History of Sweden (1523–1611)

The Early Vasa era is a period that in Swedish and Finnish history lasted between 1523–1611. It began with the reconquest of Stockholm by Gustav Vasa and his men from the Danes in 1523, Which was triggered by the event known as the Stockholm Bloodbath in 1520, and then was followed up by Sweden's secession from the Kalmar Union, and continued with the reign of Gustav's sons Eric XIV, John III, John's son Sigismund, and finally Gustav's youngest son Charles IX. The era was followed by a period commonly referred to as the Swedish Empire or Stormaktstiden in Swedish Which means “Era Of Great Power”.

Gustav's reign was marked by internal political and religious reforms, including the Protestant Reformation, where he converted to Protestantism and seized Catholic Church property and wealth, and unification of the provinces. At the death of Gustav in 1560, he was succeeded by his oldest son Eric. Eric was intelligent and skilled, but was in a constant strain with his brother and other noblemen. He engaged in warfare against both Denmark, Russia and Poland, but suffered periods of insanity in 1567. In 1568 he was dethroned and succeeded by his brother John.

John stabilized the international situation and made peace. He also wanted to partially restore Roman Catholicism but the idea did not come through in the end.

At the death of John in 1592, his son Sigismund succeeded him. Sigismund was already ruler of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, through his mother, and he would rule Poland from 1587 to 1632. He set up a regency and continued to reside in Poland. On learning about the Uppsala Synod, that finally declared Sweden's Lutheran doctrines, he returned home to protest. He found that the Riksdag of the Estates had already dethroned him and replaced him by Gustav Vasa's youngest son, his uncle, Charles IX. A brief civil war ensued that Sigismund lost in 1598, where after he fled the country never to return.

Establishment of the Vasa dynasty

In 1520, Stockholm was taken by Christian II of Denmark and became the scene of the Stockholm Bloodbath. By 1521, Gustav Eriksson, a nobleman and relative of Sten Sture the Elder, managed to gather troops from Dalarna in north-west Sweden and help from Lübeck, with the purpose of defeating the Danes. In August 1521, his men elected him their monarch. The Swedish War of Liberation started, and would last until the capture of Stockholm, in June 1523. Gustav Vasa then consolidated his rule against claims from Denmark.

Tax reforms took place in 1538 and 1558, whereby multiple complex taxes on independent farmers were simplified and standardised throughout the district; tax assessments per farm were adjusted to reflect ability to pay. Crown tax revenues increased, but more importantly the new system was perceived as fairer and more acceptable. A war with Luebeck in 1535 resulted in the expulsion of the Hanseatic traders, who previously had had a monopoly of foreign trade. With its own businessmen in charge Sweden's economic strength grew rapidly, and by 1544 Gustavus had support from 60% of the farmlands in all of Sweden. Sweden now built the first modern army in Europe, supported by a sophisticated tax system and government bureaucracy. Gustavus proclaimed the Swedish crown hereditary in his family, the house of Vasa. It ruled Sweden (1523–1654) and Poland (1587–1668).[1]

After Gustav's death, his oldest son Eric XIV ascended the throne. His regency was marked by Sweden's entrance into the Livonian War and the Northern Seven Years' War, and the mutual relation between his developing mental disorder and the opposition with the aristocracy, leading to the Sture Murders (1567) and the imprisonment of his brother John (III), who was married to Catherine Jagiellonica, the sister of Sigismund II of Poland.[2] A magnates' uprising led by John led to Erik's deposition and the kingship of John, followed by the regency of John's son Sigismund. Sigismund however was not able to defend the throne against Gustav's youngest son Charles (IX)


Shortly after seizing power in 1523, Gustav Vasa addressed the Pope in Rome with a request for the confirmation of Johannes Magnus as new archbishop of Sweden, in the place of Gustav Trolle who had been formally deposed by the Riksdag of the Estates due to his involvement with the Danes. The pope initially refused, but gave his approval a year later. Magnus then was in a position between the reformation friendly king and the Catholic bishops. He was sent on a diplomatic mission to Russia in 1526 while the king continued the reformation. Magnus travelled down to Rome and was consecrated in 1533, but never returned home.

