America on the walls
A very early copy of the American Declaration of Independence hangs on a wall at Rosersberg Palace. Sweden was the first state outside the warring parties to recognise the new nation.
American tourists to Rosersberg Palace – as well as official visitors, including former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice – have been surprised to see the Declaration of Independence on the wall.
A very early copy can be seen in King Karl XIII's Council Room at Rosersberg, in a beautiful gold frame. This is because Sweden was one of the first countries in the world to recognise the United States of America when the nation declared its independence from Great Britain.
King Gustav III is the first to recognise the USA
Officer Axel von Fersen, a friend of King Gustav III, was present during the American Revolution and fought on the colonists' side at the Battle of Georgetown. Because he spoke both French and English, he acted as an interpreter and even met George Washington.
As early as October 1776, King Gustav III had the following to say about the American War of Independence:
"It is such a fascinating spectacle to see a state create itself, that I – were I not who I am now – would travel to America to follow all the stages of the creation of this new republic at close quarters."
This may have been one reason why the US Ambassador to Paris, Benjamin Franklin, and Sweden's envoy were able to sign a Swedish-American treaty of friendship and trade on 3 April 1783. Sweden was thus the first neutral country to recognise the new American republic.
The Declaration of Independence at Rosersberg
The first American diplomat was despatched to Stockholm in 1814, when King Karl XIII and Crown Prince Karl (XIV) Johan spent much of their time at Rosersberg Palace.
The diplomat, Jonathan Russel, may have presented the printed copy during an audience, as proof of the excellent relations between Sweden and the United States.
Top image: Detail of the Declaration of Independence of the United States, which hangs on the wall at Rosersberg Palace. Photo: Alexis Daflos/Royalpalaces.se