officially the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: About this sound Konungariket Sverige (help·info)), is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders Norway and Finland, and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Øresund.
At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of about 9.5 million. Sweden has a low population density of 21 inhabitants per square kilometre (54 /sq mi) with the population mostly concentrated to the southern half of the country. About 85% of the population live in urban areas.Sweden's capital city is Stockholm, which is also the largest city.
Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, the country expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire. The empire grew to be one of the great powers of Europe in the 17th and early 18th century. Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries. The eastern half of Sweden, present-day Finland, was lost to Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Sweden by military means forced Norway into a personal union. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, practicing "non-participation in military alliances during peacetime and neutrality during wartime".Sweden has been a member of the European Union since 1 January 1995 and is a member of the OECD.
two centuries of Viking raids tapered off following the adoption of Christianity by King Olav Tryggvason in 994. A period of civil war ended in the 13th century when Norway expanded its control overseas to parts of the British Isles, Iceland, and Greenland. Norwegian territorial power peaked in 1265, but competition from the Hanseatic League and the spread of the Black Death weakened the country. In 1380, Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians resisted the cession of their country to Sweden and adopted a new constitution. Sweden then invaded Norway but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising nationalism throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum granting Norway independence. Although Norway remained neutral in World War I, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping. Norway proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of World War II, but was nonetheless occupied for five years by the Third Reich. In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a founding member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas in adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway's economic fortunes. In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the EU. Key domestic issues include immigration and integration of ethnic minorities, maintaining the country's extensive social safety net with an aging population, and preserving economic competitiveness.
Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy form of government and a highly developed economy. Sweden has the world's eighth highest per capita income.
In 2011, it ranked fourth in the world in The Economist's Democracy Index and tenth in the United Nations' Human Development Index (third on the inequality-adjusted HDI). In 2010, the World Economic Forum ranked Sweden as the second most competitive country in the world, after Switzerland. According to the UN, it has the third lowest infant mortality rate in the world. In 2010, Sweden also had one of the lowest Gini coefficients of all developed countries (0.25),making Sweden one of the world's most equal countries in terms of income. Sweden's wealth, however, is distributed much less equally than its income. The top 10% has about 72% of the nation's wealth, and at a wealth Gini coefficient of 0.85, Swedish wealth inequality is higher than the European average of 0.8.