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Stockholm is the capital, and largest city in Sweden, with a current metropolitan population of about 2 million. It is home to the major political, business, and cultural institutions of the contry. The swedish king also resides here. The city is built on 14 islands, which are connected by 53 bridges. Stockholhm is also called "Venice of the north"
The first written proof of the existence of the city is dated to 1252, in which it is described as an important iron ore trading settlement. Stockholm was founded on a small island in 1250 by a swedish leader called Birger Jarl to prtect Sweden from foreign invasions, and to stop the raids of the city of Sigtuna from Lake Mälaren. Due to the protecting duty of the new settlement, Stockholm's first building was a fortress. Stockholm had close trading, and business relations with the north German Hansa cities and settlement. This resulted in a rapid growth of the small town. By the mid 1500s Stockholm had a population between 5000 and 6000 consisting of Germans, Swedes, and Finns. The city of Stockholm became the capital city of Sweden in 1523.
Throughout the early 1700s the city was an poor town, however, the century bought about major changes in its life. Stockholm experienced a population boom, resulting in about 30 000 people permanently living within the boundaries of the city. In 1625 most of the city was destroyed by fire, resulting in it first major planned city infrastructure development. As the era was characterised by wars, at the return of warlords to Stockholm, they built large, expensive palaces, mostly in baroque style. In 1697, the royal palace (The Kronor) was destroyed by fire. Although a new palace was started to be built, it was not finished until the mid-18th century.