Swedish–Norwegian War (1814)

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Swedish–Norwegian War of 1814
Part of the Napoleonic Wars
Andreas Bloch - Kampen ved Lier 1808.jpg
the Battle of Lier
Date26 July–14 August 1814
Location
Result

Swedish victory; Convention of Moss

Belligerents
Flag of Norway (1814-1821).svg Norway Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom (naval blockade)
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Norway (1814-1821).svg Christian VIII
Flag of Norway (1814-1821).svg Johannes Sejersted
Flag of Norway (1814-1821).svg Frederik von Haxthausen
Flag of Sweden.svg Charles XVI
Flag of Sweden.svg Charles XIII
Strength
  • 30,000
  • 8 field batteries
  • 7 brigs
  • 150 gunboats
  • 45,523
  • 117 field batteries
  • 4 ships of the line
  • 5 frigates
  • 24 smaller ships
  • 60 gunboats
Casualties and losses
Exact number unknown, under 500 killed, similar number wounded Exact number unknown, under 500 killed, similar number wounded

The Swedish–Norwegian War, also known as the Campaign against Norway (Swedish : Fälttåget mot Norge), War with Sweden 1814 (Norwegian : Krigen med Sverige 1814), or the Norwegian War of Independence, was a war fought between Sweden and Norway in the summer of 1814. The war resulted in a Swedish victory which led to Norway being forced to enter into union with Sweden, but with its own constitution and parliament under the rule of the Swedish monarch Charles XIV.

Swedish language North Germanic language spoken in Sweden

Swedish is a North Germanic language spoken natively by 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden, and in parts of Finland, where it has equal legal standing with Finnish. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and to some extent with Danish, although the degree of mutual intelligibility is largely dependent on the dialect and accent of the speaker. Both Norwegian and Danish are generally easier for Swedish speakers to read than to listen to because of difference in accent and tone when speaking. Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era. It has the most speakers of the North Germanic languages.

Norwegian language North Germanic language spoken in Norway

Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken mainly in Norway, where it is the official language. Along with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a dialect continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional varieties, and some Norwegian and Swedish dialects, in particular, are very close. These Scandinavian languages, together with Faroese and Icelandic as well as some extinct languages, constitute the North Germanic languages. Faroese and Icelandic are hardly mutually intelligible with Norwegian in their spoken form because continental Scandinavian has diverged from them. While the two Germanic languages with the greatest numbers of speakers, English and German, have close similarities with Norwegian, neither is mutually intelligible with it. Norwegian is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era.

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, formal name: the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million of which 2.5 million have a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi). The highest concentration is in the southern half of the country.

Contents

Background

Treaty of Kiel

As early as in 1812, prior to the Napoleonic invasion of Russia, the Swedish Crown Prince Charles John had entered into an agreement with Tsar Alexander I that Russia would support a Swedish attack on Norway in order to force Denmark-Norway to cede its northern part to Sweden. [1] The Swedish attack against Norway was rejected, however, Swedish forces were instead directed against France in Central Europe. The Swedish troops were deployed against Napoleon's forces as a result of agreements between Charles John and diplomats from the United Kingdom and Prussia, which indicated that Norway would be ceded to Sweden after France and its allies (which included Denmark-Norway) were defeated. [2]

French invasion of Russia Napoleon Bonapartes attempted conquest of the Russian Empire

The French invasion of Russia, known in Russia as the Patriotic War of 1812 and in France as the Russian Campaign, began on 24 June 1812 when Napoleon's Grande Armée crossed the Neman River in an attempt to engage and defeat the Russian army. Napoleon hoped to compel the Emperor of All Russia, Alexander I, to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace. The official political aim of the campaign was to liberate Poland from the threat of Russia. Napoleon named the campaign the Second Polish War to gain favor with the Poles and to provide a political pretext for his actions.

Charles XIV John of Sweden King of Sweden and Norway between 1818-1844. Prince of Ponte Corvo 1806-1810 and French field marshal

Charles XIV John or Carl John, from 1818 until his death was King of Sweden and King of Norway and served as de facto regent and head of state from 1810 to 1818. He was also the sovereign Prince of Pontecorvo, in south-central Italy, from 1806 until 1810.

Alexander I of Russia Emperor of Russia

Alexander I was the Emperor of Russia between 1801 and 1825. He was the eldest son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. Alexander was the first king of Congress Poland, reigning from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland, reigning from 1809 to 1825.

By the Treaty of Kiel in January 1814, King Frederik VI of Denmark-Norway had to cede Norway to the King of Sweden, due to Denmark-Norway's alliance with France, and its defeat during the later phases of the Napoleonic Wars. This treaty was however not accepted by the Norwegians.

Treaty of Kiel 1814 peace treaty between the UK plus Sweden, and Denmark–Norway

The Treaty of Kiel or Peace of Kiel was concluded between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Kingdom of Sweden on one side and the Kingdoms of Denmark and Norway on the other side on 14 January 1814 in Kiel. It ended the hostilities between the parties in the ongoing Napoleonic Wars, where the United Kingdom and Sweden were part of the anti-French camp while Denmark–Norway was allied to Napoleon Bonaparte.

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).

Norwegian Constituent Assembly

Prince Christian Frederick of Denmark, heir presumptive to the thrones of Denmark and Norway and Governor-general of Norway, took the lead in the insurrection, and he called for a constitutional assembly. This adopted the liberal constitution of 17 May, which also elected Christian Frederick as the king of an independent Norway.

