A history of Sweden from the earliest times to the present day
From the introduction:
The History of Sweden and of the Swedish people presents a study of unusual interest The Kingdom of Sweden is the northernmost of the European countries, extending from the 55th degree North Latitude on the south to far beyond the arctic circle up to the 71st degree North Latitude on the north.
Her southern and eastern shores are washed by the waves of the Baltic and the Bay of Bothnia. Torneo River, a turbulent stream, separates her from Northern Finland in the northeast.
On the west, she is bounded by the Sound, the Kattegat, and the Northern Atlantic Ocean, up to the point where she unites with Norway to form the Scandinavian peninsula. The surface area of Sweden is 172,876 square miles; that of Norway is 124,445 square miles.
The coastline of Sweden is indented with many small bays and fjords which form havens where the daring and exhausted mariner can find shelter and protection from the raging elements; it was on their shores and along the river banks that the celebrated Sea Kings and Vikings dwelt in the olden days.
The topography of the country varies, consisting in part of beautiful tablelands. which are exceedingly productive and yield a bounteous return to the husbandman for his industry — in part of forest-clad mountains whose rocky crests hide abundant stores of mineral wealth, among them being some of the finest iron ores known to the world. Beautiful inland lakes enliven the landscape.
Innumerable brooks and rivers rush from the mountains, watering the valleys, and forming navigable streams ere they flow into the sea.
Prior to the railroad era, these streams were the principal trade highways, carrying vast quantities of lumber and ores. Numerous hamlets and cities are located along these waterways which supply power for an endless variety of manufacturing industries.
The forests abound with the game, and the lakes, streams and sur- rounding ocean teem with all kinds of fish. The climate of the country is pure, healthful and invigorating, varying as it does from mild and pleasant in the southern part to cold and bracing in the northern; but it is by no means as cold and rigorous as would be supposed from its northern latitude.
The Gulf Stream of the Atlantic Ocean which comes from the Equator, and then, flowing north through the English Channel and west of England and Ireland, follows the western coast of Sweden and Norway, modifies the severity of these high latitudes, making the mean temperature of Sweden about the same as that of New England. In this Northern Kingdom, the summer is almost one continuous day. Trees and fruits, vegetation, flowers and grain all grow with great rapidity.
The winter days are short, but when the sun advances northward again Spring leaps for-ward with a bound. Migratory birds of many varieties, from the nightingale, lark and cuckoo to the swan and stork, coming from southern climes, fill the air with their musical and plaintive voices, and settle among hills and valleys, on the shores and banks of the rivers to build their nests and raise their young.
The Swedish people, composed of Svear and Guitar, are one of the oldest in Europe. Their origin must be looked for among the hoary ages. They have no national holiday upon which they celebrate the nation's birth. They have had reverses, and have been sometimes checked in their progress, but they have always been a free and independent people.
In all ages, they have been famous for their courage, valour and independence, and a love of freedom that no adverse circumstances could suppress.
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