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The church was nationalised, its estates confiscated by the crown, and the Protestant Reformation was introduced.Power was concentrated in the hands of the king and hereditary monarchy came into force in 1544.The various provinces of Sweden were absorbed around 1000 AD into a single unit, but the crown began to gain significant influence only during the late 13th century.
In 1389, the crowns of Denmark, Norway and Sweden were united under the rule of the Danish Queen Margareta.
Trade grew during the 14th century, especially with the German towns grouped under the leadership of Lübeck.
By the mid-16th century, this group, known as the Hanseatic League, dominated Swedish trade, and many towns were founded as a result of lively commercial activity.
The Vikings traveled as far as the Black and Caspian Seas, where they developed trading links with the Byzantine Empire and the Arab kingdoms.
Christianity first reached Sweden with a mission led by Ansgar, who visited in the 9th century, but the country was not converted to Christianity until the 11th century.
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