The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth – formally, the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland – was a dual state, a bi-confederation of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch, both King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. It was one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th– to 17th-century Europe. At its largest territorial extent, in the early 17th century, the Commonwealth covered 400,000 square miles and sustained a multi-ethnic population of 11 million; the Commonwealth was established by the Union of Lublin in July 1569, but the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had been in a de facto personal union since 1386 with the marriage of the Polish queen Hedwig and Lithuania's Grand Duke Jogaila, crowned King jure uxoris Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland. The First Partition of Poland in 1772 and the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 reduced the state's size and the Commonwealth collapsed as an independent state following the Third Partition of Poland in 1795.
The Union possessed many features unique among contemporary states. Its political system was characterized by strict checks upon monarchical power; these checks were enacted by a legislature controlled by the nobility. This idiosyncratic system was a precursor to modern concepts of democracy, constitutional monarchy, federation. Although the two component states of the Commonwealth were formally equal, Poland was the dominant partner in the union; the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was marked by high levels of ethnic diversity and by relative religious tolerance, guaranteed by the Warsaw Confederation Act 1573. The Constitution of 1791 acknowledged Catholicism as the "dominant religion", unlike the Warsaw Confederation, but freedom of religion was still granted with it. After several decades of prosperity, it entered a period of protracted political and economic decline, its growing weakness led to its partitioning among its neighbors during the late 18th century. Shortly before its demise, the Commonwealth adopted a massive reform effort and enacted the May 3 Constitution—the first codified constitution in modern European history and the second in modern world history.
The official name of the state was The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Latin term was used in international treaties and diplomacy. In the 17th century and it was known as the Most Serene Commonwealth of Poland, the Commonwealth of the Polish Kingdom, or the Commonwealth of Poland, its inhabitants referred to it in everyday speech as the "Rzeczpospolita". Western Europeans simply called it Poland and in most past and modern sources it is referred to as the Kingdom of Poland, or just Poland; the terms: the Commonwealth of Poland and the Commonwealth of Two Nations were used in the Reciprocal Guarantee of Two Nations. The English term'Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth' and German'Polen-Litauen' are seen as renderings of the Commonwealth of Two Nations variant. Other names include the Republic of Nobles and the First Commonwealth, the latter common in Polish historiography. Poland and Lithuania underwent an alternating series of wars and alliances during the 14th century and early 15th century.
Several agreements between the two were struck before the permanent 1569 Union of Lublin. This agreement was one of the signal achievements of Sigismund II Augustus, last monarch of the Jagiellon dynasty. Sigismund believed, his death in 1572 was followed by a three-year interregnum during which adjustments were made to the constitutional system. The Commonwealth reached its Golden Age in the early 17th century, its powerful parliament was dominated by nobles who were reluctant to get involved in the Thirty Years' War. The Commonwealth was able to hold its own against Sweden, the Tsardom of Russia, vassals of the Ottoman Empire, launched successful expansionist offensives against its neighbors. In several invasions during the Time of Troubles, Commonwealth troops entered Russia and managed to take Moscow and hold it from 27 September 1610 to 4 November 1612, when they were driven out after a siege. Commonwealth power began waning after a series of blows during the following decades. A major rebellion of Ukrainian Cossacks in the southeastern portion of the Commonwealth began in 1648.
It resulted in a Ukrainian request, under the terms of the Treaty of Pereyaslav, for protection by the Russian Tsar. Russian annexation of part of Ukraine supplanted Polish influence; the other blow to the Commonwealth was a Swedish invasion in 1655, known as the Deluge, supported by troops of Transylvanian Duke George II Rákóczi a
A Cabinet is a body of high-ranking state officials consisting of the top leaders of the executive branch. Members of a cabinet are called Cabinet ministers or secretaries; the function of a Cabinet varies: in some countries it is a collegiate decision-making body with collective responsibility, while in others it may function either as a purely advisory body or an assisting institution to a decision making head of state or head of government. Cabinets are the body responsible for the day-to-day management of the government and response to sudden events, whereas the legislative and judicial branches work in a measured pace, in sessions according to lengthy procedures. In some countries those that use a parliamentary system, the Cabinet collectively decides the government's direction in regard to legislation passed by the parliament. In countries with a presidential system, such as the United States, the Cabinet does not function as a collective legislative influence. In this way, the President obtains opinions and advice relating to forthcoming decisions.
