Sweden, is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. Sweden borders Norway and Finland, and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Øresund.
At 450,295 square km, Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of about 9.6 million. Sweden has a low population density of 21 inhabitants per square km with the population mostly concentrated to the southern half of the country.
About 85% of the population live in urban areas. Sweden’s capital city is Stockholm, which is also the largest city. Since the early 19th century Sweden has generally been at peace and has largely avoided war.
Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy form of government and a highly developed economy. Sweden has the world’s eighth-highest per capita income. In 2013, it ranked second in the world on the Democracy Index, seventh on the 2013 United Nations’ Human Development Index, second on the 2013 OECD Better Life Index and fourth on the 2013 Legatum Prosperity Index.
In 2012, the World Economic Forum ranked Sweden as the fourth-most competitive country in the world. According to the United Nations, it has the third-lowest infant mortality rate in the world. In 2010, Sweden also had one of the lowest Gini coefficients of all developed countries, making Sweden one of the world’s most equal countries in terms of income. Sweden’s wealth, however, is distributed much less equally than its income, with a wealth Gini coefficient of 0.85, which is higher than the European average of 0.8.
The Kingdom of Sweden
It is not known when and how the kingdom of Sweden was born, but the list of Swedish monarchs is drawn from the first kings known to have ruled both Svealand (Sweden) and Götaland (Gothia) as one province, beginning with Eric the Victorious. Sweden and Gothia were two separate nations long before that into antiquity. It is not known how long they existed: the epic poem Beowulf describes semi-legendary Swedish-Geatish wars in the 6th century. By “Götaland” in this since, mainly included the provinces of Östergötland (East Gothia) and Västergötland (West Gothia). The island of Gotland was disputed by other than Swedes, at this time (Danish, Hanseatic, and Gotland-domestic). Småland was at that time of little interest to anyone due to the deep pine forests, and only city of Kalmar with its castle was of importance. The south-west parts of the Scandinavian peninsula consisted of three Danish provinces (Scania, Blekinge and Halland). North of Halland Denmark had a direct border to Norway and its province Bohuslän. But there was Swedish settlements in south-west Finland, and along the southern coastline of Norrland. Most of this early Kingdom’s borders were dizzy or unknown today. Mainly the culture and history of Svealand has been presurved better than the one’s of Götaland.
Most of Sweden has a temperate climate, despite its northern latitude, with four distinct seasons and mild temperatures throughout the year. The country can be divided into three types of climate; the southernmost part has an oceanic climate, the central part has a humid continental climate and the northernmost part has a subarctic climate. However, Sweden is much warmer and drier than other places at a similar latitude, and even somewhat farther south, mainly because of the Gulf Stream. For example, central and southern Sweden has much warmer winters than many parts of Russia, Canada, and the northern United States.Because of its high latitude, the length of daylight varies greatly. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets for part of each summer, and it never rises for part of each winter. In the capital, Stockholm, daylight lasts for more than 18 hours in late June but only around 6 hours in late December. Sweden receives between 1,100 to 1,900 hours of sunshine annually.
Temperatures vary greatly from north to south. Southern and central parts of the country have warm summers and cold winters, with average high temperatures of 20 to 25 °C (68 to 77 °F) in the summer, and average temperatures of −4 to 2 °C (25 to 36 °F) in the winter, while the northern part of the country has shorter, cooler summers and longer, colder and snowier winters, with temperatures that often drop below freezing from September to May. The highest temperature ever recorded in Sweden was 38 °C (100 °F) in Målilla in 1947, while the coldest temperature ever recorded was −52.6 °C (−62.7 °F) in Vuoggatjålme in 1966.
On average, most of Sweden receives between 500 and 800 mm (20 and 31 in) of precipitation each year, making it considerably drier than the global average. The south-western part of the country receives more precipitation, between 1,000 and 1,200 mm (39 and 47 in), and some mountain areas in the north are estimated to receive up to 2,000 mm (79 in). Despite northerly locations, southern and central Sweden may have almost no snow in some winters.