Swedish–Norwegian War (1814)

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–Norwegian War of 1814
Part of the Napoleonic Wars
Andreas Bloch - Kampen ved Lier 1808

the Battle of Lier
Date26 July–14 August 1814

Swedish victory; Convention of Moss

Norway Norway Sweden Sweden
United Kingdom United Kingdom (naval blockade)
Commanders and leaders
Norway Christian VIII
Norway Johannes Sejersted
Norway Frederik von Haxthausen
Sweden Crown Prince Charles John
Sweden Charles XIII
  • 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


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]

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.

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.

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.


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.

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


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, 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 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.


On 10 August, Bernadotte presented a proposal for a cease-fire. The proposal included a major concession—Bernadotte, 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


  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. ^ a b c d Syv-aars-krigen for 17de mai 1807-1814 (1914) by Henrik Angell (1995), ISBN 82-90520-23-9
  • Angell, Henrik (1914). Syv-aars-krigen for 17. mai 1807-1814. Kristiania: Aschehoug. ISBN 82-90520-23-9.
  • Steen, Sverre (1989). 1814. J. W. Cappelens Forlag A/S. ISBN 82-02-11935-9.
  • Dyrvik, Ståle; Feldbæk, Ole (1996). Aschehoughs Norgeshistorie - Mellom brødre - 1780–1830. 7. Oslo: H. Aschehough & Co. ISBN 82-03-22020-7.
  • Ulf Sundberg: Svenska krig 1521-1814 [Swedish Wars 1521-1814]
1814 in Sweden

Events from the year 1814 in Sweden

Battle of Fredrikstad

Fredrikstad Fortress, under the command of Nils Christian Frederik Hals, was captured by the Swedish armed forces on August 4, 1814.

Battle of Kjølberg Bridge

The Battle of Kjølberg Bridge (Swedish: Slaget vid Kjølbergs bro) was fought 14 August 1814, during the Swedish–Norwegian war of 1814. The Swedish army had problems repairing the bridge due to constant fire from the Norwegian side of the river. It was then a small Swedish force of 75 men passed over the river at a hidden point. Once over they waited for reinforcements but none came; but instead the order of attacking the vastly larger Norwegian force. The Colonel response to the attack order have been famous "It is unreasonable to attack with only 75 men when you face a whole regiment." "But such an order isn't given to me twice. March!" During cheers the Swedes rushed up the hill toward the mansion that was occupied with 600 men. The attack was surprising and decisive. The Norwegians quickly left the stand. This was the last battle fought during the Swedish–Norwegian War. The Convention of Moss, providing a cease fire agreement, was signed that same day.The last shots were fired north of the bridge with the Norwegians in retreat.

Battle of Langnes

The Battle of Langnes, or the Battle of Langnes Entrenchment, was a battle fought between Norway and Sweden as a part of the Swedish-Norwegian War of 1814. The battle, even as it ended inconclusively, served as a tactical victory to the Norwegians since they now could avoid an unconditional surrender to the Swedish.

Battle of Lier

The Battle of Lier (Norwegian: Slaget ved Lier) was fought on 2 August 1814 between Sweden and the newly independent Norway as part of the Swedish-Norwegian War of 1814. The battle was the first major action of the war, and the Norwegian victory served as an important part to boost morale among the Norwegian troops. This was the second time during the Napoleonic Wars that a battle had taken place at Lier, the first was in 1808.

Battle of Matrand

The Battle of Matrand (Norwegian: Slaget ved Matrand) was a military battle on 5 August 1814 between Norwegian and Swedish forces as part of the Swedish-Norwegian War of 1814. The battle took place near the village of Matrand in Eidskog. It was the bloodiest battle of the entire war, in which the Swedes lost 340 men, of which 270 were captured; the Norwegians lost around 50 men with 90 wounded and 15 captured.

