Sweden; key historical events

Page last modified 6/9/2022

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See also Finland


9/9/2018, Swedish elections produced a deadlock. Of 349 seats (majority = 175), the Left coalition received 144 seats, down 15 (40.6% of vote). The Centre Right coalition received 143 seats, no change (40.0% of vote). The third largest party was the anti-immigrant Populist Right party, Swedish Democrats, with 63 seats, up 14 (17.6% of vote). However none of the other parties were prepared to form a coalition with the Swedish Democrats. The full results were; Left = Social Democrats, 101 seats, -12 (28.4% of vote), Green Party 15 seats, -10 (4.3% of vote), and Left Party, 28 seats, +7 (7.9% of vote). Right � Moderates, 70 seats, -14 (19.8% of vote), Centre Party, 31 seats, +9 (8.6% of vote), Liberal Party, 19 seats, n/c (5.5% of vote), and Christian Democrats, 23 seats, +7 (6.4% of vote). Had the Green Party failed to make 4% they would have received no seats under Swedish election law.

13/8/2018, Over 100 cars were burnt in co-ordinated attacks across several Swedish cities. The disorder was widely blamed on migrant gangs.

6/4/2017, An Islamist terrorist drove a lorry into crowds shopping in the centre of Stockholm; 4 people were killed.

25/5/2013, A sixth night of rioting in the Swedish capital, Stockholm; many cars were burnt, mainly in poorer areas.

14/9/2003, In a referendum, Sweden rejected joining the Euro.

11/9/2003, Anna Lindh, Swedish Foreign Minister, died.

10/9/2003, Anna Lindh, foreign minister of Sweden, was fatally stabbed whilst shopping.

1999, The Swedish cabinet became the first in the world to have a majority of women.

27/8/1997, Norway and Sweden admitted that, between 1934 and 1967, they sterilised thousands of people deemed �substandard�, including the disabled.

13/11/1994, In a referendum, Swedish voters chose to join the European Union. They joined in 1995.

13/2/1992, Carl Bildt announced the end of Sweden�s policy of neutrality.

28/2/1986. The Swedish Prime Minister, Olof Palme, was assassinated, and his wife Lisbeth wounded, in an ambush in central Stockholm. Neither the perpetrator nor a motive were ever discovered.

19/9/1982, In Sweden, the Social Democrats under Olof Palme won the elections.

13/10/1978, A new Swedish Government, minority Liberal, took power under Ola Ullsten.

5/10/1978, The Swedish Centre-Right Government collapsed over the issue of nuclear power.

19/9/1976, Swedish general election ended 40 years of Social Democrat government led by Olof Palme. Thorbjorn Falldin, Conservative, became Prime Minister.

27/2/1974, New Constitution in Sweden stripped the monarchy of all remaining powers. The Riksdag (Parliament) became unicameral.

15/9/1973, Gustavus VI, King of Sweden since 1950, died aged 90. He was succeeded by his 23-year-old son, Carl Gustavus XVI.

10/1969, In Sweden, Olaf Palme was elected Party Leader and Prime Minister, succeeding Tage Erlander who had been in power since 1946.

1960, Sweden joined the European Free Trade Area (EFTA).

21/7/1957, Stefan Lofven, Swedish Prime Minister (2014-18), was born in Stockholm.

19/6/1957, Anna Lindh, Swedish politician, was born.

9/3/1957, Mona Sahlin, leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, was born in Sollefte�, Sweden.

29/10/1950, Gustav V, King of Sweden since 1907, died aged 92, after a 43-year reign. He was succeeded by his 61-year old son, Gustavus VI Adolf,who ruled until 1973.

10/1948, The Swedish Parliament approved the creation of a National Health Service.

26/1/1947, Prince Gustav of Sweden was killed in a air crash near Copenhagen

30/4/1946, Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden since 1973, was born in Solna

10/4/1940. Sweden insisted on its neutrality during World War Two; however it allowed German forces to transit its territory to invade Norway.

