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Riksdag of the Estates

Until its dissolution in 1866 the highest authority in Sweden next to the King was the Riksdag of the Estates or Ståndsriksdagen. It was a Diet made up of the Four Estates, which historically were the lines of division in Swedish society. The Estates when convening in the Diet were also be called Riksens ständer.

Historically the four estates in the Swedish society were:

  • Nobility
  • Clergy
  • Burghers
  • Peasants

In 1866 all the Estates voted in favor of dissolution and at the same time to founded a new assembly, The Swedish Riksdag or Sveriges Riksdag.

The only corporation out of the four estates that exists today is the Swedish nobility or Riddarhuset, which legally still has a quasi-official role as the representation of the nobility.

The modern Centre Party which grew out of the Swedish Farmers movement, sitting in the Parliament still today, could be construed as a modern representation with a traditional bond to the Estate of the Peasants.

The Constitution of Sweden from 1809 divided the powers of Government between the Bernadotte Kings and the Riksdag of the Estates, and after 1866 with the new Riksdag.

In 1809 Sweden ceded Finland to Russia. Finland became a Grand Duchy under the Russian Tsar, but the political institutions were kept practically intact. The Diet of Finland was dissolved in 1905.

See also: Government of Sweden, History of Sweden, History of Finland

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