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Dominions of Sweden

The Dominions of Sweden or Svenska besittningar were territories that historically came under control of the Swedish Crown, but never became fully integrated with Sweden. This generally meant that they were ruled by Swedish Governors General under the Swedish monarch, but within certain limits retained their own established political systems, essentially their diets.

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Baltic Dominions

Between 1561 and 1629 Sweden made conquests in the Eastern Baltic. All of them were lost in accordance with the Treaty of Nystad in 1721, which concluded the Great Northern War.


Estonia[?] placed itself under Swedish rule in 1561 to receive protection from Russia and Poland as the Livonian Order lost their foothold in the Baltic provinces. Territorially it represented the northern part of present day Estonia.


Russia ceded Ingria and southern Karelia to Sweden in the Peace of Stolbova[?] in 1617, following the Ingrian War[?]. A century later Russia re-conquered the area, providing an opportunity for Peter the Great to lay the foundations of his new capital, Saint Petersburg, in 1703. The area was then formally ceded in 1721 by the Treaty of Nystad.


The Hanseatic town of Riga fell under Swedish control in the late 1620s. During its bare century in the Swedish Realm it was the second largest town after Stockholm.


Livonia was conquered from Poland by 1629 in the Polish War[?]. By the Treaty of Oliva[?] between Poland and Sweden in 1660 following the Northern War the Polish king renounced all claims to the Swedish throne and Livonia was formally ceded to Sweden. Livonia represents the southern part of present-day Estonia and the northern part of present-day Latvia.


By the Treaty of Brömsebro[?] (1645), following the Torstenson War[?], Denmark ceded Jämtland, Härjedalen, Gotland, Halland and Ösel to Sweden. Ösel and Dagö, islands off the coast of Estonia, were ceded to Russia in 1721 by the Treaty of Nystad. The other terriotories remained part of Sweden.

Scandinavian Dominion

By the peace treaties of Brömsebro[?] (1645) and Roskilde (1658) the Realm of Sweden expanded to the south. Skåneland, or Terra Scania, was ceded by Denmark in the latter and then successfully defended in the Scanian War[?] (1674-1679). According to the peace treaties the country was to retain its old laws and privileges, and was initially administered as a dominion. A gradual process of incorporation successfully concluded in 1721.

Continental Dominions

Through its minor German principalities, the Swedish kings in their roles as princes and dukes, or Reichsfürsten, of the Holy Roman Empire took part in the German diets from 1648 until the dissolution of the empire in 1806.

Bremen and Verden

In 1648 Sweden received the two bishoprics of Bremen-Verden[?] in the Peace of Westphalia, following the Thirty Years' War. The town of Wildeshausen[?], which was situated as an exclave was also received. All of them were ceded to Hannover in the peace treaty of 1719.


By the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 Sweden received Pomerania, situated along the German Baltic Sea coast. In 1720 the Swedish part of Eastern Pomerania (Hinterpommern) with the town of Stettin and the islands of Usedom and Wollin were ceded to Prussia, following the Great Northern War. In 1814 Western Pomerania (Vorpommern) , with the town of Stralsund and the island of Rügen were ceded to Denmark, which in exchange ceded Norway to Sweden under the Treaty of Kiel[?], which followed on Second War against Napoleon[?]. However the treaty of Kiel never came into force: instead sovereignty of Western Pomerania passed to Prussia, and Norway entered into a personal Union with Sweden[?].


Sweden received the German town of Wismar with the surrounding countryside in the Peace of Westphalia (1648). In 1803 Wismar was pawned, in exchange for a loan, and control was handed over to Mecklenburg. The loan defaulted in 1903, but Sweden rescinded its right to regain control of the German exclave and thereby nominally received its present territorial constitution.

See also: Realm of Sweden, Provinces of Sweden, Unions of Sweden[?], List of Swedish wars

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