BRAHE, PER, Count (1602-1680), Swedish soldier and statesman, was born on the island of Rydboholm, near Stockholm, on the 18th of February 1602. He was the grandson of Per Brahe (1520-1590), one of Gustavus I.'s senators, created count of Visingsborg by Eric XIV., known also as the continuator of Peder Svart's chronicle of Gustavus I., and author of Oeconomia (1585), a manual for young noblemen. Per Brahe the younger, after completing his education by several years' travel abroad, became in 1626 chamberlain to Gustavus Adolphus, whose lasting friendship he gained. He fought with distinction in Prussia during the last three years of the Polish War (1626-1629) and also, as colonel of a regiment of horse, in 1630 in Germany. After the death of Gustavus Adolphus in 1632 his military yielded to his political activity. He had been elected president (Landsmarskalk) of the diet of 1629, and in the following year was created a senator (Riksråd). In 1635 he conducted the negotiations for an armistice with Poland. In 1637-1640 and again in 1648-1654 he was governor-general in Finland, to which country he rendered inestimable services by his wise and provident rule. He reformed the whole administration, introduced a postal system, built ten new towns, improved and developed commerce and agriculture, and very greatly promoted education. In 1640 he opened the university of Abo, of which he was the founder, and first chancellor. After the death of Charles X. in 1660, Brahe, as rikskansler or chancellor of Sweden, became one of the regents of Sweden for the second time (he had held a similar office during the minority of Christina, 1632-1644), and during the difficult year 1660 he had entire control of both foreign and domestic affairs. He died on the 2nd of September 1680, at his castle at Visingsborg, where during his lifetime he had held more than regal pomp.
His brother, Nils Brahe (1604-1632), also served with distinction under Gustavus Adolphus. He took part in the siege and capture of Riga in 1621, served with distinction in Poland (1626-1627) and assisted in the defence of Stralsund in 1628. In 1630 he accompanied Gustavus into Germany, and in 1631 was appointed colonel of "the yellow regiment," the king's world-renowned life-guards, at the head of which he captured the castle of Würzburg on the 8th of October 1631. He took part in the long duel between Gustavus and Wallenstein round Nuremberg as general of infantry, and commanded the left wing at Lützen (November 6, 1632), where he was the only Swedish general officer present. At the very beginning of the fight he was mortally wounded. The king regarded Brahe as the best general in the Swedish army after Lennart Torstensen.
A direct descendant of Nils, Magnus Brahe (1790-1844), fought in the campaign of 1813-14, under the crown prince Bernadotte, with whom, after his accession to the throne as Charles XIV., he was in high favour. He became marshal of the kingdom, and, especially from 1828 onwards, exercised a preponderant influence in public affairs.
See Martin Veibull, Sveriges Storhetstid, vol. iv. (Stockholm, 1881); Letters to Axel Oxenstjerna (Swed.) 1832-1851 (Stockholm, 1890); Petrus Nordmann, Per Brahe (Helsingfors, 1904).
(R. N. B.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)