Scandinavia; key historical events

Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden

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9/9/2018, Swedish elections produced a deadlock. Of 349 seats (majority = 175), the Left coalition received 144 seats, down 15 (40.6% of vote). The Centre Right coalition received 143 seats, no change (40.0% of vote). The third largest party was the anti-immigrant Populist Right party, Swedish Democrats, with 63 seats, up 14 (17.6% of vote). However none of the other parties were prepared to form a coalition with the Swedish Democrats. The full results were; Left = Social Democrats, 101 seats, -12 (28.4% of vote), Green Party 15 seats, -10 (4.3% of vote), and Left Party, 28 seats, +7 (7.9% of vote). Right – Moderates, 70 seats, -14 (19.8% of vote), Centre Party, 31 seats, +9 (8.6% of vote), Liberal Party, 19 seats, n/c (5.5% of vote), and Christian Democrats, 23 seats, +7 (6.4% of vote). Had the Green Party failed to make 4% they would have received no seats under Swedish election law.

13/8/2018, Over 100 cars were burnt in co-ordinated attacks across several Swedish cities. The disorder was widely blamed on migrant gangs.

6/4/2017, An Islamist terrorist drove a lorry into crowds shopping in the centre of Stockholm; 4 people were killed.

14/2/2015, In scenes reminiscent of the Paris Charlie Hebdo shootings (7/1/2015) an Islamist terrorist, Omar el Hussein, 22, shot dead Finn Norgaard, a 55 year old film director, at a Free Speech meeting at a cafe in central Copenhagen, at 3.30pm Saturday.  The Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who portrayed the prophet Mohammed as a ‘mad dog’ in 2007, was belived to have been the main target; Hussein’s entry into the cafe was thwarted by a metal detector, prompting him to spray some 200 bullets from the entrance. Hussein then went to the Krystalgade synagogue and opened fire, killing the doorman Dan Uzan, 37, and wounding two police officers, at a Bat-Mitzvah, at 1am Sunday. Danish police identified the gunman and traced his address to an apartment in the Norrebro district; by then he was on his way to the synagogue. At 5am the next morning, 15 February, armed police shot Hussein at his apartment. Hussein had just been released from prison in Denmark two weeks earlier after serving a term for aggravated assault.

25/5/2013, A sixth night of rioting in the Swedish capital, Stockholm; many cars were burnt, mainly in poorer areas.

22/7/2011, Anders Behring Brevik shot 77 people on Utoya Island as a protest against immigration to Norway.

22/8/2004, Edvard Munch’s famous painting, The Scream, was stolen at gunpoint from Norway’s Munch Museum, Oslo.

14/9/2003, In a referendum, Sweden rejected joining the Euro.

10/9/2003, Anna Lindh, foreign minister of Sweden, was fatally stabbed whilst shopping.

28/11/1994, Norwegians, in a referendum, rejected membership of the EU, for a second time.

13/11/1994, In a referendum, Swedish voters chose to join the European Union.

18/5/1993. The Danes voted yes to the Maastricht Treaty.

2/6/1992, Denmark, in a referendum, rejected the Maastricht Treaty.

13/2/1992, Carl Bildt announced the end of Sweden’s policy of neutrality.

17/1/1991. King Olaf V of Norway died, aged 87. He was succeeded by his 53-year-old son, Harald V.

30/10/1990, In  Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland formed a minority Labour government.

29/10/1990, The coalition government in Norway resigned.

28/2/1986. The Swedish Prime Minister, Olof Palme, was assassinated, and his wife Lisbeth wounded, in an ambush in central Stockholm.

19/9/1982, In Sweden, the Social Democrats won the elections.

3/2/1981, Gro Harlem Brundtland became the first woman Prime Minister of Norway.

1/5/1979, Denmark granted Greenland home rule.

13/10/1978, A new Swedish Government, minority Liberal, took power under Ola Ullsten.

5/10/1978, The Swedish Centre-Right Government collapsed over the issue of nuclear power.

30/4/1977, Red Adair successfully put out an oil rig fire in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

19/9/1976, Swedish general election ended 40 years of Social Democrat government. Thorbjorn Falldin, Conservative, became Prime Minister.

1/11/1975, 3 died and 6 were injured in an explosion aboard the Ekofisk A oil rig.

27/2/1974, New Constitution in Sweden stripped the monarchy of all remaining powers.

15/9/1973, Gustavus VI, King of Sweden since 1950, died aged 90. He was succeeded by his 23-year-old son, Carl Gustavus XVI.

2/10/1972. Denmark voted in a referendum to join the Common Market.

26/9/1972. Norway voted in a referendum against joining the Common Market.

14/1/1972, In Denmark, Margrethe II (31) became Queen, succeeding her father King Frederick IX, who died aged 72.

17/3/1971, In Norway, Per Borten's Cabinet ended its term in government, replaced by Bratteli's First Cabinet.

10/1969, In Sweden, Olaf Palme was elcted Party Leader and Prime Minister, succeeding Tage Erlander who had been in power since 1946.

30/12/1968, Trygve Lie, Norwegian ambassador and Secretary-General to the UN, 1946 to 1952, died.

1/5/1968. Legoland Family Park, the Danish toy maker’s answer to Disneyland, opened at Billund in Denmark.

25/4/1964, The head of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen Harbour was hacked off and stolen. The statue was in honour of the children’s’ author, Hans Christian Anderson.

18/9/1961, Dag Hammarskjold, Swedish Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Prize Winner, was killed a plane crash near Ndola in Northern Rhodesia.  He had been flying from Leopoldville, Congo.

