WI: Swedish Colonial Empire?

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

  1. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    It Gustavus Adolphus doesn't get killed at Lützen in 1632 (incidentally the year when Lord Baltimore's colony in Maryland was founded), does a full reign from him possibly lead to a sooner conclusion to the Thirty Year's War and allow Sweden to possibly annex Norway and minimize Denmark? Or would that just turn everyone against him and an ascendent Sweden?
     
  2. Jürgen Well-Known Member

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    No Sweden had one chance to annex Denmark and that was in 1659. The weak point in the Denmark-Norway was Copenhagen and Zealand. As long as Denmark control Zealand and Copenhagen, Norway can’t be conquered. Norway was only be able to be taken in 1814 because U.K. could force Denmark to give it up by threatening Zealand and Copenhagen. If we look historical the conflict between Denmark and Sweden it’s far easier for Denmark to project power from Norway into Sweden than the other way around.
     
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  3. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

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    Then could he or a competent heir take Copenhagen by then or before then, or would the surrounding European powers seek to avoid the Swedes from gaining that kind of advantage?
     
  4. CaedmonCousland Writes Overly Long Comments When Bored

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    People have already illustrated the main difficulties of a Swedish colonial empire. Controlling the Baltic is a far preferable option for an ascendant Sweden than far flung colonial possessions, and Sweden does not have the resources to maintain both a brown water and blue water navy. It army would also be all but useless for colonial enterprises.

    Regarding the possibilities of taking Norway/Denmark-Norway, it might be possible to do it post Kalmar Union and before 1658. During the regency of Christian IV, the Danish-Swedish rivalry wasn't quite as entrenched and I think I remember reading that several members of his regency council preferred to seek peace with Sweden. Christian IV and Catherine of Sweden, daughter of the future Charles IX, were similar in age. As Charles was just a duke at this time, the marriage wouldn't have been thought to threaten the independence of Sweden.

    Such a marriage could prevent the Kalmar War, and Christian IV might choose to look westward more and claim a small colony on the eastern seaboard of America like the French, English, and Dutch did between 1604-1611. There might be butterflies in the 30YW, but it's hard to say. Sweden probably does better without Christian IV working so clearly against Sweden at times, so Sweden might get more north German territories. With Gustav Adolphus still dying and Queen Christine still being her OTL self, the son of Christian and Catherine is set to create a personal union. As there are still bad memories of the Kalmar Union, that no doubt creates some friction. Probably a civil war breaks out between to determines whether Denmark or Sweden is the dominant partner. Sweden wins, starts imposing its policies on Denmark and Norway. Sweden has Riga and Narva already, so has its main Baltic goals, and probably more north German territories than OTL. It suits Sweden to orient Denmark-Norway towards a blue navy, both to prevent it from competing with Sweden's brown water navy and to allow them to strike against the English and Dutch for when they start to work against the Swedish Baltic dominion. This allows them to at least start a colonial empire, whether it grows more than a few minor islands or outposts depending. If this personal union survives long term, meaning Russia doesn't turn its gaze north and Prussia is prevented from rising, this Swedish led union becomes the uncontested power of northern Europe. It probably partitions Poland with Russia and Austria, continues spreading its influence in Protestant Germany, etc.

    Although whether this could be called a 'Swedish' Empire is debatable. Gothenburg probably becomes the capital at some point, as it is a more central Scandinavian location and more neutral historically. As for all its other territories, this would basically be a Hasburg-esque collection of territories with different laws, jurisdictions, inheritance laws, etc. It would take luck and skill to create a common identity so nationalism doesn't hit it hard, but if it does it's almost certain that this polity would have the excess population, resources, and prestige to gain at least a nominal colonial empire somewhere.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
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  5. isabella Well-Known Member

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    Such Empire would more likely called Nordic, Baltic, Scandinavian Empire...
     
  6. Hvalrossen Well-Known Member

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    What about Madegascar, or Australia and New Zealand before the British claim those?
     
  7. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    So a bunch of squabbling "Negro" kingdoms, a harsh land inhabited by primitive "negros", and an even more remote land inhabited by violent savages, if you're talking about what contemporary Europeans thought of those places? I'd imagine a random European power helping Madagascar modernise instead of colonising it, since Sweden or even united Scandinavia is weaker than France, yet could use a united Madagascar to help them in Africa and the Indian Ocean. Australia is challenging--seems hard to have Scandinavians, or even Finnish colonists try and grab the place. Potentially Western Australia may be open, but I think European colonisation of Australia is determined on what the colonising power is doing in India, South Africa, and Indonesia. Yes, South Africa was "underdeveloped" by Europeans thanks to the OTL Dutch colonial policies, and potentially, if Sweden/United Scandinavia under the Vasa/whoever had chosen, may have been more productive, but Swedish South Africa depends on a huge investment in the slave trade and the Caribbean. New Zealand is just a periphery, I'd just as expect the Swedes to cause an early Musket Wars period than anything else.

    A very interesting part of any sort of Swedish colonialism is how that since many of its settlers will be Finns (as in New Sweden), the Finnish language will be spread. This may be compared to the spread of Canadian Gaelic in OTL Canada, but might be even stronger since there's so many opportunities for Finns to settle in the colonies (since who else will?) and Sweden/united Scandinavia may not embark on the same discrimination which eradicated Canadian Gaelic.
     
  8. DJjablonski Well-Known Member

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    Well, maybe because the danish navy and distinct lack of norway are problems, maybe we could do a unified scandinavia, afterall, England and Scotland unified
     
  9. funnyhat Well-Known Member

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    This isn't necessarily true. Colonists tend to adopt the dominant language. French Canada for example became completely French-speaking by 1700 (if not sooner) when France itself was still very linguistically diverse. Likewise, the Spanish colonies featured lots of Galician, Basque and Catalan settlers but they adopted Castillian in the New World. The Irish also assimilated to English (or French, when they settled Québec) quickly even though a large proportion came from Irish-speaking regions.
     
  10. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    On the other hand, there is the example of Canadian Gaelic which thrived in certain areas in the 19th century until it was suppressed in the school system.
     
  11. funnyhat Well-Known Member

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    That one is an interesting case. I'm curious why it was different from the norm.