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Legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag.Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister.Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities.An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century.This became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century.Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were gradually lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809.Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens.It has the world's eleventh-highest per capita income and ranks highly in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, health, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality, prosperity and human development.
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).
The union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905.
Though Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars, Sweden engaged in humanitarian efforts, such as taking in refugees from German-occupied Europe.
The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union.
Since then, Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs.
In the 6th century Jordanes names two tribes living in Scandza, both of which are now considered to be synonymous with the Swedes: the Suetidi and Suehans.