Unfortunately for Sweden, their Finno-Swedish foothold in the New World was not to last. In an effort to secure control of the Delaware Valley, in 1654 Swedish colonial forces attacked and captured the Dutch-held Fort Casimir. The Dutch got angry and retaliated, conquering New Sweden the following year. However, by that time, the Kingdom of Sweden had secured some colonial holdings on another continent. In 1650, still while Queen Christina was on the throne, a Swedish colony was founded in Africa on the Gulf of Guinea by Hendrik Carloff in what is now Ghana. The area became known as the Swedish Gold Coast and consisted of six forts and a couple of trading posts. The endeavor was backed by the Swedish Africa Company, founded in 1649 by Louis de Geer, and it obtained the land these forts and outposts were built on by a purchase from the Akan King of Futu. The Swedes were, evidently, pretty popular with many of the local Africans as they seemed to prefer dealing with Sweden over the Dutch or Danes. Several years later Ft Carlsborg (the oldest Swedish fort in the region) was captured by Denmark which prompted King Charles X Gustav to declare war on the Danes. The peace agreement made in 1660 called for the Swedish territory in Africa to be restored, however, it was discovered that the local agent in charge for Denmark (another disgruntled ex-employee but this time of Sweden) had sold the land to the Dutch and absconded with the loot to Portuguese West Africa. However, Swedish rule was restored when the local Africans rose up in rebellion against their new masters, driving them out and again offering Sweden a good deal to come back and set up shop again, which they did. Unfortunately, this situation did not last very long as only a few years later the Kingdom of Denmark seized the colony again in 1663 (though the Swedes made them work hard for it) only to ultimately lose the colony themselves to the British later on.
|King Gustav III|
St Barts was the most long-lasting Swedish overseas colony and it was quite a successful one. It was a very free sort of place with more personal and economic freedom that Sweden itself. An enterprising businessman could make a fortune on trade and, whereas Lutheranism was strictly mandatory in Sweden, on St Barts there was religious freedom and eventually many, many more Catholics than Lutherans. The Swedish government decided not to mess with a system that was working and so even employed a Catholic priest to visit the island. In time, however, competition increased and after the Napoleonic Wars ended and the contraband market died down, the economy on St Barts began to suffer. This was critical as trade was all the island had going for it at the time, unlike other islands in the area which usually relied on plantations for the backbone of their economy. When slavery was abolished on the island this lack of a market for manual labor meant many of the freed slaves ended up being worse off for lack of employment. The Swedish island in the Caribbean eventually lost its luster and in 1877, under King Oscar II, a referendum was held on turning the island over to France. It passed with only one contrary vote and St Barts has belonged to the French Republic ever since.