History of copper currency in Sweden
The Swedish Empire
Swedish Empire
The Swedish Empire refers to the Kingdom of Sweden between 1561 and 1721 . During this time, Sweden was one of the great European powers. In Swedish, the period is called Stormaktstiden, literally meaning "the Great Power Era"...

 had the greatest and most numerous copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 mines in Europe as it entered into its pre-eminence in the early 17th century as an emerging Great Power
Great power
A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess military and economic strength and diplomatic and cultural influence which may cause small powers to consider the opinions of great powers before taking actions...

. Through poor fiscal policies and in part the Treaty of Älvsborg, Sweden lost control of its reserves of precious metals, primarily silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

, of which most had fled to the burgeoning trade economy of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

. In 1607 the Swedish king Charles IX
Charles IX of Sweden
Charles IX of Sweden also Carl, was King of Sweden from 1604 until his death. He was the youngest son of King Gustav I of Sweden and his second wife, Margaret Leijonhufvud, brother of Eric XIV and John III of Sweden, and uncle of Sigismund III Vasa king of both Sweden and Poland...

 attempted to persuade the populace to exchange their silver-based currency for a copper-based coin of equal face value, though this offer was not generally taken up. Sweden's large army of the time were paid entirely in copper currency, further issued in large numbers by Gustavus II
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
Gustav II Adolf has been widely known in English by his Latinized name Gustavus Adolphus Magnus and variously in historical writings also as Gustavus, or Gustavus the Great, or Gustav Adolph the Great,...

 to finance his war against Ferdinand II of Germany
Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand II , a member of the House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor , King of Bohemia , and King of Hungary . His rule coincided with the Thirty Years' War.- Life :...

. The face value of the copper coins in circulation now greatly exceeded the reserves of the state and production of the national economy, and quickly the value of the currency fell to its commodity value, which in a country where copper was so abundant, was small indeed. The savings of the people of Sweden were wiped out.

When Gustavus' daughter and heir Christina
Christina of Sweden
Christina , later adopted the name Christina Alexandra, was Queen regnant of Swedes, Goths and Vandals, Grand Princess of Finland, and Duchess of Ingria, Estonia, Livonia and Karelia, from 1633 to 1654. She was the only surviving legitimate child of King Gustav II Adolph and his wife Maria Eleonora...

 reached maturity at 18, after a brief fling with paper-based money backed by copper—which was well received initially but soon lost credibility—she began issuing copper in lumps as large as fifteen kilograms to serve as currency. Unwieldy as they were, the copper-based monetary system worked to a fashion until the world copper price slumped. Sweden's great copper no longer commanded the premium it once had on world markets, and foreign income dried up. Relative to the rest of Europe, Sweden's people once more had become poor.

In an effort to shore up the economy, government minister Baron von Görtz
Georg Heinrich von Görtz
Georg Heinrich von Görtz, Baron of Schlitz , diplomat in Swedish service, was born in Holstein and educated at Jena.- Career :...

 stepped up to the challenge and became the country's central bank
Central bank
A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is a public institution that usually issues the currency, regulates the money supply, and controls the interest rates in a country. Central banks often also oversee the commercial banking system of their respective countries...

er. He issued more copper-based currency without limit, with a face value of one daler
Swedish riksdaler
The riksdaler was the name of a Swedish coin first minted in 1604. Between 1777 and 1873, it was the currency of Sweden. The daler, like the dollar, was named after the German Thaler. The similarly named Reichsthaler, rijksdaalder, and rigsdaler were used in Germany and Austria-Hungary, the...

 (much greater than their intrinsic value) and which were technically inferior and easy to counterfeit
To counterfeit means to illegally imitate something. Counterfeit products are often produced with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product...

. Soon these coins were so abundant that they too depreciated rapidly towards their raw metal value as belief spread that the copper coins would soon be unacceptable as a form of payment of taxes. Görtz was blamed for the failure, and was duly beheaded
Decapitation is the separation of the head from the body. Beheading typically refers to the act of intentional decapitation, e.g., as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished, for example, with an axe, sword, knife, wire, or by other more sophisticated means such as a guillotine...

 in March of 1719, a punishment which greatly pleased the Swedish people.
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