WI: Swedish Colonial Empire?

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

  1. funnyhat Well-Known Member

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    Note that there was a New Sweden but it was conquered by New Netherland. Maybe have the POD slightly earlier and have the two countries avoid the conflict?
     
  2. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    Taking into an account that New Netherlands also did not survive, this would not make a fundamental difference. Look at the pattern: the only place that Sweden hold for a reasonably long time was held pretty much because nobody else wanted it. It was tiny, did not produce considerable amounts of anything valuable and was doing reasonably well mostly by being a transit port.
     
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  3. Milites Not a sahib

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    Besides alexmilman’s excellent point, remember that New Sweden was only established in 1638. In this regard 1658 is the most plausible POD for a Swedish takeover of Denmark and Norway, and even then it’s a shaky one at best.
     
  4. funnyhat Well-Known Member

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    You could still have the war (and thus the Swedish conquest), but find a way for the Dutch to stay neutral and thus New Sweden survives.
     
  5. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    If the Swedes are in a much stronger position after 1658 and have developed their navy to where they could effectively support their colonies and defend themselves against the other major European navies, they could definitely return to the Americas and find other places to colonize, or possibly retake what was lost in Delaware to the Dutch.

    A much stronger Swedish Empire with consistent access to the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, as well as hegemony in the Baltic, without Denmark constantly getting in their way, has the ability to make a real go at American colonization. If they can unify all Scandinavia, including Denmark, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands, this new Swedish Empire is a major problem for the rest of Europe.
     
  6. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

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    Hypothetically, let's say the Scandinavianism of the 1860s succeeds and you get a Union of Sweden/Denmark/Norway, would this new superstate/empire take part in the scramble for Africa? Maybe look for some prestige ports along its coast?
     
  7. Milites Not a sahib

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    Not likely as the Dutch were very anti-Swedish (in the sense that they opposed Stockholm controlling both sides of the Sound) at the time of the assault on Copenhagen.
     
  8. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    If there are no Dutch, it will still be overtaken by the Brits before the 17th century is over.
     
  9. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    Another thought. Who's to say that Sweden's colonial ambitions, even with a greatly diminished Denmark (or outright control) and Atlantic/North Sea access with control of Norway, looks west across the Atlantic. Lots of undeveloped, vulnerable, and much closer territory in the east that they could take at the expense of Russia. Wouldn't that also be considered a colonial expansion, especially if they send Swedish and Finnish colonists to take control?
     
  10. Milites Not a sahib

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    The whole point of the Scandinavian colonial enterprises was to get direct access to the New World/Asian markets and the luxury goods produced there. You can say whatever you want about the Swedes, but even they would quickly figure out that going by Novgorod isn’t the quickest way to Cape Comorin ;)
     
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  11. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    Most of the "undeveloped, vulnerable" territory you are talking about was not making any practical sense as a conquest (it is still "underdeveloped" because its development does not make practical sense).

    By the mid XVII Sweden got pretty much everything it could from the "Russian" territories, which mostly amounted to Ingria. During the time of Troubles Sweden hold for a while Novgorod but had to return it.

    Swedish conquests on the Eastern Baltic coast had very practical purpose, control of the trade between the PLC and Tsardom and Western Europe, and not providing the Finns with a farmland (especially in the areas where farming is not too productive). This goal, as far as the Russian trade was involved, was achieved and further expansion would cause nothing but trouble, especially if the framework is mid-XVII.
     
  12. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    Well, actually from 1611 till 1617 Swedes hold Novgorod and, during the talks at Stolbovo, even demanded Archangelsk (which immediately raised both British and Dutch hackles). In the resulting settlement, while Sweden returned Novgorod to Tsardom, it retained a complete control of the Russian Baltic trade (Narva being the main port) and getting the custom dues was a steady, if not necessary exotic, source of a profit. ;)
     
  13. Milites Not a sahib

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    True enough, but I wouldn’t put that as a colonial venture.
     
  14. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    Neither would I. But you don't necessarily need colonies to get profits: Riga was controlling exports from Lithuania and Narva from Russia. The same goes for the imports. Unlike the colonial ventures, you don't have to do anything, just collect the custom dues. ;)
     
  15. Milites Not a sahib

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    That’s not really the point though :)
    Besides, there’s a fundamental difference. For example, Denmark-Norway aimed at controlling the estuaries of the Weser and Elbe for both financial and political concerns, but India, the Caribbean and Africa remained very much the main colonial targets: because of the goods produced there.
     
  16. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I know. But as I said earlier Sweden did not have enough of resources to build up and hold an extensive colonial empire and neither did Denmark (unless Greenland counts but I doubt about the goods produced there). The Dutch, Brits and French had been too serious competitors.
     
  17. Milites Not a sahib

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    I think a range of strong-points on the Gold Coast and a few isles in the Caribbean plus some trade posts in the Far East wouldn't be too far-fetched.
     
  18. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    That's what they tried to get in OTL but failed to hold anything but Saint Barthélemy for more than a couple decades.
     
  19. Milites Not a sahib

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    It’s basically Denmark’s colonial possessions transferred to Sweden. If we accept the premise of a unified Scandinavia post 1658/59, then I think it would be doable.
     
  20. Jürgen Well-Known Member

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    Honestly the easiest way for Sweden to keep their empire, are simply for them to make a deal with Dutch to get it back in 1660, pay some money or make some compromise in Europe to get it back. In that case it’s pretty much given that New Sweden will be kept until the end of Great Northern War, where U.K. could take it if it wants it. But that still give Sweden 60 years longer control over the Delaware Peninsula and River. Which would likely create a permanent Swedish population in the region.