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KINGS OF DENMARK


King  Frederik 4 th 

1671 - 1730             King  1699 - 1730
                          Norway  1699 - 1730
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                         Danish

Danish Kings, from Gorm the Old to the present Queen Margrethe 2nd

  

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The great Nordic War.

 

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Karl 12th of Sweden became king when
only 15 years old and was shortly after
declared of age. He was by nature willful
and stubborn in his decisions.


He liked very much what was dangerous,
bear hunting, wild riding and so on. His
friend was his brother-in-law Frederik
of Gottorp.


Karl 12 th


 
Karl’s youth and wilfulnes inspired his neighbors hope in winding back, what Sweden earlier had taken from them. I all three neighboring countries young princes ruled. In Denmark Frederik 4th, in Poland August 2nd, who originally was only prince of Sachsen, but by cunning had been elected king of Poland, and in Russia tzar Peter the Great. The last mentioned was by Karl considered the least dangerous, because Sweden always earlier easily had defeated Russia.
In deep secrecy the three princes made a treaty (1699).

In 1700 a Danish army attacked the Gottorp land areas. As soon as the 18 year old Karl got this message, he at once declined all hunting and playing. In a hurry he departed to the south, invaded Zealand and surrounded Copenhagen, while at the same time Vilhelm 3rd of Oranien sent an English-Dutch fleet to The Sound in order to block Copenhagen. Denmark was forced to make a quick peace agreement in Travendal (1700) and give back to the duke of Gottorp his lands.

However, tzar Peter had invaded no-man’s-land and sieged Narva.
Karl sailed together with a small force over there. In the battle of Nova he defeated with his 8.000 men completely the Russians, who counted about 50.000 men (November 1700). This victory increased his disrespect for the Russians, so that his attention was turned away from this Sweden’s greatest amemy.
In 1701 he attacked August 2nd and defeated his Sachsen army.
 

The Swedes War in Poland and Sachsen 1702 - 1707.
In a short time Karl conquered Poland by a series of victories, especially at Klissov 1702, where duke Frederik died. Pressure from the Swedish army made the Poles depose August and elect Stanislav Leszinski their new king.
It was Karl’s plan to make Poland a strong ally against til Russians.
Karl soon had to turn east to keep out the Russians , soon to the west to defeat the Sachsens, and though he still won, Poland became broken up by the long war and weakened, so it more became a burden than an assistance. Karl stayed in Sachsen a whole year. He was at his peak of power, and both England and France tryed to drag him into the Spanish order of succession war.
In 1707 he returned to Poland to direct the death-blow toward tzar Peter from here.
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The war against Russia, Poltava 1709.
The seven years Karl spent in Poland and Sachsen, Peter used for training his army and advance to The Baltic Sea. Already in 1703 he got hold of The Finnish Bay and founded St. Petersborg. The Swedish force in The Baltic Countries was too weak to stop him. Only in the region around Riga the Swedes under Levenhaupt were victorious.
In 1708 Karl departed together with 40.000 men toward Peter, who offered peace, but would not surrender St. Petersborg. From Riga Levenhaupt should meet Karl, and then he in Ukraine intended to unite with the kosak chief Maseppa and then attack Moscow.
But the plan of attack failed because of a number of accidents. Levenhaupt fought his way through to Karl, but with enormous casualties, and Maseppa’s rebellion attempt failed, so that he came to the Swedish army as a refugee.
The stay in Ukraine in the severe winther 1708 - 09 taxed the army. In the summer 1709 the decisive battle was fought by Opltava (18.000 Swedes against 55.000 Russians), and Karl had to leave the leadership to his generals, because he had been wounded.
For the Swedes it became a complete defeat, and the army came into Russian captivity, he himself escaped with a small number of men to Turkey. Here he stayed until he went home in 1714.
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Denmark’s war against the Swedes 1709.
When it began to go bad for Karl 12th, Frederik 4th and August 2nd renewed their treaty and declared war again. August departed for Poland, where he was met with pleasure. The Danish army went into Skåne and occupied the area.
But Skåne’s governor, the excellent field marshal Magnus Stenbock, gathered an army, which was badly armed, but which to a certain degree consisted of war accustomed men, and they defeated the Danes by Helsingborg. In Køge Bay an unsettled naval battle was fought, which has been famous by the Norwegian Ivar Hvitfeld’s heroic performance.

