IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > B. Early Modern Europe, 1479–1815 > 5. National Patterns, 1648–1815 > h. Scandinavia
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1632–54) (See 1632–54)
h. Scandinavia
DEMOGRAPHY: With the exception of Iceland, Scandinavian population grew in the 17th and 18th centuries, particularly after 1721 (end of the Great Northern War). Icelandic population remained steady, punctuated by the oscillations of natural disaster and famine. Denmark's population increased most rapidly in the 18th century; population in 1600 was about 700,000, in 1700 about 800,000, and in 1800, one million. Finland's population did not increase substantially until after the Great Northern War (See 1700–1721), but then growth seemed to be closely tied to the availability of land (by 1750 about 420,000 and by 1800 about 833,000). Norway also experienced slow growth before 1750 and more rapid growth after 1750, spurred by declining death rates and increasing birth rates.  1
Culture: Scandinavian cultural development included scientific, political, and literary advances during the 17th and 18th centuries. Linnaeus (1707–78), a Swedish botanist, published his Systemae Naturae (1735). Anders Celsius (1701–44) invented the centigrade thermometer, although his version set the boiling point at zero degrees and freezing at 100 degrees. Two Swedish political theorists followed Lockean notions of politics: Johan Henrik Kellgren and Nils von Rosenstern. Scandinavian satirists included Olof Dalin and Holberg. Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht and Gustaf Philip Cruetz were writers and leading members of the Tankebyggarorden, a literary society in Stockholm modeled after similar French societies.  2
1. Sweden and Finland
Monarchs: Christiana (1632–54), Charles X (1654–60), Charles XI (1660–97), Charles XII (1697–1718), Ulrika Eleanora (1718–20; she turned the throne over to her husband), Frederick I (1720–51), Adolphus Frederick (1751–71), Gustavus III (1771–92), Gustavus IV Adolphus (1792-1809).  3
Sweden controlled Finland but was challenged by Russia in the 18th century, finally relinquishing control in 1809.  4
Legacy of the Thirty Years' War: Sweden emerged as the dominant power in the Baltic region, but its power gradually declined over the next century and a half. Sweden gained control of Pomerania (Treaty of Westphalia) and sought control of Poland. Its territorial aggressions resulted in several wars and required huge military expenditures.  5
Agriculture remained unchanged during the 17th century. Peasants still used the strip system; barley was the primary crop, and crops frequently failed. Finnish settlers in northern and western Sweden still used the slash-and-burn technique; land was burned, cultivated, exhausted, and abandoned.  6
Economy: Swedes pursued mercantilistic policies and exported iron, copper, and timber. They encouraged immigration to provide the necessary labor force for such production, especially in mining regions and the Umeå Lappmark in the north, and created several colonial interests, including an African Company (1649-1717) and West India companies.  7
Society: Lutheran pastors had great sway within Swedish society and spread Lutheran teachings everywhere Swedish armies conquered. At the end of the century, the Swedish church received a new hymnal and began a new translation of the Bible. Towns became more important in the 17th century; their guilds maintained strict control of their crafts. The government tried to keep its Swedish workforce and encourage foreign workers to immigrate, regulating when and where workers might go within the country.  8
Sweden expanded its colonial influence by establishing several colonial tar companies.  9
The riksdag's protests regarding noble control of former crown lands stifled. These protests demonstrated growing impatience with state debts incurred in the wake of such benevolence.  10
Queen Christina, the daughter of Gustavus Adolphus, abdicated the throne in favor of her cousin, Charles Gustavus of Pfalz-Zweibrücken.  11
He became CHARLES X GUSTAVUS. His reign concentrated on military developments because of his attack on Poland.  12
This attempt to gain new Baltic territory, the First Northern War, was concluded by the Treaty of Oliva and the Treaty of Copenhagen (1660; (See 1655–60).  13
Riksdag began the process of “reduction,” eliminating noble control of and benefits from crown lands, by ordering reductions on mines, forts, and other property.  14
1658, Feb. 26
Treaty of Roskilde between Sweden and Denmark. Sweden received the provinces of Skåne, Halland, Blekinge, Bohuslän, Trondheim (Norway), and the island of Bornholm.  15
Charles XI began to develop an absolutist monarchy.  16
Education emphasized by the establishment of several schools, especially a medical school (1663) and Lund University (1668).  17
National Bank of Sweden founded after an abortive attempt earlier in the century.  18
Under the pressure of the king, the estates passed a law by the terms of which all earldoms, baronies, and other large fiefs should revert to the crown. The riksdag also affirmed the king's right to reclaim grants to the nobles without the riksdag's intervention. This weakened the nobility and forced many to sell their lands, which increased the percentages of land held by free farmers and office-holding nobility.  19
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.