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Biography of Gustavus Adolphus


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Gustavus II, called by way of distinction Gustavus Adolphus, was a grandson of the Gustavus I. He was a soldier from childhood. He was born at Stockholm in 1594 and ascended the throne in 1611. He inherited three wars, with Russia, Denmark, and Poland. He was fortunate in having a brilliant prime minister by the name of Axel Oxenstiern. Leaving home affairs in competent hands, Gustavus threw himself into the campaign with a vigor that won for him the title of the "Lion of the North." He compelled Russia to cede territory and conclude a peace. Poland and Denmark were glad to come to terms. The German emperor was aiming to root out Protestantism. Gustavus Adolphus entered the field as the champion of the northern Protestants. He won a victory over the great imperial general, Tilly, at Leipsic September 17, 1631. November 16th of the following year he won the battle of Lutzen from the famous Wallenstein, but fell in the hour of triumph. The battlefield is a few miles from Leipsic. He was a great soldier. He taught Europe that a small, efficient, well disciplined army is superior to an armed mob. He considered 40,000 troops the limit of effectiveness. A larger number of soldiers he retarded as a hindrance.