City (pop., 2000 est.: city, 750,348; urban agglom.: 1,660,700), capital of Sweden. Built on numerous islands and peninsulas connected by old bridges and modern overpasses, Stockholm is regarded as one of the most beautiful capitals in the world. According to tradition, Swedish ruler Birger Jarl founded Stockholm c. 1250. In the Middle Ages it became Sweden's chief trade port, and in 1436 the capital. After years of conflict between the Swedes and Danes, Gustav I Vasa liberated the city from Danish rule in 1523. It developed rapidly in the mid-17th century as Sweden became a great power, and it was Sweden's cultural centre by the 18th century. It was extensively redeveloped in the 19th century. The second largest port in Sweden (Göteborg being the first), it is the country's leading cultural, commercial, financial, and educational centre.