The Swedish Vikings were mainly known as the so-called Svees, giving name to the country's modern name [Sverige].
The Svees lived in the area north of Stockholm around present-day Uppsala and the inland lake Mälaren. They became wealthy through trade on south and eastern Europe, to some extent also Asian countries, and the Svees founded the first Swedish Viking settlement in Birka (immediately west of Stockholm). At its peak Birka had about 700 inhabitants and trades with merchants from near and far. Birka is one of the best preserved examples of Viking trading sites, and is now designated as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
In their expansion out of Sweden they made stopover to furnish supplies for further travels on the island of Gotland, an island in the Baltic Sea, where arose a wealthy community of tradesmen. Archaeologists have unearthed more than 100,000 silver coins on Gotland, some of them even from so distant places as Samarkand (in Uzbekistan) and Baghdad.
The Swedish Vikings were obsessed about "fire" and believed that their souls would disappear in an all-consuming inferno of fire. They buried their deceased fellows in ships together with his weapons and tools, and then set the boat on fire. The dead souls would then fly to Asgaard -- or sometimes to Valhal, the home of dead heroes.
The bonfire-habit still remains throughout the Nordic countries on Midsummer Night (23rd June), when huge public bonfires adorned with a witch to be "sacrificed" and sent to Blocksbierg [Hell], are lit along the shores of a lake.
More Swedish Viking ships on stamps are shown on rock carvings in Tanum, whish in 1994 were designated World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
Sources and links:
Microsoft Encarta 2002
National Geographic Denmark Special Issue No. 1, 2001 (in Danish)
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