The Fairhair dynasty was a family of kings founded by Harald I of Norway which united and ruled Norway with few interruptions from the latter half of the 9th century. In the traditional view, this lasted until 1387, many modern scholars view this rule as lasting only three generations, ending with Harald Greycloak in the late 10th century; the Fairhair Dynasty is traditionally regarded as the first royal dynasty of the united kingdom of Norway. It was founded by Harald I of Norway, known as Haraldr hinn hárfagri, the first King of Norway, who defeated the last resisting petty kings at the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872. According to the traditional view, after Harald Fairhair first unified the kingdom, Norway was inherited by his agnatic descendants. In the 13th century, this was codified in law. Unlike other Scandinavian monarchies and Anglo-Saxon England, Norway was never an elective monarchy. However, in the first centuries after Harald Fairhair, there were several periods during which the country was ruled not by a king but by one of the Jarls of Lade, from the northern part of Norway.
The first such period was from about 975 to about 995 under Haakon Sigurdsson. Although Harald Fairhair's kingdom was the kernel of a unified Norway, it was still small and his power centre was in Vestfold, in the south, and when he died, the kingdom was divided between his sons. Some historians put emphasis on the actual monarchical control over the country and assert that Olav II, who reigned from 1015, was the first king to have control over the entire country, he is held to be the driving force behind Norway's final conversion to Christianity and was revered as Rex Perpetuum Norvegiæ. Some provinces did not come under the rule of the Fairhair kings before the time of Harald III. Either of these may therefore be regarded as further unifiers of Norway, and some of the rulers were nominally or vassals of the King of Denmark, including Jarl Haakon. It is undisputed that kings, until Magnus IV, were descended from Harald Hardrada: the'Hardrada dynasty'. However, many modern historians doubt whether Harald III was in fact descended from Harald Fairhair and whether he in fact made such a claim, or whether this lineage is a construction from the 12th century.
Sverre Sigurdsson's claim to be the son of Sigurd Munn is usually considered to be dubious, which would make Inge II the last king of a dynasty. Scholars now consider the Fairhair dynasty at least the product of medieval invention. One motive would be to increase the legitimacy of rulers by giving them a clear royal ancestry dating back to the foundation of the kingdom. Another was to provide pedigrees for other people by connecting them to the royal house. Versions of the royal descent are preserved in various works by Icelandic skalds and historians, some based on now lost works: Þjóðólfr of Hvinir's Ynglingatal, in Nóregs konungatal, at greatest length in Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla; these differ in some respects. Joan Turville-Petre explored the relationship between them and argued that the original aims were to establish a framework of regnal years for dating and to connect Icelandic chieftains to them, that the Vestfold origin of the dynasty was deliberately altered and they were connected to the Swedish Ynglings rather than the Skjǫldungs to fit Icelandic tradition.
Claus Krag argued that an important motive was to establish a hereditary claim to Viken, the region around Oslo, because the area had been paying taxes to the King of Denmark. Turville-Petre speaks of a "decisive reconstruction of Harald's ancestry carried out by Icelanders, some two hundred years after his time" which made Halfdan the Black the progenitor of a dynasty which stretched in three branches from Harald Fairhair to Olaf Tryggvason, Olav II and Harald. - in fulfillment of prophetic dreams, according to Heimskringla, in which the genealogy reaches its full form. One particular point of doubt raised by historians is whether Harald III's father was descended in unbroken male line from a younger son of Harald Fairhair, Olav II in another obscure but unbroken male line, it has been suggested that their claims to the throne were bolstered by genealogical invention because although they shared the same mother, Åsta Gudbrandsdatter, the mother's descent was unimportant in inheritance according to traditional Germanic law.