Convention of Moss

The Convention of Moss (Mossekonvensjonen) was a cease fire agreement, signed on 14 August 1814 between the King of Sweden and the Norwegian government. It followed the Swedish-Norwegian War due to Norway's claim to sovereignty. It also became the de facto peace agreement and formed the basis for the personal union between Sweden and Norway that was established when the Norwegian Storting (Parliament) elected Charles XIII of Sweden as king of Norway on 4 November 1814. The Union lasted until Norway declared its dissolution in 1905.

Diderik Hegermann

Diderik Hegermann (6 December 1763 – 7 February 1835) was a military officer and government minister of Norway. He served as a member of the Norwegian Constituent Assembly in 1814.

Fredrikstad Fortress

Fredrikstad fortress (Fredrikstad festning) was a fortification in Fredrikstad, Norway. It was the base of the Østfold Regiment, with defence related responsibilities for the east side of Oslofjord.

Georg Ulrich Wasmuth

Georg Ulrich Wasmuth (19 March 1788 – 16 October 1814) was a Norwegian military officer and who served as a representative at the Norwegian Constitutional Assembly.

Helge Ellingsen Waagaard

Helge Ellingsen Waagaard (27 January 1781 – 25 March 1817) was a Norwegian farmer and non-commissioned military officer. He served as a representative at the Norwegian Constitutional Assembly.

Helge Ellingsen Waagaard was born at Vågård farm at Lunder parish in Norderhov (now Ringerike) in Buskerud, Norway. Waagaard participated in the brief campaign in Østfold during the Swedish–Norwegian War (1814). In 1812, he married Anne Eriksdatter Kihle (1786-1863) with whom he had four children. Waagaard died at Vågård during the spring of 1817 having never fully recovered from wounds he suffered during the campaign in 1814.

Helge Ellingsen Waagaard represented the enlisted infantry regiment, Det nordenfjeldske Infanteriregiment at the Norwegian Constituent Assembly in 1814. At the National Assembly, Waagaard generally supported the position of the independence party (Selvstendighetspartiet) together with fellow delegate Peter Blankenborg Prydz.

Invasion of Hvaler

The invasion of Hvaler (Swedish: Invasionen av Hvaleröarna) was a Swedish military invasion during the Swedish-Norwegian War of 1814. The invasion was directed at the Norwegian archipelago of Hvaler in the southwestern part of Østfold, Norway. The invasion went off rather peacefully. The hostilities opened on 26 July with a swift Swedish naval attack against the Norwegian gunboats at Hvaler. Bad weather had delayed the Swedish archipelago fleet and troop transports, which gave the Norwegian fleet and army time to evacuate the island. The Norwegian vessels managed to escape northward to Tønsberg on the western side of the Oslofjord despite all Swedish attempts to halt the retreat. The vessels in the Swedish archipelago fleet were heavier than their Norwegian counterparts and not could catch up with the retiring Norwegian naval fleet.

List of Norwegian battles

List of Norwegian battles is a list of battles fought in Norway or which a significant number of Norwegians participated.

List of wars involving Norway

This is a list of wars involving the Kingdom of Norway in some capacity, both the modern polity and its predecessor states.

List of wars of independence

This is a list of wars of independence. These wars may or may not have been successful in achieving a goal of independence.

Napoleonic era

The Napoleonic era is a period in the history of France and Europe. It is generally classified as including the fourth and final stage of the French Revolution, the first being the National Assembly, the second being the Legislative Assembly, and the third being the Directory. The Napoleonic era begins roughly with Napoleon Bonaparte's coup d'état, overthrowing the Directory, establishing the French Consulate, and ends during the Hundred Days and his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo (9 November 1799 – 18 June 1815). The Congress of Vienna soon set out to restore Europe to pre-French Revolution days. Napoleon brought political stability to a land torn by revolution and war. He made peace with the Roman Catholic Church and reversed the most radical religious policies of the Convention. In 1804 Napoleon promulgated the Civil Code, a revised body of civil law, which also helped stabilize French society. The Civil Code affirmed the political and legal equality of all adult men and established a merit-based society in which individuals advanced in education and employment because of talent rather than birth or social standing. The Civil Code confirmed many of the moderate revolutionary policies of the National Assembly but retracted measures passed by the more radical Convention. The code restored patriarchal authority in the family, for example, by making women and children subservient to male heads of households.

