Sweden (Swedish Sverige), a kingdom of northern Europe, occupying the eastern side of the Scandinavian peninsula, with which, from 1814 till the amicable but definitive separation in 1905, Norway (q.v.) was associated under one crown. Its greatest length, N. to S., is close on 1000 miles; its greatest breadth 300; its area 170,970 sq. m.; and its coast-line 1550 miles. Besides many skerry-islands, Sweden owns Gothland (q.v.) and (Eland (q.v.). The country may be generally described as a broad plain sloping south-eastwards from the Kjolen Mountains to the Baltic. The only mountainous districts adjoin Norway; the peaks sink in altitude from 7000 feet in the north to 3800 in 61° 30' N. lat. Immediately south of this point a subsidiary chain strikes off to the SE., and, threading the lake-region of central Sweden, swells out beyond into a tableland with a mean elevation of 850 feet and maximum of 1240 feet. Fully two-thirds of the entire surface lies lower than 800 feet, and one-third lower than 300 feet, above sea-level. Most of Sweden is built up of crystalline gneisses and granite, and of Lower Silurian limestones, sandstones, and slates; and there are extensive glacial deposits. The eastern or Both-nian coast, like the western coast of Norway, is gradually rising; whilst the coast of Scania, in the extreme south, tends to subside. The climate of Sweden is continental in the north, along the Norwegian frontier, and on the southern plateau. The lakes in the colder districts of the north are ice-bound for some 220 days in the year; in the south for only about 90 days. The rainfall is greatest on the coast of the Catte-gat (30 inches).
Sweden is separated politically and geographically into three great divisions - Norrland, Svea-land, and Gothland. Norrland in the north is a region of vast and lonely forests and rapid mountain-streams, often forming fine cascades and ribbon-like lakes ere they reach the Gulf of Bothnia. Besides the Lapps with their reindeer herds, and the Swedish wood-cutters and miners, the only denizens of these forest tracts are wild animals (reindeer, bears, wolves, lynxes, gluttons, foxes, lemmings), birds of prey, hares, game birds, and aquatic birds. This division is very rich in minerals, but iron is almost the only one extracted. The central division of Svealand, or Sweden proper, is a region of big lakes, and contains most of the mines. Lakes occupy nearly 14,000 sq. m., or 8.2 per cent. of the total area; several of the largest, as Vener, Vetter, Hjelmar, Malar, are connected with one another and the sea by rivers and canals. Lake Malar contains some 1300 islands, many beautifully wooded, with royal palaces or noblemen's castles; and its shores are studded with prosperous towns, castles, palaces, and factories. There is a pretty large area of forest in Svealand, which also possesses almost inexhaustible stores of iron and copper, and in less quantities silver, manganese, nickel, zinc, cobalt, etc, Gothland, the southern division, contains a much higher proportion of cultivated land, and its wide plains are all under agriculture. Iron occurs; and some 10,000 tons of coal are extracted annually.
In 1800 the population of Sweden numbered 2,347,303; in 1850, 3,482,541; in 1900, 5,136,441. By nationality the people are all Swedes, except some 19,500 Finns, 6850 Lapps, and 24,500 foreigners. Only 23 per cent. are counted as ' towns-folk.' In 1900 there were ten towns whose pop. exceeded 20,000 - Stockholm (300,624), Gothenburg (130,619), Malmo (60,857), Norrkop-ing, Gefle, Helsingborg, Karlskrona, Upsala, Jonkoping, and Orebro; and twelve more exceeded 10,000. Between 10,000 and 20,000 persons emigrate every year, mostly to the United States. The state religion, that of the whole population but some 22,000 persons, is the Lutheran Church, with twelve bishops. Primary education is compulsory and free, and there are excellent elementary schools. The highest branches are provided for by the Medical Institution of Stockholm (270 pupils) and by the universities of Upsala (1500 students) and Lund (670). More than one-half of the population are dependent on agriculture. Between 7 and 8 per cent. only of the entire area is under cultivation, though in addition 4 per cent. is laid down as meadows. The principal crops are potatoes, oats, rye (yielding the ordinary bread of the peasantry), barley, and wheat, beet for sugar, and roots for fodder. Butter is one of the largest exports. The mines employ 31,000 persons, mainly 520 iron-mines (producing over 2,800,000 tons annually), copper, zinc, manganese, cobalt; nickel and silver are also produced. About 40 per cent. of the