The king's rule was not well received and when Sweden refused to allow Norway to have its own diplomats, Norway rejected the King of Sweden in 1905 and selected its own king. During Charles XIV reign (1818–1844), the first stage of the Industrial Revolution reached Sweden. This first take-off was founded on rural forges, textile proto-industries and sawmills.
The 19th century was marked by the emergence of a liberal opposition press, the abolition of guild monopolies in trade and manufacturing in favor of free enterprise, the introduction of taxation and voting reforms, the installation of a national military service, and the rise in the electorate of three major party groups—Social Democratic Party, Liberal Party, and Conservative Party.
Sweden — much like Japan at the same time — transformed from a stagnant rural society to a vibrant industrial society between the 1860s and 1910. The agricultural economy shifted gradually from communal village to a more efficient private farm-based agriculture. There was fewer need for manual labor on the farm so many went to the cities; and about 1 million Swedes emigrated to the United States between 1850 and 1890. Many returned and brought word of the higher productivity of American industry, thus stimulating faster modernization.
The late 19th century saw the emergence of an opposition press, the abolition of guild monopolies on craftsmen, and the reform of taxation. Two years of military service was made compulsory for young men, though there was no warfare.
With a broader voting franchise, the nation saw the emergence of three major party groups – Social Democrat, Liberal, and Conservative. The parties debated further expansion of the voting franchise. The Liberal Party, based on the middle class, in 1907 put forth a program for local voting rights later accepted in the Riksdag; the majority of Liberals wanted to require some property ownership before a man could vote. The Social Democrats called for total male suffrage without property limitations. The strong farmer representation in the Second Chamber of the Riksdag maintained a conservative view, but their decline after 1900 gradually ended opposition to full suffrage.
Religion maintained a major role but public school religious education changed from drill in the Lutheran catechism to biblical-ethical studies.
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.