Gustavus, Vasa

, or more properly Gustavus Ericson, king of Sweden, was the son of Eric Vasa, and descended from the ancient kings of Sweden. He was born in 1490. His great passion was the love of glory, and this difficulties and dangers increased rather than diminished. He lived at a time when the greatest part of the wealth of Sweden was in the hands of the clergy, when every nobleman was, in his own territories, a sovereign, and, lastly, when Steeno was administrator of the realm. In the war which was originally prosecuted betwixt the Swedes and Christian king of Denmark, this last, having got Gustavus into his power, kept him a prisoner many years in Denmark. He at length made his escape, and through innumerable dangers got back to his native country, where, for a long period, he used every effort to rouse his countrymen to resist and repel their invaders and victorious enemies. In this, however, he was not successful; and Christian of Denmark having got possession of Stockholm and Coltnar, exercised the cruelest tyranny on all ranks, and in one day put to death ninety-four nobles, among whom was the father of Gustavus. Gustavus at length prevailed on the Dalecarlians to throw off the yoke; and, at the 4 head of a considerable body of forces, entered the provinces of Halsingia, Gestricia, and some others. After a series of desperate adventures, temporary successes, and frequent defeats; he recovered Upsal; for which disappointment Christian put to death the mother and sister of Gustavus in cruel torments. Having overcome East Gothland, and blockaded Stockholm, he convened the Staters-General, and was by them offered the title of King. This he refused, and was satisfied with the regal power, and title of administrator. A short time afterwards, a revolution took place in Denmark; Christian was driven from his dominions; and Frederic duke of Holstein, uncle of Christian, was made his successor. There was now nothing to oppose Gustavus; he therefore summoned the States to meet at Stregnez, filled up the vacancies of the senate, and was proclaimed king with the usual forms of election. He also prevailed on the States to render the crown hereditary to the male heirs; and, to make the life of Gustavus yet more remarkable in history, it was in his reign that Lutheranism was established as the natural religion of Sweden. The latter part of his life was spent in cultivating the arts of peace, and in decorating his metropolis with | noble edifices. He died at Stockholm, of a gradual decay, on the 9th of September, 1560, in the seventieth year of his age, and was quietly succeeded in his throne by his eldest sou Eric. 1

1 Universal History.