Svante August Arrhenius was born on February 19, 1859, at Vik (also spelled Wik or Wijk), near Uppsala, Sweden, the son of Svante Gustav and Carolina Thunberg Arrhenius. He came from a Swedish farming family where his father had been a land surveyor for Uppsala University, moving up to a supervisory position. He also was employed as overseer on the ancient estate of Vik (Wijk), on Lake Malar near Uppsala. In 1855 he married Carolina Christina Thunberg; Svante August was their second son. By the beginning of 1860, the father’s position had improved enough so that the family moved to Uppsala, where he could devote full time to his university position.