The 17th Century Swedish Wars Against Denmark, Russia, And Poland Gold Medal
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The 17th Century Swedish Wars Against Denmark, Russia, And Poland Gold Medal:
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Beginung 20 century commemorative medal,45mm
,41 gr Gold plated Sterling silverEarly ModernMain article:Rise of Sweden as a Great Power
During the 17th century, after winning wars against Denmark, Russia, and Poland, Sweden–Finland (with scarcely more than 1 million inhabitants) emerged as a great power by taking direct control of the Baltic region, which was Europe's main source of grain, iron, copper, timber, tar, hemp, and furs.Gustavus Adolphus, victor at theBattle of Breitenfeld, 1631Formation of the Swedish Empire, 1560-1660
Sweden had first gained a foothold on a territory outside her traditional provinces in 1561, whenEstoniaopted for vassalage to Sweden during theLivonian War. While in 1590 Swedenhad to Russia, andSigismundtried to incorporateSwedish Estoniainto theDuchy of Livonia, Sweden gradually expanded at the Eastern Baltic during the following years. In a series ofPolish–Swedish War (1600–1629)and the Russo-SwedishIngrian War,Gustavus Adolphusretook Ingria and Kexholm (formally ceded in theTreaty of Stolbovo, 1617) as well as thebulk of Livonia(formally ceded in theTreaty of Altmark, 1629).
Sweden's role in theThirty Years' Wardetermined the political as well as the religious balance of power in Europe. From bridgeheads inStralsund (1628)andPomerania (1630), the Swedish army advanced to the south of theHoly Roman Empire, and in a sidetheater of the wardeprived Denmark–Norway ofDanish and Särna, became exempted from theSound Dues, and established claims toBremen-Verden, all of which was formalized in theTreaty of Brömsebro(1645). In 1648, Sweden became a guarantee power for thePeace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War and left her with the additional dominions of Pomerania. Since 1638, Sweden also maintained the colony ofNew Swedenalong theDelaware RiverinNorth America.Sweden as a Great Power 1648-1721Main article:Swedish Empire
Sweden's status as a Great Power did not remain unchallenged. In theSecond Northern War, she was able to establish control of the Eastern bank of theSound, formalized in theTreaty of Roskilde(1658), and gain recognition of her southEastern dominions by the Europeangreat powersin theTreaty of Oliva(1660); yet, Sweden was barred from further expansion at the southern coast of the Baltic. That Sweden came out of theScanian Warwith only minor losses was largely due toFranceforcing Sweden's adversaries into the treaties ofFontainebleau (1679)(confirmedat Lund) andSaint-Germain (1679).
The following period of peace allowedCharles XI of Swedento reform and stabilize the realm. He consolidated the finances of the Crown by thegreat reduction of 1680; further changes were made in finance, commerce, national maritime and land armaments, judicial procedure, church government and education.The Great Northern War: 1700Main article:Sweden after the Great Northern War
Russia, Saxony–Poland, and Denmark–Norway pooled their power in 1700 and attacked theSwedish empire. Although the young Swedish KingCharles XII(1682–1718; reigned 1697–1718) won spectacular victories in the early years of theGreat Northern War, most notably in the stunning success against the Russians at theBattle of Narva(1700), his plan to attack Moscow and force Russia into peace proved too ambitious.
The Russians won decisively at theBattle of Poltavain June 1709, capturing much of the exhausted Swedish army. Charles XII and the remnants of his army were cut off from Sweden and fled south into Ottoman territory, where he remained three years. He outstayed his welcome, refusing to leave until theOttoman Empirejoined him in a new war against TsarPeter Iof Russia. In order to force the recalcitrant Ottoman government to follow his policies, he established, from his camp, a powerful political network in Constantinople, which was joined even by the mother of the sultan. Charles's persistence worked, as Peter's army was checked by Ottoman troops. However, Turkish failure to pursue the victory enraged Charles and from that moment his relations with the Ottoman administration soured. During the same period the behavior of his troops worsened and turned disastrous. Lack of discipline and contempt for the locals soon created an unbearable situation in Moldavia. The Swedish soldiers behaved badly, destroying, stealing, raping, and killing. Meanwhile back in the north Sweden was invaded by its enemies; Charles returned home in 1714, too late to restore his lost empire and impoverished homeland; he died in 1718.In the subsequent peace treaties, the allied powers, joined by Prussia and England-Hanover, ended Sweden's reign as a great power. Russia now dominated the north. The war-weary Riksdag asserted new powers and reduced the crown to a constitutional monarch, with power held by a civilian government controlled by the Riksdag. A new "Age of Freedom" opened, and the economy was rebuilt, supported by large exports of iron and lumber to Britain.
The reign of Charles XII (1697–1718) has stirred great controversy; historians have been puzzled ever since why this military genius overreached and greatly weakened Sweden. Although most early-19th-century historians tended to followVoltaire's lead in bestowing extravagant praise on the warrior-king, others have criticized him as a fanatic, a bully, and a bloodthirsty warmonger. A more balanced view suggests a highly capable military ruler whose oft-reviled peculiarities seemed to have served him well, but who neglected his base in Sweden in pursuit of foreign adventure.Slow to learn the limits of Sweden's diminished strength, a party of nobles, who called themselves the "Hats", dreamed of revenge on Russia and ruled the country from 1739 to 1765; they engaged in wars in 1741, 1757, 1788, and 1809, with more or less disastrous results as Russian influence grew after every Swedish defeat.EnlightenmentMain article:Enlightened Absolute Monarchy in Sweden
Sweden joined in theEnlightenmentculture of the day in the arts, architecture, science and learning. A new law in 1766 established for the first time the principle of freedom of the press—a notable step towards liberty of political opinion. The Academy of Science was founded in 1739 and the Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities in 1753. The outstanding cultural leader wasCarl Linnaeus(1707–78), whose work in biology and ethnography had a major impact on European science.
Following half a century of parliamentary domination came the reaction. King Gustav III (1746–1792) came to the throne in 1771, and in 1772 led a coup d'état, with French support, that established him as an "enlightened despot," who ruled at will. The Age of Freedom and bitter party politics was over. Precocious and well educated, he became a patron of the arts and music. His edicts reformed the bureaucracy, repaired the currency, expanded trade, and improved defense. The population had reached 2.0 million and the country was prosperous, although rampant alcoholism was a growing social problem. But when Gustav made war on Russia and did poorly he was assassinated by a conspiracy of nobles angry that he tried to restrict their privileges for the benefit of the peasant farmers.
Absolute monarchy lasted until defeats in theNapoleonic warsforced Sweden to cede Finland to Russia in 1809.