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Sweden is first described in a written source in Germania by Tacitus in 98 AD.In Germania 44 and 45 he mentions the Swedes (Suiones) as a powerful tribe (distinguished not merely for their arms and men, but for their powerful fleets) with ships that had a prow at each end (longships).Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state, like its neighbour Norway.

Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod, which meant "people of the Swedes" (Old Norse Svíþjóð, Latin Suetidi).

This word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas (Old Norse Sviar, Latin Suiones).

Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities.

An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century.

Which kings (kuningaz) ruled these Suiones is unknown, but Norse mythology presents a long line of legendary and semi-legendary kings going back to the last centuries BC.

As for literacy in Sweden itself, the runic script was in use among the south Scandinavian elite by at least the 2nd century AD, but all that has come down to the present from the Roman Period is curt inscriptions on artefacts, mainly of male names, demonstrating that the people of south Scandinavia spoke Proto-Norse at the time, a language ancestral to Swedish and other North Germanic languages.

The Swedish name Sverige (a compound of the words Svea and rike, with lenition of the consonant [k], first recorded in the cognate Swēorice in Beowulf) literally means "realm of the Swedes", excluding the Geats in Götaland.

Variations of the name Sweden are used in most languages, with the exception of Danish and Norwegian using Sverige, Faroese Svøríki, Icelandic Svíþjóð, and the more notable exception of some Finnic languages where Ruotsi (Finnish) and Rootsi (Estonian) are used, names commonly considered as referring to the people from the coastal areas of Roslagen, Uppland, who were known as the Rus', and through them etymologically related to the English name for Russia.

After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995, but declined NATO membership, as well as Eurozone membership following a referendum.

It is also a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens.

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