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Gustav III of Sweden: The Forgotten Despot of the Age of Enlightenment

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A.D. Harvey recalls the career of the Swedish king whose assassination inspired a famous opera.

Gustav III of Sweden (1746-92) is one of the least studied of the later eighteenth-century rulers known as the Enlightened Despots. He was not a great general like Frederick II of Prussia or a great empire-builder like Catherine II of Russia, nor did he labour tirelessly to rationalise the administration of a conglomeration of disparate principalities like Joseph II of Austria.


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Historical dictionary: Enlightenment


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