Gustav III of Sweden

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Gustav III (Stockholm, 24 January [O.S. 13 January] 1746 – Stockholm, 29 March 1792Note on dates) was King of Sweden from 1771 until his death. He was the eldest son of King Adolf Frederick of Sweden and Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, sister of Frederick the Great.

A vocal opponent, as he saw it, of abuses by the nobility of a permissiveness established by parliamentarian reforms that had been worked out before his reign (the so-called Age of Liberty), he enacted the Act of Union and Security to reinstate absolute monarchy with himself as autocrat. His expenditure of considerable public funds on things that pleased him contributed as well to making him controversial. Gustav tried to maintain Sweden's eastern borders, even hoping to expand them, through a war against Russia which was not completely successful. He was assassinated by a conspiracy of noblemen claiming thus only to commit tyrannicide, but it has been shown that they also had more personal motives.

Gustav III was a benefactor of arts and literature. He founded several academies, among them the Swedish Academy, created a National Costume and had the Royal Swedish Opera built.


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