Sweden: from Ice Age to Satellites

The history of Sweden began with pioneering hunters and fisherman exploring the region at the end of the ice age in 8,000 B.C.  Permanent settlements were established once farming was introduced in 4,000B B.C. and in 2,000 B.C. they learned how to use bronze tools and weapons, upgrading to iron around 500 B.C. around the same time that trade routes were established with the Roman Empire.

By the 9th Century, the kingdom of Sweden was formed; a dominantly agricultural society, and one that did not commonly share the conquering interests of their viking Norwegian and Danish neighbors.  Their power did not grow until they converted to Christianity in the 11th century.  Crusades and wars followed through the Middle Ages between Sweden, Russia, and Finland.  By the 1300’s Sweden had claimed Finland.  The Black Death swept through Sweden in the mid-1300’s, claiming the lives of approximately 1/3rd of the population.  By the end of the 1300’s, an aristocratic insurgency allowed for Margaret the Regent to lead her army into Sweden and defeat the reigning king Albert.  Margaret united Sweden, Norway, and Denmark with the Union of Kalmar, which lasted until the civil war of the 1500’s where Sweden declared its independence.

Sweden warred with Finland, Denmark, and Russia through the 1600s; by the end of the wars, Sweden had become the dominant power in North Europe.  By the 1700s, Sweden was at war with Poland and Ukraine.  Sweden remained neutral during the World Wars and invested in their economy and government, and prospered as a result.  By the mid-1990’s Sweden was a part of the European Union.

Today, Sweden is a prosperous country.  The First Swedish satelling called “Viking” was launched in 1986.

The official language of both Sweden and Finland is Swedish, but there are two prominent minority languages: Finnish and Saami (a language spoken mostly in the northern regions).  Like throughout history, the Swedish people have a strong religious affiliation, with over three quarters of their total population (7 million) being part of the Lutheran Church.

The Swedish people are commonly polite, egalitarian, and humble.  Most of the population lives in small rural towns, though the major cities are modernized.  There is a strong cultural push for moderation, equality, as well as respecting the environment and sustainability.  A common word spoken in Sweden is Lagom, which means “Not too much, not too little… just right.”