Treaty of Kiel

Last updated
Treaty of Kiel
Ofwersattning af de Artiklar emellan Konungarne af Swerige og Dannemark.djvu
Translated reprint of the part concerned with Norway
Type Peace treaty
Context War of the Sixth Coalition during the Napoleonic Wars
Signed14 January 1814
Location Kiel, Duchy of Holstein
Language French

The Treaty of Kiel (Norwegian : Kieltraktaten) or Peace of Kiel (Swedish and Norwegian : Kielfreden or freden i 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. [1] 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 (the Sixth Coalition) while Denmark–Norway was allied to Napoleon Bonaparte. [1]


Frederick VI of Denmark joined the anti-French alliance, ceded Heligoland to George III of the United Kingdom, and further ceded the Kingdom of Norway to Charles XIII of Sweden in return for Swedish Pomerania. [1] Specifically excluded from the exchange were the Norwegian dependencies of Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, which remained in the union with Denmark. [2] (Norway would unsuccessfully contest the Danish claim to all of Greenland in the Eastern Greenland Case of 1931–33. [3] )

However, not all provisions of the treaty would come into force. Norway declared its independence, adopted a constitution and elected Crown Prince Christian Frederik as its own king. Sweden therefore refused to hand over Swedish Pomerania, which instead passed to Prussia after the Congress of Vienna in 1815. After a short war with Sweden, Norway accepted entering into a personal union with Sweden at the Convention of Moss. King Christian Frederik abdicated after convening an extraordinary Storting, which revised the Constitution to allow for the Union. It was formally established when the Storting elected Charles XIII as king of Norway on 4 November 1814.


In the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars, Denmark-Norway and the Kingdom of Sweden tried to maintain neutrality [4] but soon became involved in the fighting, joining opposite camps. Swedish king Gustav IV Adolf entered an alliance with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Russian Empire against Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804, and declared war on Napoleonic France in 1805. [4] The United Kingdom, which had declared war on France in 1803, paid subsidies to Sweden. [4] Before Gustav IV Adolf marched his forces out of Swedish Pomerania, a province long coveted by Prussia, he negotiated an agreement that Prussia would not attack it. [4] Denmark remained neutral. [4]

Jean Baptiste Bernadotte CarlXIVJohnSweden.jpg
Jean Baptiste Bernadotte

In 1807, Napoleonic forces seized Swedish Pomerania and forced Prussia and Russia to sign the Treaty of Tilsit. [5] Russia was therein obliged to attack Napoleon's enemies, and since Gustav IV Adolf refused to break his alliance with the United Kingdom, the tsar invaded Finland and severed it from Sweden in the Finnish War, 1808/1809. [5] Sweden could no longer uphold her anti-French foreign policy, and French Marshal Jean Baptiste Bernadotte was elected heir to the Swedish throne in 1810. [5] Denmark-Norway entered an alliance with France after the second British bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807. [6]

In 1812, Napoleon's forces were decimated in their failed attempt to subdue Russia, and started their westward retreat. [7] Sweden allied with Russia on 30 August 1812, with the United Kingdom on 3 March 1813, [8] and with Prussia on 22 April 1813. [9] Previously, on 23 March 1813, she had declared war on Napoleon. [9] Bernadotte's condition for entering the anti-Napoleonic alliance was the gain of Norway, which the United Kingdom and Russia accepted in May 1813. [9] Prussia however did not acknowledge this claim at first. [9] Thus, Bernadotte hesitated to enter the war with full force, [9] and only engaged in a campaign against Hamburg which on 30 June was re-conquered by allied French and Danish forces. [10] When Prussia finally accepted the Swedish claim to Norway on 22 July, Sweden joined the alliance of Reichenbach concluded between Russia, the United Kingdom and Prussia on 14/15 June. [10] With three armies (North, Main and Silesian, the Northern army under Bernadotte's command), the allies subsequently cleared Northern Germany of French forces. Denmark, who had maintained the alliance with Napoleon because of the Swedish claim to Norway, [9] was isolated and, as a consequence of the war, bankrupt. [11]

Dano-British treaty

The treaty between the Kingdom of Denmark and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was negotiated by Danish diplomat Edmund Bourke and the British envoy at the Swedish court, Edward Thornton. [12] It consisted of 14 articles, to which two articles were added in Brussels on 7 April. [12]

