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Christina of Sweden

Born in Stockholm on December 18, 1626, Christina of Sweden succeeded her father Gustavus Adolphus on the throne of Sweden upon his death at the Battle of Lützen (November 6, 1632) during Sweden's intervention in Germany in the Thirty Years' War.

Queen Christina's mother, Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg, came from the Hohenzollern family. She was a woman of quite distraught temperament, and her attempts to bestow guilt on Christina for her difficult birth, or just the horror story itself, may have prejudiced Christina against the prospect of having to produce a heir to the throne.

Her father gave orders that Christina should be brought up as a prince would be trained. Even as a child she displayed a precociousness that astonished Descartes who was summoned to tutor her.

National policy was directed during the first half of Christina's reign by her guardian, regent and adviser Axel Oxenstierna, chancellor to her father and until her majority in 1644 the principal member of the governing regency council. As ruler, Christina resisted demands from the other estates (clergy, burgesses and peasants) in the Riksdag of the Estates of 1650 for the reduction of tax-exempt noble landholdings.

Christina came under the influence of Catholics and then abdicated her throne on June 16, 1654 in favour of her cousin Charles Gustavus in order to either practice openly her previously secret Catholicism, or to profess the same publicly so as to be at the center of scientific and artistic revolution of the renaissance. (The sincerity of her conversion has been disputed.) Upon conversion she took a new name Maria Christina Alexandra and moved to Rome, where her wealth and former position made her a centre of society. She left her large and important library to the Papacy on her death (April 19, 1689).

See also: History of Sweden - Swedish Empire


Note that the birth date is December 8 in the Julian calendar, which was in effect in Sweden at the time, corresponding to December 18 in the Gregorian calendar. Also, the death of her father occurred on November 16 according to the Gregorian calendar.

Preceded by:
Gustav Adolphus
List of Swedish monarchs Succeeded by:
Charles X Gustav



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