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The Kingdom of Sweden, is a country located on the Scandinavian Peninsula in the northern part of Europe. Its closest neighbors are Norway and Finland, and it is bordered by the Baltic Sea and several smaller channels of water. It's capital city is Stockholm, which is also the country's largest metropolitan area. The country's population as a whole is approximately 9 million.
Human life has existed in this area for thousands of years, but one of the earliest recorded cultural eras is the Viking Age. Sweden, Denmark, and Norway were all involved in the Viking culture. One of the Swedish Viking tribe's main expedition routes was to Russia; many scholars believe that the Swedish tribes actually founded the country of Russia and became a ruling elite group there.
In more modern times, Sweden was struck with an economic depression during the 1800s, and many Swedes moved to the United States to avoid famine in their homeland. Today, Chicago and much of the Midwest is populated with people of Swedish ancestry. However, with the industrial revolution of the early 1900s, the country began to regain its economic stability.
During World Wars I and II, during which much of Europe was decimated, Sweden remained famously neutral, refusing to fight for either side, though it secretly took in many Jewish refugees during World War II. After the end of the Second World War, most of Europe had been destroyed, but Sweden remained intact. Because the country was strong and stable, it was integral in helping the rest of Europe rebuild, which led the country to increased prosperity that has survived to this day.
Today, Sweden is part of the European Union, although it continues to use the krona (kr) as its currency. Though Swedish is the country's official language, English is widely spoken as a second language, and many Swedes also know a third language such as French, Spanish, or Italian. The country is officially a monarchy, but much like in the United Kingdom, the royal titles are largely ceremonial; the real body of government is the House of Parliament, which is led by an elected Prime Minister.
Sweden is known for being an extremely progressive and liberal country, with lenient attitudes towards sexuality of all kinds. It also has one of the world's best welfare and educational systems, and provides health care, child care, and many other benefits to all citizens. These benefits do come at a price, however: it has the highest tax rate of all countries in the world.
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