In this critical view, only three generations of Fairhair kings reigned, from 930 to 1030, for 40 years altogether. The kings Olav Tryggvason and St. Olav, their family ties with the Fairhair dynasty a 12th-century invention, ruled for 18 years altogether and Harald Hardrada founded a new dynasty. There may be as many as 6 dynasties altogether subsumed under the title of Fairhair dynasty: Harald Fairhair's, Olav Tryggvason's, St. Olav's, Harald Hardrada's, Magnus Erlingsson's and Sverre's. After Olav II of Norway's recognition as a saint, successors of his half-brother, Harald III, were known as the'St. Olav dynasty'; the problem points in the medieval royal lineage in the so-called
Charles XIV John of Sweden
Charles XIV John or Carl John, from 1818 until his death was King of Sweden and King of Norway and served as de facto regent and head of state from 1810 to 1818. He was the Sovereign Prince of Pontecorvo, in south-central Italy, from 1806 until 1810, he served a long career in the French Army. He subsequently acquired the full name of Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, he was appointed as a Marshal of France by Napoleon. Napoleon made him Prince of Pontecorvo on 5 June 1806, but he stopped using that title in 1810 when his service to France ended and he was elected the heir-presumptive to the childless King Charles XIII of Sweden, his candidacy was advocated by Baron Carl Otto Mörner, a Swedish courtier and obscure member of the Riksdag of the Estates. Upon his Swedish adoption, he assumed the name Carl. Since he was a royal prince there, he did not use the surname of Bernadotte in Sweden, but founded the Swedish dynasty by that name. Bernadotte was born in Pau, France, as the son of Jean Henri Bernadotte, prosecutor at Pau, his wife Jeanne de Saint-Jean, niece of the Lay Abbot of Sireix.
The family name was du Poey, but was changed to Bernadotte – a surname of an ancestress at the beginning of the 17th century. Soon after his birth, Baptiste was added to his name, to distinguish him from his elder brother Jean Évangeliste. Bernadotte himself added Jules to his first names as a tribute to the French Empire under Napoleon I. At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to a local attorney. However, the death of his father when Bernadotte was just 17 stopped the youth from following his father's career. Bernadotte joined the army as a private in the Régiment Royal–La Marine on 3 September 1780, first served in the newly conquered territory of Corsica. Subsequently, the Régiment stationed in Besançon, Vienne and Ile de Re, he reached to the rank of Sergeant in August 1785 and was nicknamed Sergeant Belle-Jambe, for his smart appearance. In early 1790 he was promoted to Adjudant-Major, the highest rank for noncommissioned officers in the Ancien Régime. Following the outbreak of the French Revolution, his eminent military qualities brought him speedy promotion.
By 1794 he was promoted to brigadier, attached to the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse. After Jourdan's victory at Fleurus, he became a divisional general. At the Battle of Theiningen, Bernadotte contributed, more than anyone else, to the successful retreat of the French army over the Rhine after its defeat by the Archduke Charles of Austria. At the beginning of 1797 he was ordered by the Directory to march with 20,000 men as reinforcements to Napoleon Bonaparte's army in Italy, his successful crossing of the Alps through the storm in midwinter was praised but coldly received by the Italian Army. Upon receiving insult from Dominique Martin Dupuy, the commander of Milan, Bernadotte was to arrest him for insubordination. However, Dupuy was a close friend of Louis-Alexandre Berthier and this started a long-lasting feud between Bernadotte and Napoleon's Chief of Staff, he had his first interview with Napoleon in Mantua and was appointed the commander of the 4th division. During the invasion of Friuli and Istria, Bernadotte distinguished himself at the passage of the Tagliamento where he led the vanguard, at the capture of the fortress of Gradisca.
After the 18th Fructidor, Napoleon ordered his generals to collect from their respective divisions' addresses in favor of the coup d'état of that day. After the treaty of Campo Formio, Napoleon gave Bernadotte a friendly visit at his headquarters at Udine, but after deprived him of half his division of the army of the Rhine, commanded him to march the other half back to France. Paul Barras, one of five directors, was cautious that Napoleon would overturn the Republic, so he appointed Bernadotte commander-in-chief of the Italian Army in order to offset Napoleon’s power. Bernadotte was pleased with this appointment but Napoleon lobbied Talleyrand-Périgord, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to appoint him to the embassy of Vienna instead. Bernadotte was dissatisfied. After returning from Vienna, he resided in Paris, he married Désirée Clary in August 1798, the daughter of a Marseilles merchant and Joseph Bonaparte's sister-in-law. In November of the same year he was made commander of the army of observation on the upper Rhine.