Under both types of system, the Westminster variant of a parliamentary system and the presidential system, the Cabinet "advises" the Head of State: the difference is that, in a parliamentary system, the monarch, viceroy or ceremonial president will always follow this advice, whereas in a presidential system, a president, head of government and political leader may depart from the Cabinet's advice if they do not agree with it. In practice, in nearly all parliamentary democracies that do not follow the Westminster system, in three countries that do often the Cabinet does not "advise" the Head of State as they play only a ceremonial role. Instead, it is the head of government who holds all means of power in their hands and to whom the Cabinet reports; the second role of cabinet officials is to administer executive branches, government agencies, or departments. In the United States federal government, these are the federal executive departments. Cabinets are important originators for legislation.
Cabinets and ministers are in charge of the preparation of proposed legislation in the ministries before it is passed to the parliament. Thus the majority of new legislation originates from the cabinet and its ministries. In most governments, members of the Cabinet are given the title of Minister, each holds a different portfolio of government duties. In a few governments, as in the case of Mexico, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, United States, the title of Secretary is used for some Cabinet members. In many countries, a Secretary is a cabinet member with an inferior rank to a Minister. In Finland, a Secretary of State is a career official. In some countries, the Cabinet is known by names such as "Council of Ministers", "Government Council" or "Council of State", or by lesser known names such as "Federal Council", "Inner Council" or "High Council"; these countries may differ in the way that the cabinet is established. The supranational European Union uses a different convention: the European Commission refers to its executive cabinet as a "college", with its top public officials referred to as "commissioners", whereas a "European Commission cabinet" is the personal office of a European Commissioner.
In presidential systems such as the United States, members of the Cabinet are chosen by the president, may have to be confirmed by one or both of the houses of the legislature. In most presidential systems, cabinet members cannot be sitting legislators, legislators who are offered appointments must resign if they wish to accept. In parliamentary systems, several different policies exist with regard to whether legislators can be Cabinet ministers: cabinet members must, must not, or may be members of parliament, depending on the country. In the United Kingdom, cabinet ministers are mandatorily appointed from among sitting members of the parliament. In countries with a strict separation between the executive and legislative branches of government, e.g. Luxembourg and Belgium, cabinet members have to give up their seat in parliament; the intermediate case is when ministers are members of parliament, but are not required to be, as in Finland. The candidate prime minister and/or the president selects the individual ministers to be proposed to the parliament, which may accept or reject the proposed cabinet composition.
Unlike in a presidential system, the cabinet in a parliamentary system must not only be confirmed, but enjoy the continuing confidence of the parliament: a parliament can pass a motion of no confidence to remove a government or individual ministers. But not these votes are taken across party lines. In some countries attorneys general sit in the cabinet, while in many others this is prohibited as the attorneys general are considered to be part of the judicial branch of government. Instead, there is a minister of justice, separate from the attorney general. Furthermore, in Sweden and Estonia, the cabinet includes a Chancellor of Justice, a civil servant that acts as the legal counsel to the cabinet. In multi-party systems, the formation of a government may require the support of multiple parties. Thus, a coalition government is formed. Continued cooperation between the participating political parties is nece
The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
The Daugava or Western Dvina is a river rising in the Valdai Hills, flowing through Russia and Latvia and into the Gulf of Riga. The total length of the river is 1,020 km; the total catchment area of the river is 33,150 km2 of which are within Belarus. According to the Max Vasmer's Etymological Dictionary, the toponym Dvina cannot stem from a Uralic language, it comes from Indo-European word which used to mean river or stream; the river began experiencing environmental deterioration in the era of Soviet collective agriculture and a wave of hydroelectric power projects. Andreapol, Zapadnaya Dvina and Velizh. Ruba, Beshankovichy, Polotsk with Boris stones strewn in the vicinity, Dzisna and Druya. Krāslava, Daugavpils, Līvāni, Jēkabpils, Pļaviņas, Jaunjelgava, Lielvārde, Ogre, Ikšķile and Riga. Humans have settled at the mouth of the Daugava and around the other shores of the Gulf of Riga for millennia participating in a hunter-gatherer economy and utilizing the waters of the Daugava estuary as fishing and gathering areas for aquatic biota.
