Swedish Empire

the years 1611–1721 in the history of Sweden

The Swedish Empire in European history, was important between the years 1611 and 1718. In Swedish it is called "stormaktstiden" meaning "the era of great power"). King Gustavus Adolphus was king from 1611. Europe was full of political, religious, and military conflicts. The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) and Second Northern War gave Sweden opportunities to expand its influence.

Swedish Empire
Kingdom of Sweden
Det svenska stormaktsväldet
Konungariket Sverige
Flag of Swedish Empire
The Swedish Empire at its height in 1658. Overseas possessions are not shown.
The Swedish Empire at its height in 1658. Overseas possessions are not shown.
Common languagesSwedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Estonian, Sami, German, Livonian, Latvian, Danish
(Eastern orthodox faith recognized as minority religion)
• 1611–1632
Gustav II Adolf the Great
• 1632–1654
• 1654–1660
Charles X Gustav
• 1660–1697
Charles XI
• 1697–1718
Charles XII
Lord High Chancellor 
• 1612–1654
Axel Oxenstierna
• 1654–1656
Erik Oxenstierna
• 1660–1686
Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie
LegislatureRiksdag of the Estates
Historical eraEarly modern Europe
• Established
• Disestablished
• 17th century
CurrencyRiksdaler, Mark (until 1664), Carolin (from 1664)
Preceded by
History of Sweden (1611–1648)
Today part of Sweden

History change

Rise to power change

King Gustavus Adolphus made Sweden powerful. The Swedish military had strong infantry and he led them cleverly. Victories such as the Battle of Breitenfeld in 1631 made Sweden strong.

Notable achievements change

During this period, Sweden advanced in science, culture, and trade. In Stockholm the Swedish Academy was started in 1786.This was important for the development of Swedish language and literature. The empire made possible colonization efforts, including the foundation of New Sweden in North America. The empire's control over key Baltic trade routes helped its economic prosperity. Sweden's urban centers saw the emergence of grand architecture, vibrant arts, and a flourishing cultural scene.

Decline and the Great Northern War change

The empire declined because of the Great Northern War (1700-1721). Sweden fought against an alliance of powers including Russia, Denmark-Norway, and Poland-Lithuania. It lost several territories, marking the end of its imperial era.

Related pages change