Monday, 29 June 2015

Episode 30: A new Sweden

In the peace treaties after the death of Karl XII, Sweden lost most of it's overseas possessions. Most of it, the eastern areas, to Russia in the peace of Nystad in 1721. This was hard on both on national confidence and on economics, since the Baltic provinces were important produers of grain - on the other hand, the government as well as ordinary people were truly fed up with war and there was no alternative to peace.

On the map, the green areas are those lost in the treaties of 1719-1721.

When the overseas possessions were lost, so was royal absolutism. Succession wasn't clear - Karl XII having no heirs - and his sister Ulrika Eleonora had to accept a greatly reduced royal power to be chosen queen, as did her husband Fredrik to whom she soon relinquished the crown. Sweden was  ruled by parliament and council, and we see the emergence of political parties and parliamentarism in what has been known as "The age of freedom".