Founded in December 1914 as Rederiaktiebolaget Sverige-Nordamerika, the company began passenger service from Gothenburg to New York the following year. In 1925 the company changed its name to a far more pronouncable Svenska Amerika Linien (Swedish American Line).
SAL played an important role in 20th century emigration from Scandinavia to the US and Canada. The company also carried many businesspeople and tourists to and from Scandinavia. The company and its ships were the pride of Sweden and the vessels, officers and crewmembers considered the elite of the Swedish merchant fleet.
One former Swedish American Line ocean liner remains in service. Now a cruise ship, the ultra-venerable and much-rebuilt Stockholm (1948) is currently operated by Portugal’s Portuscale Cruises under the name Azores. This vessel is best remembered, of course, for ramming into and sinking Italian Line’s Andrea Doria on the night of 25 July 1956.
There was a time when nearly every major nation (and numerous minor countries) bordering on a sea or ocean had its own national passenger shipping line (sometimes several). By 1975, that time was long gone. Airlines had become the new national flag carriers, although by the dawn of the 21 century that market would also be radically changed.