24/9/1932, In Sweden, Socialist Per Albin Hansson became Prime Minister. He retained this office until 1946, and his Socialist party remained in government until 1976. There was a severe recession in Sweden at this time.

12/3/1932, Ivar Kreuger, 52, Swedish civil engineer and industrialist committed suicide.

14/5/1931, In Sweden, soldiers shot and killed striking workers at Adalen.

1919, Universal adult suffrage in Sweden.

1917, A new Swedish Liberal Government limited exports that were helping the German war effort.

1914 - 1917, Sweden was nominally neutral during World War One, however they supplied Germany with war goods.

8/12/1907, King Oscar II of Sweden died, aged 78, after a 35-year reign; he also ruled Norway until 1905. His eldest son, Gustav V, 49, became King, and ruled until 1950.

29/7/1905, Dag Hammarskjold, Swedish Secretary-General of the United Nations, was born in Jonkoping.


Separation of Norway from Sweden, 1905

26/10/1905. Norway and Sweden ended their union. King Oscar II of Sweden formally abdicated the crown of Norway.

13/8/1905, A referendum in Norway found 80% agreed with the separation from Sweden.

7/6/1905. Norway declared independence from Sweden (see 4/11/1814).Since the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Norway had been a self-governing subject of the Swedish Crown. In 1905 the provincial parliament voted to cut off relations with Sweden, and a plebiscite backed the move by 386,208 to 184 votes. In 1397 Margaret I succeeded in uniting Denmark, Norway and Sweden. In 1527 Gustav I cancelled that union, and Norway was ruled by Denmark until 1814, when it was ceded to Sweden under the Treaty of Kiel. Calls for Norwegian independence grew, especially after the adoption of universal suffrage in 1898.


1900, In Sweden, the Liberal party was formed, to fight for an extended franchise. It first took power in 1905 under Karl Staaff.

1890, Exploitation of the great iron ore deposits at Kiruna began; see railways (Sweden) for transport development here.

11/11/1882, Gustav VI, King of Sweden, was born the eldest son of Gustav V.

18/9/1872, Charles IV of Sweden died at Malmo, aged 46. He was succeeded by his 43-year-old brother, as Oscar II.

1866, The Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) was made bicameral.

8/7/1859, King Oskar I of Sweden died aged 60 after a 15-year reign. He was succeeded by his 33-year-old son who reigned as Charles XV until 1872.

16/6/1858, Gustav V, King of Sweden from 1907 to 1950, was born the son of Oscar II.

18/10/1854, Salomon August Andree, Swedish engineer, was born in Grenna.

21/10/1853, Alfred Nobel was born in Stockholm.

22/12/1846, Oscar Josef Alin, Swedish politician, was born in Falun (died 31/12/1900 in Uppsala).

8/3/1844, Charles XIV, King of Sweden, died aged 81, after a 26-year reign. He was succeeded by his son, Oskar I, aged 44.

7/2/1837, Gustavus IV, King of Sweden, died. King of Sweden from 1792; he was born in 1778.

21/1/1829, Oscar II, King of Sweden and Norway, was born.

3/5/1826, Charles XV, King of Sweden, was born (died 18/9/1872).

5/2/1818, Charles XIII of Sweden died aged 69 after a 9-year reigh. He was succeeded by Crown Prince Jean Bernadotte (55), who now became Charles XIV. He ruled until 1844.

1815, Congress of Vienna. Sweden ceded territory to Russia and Denmark. A long period of peace began.

4/11/1814, Norway united with Sweden, see 7/6/1905.

3/3/1813, Britain agreed with Sweden that it would not oppose a union of Sweden and Norway.


17/11/1810. Sweden declared war on Britain.

For more on Napoleonic wars see France-Germany

20/10/1810, Jean Baptiste Bernadotte arrived in Sweden as Regent (see 21/8/1810), with the name Charles John, whilst King Charles XIII was ill.

21/8/1810, Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, French soldier, was elected Crown Prince by the Swedish Riksdag, see 20/10/1810.


1/3/1810, The world�s first Ombudsman, Lars Mannerheim, was appointed in Sweden.

