The nation which at the present day inhabits the Kingdom of Sweden is considered to have had its dwelling-place there for an unbroken period of at least six thousand years, - a longer period than any other European nation can look back upon, within its present boundaries, with the exception of the kindred race in Denmark. According to researches recently undertaken the Swedish people seems to be the purest remainder now extant of the old Teutonic race. The Swedes have three times, in a more direct way, played an important part in the history of the world. First, and in common with the other Scandinavian nations, as a »vagina gentium» (Jordanes), before the great Migration of Peoples, which fact is however veiled in obscurity; then, during the renowned Viking period, when Swedish chieftains founded the Russian Empire; and finally, during the reign of the great Gustavus Adolphus, when the Swedish people saved liberty of conscience and freedom of religion to humanity. During the two last centuries, in proportion to their numbers, the Swedes have taken an honourable part in the humanitarian, scientific and artistic work of the civilized nations. Particularly in the nineteenth century, and with a period of ninety years of peace, the country has advanced remarkably. As an eloquent expression of the present stage of the culture of the Swedish people, is generally quoted, that according to the vital statistics the mortality is in Sweden lower, and the expectation of life higher, than in any other European, and probably also any Extra-European country.