Although solicited to do so by Barras and Joseph Bonaparte, he did not take part in the coup d'état of the 30th Prairial. From 2 July to 14 September he was Minister of War. However, his popularity and contacts with radical Jacobins aroused antipathy towards him in the government. On the morning of 13 September he found his resignation announced in the Moniteur before he was aware that he had tendered it; this was a trick. He declined to help Napoleon Bonaparte stage his coup d'état of November 1799 but accepted employment from the Consulate, from April 1800 to 18 August 1801 commanded the army in the Vendée and successfully
Charles XIII of Sweden
Charles XIII & II Carl, Swedish: Karl XIII, was King of Sweden from 1809 and King of Norway from 1814 until his death. He was the second son of King Adolf Frederick of Sweden and Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, sister of Frederick the Great. Though known as King Charles XIII in Sweden, he was the seventh Swedish king by that name, as Charles IX had adopted his numeral after studying a fictitious history of Sweden. Prince Charles was placed under the tutelage of Hedvig Elisabet Strömfelt and Ulrica Schönström, he was appointed grand admiral. He was described as a good dancer at the amateur theatre of the royal court, he was not close to his mother. The Queen preferred Sophie Albertine and Frederick Adolf. Charles was, his father's favorite, similar to him in personality, he was described as close to his brother Gustav during their childhood. Because of his position as the heir to the throne after his elder brother Gustav, he was early targeted as a useful tool for the opposition to his brother: in the 1760s, the Caps tried to use him against his brother the crown prince through his love interest countess Brita Horn, daughter of the Cap's politician Adam Horn.
Gustav, was always careful to prevent Charles from being used by the opposition, which came to its first test during the December Crisis, when Charles did not let himself be used by the Caps party. In 1770, he made a journey through France alone. After the death of his father in 1771, when his brother the crown prince was abroad, the Caps once again attempted to use him against his brother, now King Gustav III of Sweden, his mother Louisa Ulrika used this in order to have her own rights as a dowager queen respected by the Caps. Upon the departure of his mother to Prussia, the return of his brother, Gustav III managed to win him to his side. In 1772 he cooperated in the Revolution of 1772 of King Gustav, he was given the task of using his connections in the Caps party to neutralize it and secure the southern provinces by use of the military, tasks he performed and for which the king rewarded him with the title Duke of Södermanland. Duke Charles in early years was the object of his mother's plans to arrange political marriages for her children.
On the wish of his mother, he was to be married to her niece, his cousin Philippine of Brandenburg-Schwedt, a plan to which he had agreed in 1770. The government, refused to issue negotiations because of the costs. After the accession of Gustav III and the coup d'état which introduced absolute monarchy, his brother terminated these plans against their mother's will in October 1772, began negotiations for a marriage between Charles and his cousin Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp; as King Gustav had not consummated his own marriage, he wished to place the task of providing an heir to the throne with his brother. Charles agreed to the marriage in August 1773, the marriage took place the following year. After a false alarm of a pregnancy of Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte in 1775, the king consummated his own marriage; the royal couple lived each had extramarital affairs. During the great succession scandal of 1778, when queen dowager Louisa Ulrika questioned the paternity of the issue of Gustav III, Charles sided with his brother the king against their mother, this despite the fact that it was in fact he who had informed her of the rumors regarding the legitimacy, something he however withheld from the king.
Charles was described as dependent and influenced. His numerous affairs gave him the reputation of being a libertine, he was reputed for his "harem" of lovers, of which the more well known were Augusta von Fersen, Charlotte Eckerman, Françoise-Éléonore Villain, Mariana Koskull and Charlotte Slottsberg, the last one reputed to have had political influence over him. He unsuccessfully courted Magdalena Rudenschöld, her refusal of his advances has been pointed out as the cause of the harsh treatment he exposed her to as regent during the Armfelt conspiracy. After the late 1790s, when his health deteriorated as a result of a series of rheumatic attacks, his relationship to his consort improved and she gained more influence over him; the Duke was known for his interest in the supernatural and mysticism, he was engaged in several secret societies. He was a member of the Freemasons, he was a client of the fortune teller Ulrica Arfvidsson, he favored the medium Henrik Gustaf Ulfvenklou. In 1811, he founded the Order of Charles XIII, a Swedish order of chivalry awarded only to a maximum number of 33 knights, on the condition of confessing the Lutheran Evangelic Religion and being Freemasons.