Gustav Vasa triumphs 2
An image issued by and made during Gustav Vasa's reign, showing him (in dark brown clothing and cap) capturing and subduing Catholicism (the lady in orange dress).

Meanwhile, Gustav suppressed all Catholic printing-presses in 1526 and took two-thirds of the Church's tithes for the payment of the national debt (owed to the German soldiers who helped him to the throne). In 1529, he summoned to a church meeting in Örebro. Without formally breaking with Rome, all Catholic rituals were declared as merely symbolic, although still retained. The Catholic support was still strong around the country, and Gustav preferred to move slow by first spreading education of the Reformation.[3]

The final step was taken in 1531, when Gustav Vasa announced Laurentius Petri as the new archbishop of Uppsala and Sweden. Laurentius and his brother Olaus, and Mikael Agricola in Österland (today's Finland), wrote and printed Lutheran texts throughout the next decades. The opposition was still strong, and neither Gustav nor his successor Eric XIV dared making radical reforms. A complete Lutheran church ordinance was not presented until the Swedish Church Ordinance 1571, defined in the Riksdag in 1591, with a statement of faith finalized by the Uppsala Synod in 1593.

Peasant risings

Gustav had to face half-dozen peasant risings between 1525 and 1543, ending when the Dacke War was crushed. In all these rebellions the religious issue figured largely, though the increasing fiscal burdens were undoubtedly grievous, and the peasants had their particular grievances besides. The wholesale seizure and degradation of Church property outraged them, and they formally protested against the introduction of "Luthery." They insisted on the restoration of the ancient Catholic customs.[4]

Attempts of Catholic reunification

Under Eric XIV the Reformation in Sweden proceeded on the same lines as during the reign of his father, retaining all the old Catholic customs not considered contrary to Scripture. After 1544, when the Council of Trent had formally declared the Bible and tradition to be equally authoritative sources of all Christian doctrine, the contrast between the old and the new teaching became more obvious; and in many countries a middle party arose which aimed at a compromise by going back to the Church of the Fathers. King John III of Sweden, the most learned of the Vasas, and somewhat of a theological expert, was largely influenced by these middle views. As soon as he had mounted the throne he took measures to bring the Church of Sweden back to "the primitive Apostolic Church and the Swedish Catholic faith"; and, in 1574, persuaded a synod, assembled at Stockholm, to adopt certain articles framed by himself. In February 1575 a new Church ordinance, approximating still more closely to the patristic Church, was presented to another synod and accepted, but very unwillingly. In 1576 a new liturgy was issued on the model of the Roman missal, but with considerable modifications.[4]

Despite the opposition of Duke Charles and the ultra-Protestants, these measures were adopted by the Riksdag of the Estates in 1577. They greatly encouraged the Catholic party in Europe, and John III was ultimately persuaded to send an embassy to Rome to open negotiations for the reunion of the Swedish Church with the Holy See. But though the Jesuit Antonio Possevino was sent to Stockholm to complete John's conversion, John would only consent to embrace Catholicism under certain conditions which were never fulfilled, and the only result of all these subterraneous negotiations was to incense the Protestants still more against the new liturgy, the use of which by every congregation in the realm without exception was, nevertheless, decreed by the Riksdag of 1582.[4]

During this period Duke Charles and his Protestant friends were clearly outnumbered by the promoters of the media. Nevertheless, immediately after King John's death, the Uppsala Synod, summoned by Duke Charles, rejected the new liturgy and drew up an anti-Catholic confession of faith, March 5, 1593. Holy Scripture and the three primitive creeds were declared to be the true foundations of Christian faith, and the Augsburg confession was adopted.[4]

Sigismund's reaction

When Sigismund found out about the Uppsala Synod 1593, he considered it an infringement of his prerogative. On his arrival in Sweden he initially tried to gain time by confirming what had been done; but the aggressiveness of the Protestant faction and the persistence of Duke Charles made civil war inevitable. At the Battle of Stångebro on September 25, 1598, the struggle was decided in favour of Charles and Protestantism. Sigismund fled from Sweden, never to return, and on March 19, 1600, the Riksdag of Linköping proclaimed the duke king under the title of Charles IX of Sweden. Sigismund and his line of posterity were declared to have forfeited the Swedish crown, and was from then on to pass to the male heirs of Charles.[4]

