Gustav II Adolf (1594-1632) of House Vasa, King of Sweden, Defender of the Faith, the greatest of all Swedish kings, founder of the Swedish Empire, widely recognized with the titles "The Lion from the North" and "The father of modern warfare". is a character of major importance in Swedish history and considered to be the greatest field commander ever to fight for the Swedish Empire, a master strategist with revolutionary tactics who dominated the European battlefields for a decade. He is considered to be equal to Napoleon in tactical skills and would theoretically have been able to conquer all of Europe without help from foreign nations. At his death in 1632, Sweden held the most modern, well-trained, disciplined, well-equipped military force in the world and was the only country in the world with mobile field guns. Gustav II Adolf is internationally known by his Latin name Gustavus Adolphus or as Gustav the Great (also, Gustavus Adolphus the Great).

Gustavus II Adolphus
Gustav II Adolf
Gustavus Adolphus, the father of modern warfare

King of Sweden

30 October 1611-6 November 1632


12 October 1617


Karl IX




Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg


Gustav (illegitimate), Kristina


House Vasa


9 December, 1594


6 November, 1632 (aged 37)


Riddarholmen Church

Wars and battlesEdit

Gustav II Adolf is considered to be uncomparable as the most skilled military leader of the Thirty Years' War. His defeats were few, but it should be taken into account that he was a teenager without military experience during his first few combats. Later on, he never lost a battle against the Catholic forces of the Holy Roman Empire. Note that the only two battles that were not successful during the Third Polish-Swedish war (Dirschau and Trzciana), resulted in failure for other reasons than the king's leadership. At Dirschau he was shot in the shoulder and unable to fight on his own, leading to his soldiers retreating in order to protect him. In in the Battle of Trzciana many of his officers defied orders, leading to the Swedes getting a too disadvantegous position and forced to fight in melee against the superior Polish hussars (something the king wanted to avoid). Also, note that Gustav II Adolf did not "lose" the Kalmar war since he never fought in it, but upon inheriting the throne he immediately begun negotiating for peace, and the Kalmar war was a tactical Danish victory by that time. It is remarkable that Gustav II Adolf did not commit any hostile acts against Denmark, instead concentrating his military force to expand Swedish borders to the east and south (against Russia and Poland, respectively).


In Sweden, Estonia and Finland, the Gustavus Adolphus Day is celebrated every year on 6 November. It is an official flag day, and certain chocolate or marzipan pastry resembling a medallion of the king is sold to celebrate the memory of perhaps the greatest Swedish king of all time.

Many modern historians have proclaimed Gustav II Adolf the savior of modern Christianity (Protestantism), as he intervened to protect the Protestant states of Germany from utter destruction by the Catholic League. Without this intervention, Protestantism would definitely be a much less widespread religion than it is today.

Gustav II Adolf did not conquer any territories permanently, instead releasing any occupied cities as his allies or vassals. Many Protestant German citizens today consider him a liberator.

Sabaton hails Gustav II Adolf in their song Lion From the North, and also celebrate his victory at Breitenfeld in Gott Mit Uns.