All Princes and Kings of the Bernadotte dynasty, the royal house of Sweden are from baptism, incorporate parts of the royal order of knights and freemasons. In addition are the order of merit granted to members of foreign Grand Lodges affiliated to the so-called Swedish System, such as the Grande Loge Nationale Française, if of royal rank; when the Swedish order of Freemason's states that "Freemasonry in Sweden has continued to develop under leadership of their Grand Masters, all of them belonging to the Royal House since more than 200 years", the origin of which arrives in large from King Charles II of Norway, XIII of Sweden. Duke Charles was given several political tasks during his tenure as a duke. In 1777, he served as regent during Gustav III's stay in Russia. In 1780, he served as formal chief commander during the king's stay in Spa; the same year, Gustav III named him regent for his son should he succeed him whil
House of Hesse
The House of Hesse is a European dynasty, directly descended from the House of Brabant. It ruled the region of Hesse, with one branch as prince-electors until 1866, another branch as grand dukes until 1918; the origins of the House of Hesse begin with the marriage of Sophie of Thuringia with Henry II, Duke of Brabant, from the House of Reginar. Sophie was the heiress of Hesse, which she passed on to her son, upon her retention of the territory following her partial victory in the War of the Thuringian Succession, in which she was one of the belligerents; the western part of the Landgraviate of Thuringia, in the mid 13th century, it was inherited by the younger son of Henry II, Duke of Brabant, became a distinct political entity. From the late 16th century, it was divided into several branches, the most important of which were those of Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Darmstadt. In the early 19th century, the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel was elevated to Elector of Hesse, while the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt became the Grand Duke of Hesse the Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine.
The Electorate of Hesse was annexed by Prussia in 1866, while the Grand Duchy of Hesse remained a sovereign realm until the end of the German monarchies in 1918. Since 23 May 2013, the head of the house has been Landgrave of Hesse, he descends from the Hesse-Kassel branch of the family, the genealogically senior male line since the house's major partition in 1567. Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, died in 1567. Hesse was divided between his four sons, thus four main branches arose: Hesse-Kassel, Hesse-Marburg, Hesse-Rheinfels and Hesse-Darmstadt. House of Brabant Hesse Hesse-Kassel, became Electorate of Hesse in 1803 Hesse-Rotenburg Hesse-Wanfried Hesse-Rheinfels Hesse-Sweden line died out in 1751 because King Frederick I of Sweden had no legitimate heirs. Hesse-Philippsthal Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld Hanau-Schaumburg Hesse-Marburg Hesse-Rheinfels Hesse-Darmstadt, became Grand Duchy of Hesse in 1806 Hesse-Butzbach Hesse-Braubach Hesse-Homburg Hesse-Itter Battenberg The Battenberg family are morganatic descendants in the male-line of the House of Hesse, issuing from the marriage of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine with Countess Julia Hauke who, along with her children and agnatic descendants, were made princes and princesses of Battenberg and Serene Highnesses.
The Battenbergs who settled in England changed that name to Mountbatten after World War I at the behest of George V, who substituted British peerages for their former German princely title. Those descended from the marriage of Alexander of Battenberg, Prince of Bulgaria, contracted with a commoner after the loss of his throne, were granted the title Count von Hartenau. Hesse-Kassel and its junior lines were annexed by Prussia in 1866. Hesse-Darmstadt became the People's State of Hesse when the monarchy was abolished in 1918. Hesse-Philippsthal died out in the male line in 1925, Hesse-Darmstadt in 1968; the male-line heirs of Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld continue to exist to the present day. List of rulers of Hesse
Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden
Adolf Frederick or Adolph Frederick was King of Sweden from 1751 until his death. He was the son of Christian August of Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Eutin, Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach; the first king from the House of Holstein-Gottorp, Adolf Frederick was a weak monarch, instated as first in line of the throne following the parliamentary government's failure to reconquer the Baltic provinces in 1741–43. Aside from a few attempts, supported by pro-absolutist factions among the nobility, to reclaim the absolute monarchy held by previous monarchs, he remained a mere constitutional figurehead until his death, his reign saw an extended period of internal peace, although the finances stagnated following failed mercantilist doctrines pursued by the Hat administration. The Hat administration ended only in the 1765–66 parliament, where the Cap opposition overtook the government and enacted reforms towards greater economic liberalism as well as a Freedom of Press Act unique at the time for its curtailing of all censorship, retaining punitive measures only for libeling the monarch or the Church of Sweden.
