Stockholm: History

Venice of the North

Stockholm History

Stockholm’s history begins with the ancient Norse sagas, mostly in the tales of the mythological Swedish king Agne. By the mid 11th century, Stockholm was already an important site for the trade of iron. Its foundation is attributed to the well-known Swedish statesmen of the time, Birger Jarl. Stockholm’s historic center, Gamla Stan, was constructed during the 12th to 14th centuries and the city saw significant growth due to the extensive trading of the Hanseatic League around this time. From 1397–1523 Sweden was united with the rest of Scandinavia under the Kalmar Union until Gustav Vasa became King of Sweden.

Three years before this, Stockholm was the site of a squashed rebellion against the Danish crown, known as the Stockholm Bloodbath, when some 82 nobles, politicians and citizens were executed. During the 1600s Sweden emerged as a regional and European power. Stockholm was made capital of the Swedish empire and its population and trade both soared. In the 1700s both the Great Northern War and the Black Death slowed population and economic growth, yet cultural development continued and by the latter half of the 1800s, Stockholm was an economic and industrial center attracting many immigrants.

This time also saw the establishment of the world famous Karolinska Institute and the enlargement of Stockholm’s scientific sector. Stockholm was virtually unscathed by the Second World War and modernized extensively during the post war period. It has continued to be a center for immigration and has shifted largely from manufacturing and shipping towards the technological and service industries.