In 1711 the Danes were prevented from their doings by the plague, which ripped away 1/3 of the population in Copenhagen, but in 1712 they attacked the Swedish German possessions. Then Stenbock hurried over there and won a new victory at Gadebush in Mecklenburg, after which he went into Holsten. Then his position became dangerous, because the Sachsian and Russian troops approached and blocked his return. He hided inside the Gottorp fortress Tønning at the mouth of Ejderen and still hoped, he should succeed in breaking through the Danish and Russian armies.
But when the foodstoff ran out, he had to surrender together with his army in 1713. Four years later he died in captivity in Copenhagen.

It became fatal for the young Gottorp duke Karl Frederik to have opened the fortress Tønningen for Magnus Stenbock. The duke’s leading minister Görtz had assured king Frederik 4th of unbreakable neutrality, and continued to claim that Stenbock had entered the fortress against the will of the duke’s government. But the king did not believe him, he occupied the Gottorp lands, and as Tønning fall into his hands, he there found Görtz’s orders to take in the Swedish army. Then the king would not surrender the Gottorp Slesvig and kept it at the later peace treaty.
1714 - 15 the war was mostly about Swedens German lands. The Danish fleet won three victories over the Swedish, especially under Sehested at Rügen, and the Swedes were driven away from Germany.
Then tzar Peter came to Zealand with a large army to participate in a new attack on Skåne, but it failed because of Frederik 4th’s and Peter’s mutual mistrust and disagreements.


Danish Soldiers and Sailors during the Great Nordic War.

 

The fight about Norway.
Karl had taken Görtz as his advicing minister, and he understood by way of loans and issuing monetary units in stead of money to raise funds to arm an army again, with which Karl entered Norway to conquer this country as payment for the losses at the other side of the Baltic Sea.

The war at the Norwegan border in 1716 and the following years is rich of brave and sacrificing acts by the Norwegians. Peter and Hans Colbjørnsen were leading the citizens of Frederikshald, who put their city on fire, so that it should not yield the Swedes cover during their raids on Frederikssten.
Their sister Anna Coldbjørnsen got by presense of mind and bravery a Swedish platoon captured.

Those were also the years that Peder Tordenskjold (Peder Wessel, a son of an alderman from Trondhjem, born 1691, killed in a duel 1720), carried out his marvelous deeds, especially the attack on the Swedish fleet at Dynekilen 1716, and after Karl’s death the capture of Karlsten at Marstrand 1719. During these fightings Karl 12th was killed in front of Frederikssten 1718.
 

The End of the War.
The miserable war completely taxed Sweden’s strenght. The population decreased, and the country became entirely indebted.
After Karl’s death nobody had the direct right to inherit the crown, as both of his sisters had married without the agreement of the advicing council. But as Ulrika Eleonora accepted to abstain from absolute monarchy, she was acclaimed governing queen.

Al the indignation because of the countrys sufferings turned against Görtz, who was condemned and executed. The was continued yet for some time, untill they eventually made peace with all their amenies. Hannover got Bremen and Verden, Preussen got the most southern of Pommern. With Denmark the peace was made in Frederiksborg 1720, Sweden gave up the Gottorp duke’s case and its duty-free access to the Sound. With Russia the peace was signed in Nystad 1721, whereby Sweden lost Livland, Estland, Ingermanland and Viborg county in Finland.

The proportions of power round the Baltic Sea had by this been totally changed, Sweeden had lost its position as superpower. Between Denmark and Sweden all the old conflicts were solved. The peace in Frederiksborg founded the termination of the mutual wars between the Nordic peoples. Poland had been further weekened. Two new superpowers now asserted themselves. Russia, which 1721 fought its way to The Baltic Sea, and Preussen.


 

 

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