His father was Christian Augustus duke and a younger prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp, prince-bishop of Lübeck, administrator, during the Great Northern War, of the duchies of Holstein-Gottorp for his relative Charles Frederick. His mother Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach was a descendant of earlier royal dynasties of Sweden, granddaughter of Princess Catherine of Sweden, eldest sister of King Charles X of Sweden. On his mother's side, Adolf Frederick descended from King Gustav Vasa and from Christina Magdalena, a sister of Charles X of Sweden. From both his parents he was descended from Holstein-Gottorp, a house with a number of medieval Scandinavian royal dynasties among its ancestors. Adolf Frederick was a 13th-generation descendant of King Erik V of Denmark. From 1727 to 1750 prince Adolf Frederick was prince-bishop of Lübeck, which meant the rulership of a fief around and including Eutin. After his first cousin Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp died in 1739, Adolf Frederick became administrator of Holstein-Kiel during the minority of the duke's orphan son known as Charles Peter Ulrich.
Shortly afterwards, the young boy was invited to Russia by his maternal aunt, Empress Elizabeth, who soon declared him her heir. In 1743, Adolf Frederick was elected heir to the throne of Sweden by the Hat faction in order that they might obtain better conditions at the Treaty of Abo from Empress Elizabeth of Russia, who had adopted his nephew as her heir, he succeeded as King Adolf Frederick twelve years on 25 March 1751. During his twenty-year reign, Adolf Frederick was little more than a figurehead, the real power being lodged in the hands of the Riksdag of the Estates distracted by party strife. Twice he endeavoured to free himself from the tutelage of the estates; the first occasion was in 1756 when, stimulated by his imperious consort Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, he tried to regain a portion of the attenuated prerogative through the Coup of 1756 to abolish the rule of the Riksdag of the Estates and reinstate absolute monarchy in Sweden. He nearly lost his throne in consequence. On the second occasion during the December Crisis, under the guidance of his eldest son, the crown prince Gustav, afterwards Gustav III of Sweden, he succeeded in overthrowing the "Cap" senate, but was unable to make any use of his victory.
Adolf Frederick died in Stockholm on 12 February 1771 after having consumed a meal consisting of lobster, sauerkraut and champagne, topped off with 14 servings of his favourite dessert: hetvägg made of semla and served in a bowl of hot milk. The king was regarded, both during his time and in times, as dependent on others, a weak ruler and lacking of any talents, but he was also a good husband, a caring father, a gentle master to his servants. His favourite pastime was to make snuffboxes, which he spent a great deal of time doing, his personal hospitality and friendliness were witnessed by many who mourned him at his death. Following his death, his son Gustav III seized power in 1772 in a military coup d'état, reinstating absolute rule. By his marriage to Princess Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, he had the following children: Gustav III Charles XIII Frederick Adolf Sofia Albertina With Marguerite Morel he had one son who died as a child: Frederici Adolf Frederick may have been the father of Lolotte Forssberg by Ulla von Liewen, but this has however never been confirmed
Gustav, Prince of Vasa
Prince Gustav Vasa, Count Itterburg, born Crown Prince of Sweden and called Gustaf Gustafsson von Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Vasa, was the son of King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden and Queen Frederica. His Austrian princely title was spelled Wasa. After his birth, he was raised under the supervision of the royal governesses Hedvig Ulrika De la Gardie and Charlotte Stierneld in succession; when he was ten years old, his father was deposed by the Coup of 1809 and the family was forced into exile. The Gustavian party tried to get him accepted as crown prince in 1809 and 1810, but were unsuccessful. Queen Charlotte, wife of the new king, was one of the leading figures of the Gustavian Party, visited ex-queen Frederica in her house arrest and worked for prince Gustav to be acknowledged as heir to the throne, she wrote of this issue in her diaries: during a dinner, General Georg Adlersparre told her that Jean Baptiste Bernadotte had asked whether she had any issue, was interested when he found she had not.
