Gustav III

Masonic Biographies

Gustav III

Born: Monday, 24 January 1746
Died: Thursday, 29 March 1792

Gustav III was a beneficent King and Freemason who founded the Swedish Academy, reorganized Swedish Masonry, and promoted the Masonic virtue of Equality.

Gustav III of Sweden is one of his country's most beloved monarchs. Born in 1746 in Stockholm, Gustav's childhood was dominated by politics. His education and influencing ideas were subject to control and censorship by various political interests. Despite this chaos, Gustav ended up with a deep love of the French enlightenment, which would go on to greatly influence his rule.

He seized power in a coup d'etat in 1772 when he overthrew the aristocrats who were pilfering the country. Thus, he became a hero for the impoverished people of the country but greatly angered the landed class in the process. He was initiated into Freemasonry in 1780 and subsequently reorganized Swedish Freemasonry by the adoption of the Rite of Strict Observance. Throughout his reign, Masonic ideals influenced him, and Brother Gustav envisioned a Sweden where all were equal before their king.

Founding the Swedish Academy to promote the arts and sciences, Gustav endeavored to bring knowledge and wisdom to his subjects. Unique among his peers, he was first to recognize the independence of the American colonies. He was a frequent patron of the Opera, which was the unfortunate location of his assassination in 1792. Although intended to restore the privileges of the nobility, the assination ultimately backfired, instead ensuring Gustav's enlightened vision for his nation shone brightly long after his death.

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