«The Norwegians, holy is the vocation wherewith ye gather at the altar of the homeland. The Norwegian people's houses is to you, his chosen men, that you will know the wisdom and concord and found the Constitution, on which the present and future bride genera wait successfully, order and prosperity within the kingdom.»

See how Norway was used as a brick in a big political game in Europe. Scroll through the history leading up to the Constitution.
OBS: This history is best viewed on a bigger screen.


Crown prince Fredrik 6.

Crown Prince Fredrik 6 takes control of Denmark-Norway via a coup. The great Norwegian merchant Bernt Anker calls him the "next Trajan" and see an enlightened and liberal monarch that can serve as the focal point for the kingdom.


Danish Foreign Minister AP Bernstorff die, and Crown Prince Frederick put earnest their political will through all questions. The following year he accepts the request from a Dutch merchant that a Danish fleet convoys to protect merchant ships on their way from the Dutch East Indies to Copenhagen. More similar convoys approved the following year, and the commanders of these are ordered to offer resistance if foreign naval units attempting to examine the papers and cargo ships under the Danish flag. This is gambling, but the UK remains to propose diplomatic protests.

Britain dominates the oceans, making it dangerous for the French merchant ships. Neutrality is the focus of Denmark-Norway, a welthy situation. The Danish-Norwegian merchants earn fortunes on the neutral ships available to belligerent states - in particular France.


In the December cold waters of Gibraltar it's getting hot. The Danish-Norwegian convoys, which have been ordered to offer resistance if the foreign country's naval forces attempting to inspect the papers and cargo are serious resistance: An English sailor is killed during an attempt to inspect a ship flying the Danish flag.


Tsar Paul I

The conflict with Britain leading to the creation of an armed neutrality pact consisting of Denmark-Norway, Russia, Sweden and Prussia. Tsar Paul I, the Russian Empire, is union with France, and neutrality associated being drawn into superpower conflict. Trade dispute is now a military threat to Britain, the country can not sit and watch.


Vice admiral Nelson

Battle of Copenhagen: 2 April the English fleet attack Copenhagen. Vice Admiral Nelson takes control of the entrance to the city, forcing the Crown Prince Frederick to sign the armistice. April 7, comes the news that Tsar Paul I's death. "The Neutral Council" is thus considered dissolved, and Denmark-Norway to sign a peace treaty with Britain without getting problems with Russia.


Napoléon 1

In 1799, the French general Napoleon Bonaparte commits coup and is thus in practice France's top political and military leader. In 1804, he crowned himself Emperor of the French.


UK, Austria, Russia and Sweden form a military alliance directed against the new empire.

Battle of Trafalgar: France suffer defeat in the naval battle of Trafalgar and lose large parts of the fleet. Admiral Nelson is killed.


The Austrian army surrenders to Napoleon after the Battle of Ulm.

Napoleon's victories at Ulm and Austerlitz in 1805 forces Austria to conclude a separate peace with France. The German-Roman Empire dissolved and replaced by the Confederation of the Rhine, a French vassal state with borders dangerously close to Denmark-Norway.

France dominates the continent and requires that Europe's ports closed to British ships and goods, continental blockade. The British respond by blocking all French-controlled ports.


14. oktober: Slaget om Jena.

Prussia feels threatened and goes into the war, but the army will be almost destroyed in the battles of Jena and Auerstedt. Napoleonic forces Russia to make peace at Tilsit on July 7, where the former enemies become allies. In a few years, the European alliance system turned his head. Napoleon and Russia requires full adherence to the European mainland blockade. There is no longer room for neutral countries such as Denmark-Norway.

Crown Prince Frederick has collected the bulk of the Danish army in Holstein. This will show the world that Denmark-Norway will defend its neutrality, but British politicians fear that Napoleon should take the Dano-Norwegian fleet, which is the fifth largest in Europe. It is also important for the British to keep open the sea route to the Baltic Sea.

Britain set an ultimatum: Either Denmark-Norway ally with Britain, or disclose fleet. Crown Prince Frederick is located in Kiel, and being caught off guard. He refuses to enter into an alliance with Britain and surrender fleet.

The British decide to strike first, and in August, Copenhagen besieged. A force of 30,000 troops will be landed, and it comes to battles on land and sea.

