By Paul Lockhart
This can be a survey of the purpose in heritage while Sweden rose to preeminence in Europe. Drawing at the most modern literature in Swedish and different languages, Paul Lockhart examines the associations of the Swedish 'empire' on the top of its impact, whereas targeting the major old questions: why did this impoverished nation turn into an excellent energy, how used to be it in a position to retain this prestige, and what caused its eventual decline?
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Additional info for Sweden in the Seventeenth Century (European History in Perspective)
Karl IX’s disastrous defeat at Kirkholm (September 1605) provided sufficient evidence of that. 30 Sweden was a respectable second-rate monarchy in 1611, no mean accomplishment for a state with such humble beginnings. There was nothing, however, to suggest potential for national ‘greatness’, that Sweden might make its influence felt in European politics beyond the Baltic. And even in the Baltic world, it was overshadowed by Poland and Denmark. For all of the commercial labors of its kings, Sweden remained an impoverished state, and the constitutional fissures that had begun to open wide after 1587 hinted at an impending crisis over the nature of political authority.
All five of the early Vasa kings had come face-to-face with internal challenges to their authority. Two of them – Erik and Sigismund – had of course succumbed; nonetheless, the authority of the crown was undiminished when Karl IX died in 1611. Given the odds ranged against it, the most remarkable thing about the Vasa ‘experiment’ was that the kingdom survived intact to greet the new century. That is not to say, however, that the Vasa state had survived unchanged, or that the problems that had confronted Gustav Vasa had been solved.
Moreover, the Catholic experiment exacerbated the growing split between Johan and his brother Karl of Södermanland. 13 The Catholic experiment allowed Karl to pose as the defender of the Lutheran faith. Johan III managed to suppress Karl’s ambitions, and before the end of the reign the two brothers had reconciled, at least formally. But by the late 1580s, as Johan drew closer to death, the likelihood of a smooth dynastic succession did not appear promising. Johan’s eldest son and designated heir, Prince Sigismund, had converted to Catholicism as a boy, and refused to give up his faith when Johan ceased his efforts to return Sweden to papal obedience.
Sweden in the Seventeenth Century (European History in Perspective) by Paul Lockhart