Gustavus II, Adolphus

Gustavus II, Adolphus, king of Sweden, was the grandson of Gustavus I (q.v.) by his youngest son, Charles IX, at whose death he succeeded to the throne of Sweden. Gustavus, who had been strictly brought up in the Lutheran faith, had at first to quell some disorders at home, arising from the disputed succession of his father (third son at Gustavus Vasa), who had been elected king on the exclusion of his nephew Sigismund, king of Poland (son of John III, the second son of Gustavus Vasa), whose profession of the Roman Catholic religion made him obnoxious to the Swedish people, and virtually annulled his claims to the crown. He reconciled the Estates by making them many concessions, ended the war with Denmark, in 1612, unsuccessfully, but obtained from the Czar in 1617, by virtue of the treaty of Stolbowa, several places, and renounced all claims to Livonia. The numerous exiles who, during the reign of his father, had fled to Poland, were permitted to return, and thus he thwarted the intrigues of the Polish king Sigismund. In 1620 he built Gothenburg anew, and founded or renewed sixteen other towns. He was eagerly intent upon enlarging the powers of the sovereign by reducing those of the Estates. In 1621 he was involved in a war with Poland, and gained Livonia and Courland, and carried the war into Prussia. Several revolts in Sweden, which broke out in consequence of the heavy taxes, were promptly quelled. In the summer of the year 1630 he went to Germany with an army of about 15,000 men to support the Protestants in the war against the emperor, having remitted the charge of the government and the care of his infant daughter Christina to his chancellor Oxenstiern. After carrying on the war triumphantly for two years SEE THIRTY YEARS WAR, he fell at Lutzen, Nov. 6, 1632. Although Gustavus was eminently a warlike king, he made many salutary changes in the internal administration of his country, and devoted his short intervals of peace to the promotion of commerce and manufactures. He was pre-eminently religious, and his success in battle is perhaps to be ascribed not only to a better mode of warfare, and the stricter discipline which he enforced, but also still more to the moral influence which his deep-seated piety and his personal character inspired among his soldiers. The spot where he fell on the field of Lutzen was long marked by the Schwedenstein, or Swede's Stone, erected by his servant. Jacob Ericsson, on the night after the battle. Its place has now been taken by a noble monument erected to his memory by the German people on the occasion of the second centenary of the battle held in 1832. Other monuments were erected between Coswig and Goertz (1840), and at Bremen (1853). A statue made by Fogelberg was set up at Gothenburg in 1854. In 1832 Protestant Germany established in his honor an association for the support of poor Protestant congregations. SEE GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS Society. Biographies have been written, among others, by Rango (Lpz. 1824), Sparfeld (Lpz. 1844), Gfrorer (3d ed. Stuttg. 1852), Freyxell (Germ. transl. Lpz. 1852), Helbig (Lpz. 1854), Flathe (Gustav Adolf u. der dreissigjahr. Krieg, Dresd. 1840 sq., 4 vols.), H. W. Thiersch (Nordlingen, 1868), and Droysen (vol. i, Leips. 1869). (A. J. S.)

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