Beginning around the sixth century AD, Viking explorers crossed the Baltic Sea and entered the Daugava River, navigating upriver into the Baltic interior. In medieval times the Daugava was an important area of trading and navigation - part of the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks - for transport of furs from the north and of Byzantine silver from the south; the Riga area, inhabited by the Finnic-speaking Livs, became a key element of settlement and defence of the mouth of the Daugava at least as early as the Middle Ages, as evidenced by the now destroyed fort at Torņakalns on the west bank of the Daugava at present day Riga. Since the Late Middle Ages the western part of the Daugava basin has come under the rule of various peoples and states. Upstream of the Latvian town of Jekabpils the pH has a characteristic value of about 7.8. The high nitrate and phosphate load of the Daugava is instrumental to the buildup of extensive phytoplankton biomass in the Baltic Sea. In Belarus, water pollution of the Daugava is considered moderately severe, with the chief sources being treated wastewater, fish-farming and agricultural chemical runoff.
Richard C. Frucht. Latvia. Eastern Europe. ABC-CLIO. P. 115. Retrieved 2009-08-01. Francis W. Carter and David Turnock. 2002. Environmental problems of East Central Europe. 442 pages Google eBook Daugava River photos at flickr
1934 Latvian coup d'état
The 1934 Latvian coup d'état, known in Latvia as the May 15 Coup or Ulmanis' Coup, was a self-coup by the veteran Prime Minister Kārlis Ulmanis against the parliamentary system in Latvia. His regime lasted until the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940. On the night of May 15-16 Ulmanis, with the support of Minister of War Jānis Balodis and the paramilitary Aizsargi organization took control of the main state and party offices, proclaimed a State of War in Latvia, suspended the Constitution, dissolved all political parties and the Saeima. Ulmanis established an executive non-parliamentary authoritarian regime in which he ruled as the Prime Minister. Laws continued to be promulgated by the acting government; the incumbent President of Latvia Alberts Kviesis, from Ulmanis Latvian Farmers' Union, accepted the coup and served out the rest of his term until 10 April 1936. Ulmanis illegally assumed the office of State President and was known as Valsts un Ministru Prezidents, but in publications was called Tautas Vadonis or Vadonis.
Ulmanis was unique among European dictators of the time, as he did not create one ruling party and did not introduce a new constitution. Instead, Ulmanis created state-controlled Chambers of Professions, based on the corporatist models of the authoritarian regimes of Konstantin Päts in Estonia and António de Oliveira Salazar in Portugal; the regime was based on the authority and personality cults of Ulmanis and Balodis as founders of Latvia during the Latvian War of Independence who it was claimed had freed the nation from multi-party chaos. The bloodless coup was carried out by the army and units of the national guard Aizsargi loyal to Ulmanis, they moved against key government offices and transportation facilities. Many elected officials and politicians were detained, as were any military officers that resisted the coup; some 2,000 Social Democrats were detained by the authorities, including most of the Social Democratic members of the disbanded Saeima, as were members of various right-wing radical organisations, such as Pērkonkrusts.
In all, 369 Social Democrats, 95 members of Pērkonkrusts, pro-Nazi activists from the Baltic German community, a handful of politicians from other parties were interned in a prison camp established in the Karosta district of Liepāja. After several Social Democrats, such as Bruno Kalniņš, had been cleared of weapons charges by the courts, most of those imprisoned began to be released over time, some deciding to go into exile; those convicted by the courts of treasonous acts, such as the leader of Pērkonkrusts Gustavs Celmiņš, remained behind bars for the duration of their sentences, three years in the case of Celmiņš
Totalitarianism is a political concept of a mode of government that prohibits opposition parties, restricts individual opposition to the state and its claims, exercises an high degree of control over public and private life. It is regarded as the most complete form of authoritarianism. Political power in totalitarian states has been held by rule by one leader which employ all-encompassing propaganda campaigns broadcast by state-controlled mass media. Totalitarian regimes are marked by political repression, personality cultism, control over the economy, restriction of speech, mass surveillance and widespread use of state terrorism. Historian Robert Conquest describes a "totalitarian" state as one recognizing no limits to its authority in any sphere of public or private life and which extends that authority to whatever length feasible; the concept was first developed in the 1920s by both Weimar jurist Carl Schmitt and, concurrently, by the Italian fascists. Italian fascist Benito Mussolini said "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state".
