Thyra Dane

Author of Romance. Blogs about Scandinavia, Vikings and books.

200 years ago today was the last time a Nordic country was at war with another Nordic country. That calls for a celebration!

Foreningen Norden (an organization to promote Nordic cooperation) celebrated this event by posting this picture on their Facebook page:

200 years since Nordic countries were at war with one another

200 years since Nordic countries were at war with one another

Are you familiar with all the flags?

The Nordic flags

You are probably familiar with the flags of the five Nordic countries:

Nordic flags: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark (from left to right)

Nordic flags: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark (from left to right)

In adition to these we have several areas that have some kind of inner governance  and they also have their own flags. The most famous flags are these:

The Faroese flag (Faroe Islands)

The Faroese flag (Faroe Islands)

The Greenlandic flag (Greenland/ Kalaallit Nunaat)

The Greenlandic flag (Greenland/ Kalaallit Nunaat)

The Samii flag (Sameland)

The Samii flag (Sameland)

In addition to these you have more flags from various small areas in the Nordic countries, most of them with the Nordic cross in them. I stumbled over a website made by a guy named Lars Harald who made this list of all the Nordic (and some un-Nordic) cross flags.

Nordic cross flags

Nordic cross flags

A: Norway
B: Åland
C: Denmark
D: Shetland
E: Finland
F: Skåne
G: Orkney islands
H: Faroe Islands
I: Iceland
J: Sweden
K: Bornholm

Confused yet?

 

So what was the war about?

You have to remember that Denmark and Sweden have fought for Nordic supremacy ever since they became countries. They fought over who was to have Norway, Iceland and Finland (well, I don’t think Denmark ever really fought to get Finland but there were som squimishes over parts of Estonia), not to mention parts of what is today Northern Germany and Poland. Sweden and Denmark also fought over parts of Sweden that used to be Danish, like Skåne (which is F in the list of flags above).

In 1814 Denmark had bet on the wrong horse (Napoleon) and was on the losing side after the Napoleon wars. Sweden had lost Finland and the new crown prince, a French man named Bernadotte who happened to be one of Napoleon’s old pals, now turned enemy, had only been elected on the promise that he would get Finland back.

Karl III Johan of Norway and Karl XIV Johan of Sweden, born Jean Baptiste Bernadotte

Karl III Johan of Norway and Karl XIV Johan of Sweden, born Jean Baptiste Bernadotte

 

Finland had been taken by Russia and smart as Bernadotte, aka King Karl Johan, was he looked to find some easier land to grab. Norway was part of Denmark and Denmark was down for count so the answer was easy. Let’s take Norway. In the peace treaty in Kiel in 1814, Sweden was given Norway.

The last Nordic war

The last Nordic war

Unfortunately for Sweden the Norwegians had already declared themselves independent in May 1814 (which is the reason Norway has a huge celebration every year on the 17th of May). Sweden would not accept this and sent troops to Norway and Norway defended herself – it all lasted from July 26th until August 14th – and it ended up with Norway keeping her independence but accepting the Swedish king, making King Karl Johan king over both countries. Norway had her own parliament and constitution.

The celebration of the 17th of May in Norway

The celebration of the 17th of May in Norway

In 1905 Norway rid herself of the Swedish king and elected their own king – a Danish prince. But that’s another story.

1814 was the last time any Nordic country was at war with one another. Now we only have fishing wars, mild prejudice and all the jokes we tell about each other.

 

8 thoughts on “200 years since the last war

  1. Teemu says:

    This is really an awesome achievement! Look how far the cooperation has got us!
    But we still like to ridicule each other quite much 😀
    http://satwcomic.com/

    1. thyra10 says:

      Absolutely. Some brotherly and sisterly teasing is part of the Nordic life style 🙂

  2. gwynwyvar says:

    Just proving that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Who would be able to script that believably.
    ‘Here, as a sign of our willingness to live in peace, have a country that has declared it’s independence.’
    No one would read/watch. It’s too far fetched!

    What a fascinating piece of history. Thanks for sharing!

    And, Happy 200 years!!!

    1. thyra10 says:

      Sweden was pretty annoyed with the declaration of independence, I can tell you that. It wasn’t until almost 20 years later that the Norwegians were actually allowed to celebrate their independence!

      Those 200 years are being thoroughly celebrates around here 🙂

  3. Eric Swanson says:

    Vinland also has a cross flag, reflecting the desire of the Vinns to maintain close cultural ties with Norden through the Nordic Council.

    1. thyra10 says:

      Really? I find that very interesting. Do you have any links to more information on the Vinns?

  4. Thyra. I THINK Eric is pulling our legs! Maybe he’s one of the famed Minnesota Vikings. Nice idea, though.

    1. thyra10 says:

      Arrgh, I completely forgot to put on my humor hat when I read it. Sorry about that. And any “Vinns” out there – please make a flag for me, okay?

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