Sweden Early History
Covered for thousands of years by thick ice sheets, the Swedish territory could offer favorable conditions for human settlement only at the end of the Pleistocene. The main testimonies are therefore referable to different Mesolithic facies, some of which are distributed between Sweden and Denmark. Among these we remember the Brommiano, characterized by the so-called pedunculated points of the “Lyngby” type and by axes in reindeer horn; the Maglemosian, widespread mainly in Denmark, with C14 dating between 7600 and 6000 BC. C. ca., of which the Ageröd group (Gotland) represents the Swedish variant (C14: 6290/6070 BC ca.); and the Kongemosian, between ca. 5600 and 5000 a. C. Manifestations of geometric and more rarely naturalistic furniture art are known in Maglemosian and Kongemosian. Of the Neolithic people, mainly engaged in fishing and seal hunting, hut bottoms have come to light near Henninge Bro, Alvastra and Bjurselet on the banks of the Ryske, while, in the southern regions, the stations of the pot cultures belong to the late Neolithic funnel and Vrä, with populations devoted mainly to agriculture and livestock. To this period belong the megalithic tombs where the ritual of the secondary burial is often documented. In the second millennium a. C. the Baltic amber trade was active which allowed exchanges with Mediterranean countries. The large tumulus tombs with slabs decorated with war and hunting scenes and other representations (Kivik and Sagaholm) testify to the high level of wealth reached in this era by some communities. All ‘ The village of Hallunda also dates back to the recent Bronze Age, with adobe houses and remarkable installations for metallurgical activities. Of great interest iprehistoric petroglyphs of Bohuslän and Nämforsen, considered the major centers of rock art in Northern Europe. The local Iron Age sees the emergence, also following contacts with the Roman world, of fortified centers with valuable materials (for example, the village of Havor, with a “treasure” buried around 200 AD). Visit healthvv.com for Sweden history and landmarks.
HISTORY: FROM ITS ORIGINS TO THE THIRTY YEARS WAR
Scarce and sometimes fantastic news that the Romans had of southern Sweden, called Scandia and still believed at the time of Ptolemy (2nd century AD) an island, like the Danish ones, because the junction was ignored, to north, with Finland. The populations of the Southeast, in the area of Lake Mälaren, were called Suiones by Tacitus, who knew their skill as navigators and described their ships exactly as later archaeological finds confirmed; those of the Southwest, in Västergötland, Gauti.They were populations ruled by kings who kept the nobility under strict control. Goths and Heruli left Sweden at the time of the great migrations (mid-3rd century) and, perhaps, later, the Lombards; but these notions are not accepted by all scholars precisely because of the uncertainty that reigns over what was meant by Scandia, given that some want to see a Danish island instead of southern Sweden. However, at the beginning of the century. VI, in the Mälaren region a center was formed, Uppsala, which, according to the Gothic historian Jordanes, soon gained the upper hand over the neighboring populations. While from neighboring Norway and Denmark the residents turned to piracy towards England, Scotland and northern France, from the Swedish territories the residents carried out actions that were now piratical, now commercial to the east. Their main activity was the export of amber and they reached, across the vast Sarmatic plains, up to Byzantium, not without founding, in their raids, Rus), gave rise to Russia. Also through the Black Sea and Byzantium the Vikings also had commercial relations with the then flourishing Arab Empire. Christianity was introduced at the beginning of the century. IX by the Frankish monk Ansgar, but, after a first success in the central-southern part of the peninsula, the spread was greatly hindered by the reaction of the pagans and it was only after the year 1000, that is shortly after the Suiones had unified that area of Sweden and rejected to the north the Finno-Ugric populations (Lapps) who lived there, that the new religion ended up taking hold steadily. During the reign of Olaf II the Saint (d.1030), a contemporary of Canute the Great, ruler of Denmark, Norway and England, borders were drawn between the various Scandinavian states destined to last for centuries. Furthermore, his conversion to Christianity (1008) pushed the population to follow his example, albeit through long and bloody struggles, with the help of missions from England, Norway, Denmark and above all from Hamburg (real crusades) the pagans were overwhelmed towards the end of the century. XI and the main pagan temple, which had its seat in Uppsala, was demolished and replaced by a Catholic church.
This event tied Sweden more closely to the Western world, which in the north became the outpost of the Catholic world against the Orthodox world (Greek-schismatic) which was headed by Byzantium. The economy, part commercial and part pirate, Erik IX the Saint began the conquest of Finland which was completed about a century later by King Valdemaro (1250-74), first ruler of the house of the Folkung who reigned over the country until 1363. In this period the kings supported by the Church fought with success against the tendency of the feudal nobility, strengthened following the territorial expansion and the overcoming, above mentioned, of the agrarian economy, to have too much power in the government of the state. The mines were enhanced, the Germanic workers who emigrated to Sweden obtained a special status, slavery was abolished in 1335 and the capital ended up becoming (albeit unofficially) Stockholm instead of Uppsala. Near the end of the century. XIII, however, the nobility, taking advantage of the minor age of the king Birger II Magnusson (1290-1319), recovered part of the powers taken away by Valdemaro and began that policy of expansion towards the east which was for a long time a constant of Swedish foreign policy; the further diminution of the powers of the crown was attempted and partially realized by the dukes Erik and Valdemaro, brothers of Birger.