In article III, the United Kingdom was obliged to return all occupied Danish possessions to the Danish king. [12] Excepted was the island of Heligoland, where the British king was granted "full and unlimited sovereignty". [12]

In article VI, the Danish king joined the anti-Napoleonic alliance, and obliged himself to maintain an army of 10,000 men that was to be joined to the Allied forces in Northern Germany and likewise be commanded by the Swedish crown prince. [13] This Danish contingent was to be treated the same way the Swedish contingent was treated, and the Danish king was to receive an annual 400,000 pounds of British subsidies for maintenance and pay of the army, to be paid in monthly installments as soon as the army entered Allied service. [13]

Article VIII was concerned with the abolishment of slave trade. [13] In article X, the British king promised the Danish king to negotiate further compensation for Denmark's territorial cessions to Sweden in a pending final peace. [13] In article XIII, older Dano-British treaties were confirmed. [13]

The articles added in Brussels were concerned with the property of Danish subjects in the colonies or in ceded territories, which was to remain untouched by the British for the next three years, and equal treatment of Danish, British and Hanoveranian subjects, who were not to be prosecuted because of their participation in the war on different sides, nor because of their political or religious beliefs. [13]

Dano-Swedish treaty

Wetterstedt Gustaf af Wetterstedt (from Hildebrand, Sveriges historia).jpg

The treaty between the Kingdom of Denmark and the Kingdom of Sweden was negotiated by Danish diplomat Edmund Bourke (Burke) and Swedish envoy Baron Gustaf af Wetterstedt with British mediation. [14] It consisted of 28 articles and one separate article. [14] In article III, the Danish king promised to join the alliance against Napoleonic France, [15] and with reference to the Dano-British treaty confirms his obligation to put part of his army under Swedish command. [16]

In article IV, the Danish king in his and his successors' name "irrevocably and forever" renounced claims to the Kingdom of Norway in favor of the Swedish king. [16] The Norwegian kingdom was defined as consisting of the bishoprics of Christiansand, Bergen, Akershus and Trondheim, as well as the coastal islands and the northern regions of Nordland and Finnmark to the Russian border. [16] Excepted were Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. [16] The Norwegian subjects were freed of their obligations to the Danish king. [16] In article VI, the Swedish crown took over the debts and financial obligations of Norway, which was to be determined by a joint Dano-Swedish commission. [16]

Article VII ruled that Swedish Pomerania was to be handed over to Denmark. [16] In article XV, it was ruled that the Swedish forces were to take over the Norwegian fortresses as soon as the treaty was ratified, and that they were to abandon Swedish Pomerania as soon as the Norwegian fortresses Fredriksten, Fredrikstad, Kongsvinger and Akershus were handed over. [17] In article XIII, [16] the Swedish king promised the Danish king to negotiate full compensation for the cession of Norway in a pending final peace, and the cession of Swedish Pomerania is described as a "proof" of this intention. [17]

Charles XIII of Sweden Charles XIII of Sweden.jpg
Charles XIII of Sweden

In article XII, the king of Sweden promised to maintain the Norwegian University of Christiania, and the Pomeranian University of Greifswald, which was to pass to Denmark according to article VII, and confirmed donations made before the exchange. [16] Also, it was agreed in article XX that subjects of the Danish king could choose within the next six years whether they would finally settle in Norway or Denmark, whereby property in the realm which would not become the permanent residence was to be sold only to inhabitants of this realm. [17] This provision was also enacted with respect to Swedish Pomerania. [17] In article XVI, it was agreed that the governors general and all foreign-born officials of the exchanged territories, as long as they did not decide to remain, were removed from their offices. [17] Article XXI obliged the Danish administration to hand over all civilian and military administrative documents and archives concerning Norway. [12]

Article XVII provided for a mutual exchange of all prisoners of war. [17] According to article XV, allied troops were to leave the Danish Duchy of Schleswig (Slesvig), but were allowed to remain in the German confederal Duchy of Holstein (Holsten), ruled in personal union with Denmark and Schleswig, to participate in the encirclement of Hamburg. [17] In article XXVII, former Dano-Swedish peaces were confirmed as long as their provisions were not in conflict with the treaty of Kiel, namely the Treaty of Copenhagen (1660), the Treaty of Stockholm (June 1720), the Treaty of Frederiksborg (July 1720) and the Treaty of Jönköping (1809). [12] A separate article was concerned with the cession of hostilities. [12]


The personal union of Sweden and Norway

Norwegian Constituent Assembly at Eidsvoll, 1814. Eidsvoll riksraad 1814.jpeg
Norwegian Constituent Assembly at Eidsvoll, 1814.

