IRRC No. 313

Humanitarian law in the Articles of War decreed in 1621 by King Gustavus II Adolphus of Sweden

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In July 1621 several regiments of the Swedish army were assembled at Årsta Meadow south of Stockholm awaiting transport by ship to the Baltic, where they were to fight the Russian forces which had invaded the provinces in early summer. It was on this occasion that they heard for the first time the new Articles of War read to them by chancellor Axel Oxenstierna. The text had been drafted by King Gustavus himself and revised by Oxenstierna the preceding spring, and the final decree had been signed by the King at camp on 15 July.

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