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With its own burghers in charge, Sweden's economic strength grew rapidly, and by 1544 Gustav controlled 60% of the farmlands in all of Sweden.Sweden now built the first modern army in Europe, supported by a sophisticated tax system and an efficient bureaucracy.At the same time, he broke with the papacy and established a reformed state church: the Church of Sweden.Throughout his reign, Gustav I suppressed both aristocratic and peasant opposition to his ecclesiastical policies and efforts at centralisation, which to some extent laid the foundation for the modern Swedish unitary state.In domestic politics John III showed clear Catholic sympathies, inspired by his queen, creating friction with the Swedish clergy and nobility.He reintroduced several Catholic traditions previously abolished, and his foreign policy was affected by his family connection to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, where his eldest son had been made King Sigismund III in 1587.
His reign was marked by Sweden's entrance into the Livonian War and the Northern Seven Years' War.From 1612, when Count Axel Oxenstierna was appointed Lord High Chancellor, which he remained until Gustavus Adolphus's death, the two men struck a long and successful partnership and complemented each other well: In Oxenstierna's own words, his "cool" balanced the King's "heat".The war against Russia (the Ingrian War) ended in 1617 with the Treaty of Stolbovo, which excluded Russia from the Baltic Sea.Catholic bishops had supported the King of Denmark, Christian II, but he was overthrown in a rebellion led by nobleman Gustav Vasa, whose father had been executed at the Stockholm bloodbath.Gustav Vasa (hereinafter referred to as Gustav I) was elected King of Sweden by the Estates of the Realm, assembled in Strängnäs on 6 June 1523.
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Legally Sweden has only been a hereditary monarchy since 1544 when the Riksdag of the Estates, through Västerås arvförening, designated the sons of King Gustav I as the heirs to the Throne.