Little [Baltic] Getaway

Hi peeps! Hope you haven’t missed me much. I’ve been a bit off as I took some days off after my master thesis defense. Yes, I’m done! I will bring you an exclusive inside-top-information post on how it went and everything you could possibly would like know a master thesis defense, but not in this post hehe. Today I will share with you some Swedish history and the close relationship this country has with its Baltic cousins.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallin – Estonia.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania three ex-Soviet Socialist Republics small in size but huge in historical information! Just couple of hundred of kms away from Stockholm, you’ll find yourselves amazed by the beauty and historical data that these countries share with Sweden. The Swedish Empire dates back to the 17th and early 18th century when Sweden had major control over the Baltic region; actually, you can read and learn a lot about this in Stockholm’s Vasa museum. I will not enter into details as I ain’t a Swedish/Baltic historian hehe but basically Sweden had control of some parts of Norway, Finland, Estonia, and Latvia; furthermore, as for Lithuania, the history with them is a bit more complicated. Yes, Sweden was huge!

Huvilakatu street, Helsinki – Finland.

After a series of battles against Lithuania and Poland from other empires (Russian empire, for example), these 2 countries (in resume) decided to join forces in the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth established in the late 16th century. This commonwealth was once ruled by Sigismund III, who also ruled the Swedish Empire… what? Yes, Sigismund III direct descendent of Gustav Vasa (father of the nation or founder of modern Sweden), was the son of John III of Sweden. John III used to rule only the Swedish Empire until he married princess Catherine Jagiellon from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Nonetheless, Sigismund III ended ruling the Swedish Empire after Sweden went into a civil war.

St Ladislaus of Vilnius, Vilnius – Lithuania.

Fascinating, right? Well, I do believe that it doesn’t matter if you are or not into history, but trust me that these cities will catch your attention. Of course nowadays the Swedish Empire is gone, but not only historic ties remain between these countries, as they also share economic ones, for example. Although this doesn’t concern Sweden directly, an interesting fact (and a bit of more modern information), is about the Soviet Union. Something that I consider incredible is how these 3 countries, formerly part of the USSR, contributed to the fall of it. They managed to do it in a well-organized and peaceful way with the so-called Baltic Way!

Baltic way exposition in Riga – Latvia.

Celebrating its 30-years anniversary, the Baltic Way was a tipping point for these 3 countries into re-gaining their freedom. Around 2 million people from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia formed a human chain, which connected the 3 capitals in a 620+km line. This historical peaceful demonstration took place in August 23rd 1989. The aftermath was the world looking directly at them, the US asking for prompt solutions, a letter to the former UN secretary-general, and finally with their independence in 1990. So much history to tell, so few lines I can write in a post hehe, but well, if you are planning to visit or to move to Sweden, learning about the history of this country and the ties it has with its neighbour countries is a must!

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What’s warm as the Sun and spicy as a jalapeño? My home country México. My name is Fernando and I came to Sweden to study the master’s programme in Sustainable Technology at KTH. Come, join me to learn and understand the importance of having a sustainable lifestyle, and where else to do this than in Sweden?

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