17/9/1809, In February 1808 Tsar Alexander invaded Finland, then part of Sweden, without a declaration of war.On this day the Treaty of Fredrikshamn ended the war; Sweden ceded Finland and the Aland Islands to Russia. Sweden was unable to secure an undertaking by Russia not to fortify the Aland Islands, which were close to Stockholm, but see 30/3/1856.

13/3/1809, Swedish Army officers seized King Gustavus IV of Sweden and put him under house arrest in the royal apartments. A provisional government was announced, led by the Duke of Sudermania. On 29/3/1809 Gustavus IV officially abdicated, and on 10/5/1809 the Swedish Government announced that the Gustavus family would not regain the throne.

1/11/1778, Gustavus IV, King of Sweden, was born.


King Gustavus III, reigned1771-92

29/3/1792, King Gustavus III of Sweden died, aged 46 (acceded 1771). He was succeeded by his son, 13-year old Gustavus IV.

16/3/1792, Gustavus III, King of Sweden, was shot at a masked ball; he died on 29/3/1792. King of Sweden from 1771, he was born in 1746. He was succeeded by his 13-year-old son who ruled as Gustavus IV until his forced abdication in 1809.

14/8/1790, The Treaty of Verela ended the Swedish-Russian War, with no significant territorial changes.

24/8/1789, The Russian Navy destroyed the Swedish fleet in the Gulf of Finland.

3/4/1789, King Gustavus III of Sweden passed an Act of Unbity and Security, giving him absolute powers.

19/8/1772, Gustavus III of Sweden re-established an absolute monarchy, as he removed the Riksdag�s power to legislate. However he also liberalised, abolishing torture and proclaiming the freedom of the press and of religious worship.

24/1/1746, Gustavus III, King of Sweden, was born.


12/2/1771, King Adolphus Frederick of Sweden died, aged 60, in Stockholm. He was succeeded by his 25-year old son, Gustavus III.

26/1/1763, Charles XIV, King of Sweden, was born.

2/6/1761, Jonas Alstromer, Swedish industrialist, died (born 7/1/1685 in Alingsas, Vestergotland).

9/10/1757, Charles X, King of Sweden, was born.

7/10/1748, Charles XIII, King of Sweden, was born (died 5/2/1818).

17/4/1742, Arvid Horn, Swedish statesman, died (born 6/4/1664).


Great Northern War

23/1/1743, Russia and Sweden began negotiations to end their conflict.

1720, Ulrika Eleanora abdicated in favour of her husband Frederick of Hesse, aged 44. He ruled until 1751 as Frederick I, but the new Constitution had taken away much of the monarchy�s power.

11/12/1718, Charles XII, King of Sweden, was killed after a 21-year reign, aged 36, shot at the Fortress of Frederiksten as he peered across at the Norwegians. He was succeeded by his sister, Ulrika Eleanora, aged 30, who was made Queen on condition that she accept a new Constitution drafted by the Riksdag. She ended the Great Northern War.����

24/12/1715, Swedish troops occupied Norway.

6/8/1714, Naval Battle of Gangut, in the Baltic; Russia defeated Sweden.

14/5/1710, Frederick Adolphus, King of Sweden from 1743, was born (died 12/2/1771).

28/2/1710, Sweden defeated a force of 14,000 Danes at the Battle of Helsingborg.

8/7/1709, The Battle of Poltava (in modern day eastern Ukraine). Peter the Great of Russia destroyed the Swedish army. Hanover and Denmark joined with Russia in attacking the Swedish Empire.

9/10/1708, Battle of Lesnaya; Russia beat Sweden.

4/7/1708, Battle of Holovsin; Sweden beat Russia.

2/7/1708, Battle of Kliszow; Sweden beat Russia.

13/4/1703, Battle of Pultusk; Sweden defeated Russia, and then laid siege to Thorn.

18/7/1702, Battle of Hummelsdorf; Russia defeated Sweden.

7/1/1702, Battle of Errestfer; Russia defeated Sweden.

10/6/1701, Swedish forces under King Charles XII relieved Riga, which had been under siege by Saxony troops (Great Northern War). Charles XII then went on to invade Poland.

