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After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, which Sweden left in 1523.
With the Swedish involvement in the Thirty Years War, on the Reformist side, began an expansion of its territories and eventually the Swedish Empire was formed.
Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens.
It has the world's eleventh-highest per capita income and ranks highly in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, health, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality, prosperity and human development.
Sweden has a total population of 10 million It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi); the highest concentration is in the southern half of the country.
Approximately 85% of the population lives in urban areas.
The Swedish name Sverige (a compound of the words Svea and rike, with lenition of the consonant [k], first recorded in the cognate Swēorice in Beowulf) literally means "realm of the Swedes", excluding the Geats in Götaland.
Variations of the name Sweden are used in most languages, with the exception of Danish and Norwegian using Sverige, Faroese Svøríki, Icelandic Svíþjóð, and the more notable exception of some Finnic languages where Ruotsi (Finnish) and Rootsi (Estonian) are used, names commonly considered as referring to the people from the coastal areas of Roslagen, Uppland, who were known as the Rus', and through them etymologically related to the English name for Russia.
Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister.
The etymology of Swedes, and thus Sweden, is generally not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning "one's own", a warm period around 12,000 BC, with Late Palaeolithic reindeer-hunting camps of the Bromme culture at the edge of the ice in what is now the country's southernmost province, Scania.
This period was characterised by small bands of hunter-gatherer-fishers using flint technology.
Sweden is part of the geographical area of Fennoscandia.
The climate is in general very mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence, that in spite of this still retains warm continental summers.
The union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905.