Sweden is a nation in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west, Finland to the east, and Denmark across the Kattegat. Sweden has one of the highest standards of living in the world, and scores highly on international rankings of press freedom and democracy. Its capital and largest city is Stockholm. Swedish is the primary language.
Swedish power grew in the 16th century. Finland, Latvia, Estonia, and parts of northern Germany and Poland came under their control. Alarmed, Russia, Poland-Lithuania, and Saxony formed an alliance and declared war in 1700. The Great Northern War lasted for 21 years, and Sweden was heavily defeated. The Battle of Poltava in 1709 defeated the Swedish army advancing through Poland, and Russia invaded Finland with considerable success. The Treaty of Nystad ended the war, giving Saxony most of Sweden's German territories and Russia most of Sweden's Baltic territories.
Sweden declined through the 18th and 19th centuries. Norway split off and became an independent nation in 1814. Sweden remained neutral during both World War I and World War II, although they were an important supplier of iron to the Allies. Sweden joined the European Union, but it declined to adopt the euro in 2002, keeping the Swedish krona.
Sweden shares a long border with Norway in the west, and is mostly separated from Finland by the Gulf of Finland in the east. The Kattegat, a part of the Baltic Sea, separates it from Denmark, although this strait is now crossed by a bridge.