The pre-historic period of Sweden was characterized by small bands of hunt gatherers fishers who used flint technology. Sweden was first described as a written source in Germania. Right from the 8th century to the 11th century, the Swedish Viking Age lasted and it is said that the Swedish Vikings and the Gutar, travelled mainly across east and south going to Finland and the other Baltic countries. Many runestones in Sweden clearly describe the actions of the Swedish Vikings. During the 17TH century, Sweden had started emerging as a great European power while before the Swedish empire even existed,Sweden was considered to be as a very poor and a country with scarce population and had no such power or reputation. During the time of Thirty Years Wars’, half of the Roman Holy states were already conquered. History says that in the middle of the 17th century, Sweden was the third largest country in Europe in terms of the land area. During this time, Sweden was engaged in many wars as well and there was a time when famine had hit hard and that killed around 10% of the population. Sweden seems to have seen a great rise in the population in between 18th and the 19th centuries but even then Sweden remained poor depending totally on the agricultural economy. Industrialisation had started coming in by the time of the early 19th century and rapid growth and innovation are the reasons for the rapid growth that tended to take place. In the world war I, Sweden was more or less neutral. There is dispute over this statement as well but Sweden was said to be neutral officially even in the Second World War. Sweden was too much under the influence of Germany in this time. During the time of Cold War, Sweden was a neutral country being outside the NATO pact and the WARSAW pact. Sweden joined the European Union on 1st jan 1995.
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