Gustav II Adolf, (19 December 1594 – 16 November 1632, O.S.) or Gustav II Adolphus, widely known in English by the Latinized name Gustavus Adolphus and variously in historical writings sometimes as simply just Gustavus, or Gustavus the Great, or Gustav Adolf the Great, (Swedish: Gustav Adolf den store, from the special distinction passed by the Swedish Parliament in 1634), was founder of the Swedish Empire (or Stormaktstiden – "the era of great power") at the beginning of what is widely regarded as the Golden Age of Sweden.
In the era, which was characterized by nearly endless warfare, he led his armies as King of Sweden—from 1611, as a seventeen year old, until his death in battle while leading a charge during 1632 in the bloody Thirty Years' war—as Sweden rose from the status as a mere regional power and run-of-the-mill kingdom to one of the great powers of Europe and a model of early modern era government. Sweden expanded to become the third biggest nation in Europe after Russia and Spain within only a few years during his reign. Some have called him the "father of modern warfare", or the first great modern general. Under his tutelage, Sweden and the Protestant cause developed a host of good generals, Torstenson for example who won the second battle of Breitenfeld, who continued to expand the empires' strength and influence long after his death in battle.
He was known by the epithets "The Golden King" and "The Lion of the North" by neighboring sovereigns. Gustavus Adolphus is today commemorated by city squares in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Sundsvall. Gustavus Adolphus College, a Lutheran college in St. Peter, Minnesota, is also named for the Swedish king.