She said that the throne had an heir in the deposed King's son. Adlersparre became upset and expressed the opinion of his party that none of the instigators of the coup would accept this as they feared that the boy would take revenge against them when he became King, that they would go as far as take up the old rumour that the deposed King was, in fact and the son of Queen Sophia Magdalena and Count Adolf Fredrik Munck af Fulkila to prevent this. Between the time after the coup and before the royal family left Sweden, they were held under house arrest. During that period, Queen Charlotte described him in her famous diary as an obedient and dutiful child with a great ability to learn, he was not humble. Rather, he seemed too careful for his age; when Princess Sophie asked him why their father was no longer King, he told her that it was best not to talk about it. He did not appear to miss his father. After he was told that his father had been deposed, he acted embarrassed towards his mother. However, when she told him that he too had lost his position as heir, he cried and embraced her without a word.
The announcement gave him much happiness. In 1816, he assumed the title of Count of Itterburg, he served as an officer to the Habsburgs of Austria, in 1829, Emperor Francis I created him Prince of Vasa. He was made a Field Marshal-Lieutenant in the Austrian Army in 1836. In 1828, he became engaged to Princess Marianne of the Netherlands, but political pressure forced an end to any wedding plans. On 9 November 1830, he married in Karlsruhe Princess Louise Amelie of Baden, they divorced in 1843. A son, was born in 1832 but died shortly after birth, their daughter, Princess Carola, married the Catholic King Albert I of Saxony, but they had no issue. Gustaf died on 5 August 1877. In 1884, his remains were moved to Stockholm. Charlottas, Hedvig Elisabeth. Af Klercker, Cecilia, ed. Hedvig Elisabeth Charlottas dagbok. VIII 1807-1811. Translated by Cecilia af Klercker. Stockholm: P. A. Norstedt & Söners förlag. OCLC 14111333
Sweden the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre; the highest concentration is in the southern half of the country. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats and Swedes and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is forested. Sweden is part of the geographical area of Fennoscandia; the climate is in general mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence, that in spite of this still retains warm continental summers.
Today, the sovereign state of Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state, like its neighbour Norway. The capital city is Stockholm, the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister. Sweden is a unitary state divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities. An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century. After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, the Hanseatic League threatened Scandinavia's culture and languages; this led to the forming of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union in 1397, which Sweden left in 1523. When Sweden became involved in the Thirty Years War on the Reformist side, an expansion of its territories began and the Swedish Empire was formed; this became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809.
The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs; the union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905. Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars and the Cold War, albeit Sweden has since 2009 moved towards cooperation with NATO. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995, but declined NATO membership, as well as Eurozone membership following a referendum, it is a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens, it has the world's eleventh-highest per capita income and ranks in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality and human development.
The name Sweden was loaned from Dutch in the 17th century to refer to Sweden as an emerging great power. Before Sweden's imperial expansion, Early Modern English used Swedeland. Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod, which meant "people of the Swedes"; this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige means "realm of the Swedes", excluding the Geats in Götaland. Variations of the name Sweden are used in most languages, with the exception of Danish and Norwegian using Sverige, Faroese Svøríki, Icelandic Svíþjóð, the more notable exception of some Finnic languages where Ruotsi and Rootsi are used, names considered as referring to the people from the coastal areas of Roslagen, who were known as the Rus', through them etymologically related to the English name for Russia; the etymology of Swedes, thus Sweden, is not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning "one's own", referring to one's own Germanic tribe. Sweden's prehistory begins in the Allerød oscillation, a warm period around 12,000 BC, with Late Palaeolithic reindeer-hunting camps of the Bromme culture at the edge of the ice in what is now the country's southernmost province, Scania.
This period was characterised by small bands of hunter-gatherer-fishers using flint technology. Sweden is first described in a written source in Germania by Tacitus in 98 AD. In Germania 44 and 45 he mentions the Swedes as a powerful tribe with ships that had a prow at each end. Which kings ruled these Suiones is unknown, but Norse mythology presents a long line of legendary and semi-legendary kings going back to the last centuries BC; as for literacy in Sweden itself, the runic script was in use among the south Scandinavian elite by at least the 2nd century AD, but all that has come down to the present from the Roman Period is curt inscriptions on artefacts of male names, demonstrating th