In comparison with the other European states, Swedish colonization in the Americas was quite minor: they held the Delaware River from 1638 to 1655, Saint-Barthélemy from 1784 to 1878, and Guadeloupe from 1813 to 1814, and are more famous for their emigration to Minnesota.
Almost all of the Swedish units speak Swedish, except for the Hakkapelit, who speaks Finnish, making it the only regular unit that speaks a different language from the rest of the regular units in the same civilization.
The early-modern Swedish state first emerged during the 16th century when, after decades of tension between the monarchy and nobility, Gustav I Vasa (1496-1560, r. 1523-1560) ascended to the throne. His greatest contribution to the state was emancipating it from mercantile domination at the hands of the Hanseatic League, a trading organization based in Germany that had essentially monopolized overseas trade in the Baltic and, to a lesser extent, the North Sea. Consequently, the Swedish peasantry flourished and the region entered a period of economic prosperity.
This period of state formation coincided with the Protestant Reformation, which incited vitriolic and sinister tension between Protestants and Catholics. While temporarily suffering due to recurring violence accompanying the ebb and flow of Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Sweden was soon established as a Protestant state when Karl IX (r. 1604-1611) deposed his rival Sigismund III, From this point onward, Sweden became heavily involved in the politics and religious conflicts of the continent.
Under Karl's successor, Gustavus Adolphus (1594-1632; r. 1611-1632), Sweden entered a golden age. Despite ascending to the throne at age 16 and being saddled with three inherited wars, Gustavus managed to stabilize his realm, concluding several largely favorable treaties and implementing a series of political, economic, and social reforms to secure domestic welfare while his military reforms revolutionized the Swedish army and navy. The combination of mobile field artillery with mobile cavalry and aggressive, versatile infantry tactics made the Swedish army deadly in battle. When Gustavus intervened in the Thirty Years' War, not only did he salvage the Protestant cause; he even managed to conquer much of the Holy Roman Empire before dying in battle in 1632.
Over the following decades, Sweden's success on the battlefield in Scandinavia and in continental Europe led to the establishment of the Swedish Empire. During this time, Swedish migrants attempted the settlement of Africa and the Americas, but with marginal success. Overextended to begin with, their overseas possessions were swiftly lost or sold, most notably New Sweden in the Delaware River Valley, which was seized by the Dutch by 1655. Temporary instability was resolved by the powerful monarchs Karl XI (r. 1660-1697) and Karl XII (r. 1697-1718), who revived an economy weary from decades of warfare and further reformed the Swedish military into the fearsome Carolean army, an elite and versatile military force that conducted several successful campaigns into Russia and Poland-Lithuania.
Despite the catastrophic Great Famine of 1695-1697, Sweden continued to expand, but was halted in the early 18th century by a staunch Russian defense that utilized scorched earth tactics and the brutal Russian winter to deadly effect. The Swedish Empire subsequently lost control of most of its overseas possessions. In an effort to reassert its control over the western reaches of the Baltic Sea, Sweden allied itself with the anti-French coalition during the Napoleonic Wars, managing to seize control of Norway in 1814. This marked the end of Swedish expansionism, however, as neutrality was pursued thenceforth while Sweden endeavored to industrialize and modernize its economic and political structure. A notable byproduct of these processes was the mass emigration of Swedes to the United States of America, where citizens of Swedish ancestry still constitute a considerable minority of the population.