20/11/1700, Sweden defeated the Russians at Narva.


1699, Drottingholm Palace, near Stockholm, was completed.

14/12/1697, Charles XII was crowned King of Sweden, aged 15.

7/5/1697, The Royal Castle, Tree Kronor (Three Crowns) in Sweden burnt down, destroying a large part of the Royal Library.


King Charles XI

5/4/1697, Death of King Charles XI of Sweden, aged 40, after a 37-year reign. He was succeeded by his 14-year-old son, Charles XII, who ruled until 1718, see 14/12/1697.

19/4/1689, Queen Christina of Sweden died (born 1626); she had abdicated in 1654.

29/1/1688, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Swedish mystic, was born.

7/1/1685, Jonas Alstromer, Swedish industrialist, was born in Alingsas, Vestergotland. He died 2/6/1761.

30/4/1683, France, Brandenburg-Prussia, and Denmark agreed that Sweden should be expelled from German territories.

17/6/1682, Charles XII, King of Sweden, was born (died 1718).

1680, The city of Karlskrona, Sweden, was founded by King Charles XI.

2/9/1680, Per Brahe, Swedish statesman, died in Visingborg (born near Stockholm 18/2/1602).

14/7/1677, At the Battle of Landskrona, Sweden defeated Denmark.

31/5/1677, Danish ships defeated a Swedish naval force.

4/12/1676, The Swedish town of Lund was defended in the Battle of Lund, one of the bloodiest battles fought in Scandinavia.

1672, King Charles XI, now aged 16, took full power, from a corrupt Regency; he reigned until 1697.

6/4/1664, Arvid Horn, Swedish statesman, was born (died 17/4/1742).

16/9/1663, The Swedish Collegium Medicorum was founded. This later became the Swedish National Board of Health.

3/5/1660, At the Peace of Oliva (near Danzig), Frederick William ceded Eastern Pomerania to Sweden.


King Charles X

13/2/1660, Charles X of Sweden died, aged 37. He was succeeded by his 4-year old son, Charles XI. Also this day the Treaty of Copenhagen ended hostilities between Sweden and Denmark. The Danes ceded the province of Scania, southern tip of Scandinavia, to Sweden.

25/6/1656, The Treaty of Mareinburg was concluded between Sweden and Brandenburg-Prussia.The Poles under John Casimir had expelled the Swedes, and under this Treaty Brandenburg-Prussia was promised part of the spoils should Poland be defeated by Sweden.

24/11/1655, Charles XI, King of Sweden, was born (died 5/4/1697).


28/8/1654, Swedish Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna died (born 1583).

16/6/1654, Queen Christina of Sweden abdicated in favour of her cousin, Charles Gustavus (Charles X). There had been discontent at her luxurious lifestyle and failure to produce an heir. She had sold off large amounts of Crown Property to support the 500 nobles she had created . She fled disguised in men�s clothes as �Count Dohna�, to settle in Rome.Meanwhile Denmark felt uneasy at the accession of Charles X, fearing his aggressive expansionist attitude. The invasion of Poland by Sweden (7/1654) was a relief to Denmark.

1645, Sweden acquired Gotland from Denmark.

10/5/1641, Johan Baner, Swedish soldier during the Thirty Years War, died in Halberstadt (born in Djursholm Castle 23/6/1596).


Swedish campaigns to acquire the southern shore of the Baltic, see also Germany and Poland.

6/9/1634, Battle of Nordlingen, Germany. Hapsburg forces defeated Sweden.

16/11/1632, Gustavus II, King of Sweden from 1611 (born 1594), was killed as his army gained victory in the Battle of Lutzen (Thirty Years War) near Leipzig. He was succeeded by his 6-year old daughter, Christina; in the interim, Sweden was governed by Count Axel Oxenstierna.

15/4/1632, Battle of Rain, Bavaria. Swedish forces destroyed the Bavarian army, which had been allied to the Hapsburgs.

23/12/1631, The Swedes captured Mainz, Germany.

