Gustavus

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Gustavus

 

(Gustaf). In Sweden:

Gustavus I Vasa. Born 1496; died Sept. 29, 1560, in Stockholm. King from 1523.

An aristocrat from the Vasa family, Gustaf Eriksson took part as a youth in the war against the Danish king Christian II, who was attempting to restore the Union of Kalmar. After the Stockholm Bloodbath of 1520, Gustaf fled to the region of Dalarna, where he raised a revolt against Danish domination in Sweden. In 1523. when the popular uprising had liberated the country from Danish domination, he was chosen king. Gustavus I officially broke up the Union of Kalmar; he also broke the economic power of the Catholic Church, carried out a royal Reformation (the Västerås Recess of 1527 banned the Catholic Church in Sweden), and put an end to the Hanseatic League’s domination in Sweden. He obtained from the Riksdag the hereditary right of his own dynasty to the Swedish throne (1544). The centralizing policy of Gustavus I and his intensification of the tax burdens caused a number of popular uprisings (1524–25, 1542–43, and others), which were cruelly suppressed.

REFERENCE

Svalenius. J. Gustav Vasa, 2nd ed. Stockholm, 1963.
A. S. KAN
Gustavus II Adolphus (Adolf). Born Dec. 9, 1594, in Stockholm; died Nov. 6, 1632, in Lützen, Saxony. King of the Vasa dynasty beginning in 1611. One of the great generals. Son of King Charles IX.
Upon being chosen for the throne and during the first few years of his reign, Gustavus II made serious concessions to the aristocracy; its leader, Chancellor A. Oxenstierna, was the closest colleague and de facto successor to the throne of Gustavus II. The handing over of state lands to the gentry, which was begun by Gustavus II on a broad scale, created the prerequisites for a feudal reaction during the second quarter of the 17th century. In order to strengthen the gentry-absolutist state and its financial and military might, a number of reforms were promulgated in the state administration, the judiciary, and elsewhere, and protection was given to the development of industry, especially mining and metallurgy. Gustavus II’s foreign policy was directed, in the first place, at establishing Swedish domination on the Baltic Sea. He accepted an unfavorable conclusion to the Kalmar War of 1611–13 (a war begun by his father against Denmark that had been going badly for Sweden), ended a piratical war against Russia in the Peace of Stolbova (1617), which was advantageous to Sweden, and made a peace, the Altmark Truce of 1629, with the Rzecz Pospolita (the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania) that enabled the Swedes to take possession of Lifland (Livonia) with Riga and most of the Prussian ports. Concluding an alliance with France and having the indirect support of Russia, Gustavus in 1630 entered the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) on the side of the anti-Hapsburg coalition. Having begun a campaign deep into Germany in 1631, he gained a victory at Breitenfeld (Sept. 17. 1631) over the army of the Catholic League, which was commanded by J. Tilly; this victory had a great influence on the course of the war and made Gustavus II popular with the German Protestants. During the spring of 1632, after advancing into Bavaria, he defeated Tilly at the Lech River and captured Augsburg and Munich. The actions of the imperial commander in chief, A. Wallenstein, compelled Gustavus to retreat north and to give general battle at Lützen on Nov. 6 (16), 1632. Here the Swedes were victorious again, but Gustavus II was killed.
A. S. KAN
Gustavus II was an outstanding military reformer. He created a strong standing army, which was formed on a system combining the recruitment of volunteers with military obligations based on households. In weaponry Gustavus II’s army used muskets of a smaller caliber and lighter weight; these changes increased accuracy of fire and eliminated the need for bipod supports. Paper cartridges were introduced, as were cartridge belts; light 4-pound cannon that could be drawn by two horses began to appear. Gustavus II was the first in Western Europe to introduce regimental artillery (two cannons to a regiment), and he changed the organization of the troops: instead of slow-moving sections of 2.000 to 3,000 men, he formed four-company regiments (each having 1,200–1,300 men), two-thirds of which were musketeers and the remainder pikemen. The cavalry was strengthened (up to 40 percent of the army), and cavalry regiments were divided into squadrons of 125 men each. In order to support discipline the effective performance of military maneuvers. Gustavus introduced drill and strict corporal punishments. His reforms increased the army’s maneuverability and its firepower, which led to changes in tactics. Gustavus II developed line tactics, which were advanced for that time: they allowed the use of the maximum amount of firepower in battle. In the area of strategy it was characteristic of Gustavus II to prepare the combat theater well ahead of time, to organize advance bases, and to ensure a centralized supply from storage depots. The Swedish army of Gustavus II carried out marches over considerable distances and boldly executed strategic maneuvers and concentrations when approaching a battlefield. Gustavus II’s skill as a general was clearly manifested during the Thirty Years’ War.
M. L. AL’TGOVZEN

REFERENCES

Engels, F. Izbr. voennye proizvedeniia. Moscow, 1958.
Puzyrevskii, A. K. Zapiski po istorii voennogo iskusstva v epokhu 30-letnei voiny. St. Petersburg. 1882.
Mikhnevich, N. P. Istoriia voennogo iskusstva s drevneishikh vremen do nachala XIX stoletiia, 2nd ed. St. Petersburg. 1896.
Strokov. A. A. Istoriia voennogo iskusstva, vol. 1. Moscow, 1955.
Mehring, F. Gustav Adolf. . . , 2nd ed. Berlin. 1908.
Ahnlund, N. Gustav Adolf den Store, 3rd ed. Stockholm, 1932.
Roberts, M. Gustavus Adolphus .... vols. 1–2. London-New York, 1953–58.
Gustavus III. Born Jan. 24, 1746, in Stockholm; died there Mar. 29, 1792. Became king in 1771. Son of King Adolphus Frederick.
Relying upon the army and the feudal gentry, Gustavus III carried out a coup d’etat on Aug. 19. 1772. that put an end to the so-called “regime of liberty” (1718–72) and restored a strong royal power. However, under conditions of the rapid disintegration of feudal relations, the growing strength of the capitalist system, and the considerable influence of Enlightenment ideas, he reigned in the spirit of the so-called enlightened absolutism. In 1788, Gustavus III began an extremely unpopular war against Russia, which provoked opposition movements among part of the army, one of which was the Anjala Union. He was preparing a military expedition against revolutionary France when on Mar. 16, 1792, he was mortally wounded by a participant in a gentry conspiracy.

REFERENCE

Hennings, B. Gustav III. Stockholm [1957].
Gustavus IV Adolphus Born Nov. 1, 1778, in Stockholm; died Feb. 7. 1837, in St. Gallen, Switzerland. King from 1792 through 1809.
The despotic form of Gustavus IV’s reign, as well as Sweden’s defeat in wars with France (1805–07) and Russia (1808–09) constituted the causes of his deposition by the Riksdag in March 1809; in December 1809 he was exiled from Sweden.
Gustavus V (Oskar Gustaf Adolf). Born June 16. 1858; died Oct. 29. 1950. King from 1907 to 1950.
Gustavus VI Adolphus Born Nov. 11, 1882, in Stockholm. Became king in 1950.