Whilst working to stabilise France, Napoleon also sought to extend his authority throughout Europe. Napoleon's armies conquered the Iberian and Italian peninsulas, occupied lands, and he forced Austria, Prussia, and Russia to ally with him and respect French hegemony in Europe. The United Kingdom refused to recognise French hegemony and continued the war throughout.

The First French Empire began to unravel in 1812, when he decided to invade Russia. Napoleon underestimated the difficulties his army would have to face whilst occupying Russia. Convinced that the Tsar was conspiring with his British enemies, Napoleon led an army of 600,000 soldiers to Moscow. He defeated the Russian army at Borodino before capturing Moscow, but the Tsar withdrew and Moscow was set ablaze, leaving Napoleon's vast army without adequate shelter or supplies. Napoleon ordered a retreat, but the bitter Russian winter and repeated Russian attacks whittled down his army, and only a battered remnant of 30,000 soldiers managed to limp back to French territory. The allies then continued a united effort against Napoleon until they had seized Paris forcing his abdication in 1814. His return to power the next year was resisted by all the allies and his army was defeated by an Anglo-Allied force at Waterloo.

Norwegian Army

The Norwegian Army is the land warfare service branch of the Norwegian Armed Forces. The Army is the oldest of the Norwegian service branches, established as a modern military organization under the command of the King of Norway in 1628. The Army participated in various continental wars during the 17th, 18th and 19th century as well, both in Norway and abroad, especially in World War II (1939-1945). It constitutes part of the Norwegian military contribution as a charter member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since 1949, as well as the European Union.

Swedish Navy

The Swedish Royal Navy (Swedish: Svenska marinen) is the naval branch of the Swedish Armed Forces. It is composed of surface and submarine naval units – the Royal Fleet (Kungliga Flottan) – as well as marine units, the Amphibious Corps (Amfibiekåren).

In Swedish, vessels of the Swedish Navy are given the prefix "HMS," short for Hans/Hennes majestäts skepp (His/Her Majesty's Ship). In English, this is often changed to "HSwMS" ("His Swedish Majesty's Ship") to differentiate Swedish vessels from those of the British Royal Navy.

Union between Sweden and Norway

Sweden and Norway or Sweden–Norway (Swedish: Svensk-norska unionen; Norwegian: Den svensk-norske union), 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.The two states kept separate constitutions, laws, legislatures, administrations, state churches, armed forces, and currencies; the kings mostly resided in Stockholm, where foreign diplomatic representations were located. The Norwegian government was presided over by viceroys: Swedes until 1829, Norwegians until 1856. That office was later vacant and then abolished in 1873. Foreign policy was conducted through the Swedish foreign ministry until the dissolution of the union in 1905.

Norway had been in a closer union with Denmark, but Denmark-Norway's alliance with Napoleonic France caused the United Kingdom and Russia to consent to Sweden's annexation of the realm as compensation for the loss of Finland in 1809 and as a reward for joining the alliance against Napoleon. By the 1814 Treaty of Kiel, the King of Denmark-Norway was forced to cede Norway to the King of Sweden. But Norway refused to submit to the treaty provisions, declared independence, and convoked a constituent assembly at Eidsvoll in early 1814.

After the adoption of the new Constitution of Norway on 17 May 1814, Prince Christian Frederick was elected king. The ensuing Swedish–Norwegian War (1814) and the Convention of Moss compelled Christian Frederick to abdicate after calling an extraordinary session of the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting, to revise the Constitution in order to allow for a personal union with Sweden. On 4 November the Storting elected Charles XIII as the King of Norway, thereby confirming the union. Continuing differences between the two realms led to a failed attempt to create a separate Norwegian consular service and then, on 7 June 1905, to a unilateral declaration of independence by the Storting. Sweden accepted the union's dissolution on 26 October. After a plebiscite confirming the election of Prince Carl of Denmark as the new king of Norway, he accepted the Storting's offer of the throne on 18 November and took the regnal name of Haakon VII.

Swedish–Norwegian War


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