The battle of Copenhagen

After four days of terror bombardement Copenhagen surrender, and gives it fleet to the British: 18 ships of the line, 16 frigates, six brigs and 24 smaller vessels. This was later known as "fleet robbery." At least 200 people of Copenhagen are killed and as many wounded, while one-fifth of the city burns down.

Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte (later known as King Karl Johan) is the highest French authority in northern Germany. He stands ready to occupy Jutland, but the English attack makes a French offensive redundant. Bernadotte offers the crown prince help against the British invasion force, but the offer is rejected. After Copenhagen surrendedered Crown Prince Fredrik Napoléon asks for an alliance.

Tsar Aleksander I

On October 31 Denmark-Norway allies with France. Denmark-Norway is officially at war with Britain, which occupies all of the Dano-Norwegian colonies. After the Tilsit Treaty Sweden was one of Britain's few allies. Napoleon and Tsar Alexander I want to force Sweden into continental blockade. Alliance commits Denmark-Norway to join the war against Sweden.

The British puts Denmark-Norway in a blockade. Norway no longer receive regular supplies of the vital grain from Jutland and a famine occurs.

Hundreds of Norwegian and Danish vessels will be equipped with cannons and set out to arrest the English and Swedish merchant ship in the so-called privateering.


Russia's invasion of Finland on February 21 triggers the Danish-Norwegian obligation to declare war on Sweden, which takes place on 29 February. A Danish-French force would be landed in Skåne, while Norwegian troops were to attack western Sweden. The last line of the ship in the Danish-Norwegian fleet is destroyed at Sjællands Odde and the plan is therefore abducted, but instead the Swedish troops attacks Norway in April.

On March 13, King Christian 7th die, and Fredrik 6th is now king by name.

Prince Christian August
(Carl August from 1810)

Prince Christian August organizes the Norwegian defense and succeeded in halting the Swedish offensive, among anne at Toverud in Aurskog, Trangen in Solør and at Prestebakke in Østfold. In June the Swedes leave and the fighting ceases mostly.

Norwegian soldiers marching towards the Swedish-Norwegian border

Prince Christian August is very popular in Norway, while he has great respect in Sweden.

After the fleetrobbery the British need only spare smaller naval vessels to patrol the waters between Denmark and Norway. It's sporadic fighting between British and Danish-Norwegian vessels.


Karl 13.

Russia conqueres Finland. After the defeat, Swedish King Gustav IV Adolf is deposed and succeeded by his uncle, Charles 13, he has no heir, and Sweden chooses Prince Christian August to the throne, which changes his name to Carl August.

A final peace agreement is concluded between Denmark-Norway and Sweden in December.


Crown Prince Carl August suddenly dies of stroke in May.

Kronprins Karl Johan
(Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte)

Swedes are about to choose a Danish-Norwegian Duke as the new heir to the throne, but ultimately ends up with the French general Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. The choice is accepted by both the Tsar in St. Petersburg and Napoleon. The new crown prince takes the name Karl Johan.

To keep the sensitive relations with other countries in peace and avoid conflict because of rumors in the Danish newspapers. King Frederick directs 6 tight guidelines for the press: All newspapers must apply for the privilege of bringing foreign news.


Fredrik 6 knows that Russia will break the alliance with Napoleon, and Sweden is going to claim Norway with support from Russia and Britain. However Frederik 6 believes that Napoleon is invincible and stays in alliance with Napoleon.


Napoleon's retreat from Moscow

The alliance between France and Russia is broken, and in June Napoleon leads his army to Moscow. The French army of nearly 650,000 men perish in the Russian winter cold, and the Tsar's troops are advancing.

Two months after the outbreak of war the Swedish Crown Prince Karl Johan signs a treaty in Turku, ensuring Russian support to conquer Norway. Also, Britain, Prussia and Austria are part of the alliance with Sweden. 30,000 Swedish soldiers are sent to fight in the war.

The brand new Norwegian ship Najaden being sunk by a British ship at the harbor in Lyngør.

The Battle at Lyngør


The Tsar lacks an ally in northern Germany and want Fredrik 6 to break the alliance with Napoleon. The Tsar has promised that Sweden will get Norway, but promises that Denmark will have large areas of northern Germany and the Netherlands as a reward for changing pages.