Foreign affairs

Sweden had little independent foreign interaction while it was committed to the Kalmar Union, and Gustav earliest reign aimed at little more than self-preservation. As he was in debt to merchant of Lübeck, he used aid of Denmark to free himself from this deal by a truce of August 28, 1537. Thereby, Sweden for the first time in its history became the mistress of its own waters. But hegemony of Denmark was indisputable, and Gustav regarded them with suspicion. When Sweden broke away from the Kalmar Union, Denmark and Norway entered into their own union, (see Denmark–Norway), and the Danish king Christian III continued to carry the Swedish insignia of three crowns in his coat of arms, indicating a supposed claim of sovereignty.[4]

Also offensive was the attitude of Sweden's eastern neighbor Russia, with whom the Swedish king was nervously anxious to stand on good terms. Gustav attributed to Ivan IV of Russia, whose resources he unduly magnified, the design of establishing a universal monarchy round the Baltic sea, and waged an inconclusive war against him in 1554–1557.[4]

First involvements

Ultimately, Sweden departed from its neutrality and laid the foundations of its later overseas empire. In the last year of Gustav's life, 1560, the ancient Livonian Order, had by the secularization of the latter order into the dukedom of Prussia, 1525, had become isolated between hostile Slavonians. The situation became critical in 1558–1560, when floods of Muscovites poured over the land, threatening the whole province with destruction.[4]

In his despair, the last master of the order Gotthard von Kettler, appealed to his civilized neighbours to save him. Eric became ruler by October 1560, and already later that year he engaged Sweden in the Livonian War. By March 1561, the city council of Reval surrendered to Sweden, and became the outpost for further Swedish conquests in the area. From the moment, Sweden was forced to continue on a policy of combat and aggrandisement, because a retreat would have meant the ruin of its Baltic trade.[4]

Erik XIV also obstructed Danish plans to conquer Estonia, and added the insignia of Norway and Denmark to his own coat of arms. Lübeck, upset over obstacles of trade that Erik had introduced to hinder the Russian trade and withdrawn trade privileges, joined Denmark in a war alliance. Poland soon joined, wanting control of the Baltic trade.

Deepening involvements

At Bornholm, on May 30, 1563, the Danish fleet fired on the Swedish navy. A battle arose that ended with Danish defeat. German royal emissaries were sent to negotiate a peace, but at the meeting place of Rostock no Swedes appeared. On August 13, 1563, war was declared in Stockholm by emissaries from Denmark and Lübeck. The so-called Northern Seven Years' War commenced, with exhausting assault on land and water. Eric undaunted continued the war until his insanity in 1567 halted the Swedish warfare. He was dethroned in 1568 and replaced by John, who made peace attempts, which were eventually successful by the Treaty of Stettin in 1570.

John then entered an anti-Russian league with Stephen Báthory of Poland in 1578. The war between Russia and Sweden for the possession of Estonia and Livonia (1571–1577) had been uninterruptedly disastrous to Sweden, and, in the beginning of 1577, a countless Russian host sat down before Reval.[4]

With the help of Bathory, however, the scales soon turned in the opposite direction. Six months after his humiliating peace with the Polish monarch, Ivan IV was glad to conclude a truce with Sweden also on a uti possidetis basis at Plussa, on August 5, 1582. The war was resumed by Russians as soon as the truce expired, leading to the Treaty of Tyavzino, far less advantageous for Sweden.[4]

Sigismund and Polish relations

Duke Sigismund of Sweden, the son of John III, was brought up by his mother in the Catholic religion. On August 19, 1587, he was elected king of Poland. Sixteen days later the Articles of Kalmar, signed by John and Sigismund, regulated the future relations between the two countries when, in process of time, Sigismund should succeed his father as king of Sweden. The Articles of two kingdoms were to be in perpetual alliance, but each of them was to retain its own laws and customs. Sweden was also to enjoy its religion, subject to such changes as the Privy Council might make; but neither pope nor council was to claim or exercise the right of releasing Sigismund from his obligations to his Swedish subjects. During Sigismund's absence from Sweden that realm was to be ruled by seven Swedes, six elected by the king and one by his uncle Duke Charles of Södermanland, the leader of the Swedish Protestants. No new tax was to be levied in Sweden during the king's absence, but Sweden was never to be administered from Poland. Any necessary alterations in these articles were only to be made with the common consent of the king, Duke Charles, the Estates and the gentry of Sweden.

