About 12,000 B.C., Sweden began to emerge from the last Ice Age. As the ice sheet that had covered northeastern Europe gradually receded, Sweden became habitable.

Important dates in Sweden
c. 6000 B.C.The first settlers came to Sweden.
c. A.D. 800's to 1000'sSwedish Vikings attacked other countries, traded, and colonized.
829Christianity was introduced into Sweden.
1397Sweden, Denmark, and Norway were united in the Union of Kalmar.
1523Gustavus Vasa was elected king, and Sweden became independent.
c. 1540Lutheranism became Sweden's official religion.
1630-1632Gustavus Adolphus won victories for Sweden in the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648).
1709Swedish power declined after the Battle of Poltava.
1809Sweden lost Finland to Russia. A new constitution was adopted.
1814Sweden gained Norway from Denmark.
1867Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, patented dynamite.
1867-1886Many Swedes immigrated to the United States due to harsh economic conditions in Sweden.
1905Norway dissolved its union with Sweden.
1914-1918Sweden was neutral in World War I.
1939-1945Sweden remained neutral in World War II.
1960Sweden helped form the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
1975Sweden adopted a new constitution that greatly reduced the power of the king.
1986Prime Minister Olof Palme was killed by an assassin.
1995Sweden left EFTA and joined the European Union (EU).
2000Sweden separated church and state, ending the status of Lutheranism as the country's official religion.