This Day in History – November 17th, 1810

Flag_of_Sweden.svgSweden . . . known today for IKEA furniture, candy fish, Volvo and Saab cars, meatballs, and being a very liberal, nonviolent, modern socialist nation . . . but on November 17th, 1810 Sweden declared war on Britain!

During the Napoleonic Wars until 1810, Sweden and the United Kingdom were allies in the war against Napoleon. As a result of Sweden’s defeat in the Finnish War and the Pomeranian War, and the following Treaty of Fredrikshamn and Treaty of Paris, Sweden declared war on the United Kingdom. The bloodless war, however, existed only on paper, and Britain was still not hindered in stationing ships at the Swedish island of Hanö and trade with the Baltic states.


Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, Crown Prince of Sweden 1810

No acts of war occurred during the conflict, but Britain stationed boats in Hanö, which had been invaded though Sweden didn’t try to hinder nor revoke the occupation as it supported the continued trade. Nevertheless, fearing the possibility of a British invasion, the Swedish government began to conscript more farmers into military service. This led to the only bloodshed during the war on June 15, 1811, when Major-General Hampus Mörner with 140 men acted to disperse a group of farmers in Klågerup in Scania who objected to the conscription policy. In the Klågerup riots, Mörner’s soldiers killed 30 farmers.

After long negotiations, the Treaty of Orebro was signed on July 18th, 1812. On the same day and at the same place, Britain and Russia signed a peace treaty bringing the Anglo–Russian War of 1807–1812 to an end.

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