See also


  1. ^ Michael Roberts, The Early Vasas: A History of Sweden 1523–1611 (1968); Jan Glete, War and the State in Early Modern Europe: Spain, the Dutch Republic, and Sweden as Fiscal-Military States, 1500–1660 (2002) War+and+the+State&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=OkIWbv60os&sig=F66lMnhInY-bydmQNc1V_mtSJeM&hl=en&ei=DAUCSv7tCJOCtgOFso3xBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1 online edition
  2. ^ Article "Johan III", from Nordisk familjebok
  3. ^ 41 (Svenska kyrkans historia efter reformationen / Förra delen (1520–1693))
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, article Sweden


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sweden". Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 188–221.
Arvid Stålarm the Younger

Arvid Stålarm, actually Arvid Eriksson (Stålarm) till Lindö i Tenala (c. 1540 or 1549 – May 1620, Gripsholm Castle) was a Swedish noble and soldier from the Finland-based Stålarm family. He is sometimes called "the Younger" to distinguish him from his grandfather and namesake who died in 1529.

In his early career, Arvid Stålarm served as a captain in the Swedish navy. Later, he was promoted admiral, governor in Narva and Finland, and during the War against Sigismund led Finnish forces loyal to Sigismund against the latter's opponent and successor duke Charles of Södermanland, the later king Charles IX. Stålarm was taken prisoner and condemned to death in the Åbo bloodbath (1599) and again in the Linköping bloodbath (1600), but both times was spared from execution and remained in prison.

In 1602, during the Polish–Swedish War (1600–11), he was released to command the Swedish forces in Livonia, who by then were in a precarious state and position. Stålarm received ambiguous orders and was unable to turn the tide. After a major defeat in September 1604, Charles removed him from the command, and Stålarm was again tried and condemned to death in the spring of 1605. He was, however, again spared, and spent the rest of his life as Charles' prisoner at Gripsholm Castle.

Battles of Wenden (1577–78)

The Battles of Wenden were a series of battles for control of the stronghold of Wenden (Cēsis, Kiesia, Võnnu), in present-day Latvia, fought during the Livonian War in 1577 and 1578. Magnus of Livonia besieged the town in August 1577, but was deposed and replaced by Russian forces under tsar Ivan IV, who eventually sacked the town and castle in what became a symbolic victory. Polish forces, however, re-captured the stronghold in November, and beat back a Russian counter-attack in February 1578.

In October 1578, the Russian army again laid siege to the town, but was destroyed by a smaller Swedish–German–Polish relief force. This marked the turning point in the Livonian War, shifting the initiative from the Tsardom of Russia to Sweden and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It also marked the end of the Kingdom of Livonia, which collapsed when Magnus retired to Courland.

Borgholm Castle

Borgholm Castle (Swedish: Borgholms slott) in Borgholm, Sweden, is today only a ruin of the fortress that was first built in the second half of the 13th century and rebuilt many times in later centuries. It is linked to Halltorp estate, to the south. The castle was destroyed in a fire on 14 October 1806.

Hedwig Jagiellon, Electress of Brandenburg

Hedwig Jagiellon (Lithuanian: Jadvyga Jogailaitė, Polish: Jadwiga Jagiellonka, German: Hedwig Jagiellonica; 15 March 1513 – 7 February 1573) was an Electress of Brandenburg by marriage to Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg.

Henrikki Laavunpoika of Kankainen

Henrikki Laavunpoika or Henrik Klasson Horn (c. 1512–1595) was a Swedish military officer and Governor-General of Finland. He was an ancestor of the noble Swedish family, Horn af Kanckas.

History of Sweden

The history of Sweden starts when the Polar cap started receding. The first traces of human visitation is from ca 12000 BC.