17/9/1631, During the Thirty Years War, a battle was fought between Gustavus II, King of Sweden (1594-1632) and the Holy Roman Empire forces under Tilly at Brietenfeld, Germany. (see 4/7/1630).The Swedes overwhelmingly won. Gustavus II had extended the Kingdom of Sweden right around the eastern Baltic, turning it into a �Swedish lake�. Gustavus now began to conquer the wealthy lands of the rivers Main and Rhine.

4/7/1630, During the Thirty Years War, Gustavus Adolphus, Protestant King of Sweden, landed at Peenemunde with an army of 13,000 men, in an attempt to bring the entire Baltic under Swedish control.See 17/9/1631.

23/1/1630, Under the Treaty of Barwalde, Sweden agreed, in return for an annual tribute of one million pounds to King Gustavus Adolphus, to respect te neutrality of Bavaria and the Catholic League.

25/9/1629,The Treaty of Altmark ended the Polish-Swedish war, for six years. Gustavus of Sweden was now, summer 1627, to start a campaign in northern Germany.


10/8/1628, The Swedish flagship Vasa sank on her maiden voyage at Stockholm.

8/12/1626, Queen Christina of Sweden was born.

8/11/1622, Charles X, King of Sweden, was born.

1621, Sweden seized Riga.

27/2/1617, The Treaty of Stolbovo ended the Ingrian War between Sweden and Russia.Sweden gained Ingermanland and Karelia.

20/1/1613, The Peace of Knared. Sweden paid a large ransom for the return of the fortress of Alvsborg, on the frontier with Denmark.

30/10/1611, Charles IX of Sweden died aged 61, having ruled since 1604. He was succeeded by his 16-year old son, Gustavus II.

12/3/1610, Swedish troops under Jacob de la Gardie took Moscow.

18/2/1602, Per Brahe, Swedish statesman, was born near Stockholm (died in Visingborg 2/9/1680).

23/6/1596, Johan Baner, Swedish soldier during the Thirty Years War, was born in Djursholm Castle (died in Halberstadt 10/5/1641).

9/12/1594, Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, was born.

1592, Swedish King John III died aged 55, having failed to Romanise the country. He was succeeded by his 28-year-old son Sigismund, who had been King of Poland since 1587. Sigismund married the Austrian Archduchess Anne.

15/1/1582, Ivan IV, The Terrible, of Russia ceded, at the Peace of Zapoli, Livonia and Polotsk to Stephen Bathory of Poland. He also ceded this day, by the Truce of Ilyusa, Ingria to Sweden. Muscovy lost the Baltic seaboard for over a century.


King Eric XIV

24/2/1577, Former Swedish King Eric XIV died at Orbyhus prison, allegedly poisoned by the prison Governor, Johan Henriksen.

10/3/1575, The former Swedish King Eric XIV had become a source of trouble for the State, with three rebellions hoping to reinstate him having to be suppressed since his deposition for insanity in 1568. This day a formal sentence of death was passed upon him.

13/12/1570, The Peace of Stettin ended the war between Sweden and Denmark, recognising Swedish independence.

25/1/1569, The Swedish Riksdag confirmed the choice of new King and formally deposed Eric XIV.

30/9/1568, King Eric XIV of Sweden was deposedby the Swedish army and nobility after several years of worsening insanity. He was succeeded by his 31-year-old brother who reiged until 1592 as John III.

4/7/1568, King Eric XIV of Sweden, having recovered his sanity somewhat, married Karin at Stockholm.

16/1/1567, King Eric XIV of Sweden, already showing signs of incipient insanity, arrived at the Riksdag in Upsala where he delivered a speech condemning the treachery of the nobility.

15/6/1566, In Sweden, Count Nils was ritually humiliated by King Eric XIV, who was fearful that the power of the Swedish aristocracy might supersede that of the monarchy.

30/5/1563, The Nordic Seven Years War began between Denmark and Sweden.

