Stockholm is situated on an archipelago at a confluence of Lake Mälaren and Salt Bay. It is the capital, the largest city and the financial hub of the country. The city is spread across numerous islands centring on Gamla Stan (the historic old town).
The Mälären region in which Stockholm is located has been the political heart of Sweden for centuries. The chieftain Birger Jarl ordered the construction of a fortified settlement in 1252. The settlement expanded rapidly as a result of trade with German city states, particularly in copper and iron. Within a century Stockholm was Sweden’s largest community with formidable defences. By the mid fifteenth century it was the capital. The Danes invaded Stockholm in 1471 but were defeated at the Battle of Brunkeberg. The invasion triggered civic unrest, with several nobles and burghers defecting to the Danish side. A rebellion broke out in 1520 but following a 2-year siege was eventually quelled by the triumphant entry into...