Written sources about Sweden before 1000 AD are rare and short, usually written by outsiders, and not until the 14th century are there any longer historical texts produced in Sweden. Swedish history, in contrast with pre-history, is thus usually taken to start in the 11th century, when the sources are common enough that they are possible to be contrasted with each other.

The modern Swedish state was formed over a long period of unification and consolidation. Historians have set different standards for when it can be considered complete (resulting in dates from the 6th to 16th century), but a somewhat unified country, with power concentrated to one monarchical dynasty and some common laws were present from the second part of the second half of the 13th century. At this time, Sweden consisted of most of what is today the southern part of the country (except for Scania, Blekinge, Halland and Bohuslän), as well as parts of what is modern Finland. Over the following centuries, Swedish influence would expand into the North and East, even if borders were often ill-defined or nonexistent.

In the late 14th Century, Sweden was becoming increasingly intertwined with the Denmark and Norway, eventually uniting in the Kalmar Union. During the following century, a series of rebellions served to lessen Sweden's ties to the union, sometime even leading to a separate Swedish king being elected. The fighting reached a climax following the Stockholm Bloodbath in 1520, a mass execution of Swedish noblemen and burgers orchestrated by Christian II of Denmark. One of the few members of the most powerful noble families not present, Gustav Vasa, was able to raise a new rebellion and eventually was crowned King in 1523. His reign proved lasting, and marked the end of Sweden's participation in the union.

Gustav Vasa furthermore encouraged Protestant preachers, finally breaking with the papacy and establishing the Lutheran Church in Sweden, seizing Catholic Church property and wealth.

During the 17th century, after winning wars against Denmark-Norway, Russia, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden emerged as a great power by taking direct control of the Baltic region. Sweden's role in the Thirty Years' War determined the political as well as the religious balance of power in Europe. The Swedish state expanded enormously, into the modern Baltic states, northern Germany, and several regions that, to this day, are part of Sweden.

Before the end of the 17th Century, a secret alliance was formed between Denmark-Norway, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Russia against Sweden. This coalition acted at the very start of the 18th Century as Denmark-Norway and the Commonwealth launched surprise attacks on Sweden. In 1721, Russia and its allies won the war against Sweden. As a result, Russia was able to annex the Swedish territories of Estonia, Livonia, Ingria, and Karelia. This effectively put an end to the Swedish Empire, and crippled her Baltic Sea Power.

Sweden joined in the Enlightenment culture of the day in the arts, architecture, science and learning. Between 1570 and 1800, Sweden experienced two periods of urban expansion. Finland was lost to Russia in a war in 1808–1809.

In the early 19th century, Finland and the remaining territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost. After its last war in 1814, Sweden entered into a personal union with Norway that lasted until 1905. Since 1814, Sweden has been at peace, adopting a non-aligned foreign policy in peacetime and neutrality in wartime. During World War I, Sweden remained neutral. Post-war prosperity provided the foundations for the social welfare policies characteristic of modern Sweden. During World War II, Sweden once again remained neutral, avoiding the fate of occupied Norway. Sweden was one of the first non-participants of World War II to join the United Nations (in 1946).Apart from this, the country attempted to stay out of alliances and remain officially neutral during the entire Cold War; and did not join NATO. The social democratic party held government for 44 years (1932–1976). The 1976 parliamentary elections brought a liberal/right-wing coalition to power. During the Cold War, Sweden was suspicious of the superpowers, recognizing that the decisions made by them were affecting smaller countries without always consulting those countries. With the end of the Cold War, that suspicion has lessened somewhat, although Sweden still chooses to remain nonaligned.

John III of Sweden

John III (Swedish: Johan III, Finnish: Juhana III) (20 December 1537 – 17 November 1592) was King of Sweden from 1568 until his death. He was the son of King Gustav I of Sweden and his second wife Margaret Leijonhufvud. He was also, quite autonomously, the ruler of Finland, as Duke John from 1556 to 1563. In 1581 he assumed also the title Grand Prince of Finland. He attained the Swedish throne after a rebellion against his half-brother Eric XIV. He is mainly remembered for his attempts to close the gap between the newly established Lutheran Church of Sweden and the Catholic church.

