House of Vasa

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House of Vasa
Arms of the House of Vasa.svg
Country Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, Russia
Estates Sweden, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia
Titles
Founded 1523
Founder Gustav Eriksson (Vasa)
Final ruler
Sweden:
Christina (1632–1654)
Poland and Lithuania:
John II Casimir (1648–1668)
Current head None (extinct in the original agnatic line)
Deposition
Sweden:
1654 (abdicated the throne, line extinct in 1689)
Poland and Lithuania:
1668 (abdicated the throne, line extinct in 1672)

The House of Vasa (Swedish: Vasaätten, Polish: Wazowie) was the royal house of Sweden 1523–1654 and of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1587–1668. It originated from a noble family in Uppland of which several members held high office during the 15th century.

Swedish noblemen[edit]

Kings and Queens of Sweden[edit]

In 1654 Christina, the daughter of Gustavus Adolphus, the Protestant Champion of the Thirty Years' War, abdicated, converted to Roman Catholicism and left the country. The throne passed to her half-cousin Charles X of the House of Palatinate-Zweibrücken, a cadet branch of the Wittelsbachs.

The kings of the house of Holstein-Gottorp, which produced the kings of Sweden from 1751 to 1818, emphasized their Vasa descent through a female line. The current ruling house of Bernadotte similarly claims a Vasa mantle: Charles XIV was an adopted son of Charles XIII; his son Oscar I married a Vasa descendant Josephine of Leuchtenberg; their grandson Gustav V married Victoria of Baden who was a great-grandchild of Gustav IV Adolf of the house Holstein-Gottorp.

Kings of Poland and Grand Dukes of Lithuania[edit]

Coat of arms of the Polish branch of the House of Vasa as elected kings of Poland (Lithuania and Ruthenia) and rightful hereditary kings of Sweden (Finland and Estonia).
Royal banner of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the reign of the House of Vasa (1587–1668).

John III of Sweden married Catherine Jagellonka, the sister of Sigismund II Augustus of Poland. When Sigismund II of Poland died without issue, the son of John III of Sweden and Catherine Jagellonka was elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania as Sigismund III in 1587. On John's death, Sigismund also gained the Swedish throne.

However, Sigismund was Catholic, which ultimately led to his losing the throne in Sweden. His uncle Charles IX succeeded him. We thus have two Houses of Vasa from this point onwards: the senior, Catholic branch ruling in Poland and Lithuania, and the cadet, Protestant branch ruling in Sweden. This arrangement led to numerous wars between the two states. After John, the Polish Vasa died out. See also Rulers of Poland.

Family tree[edit]

The House of Vasa and its connection to successor dynasties in Sweden.

See also[edit]

House of Vasa
Preceded by
House of Oldenburg
Ruling House of the Kingdom of Sweden
1523–1654
Succeeded by
House of Palatinate-Zweibrücken
Preceded by
Jagiellon dynasty
Ruling House of the Kingdom of Poland
1587–1668
Succeeded by
Wiśniowiecki
Ruling House of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
1587–1668
Preceded by
House of Shuya
Ruling House of the Tsardom of Russia
1610–1612
Succeeded by
House of Romanov