WI: Swedish Colonial Empire?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by AronBaron, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. AronBaron Certified Mapstareoligist Banned

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    WI: the Swedish had managed to keep and expand their colonies in North America and Africa.

    This would require a stronger Swedish Empire, which would undoubtedly effect the history of Central/Eastern Europe.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
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  2. Fabius Maximus Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem

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    I suspect that the Empire would mostly take the form of trading-posts, since I don't think Sweden had the population to support any large-scale settler colonies.
     
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  3. AronBaron Certified Mapstareoligist Banned

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    Didn't countries like Portugal have small populations?
     
  4. MorningDew suburbia is big gay

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    Finland and large parts of the baltics don't count as a colonial empire?
     
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  5. Gabingston Well-Known Member

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    I'd assume it means overseas colonies.
     
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  6. AronBaron Certified Mapstareoligist Banned

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    thats like saying England owning Ireland and Normandy was a colonial empire
     
  7. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    In order to maintain a navy that could hang with those of the English, Dutch, French, and Spanish, they would have needed more immediate access to the Atlantic, which here probably means seizing and controlling more of Norway, undoubtedly at the expense of Denmark.
     
  8. AronBaron Certified Mapstareoligist Banned

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    And with a navy like that, I imagine they would be more dominant in the Baltic sea.
     
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  9. Atterdag Well-Known Member

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    Sweden's always gonna be more focused on it's inland sea, a large colonial empire is very unlikely. Maybe if Sweden gets Norway during the middle ages it could turn more towards the atlantic.
     
  10. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    For achieving such a goal they’d to start with destroying the Danish Navy (fat chance) and if they got anywhere close to implementing such a task most probably the Brits and the Dutch would side with Denmark to maintain balance of power on the Baltic Sea: the maritime powers did Not want it to end up as anybody’s lake.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
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  11. Wendell Wendell

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    Less crazy succession might help.
     
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  12. AronBaron Certified Mapstareoligist Banned

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    Well, if were generous with our definition of "Empire" then scattered trading posts and a couple Settlements in the Americas could count, they did have a part of the gold coast but i doubt they could keep that for long.
     
  13. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    If they were actually profitable and thus viable to defend they always just send a bunch of Finns over instead of having them move to the Tornio valley and other nearby areas. A good rate of natural increase and a few thousand people would be all they'd need.
     
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  14. AronBaron Certified Mapstareoligist Banned

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    Exactly, and that could open up to further Swedish settlement in Finland then in our timeline.
     
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  15. Enigmajones Ours Is The Fury

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    The Normans controlling Ireland was a Colonial empire, they even settled the country with their own people, how is that not settler colonialism?
     
  16. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    Which timeframe are you talking about? Sweden got out of Kalmar Union in 1523. Starting from 1558 and all the way to 1721 it was mostly busy fighting for the Baltic coast or fighting in Germany. It simply did not have resources for building up a major colonial empire in parallel with all these activities and its colonial settlements on the Gold Coast in mid-XVII lasted for less than two decades to be lost to the Denmark and Dutch. The longest held possession was Saint-Barthelemy (1784 - 1878) on the Caribbean given to Sweden by Louis XVI.

    Not that it was all peace and quiet between 1721 and 1814. By which time they hold, for a short while, Guadeloupe. Perhaps later Sweden could beat Belgium to Congo or to grab some other piece of land in Africa, providing the Big Guys do not want it.
     
  17. LDLF Member

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    Sweden having a significant empire in the 19th Century would presumably have significant effects on Russia, Germany and perhaps Britain:

    - Russia would not necessarily find a more muscular Sweden a threat by itself, but Sweden could potentially change the tide in any conflict between Russia and either Prussia/Germany, the Habsburgs or Ottomans - they would be defending more than one front, so might either lose any given war, or be more reluctant to enter it in the first place.

    - Sweden could potentially intervene in the German unification process in some way - or else a newly-formed Germany could see Sweden as a threat to be dealt with, whether diplomatically or militarily.

    - Britain may have an interest in supporting this Swedish Empire, seeing Sweden as a useful counterweight either to Germany or Russia; alternatively the British may see Sweden as a rival in the North Sea and attempt to pump up the Danes a little bit, which in turn may affect Germany again.
    If Britain does not see Sweden as a rival, they would likely encourage the Swedish Empire, provided they had a favourable trading relationship with it and its colonies. If the British have a friendly relationship with Sweden, the Swedes can concentrate their navy in the Baltic, confident that Britain will not stand in the way (or let anyone else stand in the way) of Sweden accessing its colonies.
     
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  18. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    What you are talking about was a typical scenario of the mid-/late XVIII and early XIX: Sweden was attacking Russia when it was at war with the Ottomans (prior to WWI Russia was never at war with the Hapsburgs and only once, during the 7YW, with Prussia). This never was noticeably effective in the terms of distracting the Russian forces from the Ottoman theater and the whole schema culminated with a permanent loss of Finland. The cornerstone of the Swedish policy under the Bernadotte dynasty was a neutrality and the biggest "anti-Russian" act was a treaty (1850s) with Britain and 2nd Empire with a purpose to protect Sweden-Norway from a possible Russian demands of getting a stretch of coast along the Varanger Fjord.

    Having a bigger colonial empire overseas would not change anything in that equation.


    In OTL Sweden supported Denmark against the Kingdom of Prussia in the First War of Schleswig by placing Swedish and Norwegian troops in cantonments in Funen and North Schleswig and was also one of the guarantors of the integrity of Denmark (the London Protocol, 8 May 1852). But a bigger colonial empire would not seriously contribute to the Swedish military power even if simply because a huge difference in the sizes of population between Sweden-Norway and Germany (or even Prussia of the mid-XIX).

    In OTL at various times Britain was pro-/against Sweden. "Pro" was mostly at the time when there was a realistic fear of Peter I trying to convert Baltic Sea into the Russian lake by the strategic marriages (Holstein, Mecklenburg, Curland; for a while he had Russian troops occupying Mecklenburg to support his son-in-law against the estates) and, of course, when Sweden was fighting against Napoleon. In practical terms, effectiveness of "pro" was quite limited: during the GNW British squadron did close to nothing to support Swedish navy against the Russians or to attack Russian-held former Swedish provinces and during the Napoleonic Wars they could not prevent Swedes from being beaten or from Swedish Pomerania being occupied by the French. Neither could they do anything to prevent loss of Finland. So their practical value was buying of the Swedish iron and providing subsidies for fighting Napoleon.

    By the time "Germany" appeared on the map AND the Brits started considering it as a threat (instead of supporting it), Sweden-Norway hardly could be a serious naval or military factor comparing to Britain and Germany so it could not serve as a meaningful counterweight to Germany or Russia and, anyway, between early XIX and 2009 neutrality was an official Swedish policy.
     
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  19. funnyhat Well-Known Member

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    England did own (and colonize) Ireland. Normandy was more complicated though - the king of England was was its feudal lord but in this role he was officially a vassal of France.

    One could say that Normandy owned England (and did colonize it).
     
  20. Milites Not a sahib

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    The 1658 attack on Copenhagen succeeds and Charles Gustav merges Denmark and Norway into his empire (this is a bit of a Hail Mary as many of the most important political actors at the time were explicitly against any power controlling both coasts of the Sound).

    It’s a tad late to get a foot on the eastern seaboard of North America, but with dominion over the Baltic secured, Mega-Sweden can secure colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and in India.
     
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