Schmitt used the term Totalstaat in his influential 1927 work on the legal basis of an all-powerful state, The Concept of the Political. The term gained prominence in Western anti-communist political discourse during the Cold War era as a tool to convert pre-war anti-fascism into postwar anti-communism. Totalitarian regimes are different from other authoritarian ones; the latter denotes a state in which the single power holder – an individual "dictator", a committee or a junta or an otherwise small group of political elite – monopolizes political power. " authoritarian state is only concerned with political power and as long as, not contested it gives society a certain degree of liberty". Authoritarianism "does not attempt to change the world and human nature". In contrast, a totalitarian regime attempts to control all aspects of the social life, including the economy, art, private life and morals of citizens; some totalitarian governments may promote an elaborate ideology: "The proclaimed ideology penetrates into the deepest reaches of societal structure and the totalitarian government seeks to control the thoughts and actions of its citizens".
It mobilizes the whole population in pursuit of its goals. Carl Joachim Friedrich writes that "a totalist ideology, a party reinforced by a secret police, monopoly control of industrial mass society" are the three features of totalitarian regimes that distinguish them from other autocracies; the notion of totalitarianism as a "total" political power by the state was formulated in 1923 by Giovanni Amendola, who described Italian Fascism as a system fundamentally different from conventional dictatorships. The term was assigned a positive meaning in the writings of Giovanni Gentile, Italy’s most prominent philosopher and leading theorist of fascism, he used the term totalitario to refer to the structure and goals of the new state, which were to provide the "total representation of the nation and total guidance of national goals". He described totalitarianism as a society in which the ideology of the state had influence, if not power, over most of its citizens. According to Benito Mussolini, this system politicizes everything spiritual and human: "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state".
One of the first to use the term "totalitarianism" in the English language was the Austrian writer Franz Borkenau in his 1938 book The Communist International, in which he commented that it united the Soviet and German dictatorships more than it divided them. The label "totalitarian" was twice affixed to the Hitler regime during Winston Churchill's speech of October 5, 1938 before the House of Commons in opposition to the Munich Agreement, by which France and Great Britain consented to Nazi Germany's annexation of the Sudetenland. Churchill was a backbencher MP representing the Epping constituency. In a radio address two weeks Churchill again employed the term, this time applying the concept to "a Communist or a Nazi tyranny"; the leader of the historic Spanish reactionary conservative party called the Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right declared his intention to "give Spain a true unity, a new spirit, a totalitarian polity" and went on to say: "Democracy is not an end but a means to the conquest of the new state.
When the time comes, either parliament submits or we will eliminate it". George Orwell made frequent use of the word totalitarian and its cognates in multiple essays published in 1940, 1941 and 1942. In his essay Why I Write, he wrote: "The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood; every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it". During a 1945 lecture series entitled The Soviet Impact on the Western World, the pro-Soviet British historian E. H. Carr claimed: "The trend away from individualism and towards totalitarianism is everywhere unmistakable" and that Marxism–Leninism was by far the most successful type of totalitarianism as proved by Soviet industrial growth and the Red Army's role in defeating Germany. Only the "blind and incurable" could ignore the trend towards totalitarianism, said Carr. In The Open Society and Its Enemies and The Poverty of Historicism, Karl Popper articulated an influential critique of totalitarianism: in both works, he contrasted the "open society" of liberal democracy with totalitarianism and argued that the latter is grounded in the belief that history moves toward an immutable future in accordance with knowable laws.
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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