Gustav I of Sweden

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Gustav I of Sweden, born Gustav Eriksson and later known as Gustav Vasa (12 May 1496[citation needed] – 29 September 1560), was King of Sweden from 1523 until his death. He was the first monarch of the House of Vasa, an influential noble family which came to be the royal house of Sweden for much of the 16th and 17th centuries. Gustav I was elected regent in 1521 after leading a rebellion against Christian II of Denmark, the leader of the Kalmar Union who controlled most of Sweden at the time.

Gustav was an enigmatic person who has been referred to as both a liberator of the country and as a tyrannical ruler. When he came to power in 1523, he was largely unknown, and he became the ruler of a still-divided country without a central government. He became the first truly autocratic native Swedish sovereign and was a skilled propagandist and bureaucrat who laid the foundations for a more efficient centralized government. During his reign Protestantism was introduced in the country.

In traditional Swedish history he has been labelled the founder of modern Sweden, and the "father of the nation". Gustav liked to compare himself to Moses, whom he believed to have also liberated his people and established a state. As a person, Gustav was known for ruthless methods and a bad temperament, but he also loved music, and had a certain sly wit.[1]

Gustav Wasa founded one of the now oldest orchestras of the world, the Kungliga Hovkapellet (Royal Court Orchestra). Royal housekeeping accounts from 1526 mention twelve musicians including wind players and a timpanist but no string players.[2] Today the Kungliga Hovkapellet is the orchestra of the Royal Swedish Opera.

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