aggregate surface is forest, and of this again 60 per cent. is in Norrland. Only one-twelfth of the timber cut in Sweden is sent abroad, about one-half of it to Britain, chiefly in the form of pit-props. The most important industries are timber industries (1122 establishments, yielding an annual value of £4,890,000), flour-mills, ironworks, foundries, etc. (£2,950,000), sugar-refineries, cotton and wool spinning and weaving, margarine-factories, breweries, tobacco-factories, match-factories, tanneries, paper-mills and papier-mache works, distilleries, glass and porcelain works, and chemical works. The fisheries (both off the south and off the east coasts) are worth nearly half a million sterling annually. The foreign trade of the country averages annually from £23,000,000 to £28,000,000 for imports, and from £18,000,000 to £21,000,000 for exports. The imports from Great Britain average about £7,000,000, and the exports thither £8,000,000 or £9,000,000. The chief imports are textiles, groceries, minerals, machinery, grain and flour, hair, hides, horn, and animals and animal foods. Of the exports timber is by far the most important - £10,500,000 or more. Next come minerals and metals, chiefly iron and steel; animal foods and animals (mainly butter); grain and flour, paper, and textiles. Great Britain takes principally wood, timber, and wood-pulp, butter, paper, pig and bar iron and steel, and matches, and sends back coal, iron, machinery, and textiles.
The executive power is vested in the king, advised by a council of ten; and there are two houses of parliament. The members of the first house (150) are elected by the provincial councils and the municipal councils of certain large towns; they sit for nine years, and receive no salary. The members of the second house (230) are returned by direct or indirect ballot from rural districts and towns. The revenue averages about £9,850,000, and generally balances the expenditure. The debt, £19,179,000, has been contracted solely for railways. The military forces include a standing army and a militia. The regular army numbers about 40,000 men, the militia 400,000. The navy, with 25,000 men in all, is made up of sixteen port-defence vessels, 11 second and third class cruisers, and some 20 torpedo boats.
Sweden was originally occupied by Lapps and Finns, but probably (1500 b.c.) Teutonic tribes drove them into the forests of the north, and at the dawn of history we find Svealand occupied by Swedes (Svea) and Gothland by the cognate Goths. Some, however, make Sweden or Scandinavia generally the original home of the Aryans. Gothland was christianised and also conquered by the Danes in the 9th c, while Svealand remained fanatically heathen till the time of St Eric (12th c), who conquered Finland, henceforth a Swedish possession. For a century Goths and Swedes had different kings, but gradually melted into one people toward the end of the 13th c. Now arose bitter feuds between king, nobility, and peasants, and universal turbulence prevailed; agriculture, industry, literature and culture progressed not at all or hardly existed. Even after the union of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark under one monarch (1397), Sweden was torn by conflicts which lasted down to the expulsion of Danish oppressors, and the restoration of Swedish autonomy by the national rising under Gustavus Vasa (1524), the ablest prince who had yet ruled the Swedes. Under him the Reformation was heartily accepted. Gustavus Adolphus and the Swedes were its bulwark, not merely at home but in Germany in the Thirty Years' War; and by the acquirement of Bremen, Verden, and Pomerania, Sweden became (1648) a member of the empire. Under Charles XII. and his successor, the enmity of Denmark, Poland, and Russia wrested her new conquests from Sweden, and gave Livonia, Esthonia, Inger-manland, and Karelia (which had long been Swedish) to Russia; thus reducing Sweden from the rank of a first-rate European power. After a bloody struggle, Sweden had to cede Finland (1809) to Russia. Norway was united by a personal union (i.e. by the monarch) with Sweden in 1810; and in 1818 the French general Bernadotte was elected king (as Charles XIV.). Norway's demand for a larger measure of home rule led in 1905 to a complete separation. Swedish, a descendant of the Old Norse, differs (since the 9th c.) more from the parent tongue than Icelandic, Norwegian, or Danish; it has had, especially since the 16th c, an extensive literature.
See W. W. Thomas, Sweden and the Swedes (1892); Sweden, its People and Industry, by G. Sundbarg (trans. 1903); Scandinavia by Nisbet Bain (Cambridge Histories, 1905).