On hearing news of the treaty, which became known through proclamation at the end of January, and published in Norwegian newspapers soon after, Norwegians were in disarray, and many called for arms, having beaten the Swedes only five years prior, in the 1809 campaign. A virtual independence movement had been established as early as 1810, and this movement gained momentum in the brooding situation. The Crown Prince of Denmark and Norway, Christian Frederick, the resident viceroy in Norway, used this opportunity to intervene. He took the helm in the Norwegian independence movement, most likely with the surreptitious goal of re-unification with Denmark. This was not in the interest of all Norwegians. In fact, the founders of the 1810 movement lobbied for an independent Norway. The initiative of Christian Frederick was successful, partly due to clandestine support from the Danish Crown, but also because it was supported by prominent and influential Norwegians. They convinced the Prince that it would be unwise to claim the throne as his inheritance. Instead they advised him to assume the regency and call an election of representatives to a constituent assembly.

On 10 April the national assembly met at Eidsvoll to decide on a Constitution. Norway eventually declared independence on 17 May 1814, electing Christian Frederick as King. (The seventeenth of May is "Syttende mai" or Norwegian Constitution Day that is celebrated by Norwegians at home and abroad.) This triggered a short war with Sweden in which Sweden's financial advantage proved too much to overcome. Nevertheless, when cease-fire talks began, Bernadotte made an important concession—he accepted the newly adopted Norwegian constitution, thus giving up any claim that Norway was to be treated as merely a Swedish province. In accordance with the Convention of Moss, Norway agreed to enter a personal union with Sweden. After having made the necessary amendments to the constitution, the Norwegian Storting on 4 November elected Charles XIII of Sweden as King of Norway, creating the union between Sweden and Norway.

Swedish Pomerania

Hardenberg Hardenberg.jpg

Due to the refusal of Norway to subordinate itself to the Swedish king, Charles XIII of Sweden did not hand over Swedish Pomerania to Frederick VI of Denmark. [18] The problem was solved at the Congress of Vienna, when the Great Powers followed a plan worked out by Karl August von Hardenberg, prime minister of the Kingdom of Prussia, who proposed a ring exchange of territories and payments between the Kingdom of Denmark, the Kingdom of Hanover (ruled in personal union with Great Britain and Ireland), the Kingdom of Prussia and the Kingdom of Sweden. [18]

According to Hardenberg's plan, Prussia ceded East Frisia with Emden to Hanover, and in exchange received from Hanover the Duchy of Lauenburg. [18] This duchy was then handed over from Prussia to Denmark, along with an additional payment of 3.5 million talers. [18] Prussia also took over a Danish debt to Sweden of 600,000 talers, and agreed on an additional payment of 2 million talers to Sweden. [18] Denmark and Sweden in turn relinquished their claims to Swedish Pomerania in favour of Prussia. [18] Charles XIII of Sweden then released his Pomeranian subjects from their obligations towards Sweden on 1 October 1815, and on 23 October the province was handed over to von Ingersleben, president of Prussian Pomerania. [18]

East Greenland case

Eirik Raudes (Erik the Red's) Land (blue) EricTheRedsLand.svg
Eirik Raudes (Erik the Red's) Land (blue)

Between 1931 and 1933, Norway contested the Danish possession of all of Greenland at the Permanent Court of International Justice in The Hague. [3] As of December 2008, this was the only case where possession of a polar territory was ever decided by an international court. [3]

The Norwegian side argued that Denmark did not hold rights to any part of the island where she did not exact actual sovereignty, and accordingly proclaimed a Norwegian Eirik Raudes Land in eastern Greenland on 10 July 1931, which had been occupied in the previous month. [19] On 5 April 1933 however, the court ruled that on the basis of the Treaty of Kiel and subsequent treaties, Denmark was the sovereign over the whole of Greenland. [19] [20]

See also

Related Research Articles

Charles XIV John of Sweden King of Sweden and Norway

Charles XIV John or Carl John, was King of Sweden and King of Norway from 1818 until his death in 1844.

