The Venice of the North – a city with so many channels and waterways that it has become famous for being built upon approximately 14 islands on the south-central east coast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren. Stockholm is the capital and largest city in Sweden, with approximately 22% of the countries residents.
The oldest records found that contain the name “Stokcholm” are a document from July 1252 and a letter of protection from August 1252 when Stockholm received its town charter. The Privilegiebrevet considered the beginning of Stockholm’s national political power as a reference for the start of Stockholm’s role as the capital of the kingdom. The assumed foundation year of the city from medieval sources is 1187 according to the Visby Chronicle, because of ravages in Sigtuna that left citizens needing a new center to replace the burned-down town. Other theories believe that Stockholm was founded by Birger Jarl (c.1210-1266) in the mid-1200s on the basis of the buildings that had started forming in the area Stadsholmen (with Helgeandsholmen and Riddarholmen) assumed to be a fortress around the island to protect Stockholm and other major cities farther into the lake, such as Sigtuna, against attacks from the enemy war fleets.
Stockholm was soon an important commercial center for the iron trade from the mines in Bergslagen where the heavy traffic went by boat through lakes to the coast. Stockholm was a trading center for all types of goods and this the growth continued because of the many migrant merchants from Germany who had their own trade centers on the Baltic coast in northern Germany. By the 1300s there were scattered settlements on the suburbs. In the mid 1400s the population had grown to between five and six thousand inhabitants. Two events that had a major impact on the development of Stockholm, and the country as a whole during this time were; The Battle of Brunkeberg on October 10, 1471 and the Stockholm Bloodbath November 8, 1520.
The town expanded greatly after King Gustav Vasa’s accession to the throne and around the year 1600, the number of inhabitants was about 10 000. During the 1600s Sweden started developing into a European power, which was also felt in the development of Stockholm. Between 1610 and 1680 the population sextupled. During the time of Gustav Vasa, Stockholm did not reinforced their defense in the internal waters of the area but moved out to Vaxholm, which already in 1548 erected a small fort in the wood later in the 1600s which came to be the basis of Vaxholm.
Now a days, Stockholm has been called the capital of Scandinavia because of its strong influence and known centers of cultural, media, political and economic attractions. For any European lover, traveling to Stockholm is easy since English is very widely spoken and the people are generally very open and friendly. With such a rich history, and great attraction like Gamla Stan, The Royal Palace (where the current Swedish monarchs reside), The Vasa Museum (find out more, http://www.lexiophiles.com/english/vwasa-a-comparative-analysis-of-the-sunken-maiden-voyage-and-swedens-favorite-crisp-bread) and Skansen, it might be your next tourist destination!