Riksdag of the Estates

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The Riksdag of the Estates, or Ståndsriksdagen, was the name used for the Estates of the Swedish realm, or Rikets ständer, when they were assembled. Until its dissolution in 1866 the institution was the highest authority in Sweden next to the Swedish monarch. It was a Diet made up of the Four Estates, which historically were the lines of division in Swedish society:


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Important assemblies

The House of Knights, seat of the Nobility.
The House of Knights, seat of the Nobility.

The meeting at Arboga in 1435 was usually considered to be the first Riksdag, but there is no indication that the fourth estate, the peasants, had been represented there.

Replaced by the new Riksdag

Representatives of the four estates on a commemorative coin (left).
Representatives of the four estates on a commemorative coin (left).

In 1866 all the Estates voted in favor of dissolution and at the same time to found a new assembly, The Swedish Riksdag or Sveriges Riksdag. Out of the four estates, the corporation of the Swedish nobility, the House of Knights (Riddarhuset) remains as a quasi-official representation of the nobility. The modern Centre Party which grew out of the Swedish farmers' movement, sitting in the Parliament still today, could be construed as a modern representation with a traditional bond to the Estate of the Peasants.

The Instrument of Government from 1809 divided the powers of Government between the Bernadotte Monarch and the Riksdag of the Estates, and after 1866 with the new Riksdag. In 1809 Sweden ceded Finland to Russia. Finland became a Grand Duchy under the Russian Tsar, but the political institutions were kept practically intact. The Diet of Finland which was the successor to the Swedish Riksdag of the Estates in Finland, was dissolved in 1905.

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