His first wife was Catherine Jagellonica of the Polish-Lithuanian ruling family, and their son Sigismund eventually ascended both the Polish-Lithuanian and Swedish thrones.

Kalmar Union

The Kalmar Union (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish: Kalmarunionen; Latin: Unio Calmariensis) was a personal union that from 1397 to 1523 joined under a single monarch the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden (then including most of Finland's populated areas), and Norway, together with Norway's overseas dependencies (then including Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and the Northern Isles). The union was not quite continuous; there were several short interruptions. Legally, the countries remained separate sovereign states, but with their domestic and foreign policies being directed by a common monarch.

One main impetus for its formation was to block German expansion northward into the Baltic region. The main reason for its failure to survive was the perpetual struggle between the monarch, who wanted a strong unified state, and the Swedish and Danish nobility, which did not. Diverging interests (especially the Swedish nobility's dissatisfaction with the dominant role played by Denmark and Holstein) gave rise to a conflict that would hamper the union in several intervals from the 1430s until its definitive breakup in 1523, when Gustav Vasa was elected as king of Sweden.Norway continued to remain a part of the realm of Denmark–Norway under the Oldenburg dynasty for nearly three centuries, until its dissolution in 1814. The ensuing Union between Sweden and Norway lasted until 1905, when a grandson of the incumbent king of Denmark was elected as king of Norway; his direct descendants still reign in Norway.

Linköping Bloodbath

The Linköping Bloodbath (Swedish: Linköpings blodbad) on 20 March 1600 was the public execution by beheading of five Swedish nobles in the aftermath of the War against Sigismund (1598–1599), which resulted in the de facto deposition of the Polish and Swedish King Sigismund III Vasa as king of Sweden. The five were advisors to Catholic Sigismund or political opponents of the latter's uncle and adversary, the Swedish regent Duke Charles.

Michael Roberts (historian)

Michael Roberts (1908–1996) was an English historian specializing in the early modern period. He was particularly known for his studies of Swedish history, and his introduction of the concept of a Military Revolution in early modern Europe.

Neapolitan sums

The Neapolitan sums (Polish: Sumy neapolitańskie) refers to a loan made in 1557 by Bona Sforza, dowager Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania, to Philip II of Spain. The debt was never repaid and continued to be disputed between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Kingdom of Spain up until the Third Partition in 1795. The phrase sumy neapolitańskie became synonymous in the Polish language with empty promises to repay debt.

Outline of Sweden

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Sweden:

Sweden – Scandinavian country in Northern Europe, situated between Norway and Finland. Sweden has maintained a policy of neutrality in armed conflicts since the early 19th century. It is a member of the European Union, but retains its own currency (the krona). Swedish icons include Sweden's quality of life, its neutrality, public health care, cars (Volvo, Saab), furniture (IKEA), blonds and pop music performers (ABBA, Roxette, etc.).

Roman Catholic Diocese of Reval

The Bishopric of Reval was created in Duchy of Estonia by Valdemar II of Denmark in 1240. Contradictory to canon law Valdemar II reserved the right to appoint the bishops of Reval to himself and his successor kings of Denmark. The decision to simply nominate the see of Reval was unique in the whole Catholic Church at the time and was disputed by bishops and the Pope. During the era, the election of bishops was never established in Reval and the royal rights to the bishopric and to nominate the bishops was even included in the treaty when the territories of the Duchy of Estonia were sold to Teutonic Order in 1346.Until 1374 the see was suffragan to the Archbishop of Lund after which it was transferred to the Archbishopric of Riga.The Bishopric of Reval came to an end during the Protestant Reformation in the Livonian Confederation. The last titular bishop of the see was Magnus, Duke of Holstein younger brother of Frederick II of Denmark who had bought Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek on the eve of the Livonian War. Magnus landed on Ösel (Saaremaa) in 1560 and soon after the bishop of Reval also resigned his bishopric to Magnus' hands. Magnus' attempt to gain control of the Toompea Castle in Reval was prevented by Gotthard Kettler, the master of Livonian Order. In 1561 Eric XIV of Sweden took control over Reval and after the Livonian war it became the capital city of Swedish Estonia.

