The Gustavians (Swedish: Gustavianerna), was a name used for the loyalists of King Gustav III of Sweden, which played a certain role in Swedish politics during the late 18th- and early 19th-century.
The name has been used about important personages during the reign of Gustav III. This applied both to artists, such as Johan Henric Kellgren, Carl Gustaf af Leopold, Gustaf Filip Creutz, Johan Gabriel Oxenstierna, Johan Tobias Sergel; as well as to those of the king's closest favorites and political co workers, such as Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt, Johan Christopher Toll, Hans Henric von Essen, Christoffer Bogislaus Zibet and Elis Schröderheim.
After the assassination of Gustav III in 1792, the name came to be used as an honorary name for those loyal to the memory and principles of the late king, in opposition to the rule of Gustaf Adolf Reuterholm during the regency of Duke Charles (regency 1792-1796). In 1793, the Armfelt Conspiracy against the regency was discovered to be the work of Gustavians.
When the regency was ended by the declaration of majority of Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden in 1796, the son of Gustav III, the Gustavians became loyal to him, as he was seen as a representative of his late father. Thereby, the followers of Gustav IV Adolf, such as Samuel af Ugglas and Axel von Fersen the Younger, also came to be referred to as Gustavians.
When Gustav IV Adolf was deposed by the Coup of 1809 and replaced by his uncle Charles XIII, the Gustavians came to be the name of those wishing to have the deposed king's son Gustav, Prince of Vasa declared heir to the throne, in opposition to the leaders of the coup. In the parliament, the Gustavian Party was represented by Eric Ruuth and Jacob De la Gardie. They did have some success, but was eventually forced to relent and agree to the exile of the entire family of the deposed monarch on 10 May 1809, the Instrument of Government (1809) and the election of Charles August as heir to the throne.
The delay of the arrival of Charles August to Sweden, however, caused serious plans among the Gustavian Party to depose the Instrument of Government (1809) and install their preferred crown prince Gustav, Prince of Vasa through a coup d'état with the support of king Charles XIII. The coup was, however, not brought to fruition because of the indecisiveness of Charles XIII. When Charles August finally arrived, he made himself liked by the Gustavians by a considering to adopt Gustav, Prince of Vasa as his heir.
After the death of Charles August in 1810, the enemies of the Gustavians had rumors planted about that he had been poisoned by the Gustavians. This led to the lynching of the known Gustavian Axel von Fersen the Younger. During the new election of an heir to the throne, the Gustavians again supported their candidate Gustav, Prince of Vasa. They were however defeated again by the election of Charles Bernadotte.
- Nordisk familjebok / Uggleupplagan. 10. Gossler - Harris