The Treaty of Kiel

What was the Treaty of Kiel and why was it important?

The 1814 Treaty of Kiel was signed between Great Britain, Denmark, and Sweden to establish peace in Scandinavia during the Napoleonic Wars. The treaty would’ve transferred Swedish Pomerania to Denmark and Norway to Sweden, while Denmark would’ve retained control of Norway’s islands. However, the Norwegians and the Danish Governor of Norway, Prince Christian Frederick (Later Christian VIII of Denmark) were both surprised and angered at this treatment of Norway as essentially a colony. Christian Frederick sent a letter to his cousin, Frederick VI of Denmark, requesting that he officially abdicate the Norwegian throne, which would allow Norway to fight against Sweden. King Frederick did abdicate, and Norway held a National Assembly that elected Christian Frederick as King of Norway and adopted a constitution, which, albeit with some modifications, has been in continuous use since 1814.

What, to the Swedish Government, must’ve seemed like open rebellion from Norway, caused Crown Prince and Regent Jean Bernadotte to reject the peace treaty and refuse to transfer Swedish Pomerania, which would later come under Prussian rule. However, the Norwegians fought hard against Sweden and forced them to accept Norway’s constitution, which led to a rebirth of Norwegian art and culture. Interestingly enough, the resulting union was referred to as Norway-Sweden in Norway, while it was called Sweden-Norway in the rest of the world.

I found this information in Hallgeir Elstad’s Religion and Patriotism in 1814 Norway, a text that, as any other source I could previously find on the subject was in German, was exciting and enlightening. My next step is to explore Norway under the Union and the growth of Norwegian Culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.