How come the Swedish overseas empire didn't take off?


Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
The main reason is that their main naval organization was behind the Sond. The war against the Danes and Dutch made it quite impossible to do anything steady on the other side of the world
Yup. As a Baltic maritime power Sweden peaked already in the second half of 16th c., with the massive reforms and navy Erik XIV (1560-68) built. And this was before the rise of the United Provinces as a global maritime power. It was designed and built to confront Denmark and the Hanseatic League, in particular the dominant city of Lübeck, on its last legs as a Baltic power. (For a while Sweden had one of Europe's largest navy numerically speaking, and quite possibly the largest warship afloat, while pioneering purpose built warships based on a doctrine of stand-off gunnery and victory-through-superior-firepower rather than boarding. I.e. the English confrontation of the Spanish Armanda in 1588 wasn't the first use of stand-off gunnery as a battle winning tactic, since at least the Swedes got there about 25 years ahead, in the Nordic Seven Years War 1563-70.)

The Danes and the Lübeckers struggled with the concentrated Swedish bid for naval supremacy in the Baltic. The Swedes never quite managed to get a leg over the Danes, and by the times the Dutch began their meteoric rise, where the Baltic trade was a key to their new wealth, they also put an oar into the Baltic situation, pretty comprehensively thwarting any Swedish hopes of outright overpowering its competitors in any naval race.

By the 17th c. it was pretty universally recognised in northern Europe that it was the Dutch who had benchmarked what amounted to competency in naval warfare. It was recognised that the Danes were as good as the Dutch. The English competition aspired to and eventually matched the Dutch. By comparison the Swedes never quite reached that level. As one Swedish 17th c. Admiral famously quipped, while the Danes had real sailors his men were effectively just "farmers dipped in salt-water".
May 2017
There has been discussion of this, and I have seen no evidence of white slaves in British territory. Maybe there were some in French territory. Is there any original source for that?
I mean, there's still white slaves in British territory today, so it's quite likely that it happened. OTOH, it was probably individual cases when compared to the Atlantic slave trade from Africa.