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Stockholm

STOCKHOLM

STOCKHOLM. The capital of Sweden, Stockholm originated as a fortress on a small island (holme in Swedish), part of an archipelago on the Baltic Sea at the mouth of Lake Mälaren. Tradition attributes construction of the fortress to Birger Jarl, one of Sweden's early kings, and dates it about 1250. Its strategic location helped protect against attacks by sea; it served as a lock on the entry to the navigable waters of Mälaren as well as a transit point for export of iron and copper from inland provinces. By the mid-fifteenth century, Stockholm was already referred to as Sweden's capital, although it was not yet the permanent residence of the monarch. With about six thousand inhabitants, mostly merchants and artisans, Stockholm was an important Baltic trading center. About half the population consisted of German merchants from cities such as Lübeck.

In the late fifteenth century Stockholm was besieged on several occasions, primarily during conflicts with Denmark. After a definitive split from the loose union that had governed Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, Sweden became a nation-state with a more powerful monarchy. Under Gustav I Vasa (ruled 15231560), Stockholm began to change from a self-governing town to Hans Nådes stad (the city of His Grace, the king) and became the seat of royal authority. Stockholm's development since then has always been linked to the state. Whereas the city had previously been dominated by merchants, the percentage of the population engaged in government administration increased significantly by the reign of Gustav I's son, John III (ruled 15681592).

Physical changes to the city came about in connection with the Reformation and Gustav I's subsequent appropriation of Catholic church property, including the tearing down of cloisters and churches. Stockholm was still, however, a city within walls, mostly confined to the area now known as Gamla Stan (the Old Town). In the seventeenth century Stockholm entered a period of expansion related to Sweden's emergence as a European military power under Gustavus II Adolphus (ruled 16111632). The city's population grew from about 10,000 in 1620 to more than 40,000 by 1660. City authorities drew up new street plans during the 1630s, and the Swedish nobility used fortunes secured in foreign wars to build palatial residences. One result of these changes was the disappearance of most of the city's medieval towers and walls.

New economic policies encouraged trade through Stockholm's ports. The city also became the center of military production in support of Sweden's aggressive foreign policy. While Sweden was unable to establish a monopoly over Baltic trade, Stockholm did have a virtual monopoly on the export of tar, produced in the extensive forests of Sweden and Finland, which was still part of Sweden at this time.

During Queen Christina's reign (16441654) the royal court resided more or less permanently in Stockholm for the first time. Christina's diverse intellectual interests helped make Stockholm, rather than the university towns such as Uppsala, the center of literary activity. Artists began to produce paintings and engravings showing views of the city during this period. The most complete pictorial record of Stockholm at this time is Erik Dahlberg's (16251703) book of engravings, Suecia Antiqua et Hodierna (Sweden ancient and modern), first published in its entirety in 1716. In 1697 a fire ravaged the royal castle, allowing extensive renovation of the antiquated building in the classical style by the architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger (16541728). These renovations were not completed, however, for almost fifty years.

Population growth stalled after 1705 as the city entered a period of stagnation, due in part to the many wars of the period; from over 55,000 in the 1680s, the population declined to about 45,000 by 1720. An outbreak of plague in 1710 also claimed a third of the population. Political changes after the death of Charles XII (ruled 16971718) led by the 1730s to protectionist economic policies that promoted manufacturing (especially of textiles) while restricting imports drastically. These policies tended to favor Stockholm over other parts of Sweden, which resulted in an increase in the city's population, to about 70,000 by 1760. Most of this population growth came from immigration, however, as the mortality rate in Stockholm was very high; one in three children died in the first year of life.

After 1760, political changes led to a decline in manufacturing subsidies, slowing Stockholm's development. The city lost its privileged trading status in the Baltic, and the west coast city of Göteborg began to develop as a port. Though Stockholm remained by far the country's largest city, and the only one with over 10,000 inhabitants, the percentage of Swedish citizens living in Stockholm, about 4 percent in the mid-eighteenth century, declined over the following century.

See also Baltic and North Seas ; Charles XII (Sweden) ; Christina (Sweden) ; Gustavus II Adolphus (Sweden) ; Sweden ; Vasa Dynasty (Sweden) .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ahnlund, Henrik. Historia kring Stockholm: Före 1520. Stockholm, 1965.

