Gustav IV Adolf (Sweden)

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Per Krafft d. Ä. : Gustav IV Adolf , 1785
Per Krafft d. El .: Gustav IV Adolf , 1793
Per Krafft d. J .: Gustav IV. Adolf , 1809

Gustav IV Adolf (born November 1, 1778 in Stockholm ; † February 7, 1837 in St. Gallen ) was King of Sweden from 1792 to 1809.


Gustav IV. Adolf was the eldest son of Gustav III. of Sweden and his wife Sophie of Denmark .

Gustav was thirteen years old when his father was murdered. He reluctantly took over the government, which was under the tutelage of his uncle Karl until 1796 . As a confidante of Duke Karl, however, Count Gustaf Adolf Reuterholm had a significant influence in these first years and led the so-called "Reuterholm regime" .

Gustav learned Latin and Finnish too. In 1797 he married Princess Friederike Dorothea von Baden .

The deeply religious Gustav saw Napoleon as an antichrist and was soon embroiled in a war with the Franco-Russian alliance. In this war, in which Gustav orientated himself towards Great Britain, he lost Finland and Pomerania , which earned him the distrust of the Swedish public. In the course of a coup he was imprisoned on March 13, 1809 at Gripsholm Castle and forced to abdicate on March 29 . On May 10, the Estates' Congress formally deposed him and excluded him and his descendants from the line of succession . His uncle was called Karl XIII. new king on June 6th.

Gustav was expelled from the country. He moved to Germany via Copenhagen and to Basel in 1810 . He was staying there as a count of Gottorp in one of it as a "cabin" (formerly "Hotel Three Kings". 1681-1844 the house was first mentioned as "Mr. hostel and inn to the Three Kings") Rooms designated above as sewer serving , smelly Birsig . In the meantime he left the city and lived in Germany. After divorcing his wife in 1812, he also used other names such as Duke von Holstein-Eutin or Colonel GA Gustafsson . Like Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling , Gustav was very interested in revival movements . He was also one of the earliest representatives of romantic historicism on Europe's thrones and one of the initiators of anti-Napoleonic endeavors. In 1815 he acquired the ruins of the Itterburg and at times called himself Herr or Graf von Itter. In 1818 he returned to Basel for the second time and bought the house St.Johanns-Vorstadt 72 for 12,000 francs, which today has a memorial plaque. In the same year he became a citizen of Basel for 1,500 francs after renouncing all privileges of birth and status in front of the assembled council. But he did not find civil peace, because Colonel Gustafsson felt plagued, not taken seriously and was excited by the "incessant screaming of the Calvinist children while bathing in summer in the so-called duck hole on the Rhine." When he was also refused the position of armory administrator, he sent on February 4, 1822, the Basler Bürgerbrief returned to the town hall and, after years of unsteady wandering life all over Europe, reached St. Gallen in 1834 . There he found asylum in the inn at the Weisses Rössli and lived very modestly three flights of stairs up in two small rooms in the inn.

There he died of a stroke three years later. On February 28, Gustav IV's coffin was escorted from St. Gallen to Eichhorn Castle in Moravia , where his son, the Austrian Lieutenant Field Marshal Gustav, Prince von Wasa , lived. In 1884 Gustav IV was transferred to the Riddarholm Church in Stockholm with his son and buried there.


It has also been claimed that Count Adolf Friedrich Munck von Fulkila was Gustav's father. This should Gustav III. assisted the queen on his first night of love when he got into sexual trouble.


His library was auctioned in 1924 by the Hamburg bookstore L. Friedrichsen & Co ( Die Wasa-Bibliothek . Foreword by Fedor von Zobeltitz). Until it was sold, it was kept in Dresden, in the so-called Georgenbau of the Residenzschloss. Efforts to return it to Swedish ownership failed. “The extensive collection is a reflection of the intellectual life of its first owner. King Gustav was perhaps a bibliophile himself [...] A large number of the books are in valuable bindings [...]. History and geography make up the main stock of the collection, there is little in the way of German language, not at all Swedish literature, while French literature is extremely rich […]. Since it now seems to be the fate of the Wasa library to be torn apart, this catalog, which has been produced with special care, will remain a permanent image of a royal collector's spirit ”(preface).

Marriage and offspring

Gustav was married to Friederike Dorothea von Baden from 1797 to 1812 , with whom he had the following children:

  • Gustav (born November 9, 1799 - † August 4, 1877), Crown Prince of Sweden, was named "Prince of Wasa" after the fall of his father
  • Sophie Wilhelmine (* May 21, 1801; † July 6, 1865) ⚭ 1819 Leopold , Grand Duke of Baden
  • Karl Gustav (December 2, 1802 - September 10, 1805), Grand Duke of Finland
  • Amalie Marie Charlotte (February 22, 1805 - August 31, 1853), Princess of Sweden
  • Cäcilie (born June 22, 1807; † January 27, 1844) ⚭ August 1831 , Grand Duke of Oldenburg.

After 1812 he fathered several illegitimate children, most of whom he did not recognize.


Christian August of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf (1673–1726)
Adolf Friedrich King of Sweden (1710–1771)
Albertine Friederike von Baden-Durlach (1682–1755)
Gustav III King of Sweden (1746–1792)
Friedrich Wilhelm I King in Prussia (1688–1740)
Luise Ulrike of Prussia (1720–1782)
Sophie Dorothea of ​​Hanover (1687–1757)
Gustav IV Adolf King of Sweden
Christian VI. King of Denmark , (1699–1746)
Frederick V King of Denmark (1723–1766)
Sophie Magdalene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach (1700–1770)
Sophie Magdalene of Denmark (1746–1813)
George II King of Great Britain (1683–1760)
Louise of Great Britain (1724–1751)
Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1683–1737)

Web links

Commons : Gustav IV. Adolf (Sweden)  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jörgen Weibull: Reuterholm. 1994. In: K. Marklund et al. (Ed.): Nationalencyklopedin. Bokförlaget Bra Böcker AB, 1989-96, ISBN 91-7024-620-3 . (Swedish)
  2. a b J. Weibull: Gustav IV Adolf. 1992. In: K. Marklund et al. (Ed.): Nationalencyklopedin. Bokförlaget Bra Böcker AB, 1989–1996, ISBN 91-7024-620-3 . (Swedish)
  3. ^ Spencer C. Tucker (ed.): A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. ABC-CLIO LLC, 2010, ISBN 978-1-85109-667-1 .
  4. J. Weibull: Karl III. 1993. In: K. Marklund et al. (Ed.): Nationalencyklopedin. Bokförlaget Bra Böcker AB, 1989–1996, ISBN 91-7024-620-3 . (Swedish)
  5. 1809 and the consequences: Finland between Sweden, Russia and Germany by Jan Hecker-Stampehl
  6. European Romanticism: Interdisciplinary Perspectives of Research, edited by Helmut Hühn, Joachim Schiedermair
  7. Norbert Wolf: Caspar David Friedrich 1774-1840. The painter of silence. 2007, pp. 27-28.
predecessor Office successor
Gustav III King of Sweden
Charles XIII