829 Christianity is introduced by St. Anskar.
1008 Pagan Viking king Olaf Skottkonung converts to Christianity.
1130-56 King Sverker unites the lands of Svear and Gotar, the heart of today's modern nation.
1160 King Eric IX presides over a Christian country and becomes patron saint of Sweden.
1248 Birger Jarl abolishes serfdom and founds Stockholm.
1319 Magnus VII of Norway unites Sweden with Norway.
1350 Black Death sweeps across Sweden.
1389 Margaretha rules Sweden, Norway, and Denmark by the Union of Kalmar.
1523 Gustavus Vasa founds the Vasa Dynasty.
1598 King Sigismund deposed after brief union of thrones of Sweden and Poland.
1600-11 Karl IX leads Sweden into ill-fated wars with Denmark, Russia, and Poland.
1611 Gustavus II Adolphus ascends to the throne; presides over ascension of Sweden as a great European power.
1648 Treaty of Westphalia grants Sweden the possessions of Stettin, Bremen, and West Pomerania.
1654 Queen Christina abdicates the Swedish throne.
1655-97 Long reign of Charles XI renews Sweden's strength.
1718 Killed in battle, Charles XII, leader of the Great Northern War, presides over the demise of the Swedish empire.
1746-92 Gustavus III revives the absolute power of the monarchy.
1809 Napoleon names Jean Bernadotte as heir to the throne of Sweden.
1889 The Social Democratic Party is formed.
1905 Sweden grants independence to Norway.
1909 Suffrage for all men is achieved.
1921 Suffrage for women and an 8-hour workday are established.
1940 Sweden declares its neutrality in World War II.1946 Sweden joins the United Nations.
1953 Dag Hammarskjold becomes secretary-general of the United Nations.
1973 Karl XVI Gustaf ascends the throne.
1986 Olof Palme, prime minister and leader of the Social Democrats, is assassinated.
1992 Sweden faces currency crisis.
1994 Refugees and the welfare system strain Sweden's budget.
1995 Along with Finland and Austria, Sweden is granted full membership in the European Union.
1996 Social Democrat Goeran Persson, Sweden's finance minister, is elected prime minister.
1997 World headlines link Sweden to past sterilization programs and Nazi gold.
1998 Social Democrats remain in power on pledge to continue huge welfare programs.
2000 The 24 billion SEK ($3 billion) ?resund bridge links Denmark and Sweden for the first time.
2002 Sweden okays same-sex adoption.
2006 Sweden's government party voted out after 12 years.
Swedish Yankees -- The Swedes first settled in North America in 1638, when the colony of New Sweden was established at the mouth of the Delaware River. The settlement was captured by the Dutch 17 years later, and the settlers evacuated to New Amsterdam, the town that became New York. Fascination with the New World overcame Sweden's population in earnest in 1846, and waves of Swedes set out to seek health, wealth, religious freedom, and a land of their own. During a 5-year period beginning in 1868, five annual crops failed in Sweden, leading to the migration of at least 100,000 people. Between 1846 and 1873, a total of 1.5 million Swedes emigrated to North America -- a figure that's especially impressive considering that Sweden's entire population was only around 4 million. The drain on the country's human resources was disastrous. Of all European countries, only Ireland lost a larger proportion of its population to emigration.
The first, and among the best-publicized, group of Swedish immigrants was a 1,500-member religious sect known as Jansonists (Erikjansare), whose leader, Erik Jansson, founded a colony in Illinois known as Bishop's Hill. Conceived as a utopia where all goods and property would be shared in common, it attracted national journalistic attention until an enraged disciple, furious at the refusal of the group's leader to allow his wife to leave the community, shot Jansson. Jansson's disciples, who believed he was immortal and would soon be resurrected, scattered throughout the Midwest and eventually established their own farms.
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