Hammarström, Ingrid, ed. Historia kring Stockholm: Vasatid och stormaktstid. Stockholm, 1966.

Högberg, Staffan. Stockholms historia 1. Stockholm, 1981.

Landell, Niks-Erik. Den växande staden: Stockholms bebyggelseoch naturhistoria. Stockholm, 1992.

Paul NorlÉn

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"Stockholm." Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Stockholm

Stockholm (stŏk´hôlm´), city (1995 pop. 692,954), capital of Sweden and of Stockholm co., E Sweden, situated where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. It is Sweden's largest city and its economic, transportation, administrative, and cultural center. Manufactures include machinery, textiles, clothing, paper, chemicals, communications equipment, motor vehicles, rubber, processed food, printed materials, porcelain, and liquor. The city also has a large port and an important shipbuilding industry. It is the seat of Sweden's principal stock exchange.

Landmarks and Institutions

Architecturally, modern Stockholm is one of the finest cities in the world, with broad streets, many parks, and well-planned housing projects. Often called the "Venice of the North," it is built on several peninsulas and islands (including Städsholmen, Riddarholmen, Kungsholmen, and Södermalm islands). Its large bodies of water contribute to a feeling of spaciousness in the city.

Stockholm's most famous landmark is probably the new city hall (1911–23), which faces Lake Mälaren; designed by the Swedish architect Ragnar Östberg, it is an impressive modern interpretation of the characteristic Scandinavian Renaissance style. Also well-known are the large residential districts of cooperative houses that have helped make Stockholm a virtually slumless city.

On Städsholmen, which has retained much of its medieval character, are the Church of St. Nicholas or Storkyrka [great church], dating from the 13th cent.; the Church of St. Gertrude, or the German Church, originally built for the Hanseatic merchants; and several old Hanseatic houses. Also on the island are the Great Square, where the Stockholm massacre began; the Riddarhuset [assembly hall of the nobility], a 17th-century structure in the Dutch Renaissance style and with heroic statues; Tessin Palace (18th cent.); and the Royal Palace, built (1754) in Italian Renaissance style.

Stockholm is the seat of a university (founded 1877), a technical university, a school of economics, and royal academies of music, science, art, and medicine. A Nobel institute is also located there, and the Nobel prizes (except the Peace Prize) are awarded in the city. Also of note are the opera house (opened 1898); the Royal Dramatic Theatre (opened 1908); numerous museums, including the large Skansen open-air museum, a modern art museum (1998), the Vasa Museum (which houses a partially restored 16th cent. warship raised from Stockholm harbor), and the Museum of National Antiquities, with its collection of gold and silver artifacts; and a zoological garden. Stockholm has a lively musical, theatrical, and literary life.

History

Founded in the mid-13th cent. on the site of a fishing village, Stockholm became an important trade center, dominated by the Hanseatic League (especially Lübeck). In 1520, Christian II of Denmark and Norway proclaimed himself also king of Sweden at Stockholm; a large number of Swedish nobles had gathered to attend the coronation, and Christian instigated the massacre of about 100 of the anti-Danish nobility. The Stockholm massacre led to the successful uprising of Swedes under Gustavus Vasa, who became king of Sweden as Gustavus I (1523–60). Gustavus made Stockholm the center of his kingdom and ended the privileges there of the Hanseatic merchants. Stockholm was made the official capital of Sweden in 1634, about the same time that it became a European intellectual center under Queen Christina, whose court attracted the philosopher Descartes and others. Stockholm's modern industrial development dates from the mid-19th cent.; it grew from a city of about 100,000 inhabitants in 1850 to one of about 300,000 in 1900. The 1912 Olympic games were held there.

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Stockholm

Stockholm Port and capital of Sweden, on Lake Mälar's outlet to the Baltic Sea. Founded in the mid-13th century, it became a trade centre dominated by the Hanseatic League. Gustavus I (Vasa) made it the centre of his kingdom, and ended the privileges of Hanseatic merchants. Stockholm became the capital of Sweden in 1436, and developed as an intellectual centre in the 17th century. Industrial development dates from the mid-19th century. Industries: textiles, clothing, paper and printing, rubber, chemicals, shipbuilding, beer, electronics, metal, machine manufacturing. Pop. (2001) 754,948.

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Stockholm

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