Norway History - The Swedish Union

Norway History: The Swedish Union


The first seventy years of the century. XVIII saw a cultural renaissance of Norway which did not coincide with an equally happy development of commercial activities and led to an impoverishment of tenant farmers for the benefit of the owners. National aspirations arose at the end of the century, the center of which was Trondheim. In the last thirty years they had, under the influence of the enlightenment, reforms imposed from above, but also agitation by the Norwegians who demanded various concessions but obtained only the free trade of grain and the abolition of the registration tax.

The wars started by revolutionary France at first then benefited Norway: they caused an increase in the sale of timber for the construction of ships and gave rise to Norwegian nationalism. But when King Frederick VI (1808-39) sided with Napoleon, the English blockade was imposed on the coasts of Norway, which found itself reduced to starvation. The Norwegians in small ships could damage British trade, and later, when the king declared war on Sweden, they alone repelled the Swedish invasion. This made them aware of their strength and the idea that they could break away from Denmark and join Sweden began to enter the minds of the Norwegians. This idea found consent to the crown prince of Sweden, marshal Bernadotte, who fought against Denmark, always loyal to Napoleon, and with the Peace of Kiel (14-15 January 1814) he obtained that Norway, but without Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, was united with Sweden. The Norwegians in that same year gave themselves a Constitution modeled on the French one of 1791 and also tried to have their own king by electing Christian (later VIII of Denmark), but they did not succeed: Bernadotte promised to respect the Norwegian Constitution and on November 4, 1814 Charles XIII of Sweden (d. 1818) was elected king of Norway. The years that followed 1815 were years of misery due to the English economic policy and the competition of timber from the Baltic countries: only in 1842, with the stabilization of the currency, the situation improved but in the meantime many Norwegians had to emigrate to America. With the abolition by Great Britain (1849) of the Navigation Act Norway’s maritime activity suddenly increased and the growing prosperity of agriculture helped to increase well-being, not troubled by either the Duchy War (1848 and 1864) or by that of Crimea (1854-56), from which Norway and Sweden they stayed out.┬áVisit for Norway recent history.

Meanwhile Norway stood out for significant social, civil and artistic achievements. All this made it unbearable for the country to ascertain that it was in a subordinate position with respect to Sweden and on the problem of consulates abroad, which the Norwegians wanted separated from the Swedish ones, the union was broken: on 7 June 1905, Minister Michelsen, taking advantage of a Swedish ministerial crisis, he had the Norwegian Parliament declare (Storting) the decadence of King Oscar II (1872-1907) who on October 26 accepted the fait accompli. The first king of Norway of our time was Charles of Denmark, son-in-law of Edward VII of England, who on 18 November 1905 ascended the throne with the name of Haakon VII. During the long reign of this sovereign, who died in 1957 (and was succeeded by his son Olaf V), the two world wars were fought. During the first, Norway remained neutral and suffered from British naval control and the loss of nearly half of its merchant fleet, but gained much from the rise in the price of sea freight and fish on world markets, and obtained in 1920 from the Entente the authorization to occupy the Svalbard, then annexed in 1925. In the Second World War, however, Norway was invaded on April 9, 1940 by the Germans, supported by the leader of the Norwegian Nazis, Quisling. After a short but heroic struggle, the king and the ministers had to flee to England while on the one hand the Norwegians waged an efficient guerrilla war and on the other Quisling became the head of a pro-Hitler puppet government. After the defeat of Germany (1945) Haakon VII returned to his homeland and Quisling was shot (October 24, 1945). During the Cold War, Norway, abandoning its traditional neutrality, joined NATO (April 14, 1949).

Norway History - The Swedish Union