Fredrik 6 rejects offers consistent, and maintains alliance with Napoleon. Napoleon is now the only one who is willing to let him keep Norway.

Battle of Leipzig.

Napoleon lose the important Battle of Leipzig in October, and is forced back to France. Instead of pursuing Napoleon, Karl Johan instead goes north to push through its demands on Norway.


Allied troops under Crown Prince Karl Johans command indents in Holstein. Fredrik 6th acknowledge defeat, and includes the Treaty of Kiel on 14 January. Norway must be handed over to the king of Sweden, and like in 1807, the defeated King Frederick 6 has no choice. The Danes are, however, allowed to retain Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Allierte soldater under kronprins Karl Johans kommando rykker inn i Holsten. Fredrik 6. erkjenner nederlaget, og inngår Kiel-traktaten 14. januar. Norge må overleveres til kongen av Sverige, og den slagne kong Fredrik 6. har som i 1807 ikke noe valg. Den danske kongen får imidlertid lov til å beholde Grønnland, Island og Færøyene.

Eidsvoll building. Foto: Scanpix.
Notice to meeting at Eidsvoll 1814.

February 16 governor Prince Christian Fredrik holds a meeting at Eidsvoll works with a handful of great men and makes it clear that he will declare for the Norwegian lawful king. He stands at the head of a rebellion in Norway. It is determined that a national assembly should be convened to Hobart April 10 to give the country a constitution.

February 25 presents all the churches in Norway ed to assert the country's independence and elect delegates to the National Assembly.

Christian VIII Frederik

April 11 the National Assembly at Eidsvoll opens. Norway's first Speech from the Throne is held by Christian Frederik.

April 12 15 representatives is elected to the Constitutional Committee, which in a few days presents 11 major points. Among these is that Norway should be a hereditary monarchy, that shall rule freedom of the press, and an elected parliament and laws and allocate funds. Furthermore, the Lutheran Evangelical religion be the state's official religion and Jews are still denied access to the country. In the future it should not be given to any starters, it means that the nobility should be abolished.

Christian Magnus Falsen
Leder av konstitusjonskomiteen

April 16, paragraph 1, of the Constitution is adopted, a declaration of independence: "The Kingdom of Norway is a free, independent and indivisible kingdom."

April 30 the constitutional committee presented its final proposal to the constitution. Section 2, the so-called "Jewish section" gets its final shape and is adopted on 4 May, "The Evangelical-Lutheran religion remains the official state religion. The inhabitants professing it are bound to raise their children in the same religion. Jesuits and monastic orders must not be tolerated. Jews are still excluded from access to the country."

May 16 becomes Constitution processed and President Christian Magnus Falsen and Vice President Signs, but it dates back to 17 May.

«Eidsvold 1814», by Oscar Wergeland.

May 17 the Constitution is adopted. The new president Georg Sverdrup and Vice President Peter Motzfeldt sign the protocol together with the rest of the delegates. Prince Christian Frederik was unanimously elected King of Norway.

May 19 Christian Frederik thankfully agreed to accept the Norwegian crown. The day before, he had received notice that the superpowers would send four delegates to Norway to enforce the union with Sweden. He also learned that Karl Johan was on the way home and would undoubtedly use its superior military fighting power to grab their booty.

May 20 the Eidsvoll men signs the Protocol, drinking Unity's toast at the dinner table, forming brotherhood where they vote, "United and faithful until Dovre falls".

May 22 the king makes his triumphal entry into Christiania.

May 28 the Swedish successor Karl Johan comes home from the continent with a strength of 45,000 mighty soldiers. He has also received promises of Russian and Prussian reinforcements.

June 30 representatives of the four superpowers Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia, all of which supports Carl Johan, arrives in Christiania. King Christian Fredrik is negotiating willing, but did not acknowledge the conditions that Swedes will take the Norwegian fortresses or enable them to occupy a large area, which they require. Up to 35,000 Norwegian soldiers are mobilized to defend independence.

July 26 the Swedes attacked Norway and disembarks the first soldiers on Hvaler Islands.

July 30 the war on land starts, when Swedish troops cross the border by Kornsjø and continues to Enningdalen, Berby and Prestebakke. Other forces cross Svinesund. After skirmishes at Idd church the Norwegian forces draws back, and Swedes surrounds the fortress. The officer pulls his entire force of 900 men into the castle, and refuse to surrender despite the fact that both the city and the fortress is bombarded. The siege lasts two weeks, until the Moss Convention is signed.