4/10/1562, Duke John of Sweden married Catherine, daughter of King Sigismund I of Poland. He also pledged to help Poland conquer Livonia (approximately, modern-day Estonia and Latvia). This was a breach of the Arbiga Articles (drawn up by King Eric XIV on 15/4/1561 at Arboga) which proscribed the royal dukes from making any political treaties without Royal assent. Eric sent an army. 10,000 strong, to John�s Duchy of Finland to seize him and bring him back to Sweden.

6/1561, Eric XIV was crowned King of Sweden at Upsala.

15/4/1561, King Eric XIV of Sweden summoned a Riksdag at Arboga which drew up the Arboga Articles this day, proscribing the power of the royal dukes, John and Charles.

29/9/1560, Gustavus Vasa, King of Sweden, died. His son Eric XIV, who had been about to sail for England to propose marriage to Queen Elizabeth I, now hastened back to Stockholm.


25/6/1560, Gustavus I of Sweden abdicated, aged 64. King of Sweden from 1523, he was born in 1496. He was succeeded by his son, Charles IX.

1533, Eric XIV, King of Sweden 1561-68, was born (died 1577).

1527, Evangelical Lutheranism was established as the State Religion.


Union of Kalmar 1397 - 1523

6/6/1523, Gustavus Vasa, aged 27, was elected King of Sweden, and finally established full independence from Denmark. End of the Kalmar Union. This was confirmed by the Treaty of Malmo, 1524.

4/11/1520, Christian was crowned King of Sweden.

1513, King John I of Denmark (who was also King John II of Sweden, 1497-1501), died after a 32-year reign. He was succeeded by his 32-year-old son as King Christian II of Denmark and Norway, but Sweden refused to accept his rule.

12/5/1496, Gustavus Vasa, King of Sweden, was born.

30/10/1495, An explosion at Vyborg Castle deterred Russian forces who were invading Sweden through Karelia.

15/5/1470,Charles VIII, King of Sweden, died

28/10/1412, Margaret, Queen of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, died.

20/6/1397. The Union of Kalmar united Denmark, Norway, and Sweden under one monarch. See 1380.


1380, Hakon, King of Norway, died. His surviving wife was Queen Margaret (born 1353, married 1363, and daughter of Waldemar III, King of Denmark). Her son Olaf died in 1387, which meant she became ruler of Denmark also. She defeated Albert, King of Sweden, thereby gaining that country too. Margaret then instituted the Union of Kalmar, 1397, to permanently unite these three countries. Margaret died in 1412.

1363, King Magnus II of Sweden was forced to abdicate at age 47 after a weak 44-year reign. He was succeeded by Albert of Mecklenburg, a puppet of the Swedish aristocracy, who ruled until 1387.

8/7/1319, Three-year-old Magnus Eriksson was elected king of Sweden, thus uniting it with Norway. His mother Ingeborg of Norway was given a place in the regency in both Sweden and Norway.

1290, Sweden�s King Magnus Ladulos died aged 50 after an 11-year reign. He was succeeded by his 10-year-old son who was crowned Birger III in 1302; he ruled until his exile in 1318.

21/10/1266, Binger Jarl, who founded the city of Stockholm, died.

1255, The city of Stockholm was founded, on an island in a fjord, by Binger Jarl.

15/7/1240. Alexander Nevski defeated the Swedish army, led by General Briger Jarl, on the banks of the Neva.

1150, King Sverker of Sweden was deposed after a 16-year reign that has amalgamated the Swedes and Goths. He was succeeded by Eric IX, who ruled until 1160.

1090, King Ingo of Sweden acceded (died 1112).

10161035, Under King Canute the Great, all of Scandinavia and England were united.

993, Sweden�s first Christian ruler, Olaf Skutkonung, acceded. Son of Eric the Conqueror, he ruled until his death in 1024.

517, The first documented Viking raid on Gaul. The Viking King Hygelac was killed and his fleet defeated.

600s, The Svear, from which the name �Sweden� derives�, extended their control across much of central Sweden.

500, Danes from Scania (southern Sweden) settled in Jutland (Denmark).

8,000 BCE, Start of hunter-gatherer peoples in Scandinavia, as the climate warmed.


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