Siege of Varberg

The Siege of Varberg was a Danish siege of the Swedish-occupied castle of Varberg in Halland, present-day Sweden (then part of Denmark-Norway) by Danish forces under the Danish-German general Daniel Rantzau. Rantzau was killed by a Swedish cannonball on 11 November. Danish commander Franz Brockenhuus and Swedish commander Bo Birgersson Grip were also killed in the battle.

Stockholm during the early Vasa era

Stockholm during the early Vasa era (1523–1611) is a period in the history of Stockholm when Gustav Vasa and his sons, Eric, John, John's son Sigismund, and finally Gustav's youngest son Charles, ruled Sweden from the Stockholm Palace.

Sture Murders

The Sture Murders (Swedish: Sturemorden) in Uppsala, Sweden of 24 May 1567 were the murders of five incarcerated Swedish nobles by Erik XIV of Sweden, who at that time was in a state of serious mental disorder, and his guards. The nobles, among them three members of the influential Sture family, had been charged with conspiracy against the king and some were previously sentenced to death. Erik's old tutor, who did not belong to this group, was also killed when he tried to calm the king after the initial murders.

Treaties of Roskilde (1568)

The Treaties of Roskilde of 18 and 22 November 1568 were peace treaties between the kingdoms of Denmark-Norway and the allied Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck on one side, and the Swedish kingdom on the other side, supposed to end the Northern Seven Years' War after the de facto succession of the later king John III of Sweden. Negotiated on John's initiative, he refused ratification, viewing the concessions his envoys made in Roskilde as too far-reaching. Most notably these concessions included Swedish obligations to pay Denmark her war costs and to cede Swedish Estonia. Thus, the war dragged on until it was concluded by the Treaty of Stettin (1570).

Treaty of Vilnius (1561)

The Treaty of Vilnius or Vilna was concluded on 28 November 1561, during the Livonian War, between the Livonian Confederation and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in Vilnius (Vilna, Wilna, Wilno). With the treaty, the non-Danish and non-Swedish part of Livonia, with the exception of the Free imperial city of Riga, subjected itself to Polish king and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Sigismund II Augustus with the Pacta subiectionis (Provisio ducalis). In turn, Sigismund granted protection from the Tsardom of Russia and confirmed the Livonian estates' traditional privileges, laid out in the Privilegium Sigismundi Augusti.

The secularization of the Livonian Order was the "final act" in Livonia's transition from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern era. The territories were re-organized in the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia and the Duchy of Livonia, the latter competing with the Kingdom of Livonia during the war. After its reconquest, Sigismund's successor Stephen Báthory (Batory) ignored the privileges of 1561, granted a new constitution and initiated counter-reformation. These measures were reversed after the Swedish conquest. When after a further series of wars Livonia capitulated to Russia in 1710, the Privilegium Sigismundi Augusti was confirmed by Peter the Great.

Åbo Bloodbath

The Åbo Bloodbath (Swedish: Åbo blodbad) of 10 November 1599 was a public execution in the Finnish town of Turku (Åbo), then part of the Kingdom of Sweden, in the context of the War against Sigismund and the Club War. Sweden was by then in the final phase of a civil war, with one faction supporting king Sigismund III Vasa, who also was king and Grand Duke of Poland-Lithuania, and another faction supporting duke Charles of Södermanland, the later Charles IX, Sigismund's paternal uncle. After winning the upper hand in the dispute, Charles crushed the last resistance to his rule, particularly in Finland, while Sigismund had already retreated to Poland.

The forces opposing Charles in Finland were led by Arvid Stålarm and Axel Kurck (Kurk), who both became Charles' prisoners after the surrender of Åbo castle and further strongholds. Together with other prisoners, including two sons of Finland's previous commander Clas (Klaus) Fleming, they were tried by a jury speedily assembled from Charles' followers, and sentenced to death. Fleming's sons and twelve others were then beheaded in Åbo's Town Hall square, while Stålarm and Kurck were sent to Linköping where they were tried and condemned again along with other captured opposition leaders. Yet, Stålarm and Kurck also survived the subsequent Linköping bloodbath.

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