Lier skanske. (Painting from the battle in 1808)).

August 2nd is the first major battle between the Norwegian and Swedish forces in Lier, a small fortification between Kongsvinger fortress and the Swedish border. Swedes retreat to Matrand and Eidskog church.

August 3 the Swedish Navy forward and take Kråkerøy and Isegran fortress. After being shot at the entire day, the commander of Fredrikstad give up. The Swedish Army invades the city on August 5, and on the evening of 7 August Karl Johan makes his solemn entry.

August 5th the Swedish forces are cut off and surrounded by Norwegian forces at Skotterud farm. Fighting is especially hard, and losses on both sides are huge: 335 Swedes and 85 Norwegians lost their lives in battle.

After Fredrikstad fell August 4th, the Norwegian forces withdrew from Halden through Degernes and from Skjeberg to Barkåker, where around 6,000 Norwegian soldiers gathered at the church. August 5 Christian Fredrik rides between soldier ranks and holds a flaming appeal.

August 6. 5000 Swedish soldiers, which have better artillery, attacks the Norwegian forces at Rakkestadelva church. Christian Fredrik orders the retreat. About 100 Norwegian soldiers are killed and 40 captured. 11 Swedes are killed and 34 wounded.

From August 6 to 9 Christian Fredrik move his headquarters to Spydeberg rectory. Here the king is presented a sensational offer of negotiations for a ceasefire under the circumstances he can not refuse: Karl Johan agree that the Norwegians should retain the Constitution, only with the changes that are necessary for a union between the two countries.

Spydeberg rectory.

August 9, 1814 is the battle of Langnes between about 2,000 Norwegian soldiers and a superior Swedish force of 3,000 men, who are better equipped and better trained. The Norwegian force manages to hold the fort and defeat the Swedes back, but Christian Fredrik still orders retreat over a pontoon bridge over Glomma. This is the last major battle of the war.

August 10 the king moves his headquarters to Moss, and occupies the main building at Moss Ironworks with his counselors and ADCs. Also the Norwegian government takes office in town. The same day the Swedish main dealer, General Magnus Björnstjerna, also arrives in Moss.

Magnus Björnstjerna.

11th and 12th August Björnstjerna negotiates alone with the king. After two days Christian Frederik could not bear to continue negotiations, and the two ministers Niels Aall and Jonas Collett takes over alone. Meanwhile, the Swedish forces attacked the Norwegian troops at Kjølberg bridge, and in the negotiation room gun shots could be heard. They will soon agree on the main points: The firing shall be stopped, an extraordinary Parliament shall be held where the king of Sweden shall approve the Constitution as it was adopted by the National Assembly at Eidsvoll, but with the modifications that are necessary. August 14 the peace agreement is signed.

August 19, five days later, the last shots of the war is fired. Three Norwegian cannon dinghies under the command of the eager lieutenant Falch stem from Jomfruland. They have not received the news of the armistice, and fired several gun shots at the Swedish frigate Euridyce, sailing by in the waters off the island.

October 8 the first Norwegian Storting is opened. The first task is to choose a deputation of 25 who will receive the declaration of King Christian Fredrik that he notifies the Norwegian throne. Parliament approves abdication.

October 26 Christian Frederik boards a Danish Bosun in Stavern and leaves Norway while salutes fired from the fort and the ships outside. He will never come back to Norway.

October 20. With five votes against, Parliament approves the union with Sweden.

Carl 13.

November 4 the Parliament selects Carl 13th to Norwegian king. Tug of war between the Norwegians and the Swedish negotiators were essentially been decided to Parliament's advantage. For the norwegians the Union is considered a defeat. But we saved the independence and spiers of a democracy, and one of the most liberal constitutions in the world.

Published: May 14, 2014
Scanpix and Wikipedia
Sources: «Mirakelåret 1814» by Karsten Alnæs, exhibition «1814 – Spillet om Danmark og Norge» at The Norwegian Folk Museum, Store Norske Leksikon, ostfold1814.no and historian Morten Nordhagen Ottosen.
Map sources: Natural Earth and MapBox