Oscar I of Sweden King of Sweden and Norway

Oscar I was King of Sweden and Norway from 8 March 1844 until his death. He was the second monarch of the House of Bernadotte.

Congress of Vienna Early 19th century conference of ambassadors of European states to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe

The Congress of Vienna, also called Vienna Congress, was a meeting of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich, and held in Vienna from November 1814 to June 1815, though the delegates had arrived and were already negotiating by late September 1814. The objective of the Congress was to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe by settling critical issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The goal was not simply to restore old boundaries but to resize the main powers so they could balance each other and remain at peace. The leaders were conservatives with little use for republicanism or revolution, both of which threatened to upset the status quo in Europe. France lost all its recent conquests while Prussia, Austria and Russia made major territorial gains. Prussia added smaller German states in the west, Swedish Pomerania and 60% of the Kingdom of Saxony; Austria gained Venice and much of northern Italy. Russia gained parts of Poland. The new Kingdom of the Netherlands had been created just months before, and included formerly Austrian territory that in 1830 became Belgium.

House of Bernadotte Royal house of Sweden

The House of Bernadotte is the royal house of Sweden, which has reigned since 1818. Between 1818 and 1905, it was also the royal house of Norway. Its founder Charles XIV John of Sweden, born a Frenchman as Jean Bernadotte, was adopted by the elderly King Charles XIII of Sweden, who had no other heir and whose Holstein-Gottorp branch of the House of Oldenburg thus was soon to be extinct.

Union between Sweden and Norway Personal union between Sweden and Norway 1814–1905

Sweden and Norway or Sweden–Norway, officially the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, or as the United Kingdoms, was a personal union of the separate kingdoms of Sweden and Norway under a common monarch and common foreign policy that lasted from 1814 until its peaceful dissolution in 1905.

Swedish Pomerania historical domain of Sweden

Swedish Pomerania was a Dominion under the Swedish Crown from 1630 to 1815, situated on what is now the Baltic coast of Germany and Poland. Following the Polish War and the Thirty Years' War, Sweden held extensive control over the lands on the southern Baltic coast, including Pomerania and parts of Livonia and Prussia.

Franco-Swedish War

The Franco-Swedish War or Pomeranian War was the first involvement by Sweden in the Napoleonic Wars. The country joined the Third Coalition in an effort to defeat France under Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Treaty of Paris, signed on 6 January 1810, ended the war between France and Sweden after Sweden's defeat by Russia, an ally of France, in the Finnish War of 1808–1809.

War of the Sixth Coalition Part of the Napoleonic Wars

In the War of the Sixth Coalition, sometimes known in Germany as the War of Liberation, a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States defeated France and drove Napoleon into exile on Elba. After the disastrous French invasion of Russia of 1812, the continental powers joined Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal and the rebels in Spain who were already at war with France.

During the Napoleonic Wars until 1810, Sweden and the United Kingdom were allies in the war against Napoleon. As a result of Sweden's defeat in the Finnish War and the Pomeranian War, and the following Treaty of Fredrikshamn and Treaty of Paris, Sweden declared war on the United Kingdom. The bloodless war, however, existed only on paper, and Britain was still not hindered in stationing ships at the Swedish island of Hanö and trade with the Baltic states.

Hans Henric von Essen Swedish politician

Count Hans Henric von Essen was a Swedish officer, courtier and statesman.

War of the Fourth Coalition part of the Napoleonic Wars

The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon's French Empire and were defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. The main coalition partners were Prussia and Russia with Saxony, Sweden, and Great Britain also contributing. Excluding Prussia, some members of the coalition had previously been fighting France as part of the Third Coalition, and there was no intervening period of general peace. On 9 October 1806, Prussia joined a renewed coalition, fearing the rise in French power after the defeat of Austria and establishment of the French-sponsored Confederation of the Rhine. Prussia and Russia mobilized for a fresh campaign with Prussian massing troops in Saxony.

Kingdom of Norway (1814) short-lived monarchy in Northern Europe

In August 1814, after a loss in the Swedish–Norwegian War, Kingdom of Norway was forced to join in a personal union with the Kingdom of Sweden, thereby becoming subject to a naval blockade by the British Empire, but remaining largely autonomous within the union. Although nationalist aspirations were not to be fully realized until the events of 1905, 1814 was the crisis and turning point in events that would lead to a fully independent Norway.

