Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats (Swedish: Götar) and Swedes (Svear) and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century. After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, the dominance of the Hanseatic League in Northern Europe threatened Scandinavia economically and politically. This led to the forming of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union in 1397, which Sweden left in 1523. When Sweden became involved in the Thirty Years' War on the Protestant side, an expansion of its territories began and eventually the Swedish Empire was formed, this became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century.
Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were gradually lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814 when Norway was militarily forced into a personal union, which peacefully dissolved in 1905. In 2014, Sweden celebrated 200 years of peace, breaking even Switzerland's record for peace. Sweden maintained an official policy of neutrality during wartime and non-participation in military alliances during peacetime, although Sweden secretly relied on U.S. nuclear submarines during the Cold War. Sweden has since 2008 joined EU battlegroups, provided intelligence to NATO and since 2009 openly moved towards cooperation with NATO. In 2022, Sweden applied for NATO membership and was formally invited to join the alliance at the NATO Summit in Madrid. (Full article...)
The age of the tree was determined by carbon dating of genetically matched plant material collected from under the tree, as dendrochronology does not work for clonal trees. The trunk itself is estimated to be only a few hundred years old, but the plant has survived for much longer due to a process known as layering (when a branch comes in contact with the ground, it sprouts a new root), or vegetative cloning (when the trunk dies but the root system is still alive, it may sprout a new trunk). (Full article...)
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"Habits (Stay High)" is a song recorded by Swedish singer Tove Lo from her debut extended play (EP), Truth Serum, and her debut studio album, Queen of the Clouds (2014). It was written by Lo with Ludvig Söderberg and Jakob Jerlström, while it was produced by the latter two under the production name The Struts. Initially, the singer self-released the song under the title "Habits" on 15 March 2013 as her second independently released single. After Lo was signed to Universal Music, the track was re-released on 6 December 2013 under the title of "Habits (Stay High)" as both the second single from Truth Serum and the lead single from Queen of the Clouds. Musically, it is a pop and electropop song which features a minimal and upbeatelectronic instrumentation. Its lyrics delve into the singer's attempts to forget her previous boyfriend through substance abuse, drinking and other hedonistic practices. Consequently, some critics and Lo herself noted a contrast between the song's production and its lyrical content.
"Habits (Stay High)" was well received by most critics, who commended its lyrics and production. The track became a sleeper hit; it entered the music charts in 2014, one year after its original release. The recording peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and became the highest-charting song by a Swedish artist on that chart since "The Sign" by Ace of Base peaked at number one in 1994. It was certified 5× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and has sold over 2.6 million copies in the country. Additionally, the track topped the charts in Poland and Romania, and peaked within the top ten in Austria, Canada, France and Switzerland, among others. (Full article...)