Little Bits of History

Anglo-Swedish War

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 17, 2012

Swedish and British flags

November 17, 1810: War is declared. During the Napoleonic Wars which were fought between 1803 and 1815, strange things happened. After the French Revolution of 1789, Napoleon came to power in France and then tried to bring French power and rule to more of Europe. During this time, Sweden and the United Kingdom were allies. However, Sweden was defeated in the Finnish War and the Pomeranian War. Treaties were signed to end these conflicts. The Treaty of Paris concluded on January 6, 1810. Part of the treat stated that Sweden would join the Continental System.

The Continental System or Continental Blockade was a foreign policy instituted by Napoleon I against his arch-enemy, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The British retained control of the seas even as Napoleon’s power swept across Europe. The small island nation could therefore control trade and imports to the continent. In order to break the British stranglehold on trade, Napoleon ordered countries under his control to halt all trade with Britain. The embargo began on November 21, 1806 and ended with Napoleon’s first abdication in 1814. It was not completely effective since the people of Europe were engaged in frequent smuggling of goods they desired despite the Emperor’s edict.

The Finnish War was fought from February 1808 to September 1809 between Russia, backed by France and Spain, and Sweden, backed by the United Kingdom and Portugal. The Russians won and the Treaty of Fredrikshamn separated Finland from Sweden with Finland as an autonomous country under Russia. During the same time, an Anglo-Russian War was also being fought. From September 1807 to July 1812, Russia, supported by Denmark, and the UK, supported by Sweden, were engaged in conflicts. However, this war was limited mostly to a few naval actions on the Baltic Sea. The British Navy was victorious.

Great Britain and Sweden were trade partners and if Sweden had enforced the embargo as demanded by the Treaty of Paris, it would have ruined her economy. So she ignored the mandate. On November 13, 1810, France delivered an ultimatum to Sweden. France demanded that Sweden declare war on Great Britain, confiscate all British ships in their harbors, and seize all British products in Sweden. So Sweden declared war. No battles were ever fought. British ships continued to trade with Sweden from Swedish ports. There was now a chance of a British invasion and the only fatalities of the war occurred when Major-General Hampus Mörmer tried to conscript some local farmers. The “war” ended on July 18, 1812.

War is what happens when language fails. – Margaret Atwood

There are causes worth dying for, but none worth killing for. – Albert Camus

Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows. – Martin Luther King Jr.

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. – Sun Tzu

Also on this day:

The Heidi Game – In 1968, NBC didn’t finish the game, leaving a football game in progress to air the previously scheduled movie.
Point Made – In 1970, the computer mouse was patented.
Delta Phi – In 1827, the fraternity was formed.