Swedish–Norwegian War (1814)

The Swedish–Norwegian War, also known as the Campaign against Norway, War with Sweden 1814, or the Norwegian War of Independence, was a war fought between Sweden and Norway in the summer of 1814. The war was a Swedish victory and led to Norway being forced into the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, a union with Sweden under the Swedish king Charles XIV but with Norway having its own constitution and parliament.

Denmark–Russia relations Diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Denmark and Russia

Denmark–Russia relations is the relationship between the two countries, Denmark and Russia. Diplomatic relations between Denmark and the USSR were established on June 18, 1924. Russia has an embassy in Copenhagen and a consulate in Tórshavn, and Denmark has an embassy in Moscow, a Consulate-General in Saint Petersburg, and an honorary consulate in Kaliningrad. Both countries border the Baltic Sea and are members of the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Denmark–United Kingdom relations Diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Denmark and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

British–Danish relations are foreign relations between the United Kingdom and Denmark. The United Kingdom has an embassy in Copenhagen and Denmark has an embassy in London. Both countries are full members of NATO and of the European Union, although the United Kingdom plans to leave the European Union.

Year 1809 was a joint Swedish/Finnish government project about the 2009 bicentennial of the division of Sweden, when Sweden had to cede Finland to Russia. Both Sweden and Finland observed the bicentennial with various activities, which showed both the history of the partition and the close connection between the two countries since the mid 13th century.

English Wars (Scandinavia) 1807-1814 war in Northern and Western Europe

The English Wars were a series of conflicts between England and Sweden with Denmark-Norway as part of the Napoleonic Wars. It is named after England, the common name in Scandinavia of the United Kingdom, which declared war on Denmark-Norway due to disagreements over the neutrality of Danish trade and to prevent the Danish fleet falling into the hands of the First French Empire. It began with the first battle of Copenhagen in 1801 and its latter stage from 1807 onwards was followed by the Gunboat War, the Dano-Swedish War of 1808–09 and the Swedish invasion of Holstein in 1814.

Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1679) 1679 peace treaty

The Treaty or Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye of 19 June (OS) or 29 June (NS) 1679 was a peace treaty between France and the Electorate of Brandenburg. It restored to France's ally Sweden her dominions Bremen-Verden and Swedish Pomerania, lost to Brandenburg in the Scanian War. Sweden ratified the treaty on 28 July 1679.

Prussia and its predecessor, Brandenburg-Prussia, were involved in numerous conflicts during their existence as nation-states. During their military engagements they often fulfilled the role of a supporting power, especially in the 17th century. In the 18th century Prussia began to adopt an independent role in the conflicts of that time; at the latest by the time of the Silesian Wars.


  1. 1 2 3 Schäfer (2002), p. 137
  2. Dörr (2004), p. 103
  3. 1 2 3 Cavell (2008), pp. 433ff
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Olesen (2008), p. 285
  5. 1 2 3 Olesen (2008), p. 287
  6. Olesen (2008), p. 289
  7. Büsch (1992), p. 39
  8. Ghillany, Friedrich Wilhelm; Beck, C. H. (1855). Diplomatisches Handbuch: Sammlung der wichtigsten europaeischen Friedensschluesse, Congressacten und sonstigen Staatsurkunden, vom westphaelischen Frieden bis auf die neueste Zeit[Diplomatic Handbook: Collection of the Most Important European Peace Conventions, Congress Acts and Other State Certificates, from the Westphalia Peace to the Modern Period] (in German). 2.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Büsch (1992), p. 60
  10. 1 2 Büsch (1992), p. 61
  11. Cranshaw (2007), p. 22
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Jenssen-Tusch (1852), p. 168
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Jenssen-Tusch (1852), p. 169
  14. 1 2 Jenssen-Tusch (1852), p. 165
  15. Jenssen-Tusch (1852), pp. 165–166
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Jenssen-Tusch (1852), p. 166
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Jenssen-Tusch (1852), p. 167
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Büsch (1992), p. 104
  19. 1 2 Cavell (2008), p. 434
  20. Dörr (2004), pp. 103ff