Christian VIII of Denmark King of Norway 1814, King of Denmark 1839-1848

Christian VIII was the King of Denmark from 1839 to 1848 and, as Christian Frederick, King of Norway in 1814.

An heir presumptive is the person entitled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question. The position is however subject to law and/or conventions that may alter who is entitled to be heir presumptive.

The Governor-general of Norway, styled Rigsstatholder in Danish or Riksståthållare in Swedish, both meaning 'Lieutenant of the realm', was the appointed head of the Norwegian Government in the absence of the Monarch.

As the head of the new state, Christian Frederick desperately tried to gain support from the United Kingdom, or any of the other major powers within the Sixth Coalition, in order to maintain Norway's independence. However, the foreign diplomats gave no hope for any outside support to the Norwegians.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The UK's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Armies

The Norwegian Army mustered 30,000 men, and it had taken up positions away from the border with Sweden, in the fear of being outflanked. The Norwegian navy had few vessels, and most of them were stationed at the islands of Hvaler, close to Sweden.

Hvaler Municipality in Østfold, Norway

Hvaler is a municipality that is a group of islands in the southwestern part of Østfold County, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Skjærhalden, on the island of Kirkeøy. The only police station in the municipality is located in Skjærhalden. Hvaler was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838.

The Swedish Army consisted of 45,000 men, experienced and well-equipped soldiers. The Swedish Navy had a number of large vessels and a capacity for moving and landing troops.

Major commanders

War

The hostilities opened on 26 July with a swift Swedish naval attack against the Norwegian gunboats at Hvaler. The Norwegian army was evacuated and the vessels managed to escape, but they did not take part in the rest of the war. The main Swedish offensive came across the border at Halden, bypassing and surrounding the fortress of Fredriksten, and then continuing north, while a second force of 6,000 soldiers landed at Kråkerøy outside of Fredrikstad. This town surrendered the next day. This was the start of a pincer movement around the main part of the Norwegian army at Rakkestad.

On the front towards Kongsvinger the forces were more evenly matched, and the Norwegian army eventually stopped the Swedish advance at Lier on 2 August, and won another victory at Matrand on 5 August. On 3 August, King Christian Frederick reached the front at Østfold and was persuaded to change his strategy and use the 6,000 men stationed at Rakkestad in a counterattack against the Swedes. The order to counterattack was given on the 5th of August, but the order was recalled a few hours later. The Norwegian forces therefore withdrew over the Glomma river at Langnes in Askim. [3] The last major battle of the war was fought on 9 August at the bridgehead at Langnes, where the Swedish forces once more were driven back. [4] Sweden then attempted to outflank the Norwegian line, and successfully did so during the battle of Kjølberg Bridge on the 14th of August. The Swedes then had a clear path to Kristiania, the Norwegian capital. In addition, the British blockade of Norway gradually worsened the Norwegians' situation, making food shortages common everywhere. The proximity of Swedish armies and the British blockade eventually made the Norwegians' situation unsustainable.

Although the Norwegian Army had won at Langnes, it was nevertheless clear to both the Norwegian and Swedish military authorities that a defeat was inevitable. [4] Even as they had managed to deliver several minor offensive blows to the Swedes, thus applying pressure on the Swedes to accept Norway as a sovereign nation[ citation needed ], it was considered impossible to try to stop the Swedes in the long run. [4] The Swedish offer of negotiations was therefore accepted as the war had put a heavy strain on the Norwegian finances. Every day of delay in securing Norway by the Swedes brought uncertainty to them regarding the outcome, so both parties were interested in a quick end to the war.

For the ordinary Norwegian soldier the war had seemed ill-prepared and ill-fought. [4] The allegations of the loss were against Christian Frederick and the Norwegian general Haxthausen; the latter was accused of treason. For the Norwegian government it probably[ citation needed ] had been more of a matter of getting the best possible bargaining position, as without the support of major powers Norway's independence was impossible to secure. But by agreeing to talks following the victory at Langnes they were in a situation where they could avoid an unconditional surrender.

Aftermath

On 10 August, Bernadotte presented a proposal for a cease-fire. The proposal included a major concessionBernadotte, on behalf of the Swedish government, accepted the Eidsvoll constitution. In doing so, he tacitly gave up any claims that Norway would be merely a Swedish province. Negotiations started in Moss, Norway on 10 August 1814, and after a few days of hard negotiations, a cease fire agreement, called the Convention of Moss, was signed on 14 August 1814. King Christian Frederick was forced to abdicate, but Norway remained nominally independent within a personal union with Sweden, under the Swedish king. Its Constitution was upheld with only such amendments as were required to allow it to enter into the union, and the two united kingdoms retained separate institutions, except for the King and the foreign service and policy.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Events in the year 1814 in Norway.

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Battle of Kjølberg Bridge

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References

Footnotes
  1. Angell, Henrik (1914). Syv-aars-krigen for 17. mai 1807-1814. Kristiania: Aschehoug. p. 219
  2. Angell, p. 220
  3. Dyrvik, Ståle; Feldbæk, Ole (1996). Aschehoughs Norgeshistorie - Mellom brødre - 1780-1830. 7. Oslo: H. Aschehough & Co. p. 159
  4. 1 2 3 4 Syv-aars-krigen for 17de mai 1807-1814 (1914) by Henrik Angell (1995), ISBN   82-90520-23-9
Literature