At 447,425 square kilometres (172,752 sq mi), Sweden is the largest Nordic country and the fifth-largest country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Stockholm. Sweden has a population of 10.5 million, and a low population density of 25.5 inhabitants per square kilometre (66/sq mi), with around 87% of Swedes residing in urban areas, which cover 1.5% of the entire land area, in the central and southern half of the country. Nature in Sweden is dominated by forests and many lakes, including some of the largest in Europe. Many long rivers run from the Scandes range, primarily emptying into the northern tributaries of the Baltic Sea. It has an extensive coastline and most of the population lives near a major body of water. With the country ranging from 55°N to 69°N, the climate of Sweden is diverse due to the length of the country.
Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats (Swedish: Götar) and Swedes (Svear) and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century. After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, the dominance of the Hanseatic League in Northern Europe threatened Scandinavia economically and politically. This led to the formation of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union in 1397, which Sweden left in 1523. When Sweden became involved in the Thirty Years' War on the Protestant side, an expansion of its territories began, forming the Swedish Empire, which remained one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. (Full article...)
Built in two stages during the 13th and 14th century, approximately 3.44 km (2.14 mi) of its original 3.6 km (2.2 mi) still stands. Of the 29 large and 22 smaller towers, 27 large and 9 small remain. A number of houses that predate the wall were incorporated within it during one of the two phases of construction. During the 18th century, fortifications were added to the wall in several places and some of the towers rebuilt to accommodate cannons. (Full article...)
The Battle of Öland was a naval battle between an allied Danish-Dutch fleet and the Swedish navy in the Baltic Sea, off the east coast of Öland on 1 June 1676. The battle was a part of the Scanian War (1675–79) fought for supremacy over the southern Baltic. Sweden was in urgent need of reinforcements for its north German possessions; Denmark sought to ferry an army to Scania in southern Sweden to open a front on Swedish soil.
Just as the battle began, the Swedish flagship Kronan sank, taking with it almost the entire crew, including the Admiral of the Realm and commander of the Swedish navy, Lorentz Creutz. The allied force under the leadership of the Dutch admiral Cornelis Tromp took full advantage of the ensuing disorder on the Swedish side. The acting commander after Creutz's sudden demise, Admiral Claes Uggla, was surrounded and his flagship Svärdet battered in a drawn-out artillery duel, then set ablaze by a fire ship. Uggla drowned while escaping the burning ship, and with the loss of a second supreme commander, the rest of the Swedish fleet fled in disorder. (Full article...)