21/9/1957, Norway’s King Haakon VII died, aged 85, after a 52-year reign.  Born 1872, he became King in 1905. Known as the ‘people’s King’, he dispensed with much of the pomp and ceremony of royalty. He refused to abdicate when the Nazis invaded Norway in 1940, and carried on the resistance from England when further armed resistance in Norway was impossible. His son, aged 54, succeeded him as King Olav V.

5/6/1953, The Danish Parliament, or Riksdagen, was reformed. The upper chamber, or Landstinget, was abolished. The lower chamber, or Folketinget, now became the entire Parliament.

7/4/1953, Swedish civil servant Dag Hammarskold succeeded Trygve Lie as secretary of the United Nations.

30/3/1953, Denmark adopted a new Constitution. The Upper House was abolished, and the voting age reduced to 23.

29/10/1950, Gustav V, King of Sweden since 1907, died aged 92, after a 43-year reign. He was succeeded by his 61-year old son, Gustavus VI Adolf,  who ruled until 1973.

28/10/1950, General elction in Denmark. After the resignation of Hans Hedtoft, leader of the Liberal Agrarian Party, Erik Eriksen formed a coalition with the Conservatives.

20/4/1947, Christian X, King of Denmark, died aged 76. He was succeeded by his son Frederick IX, aged 48.

26/1/1947, Prince Gustav of Sweden was killed in a air crash near Copenhagen

31/5/1945, The Norwegian Government returned to govern in Oslo, having been in exile in London.  King Haakon returned from London a week later.

29/8/1943, The Nazis occupying Denmark dismissed the Danish Government, following extensive strike action and acts of sabotage against the Germans. In response the Danes formed the Frihedsrad (Free Council) in order to coordinate and escalate resistance activity. It commanded a Danish Resistance Army of some 43,000 men; several of its members held government positions in the post-war Danish Government from 1945.

16/4/1940, Margrethe, Queen of Denmark, was born.

10/4/1940. Sweden insisted on its neutrality.

For main European events of World War Two see France-Germany

See also Russia for more events of Finland-Russia conflict 1939-40

20/3/1935, Following elections in Norway, Labour formed a government with Johan Nygaardsvold as Prime Minister.

16/10/1933, In Norway, the Labour Party won the general elections. Labour won 69 seats, Conservatives 30 seats, Liberals 24 seats, Farmers Party 23 seats, Others 4 seats.

25/1/1933, In Norway, a L:iberal Government succeeded the Agrarian Party administration.

1932, In Sweden, the Social Democratic Party gained power in general elections.

12/3/1932, Ivar Kreuger, 52, Swedish civil engineer and industrialist committed suicide.

14/5/1931, In Sweden, soldiers shot and killed striking workers at Adalen.

8/5/1931, In Norway the Farmers’ Party was in power.

13/5/1930, Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian Arctic explorer and subsequently politician, and Nobel Prize winner in 1922, died in Lysaker, Norway.

24/4/1929, Denmark elected a socialist government.

17/10/1927, Norway elected its first Labour government.

1925, Norway gained Spitsbergen.

1/1/1925. Norway’s capital, Christiana, reverted to its historic name of  Oslo.

11/4/1924, In Danish elections, Social Democrats formed a Government after winning 55 seats to the Liberals 44, Radicals with 20, and Conservatives with 28.

10/7/1920, After a referendum amongst the inhabitants, northern Schleswig was returned to Denmark from Germany.

10/2/1920, A plebiscite in northern Schleswig favoured integration with Denmark.

9/2/1920, By a treaty signed in Paris, Norway was given sovereignty over Svalbard (Spitsbergen).

6/10/1919. Norway adopted alcohol Prohibition.

25/9/1919, The Paris Peace Convention awarded sovereignty of the Spitzbergen Islands to Norway.

14/12/1916, A referendum in Denmark agreed by 64.3% for to 35.7% against to agree to the sale of the Danish West Indies to the US, for the sum of US$ 25 million. These islands became the US Virgin Islands; they were of strategic importance to the US now that the Panama Canal had opened. The islands were formally handed over on 1/4/1917, just before the US declared war on Germany.

15/5/1912, Crown Prince Christian, brother of King Haakon VII of Norway, was proclaimed as King Christian X of Denmark.

14/6/1912, King Frederick VIII of Denmark died after a 6-year reign, aged 69. He was succeeded by his son, 41-year old Christian X, who reigned until 1947.

8/12/1907, King Oscar II of Sweden died, aged 78, after a 35-year reign; he also ruled Norway until 1905. His eldest son, Gustav V, 49, became King, and ruled until 1950.

29/1/1906, Christian IX of Denmark died, aged 87. He was succeeded by his son, Frederick VIII, aged 62, who ruled until 1912.

18/11/1905. Prince Carl of Denmark was chosen to be King Haakon VII of Norway.

26/10/1905. Norway and Sweden ended their union. King Oscar II of Sweden formally abdicated the crown of Norway.

13/8/1905, A referendum in Norway found 80% agreed with the separation from Sweden.

29/7/1905, Dag Hammarskjold, Swedish Secretary-General of the United Nations, was born in Jonkoping.

7/6/1905. Norway declared independence from Sweden (see 4/11/1814).  Since the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Norway had been a self-governing subject of the Swedish Crown. In 1905 the provincial parliament voted to cut off relations with Sweden, and a plebiscite backed the move by 386,208 to 184 votes. In 1397 Margaret I succeeded in uniting Denmark, Norway and Sweden. In 1527 Gustav I cancelled that union, and Norway was ruled by Denmark until 1814, when it was ceded to Sweden under the Treaty of Kiel. Calls for Norwegian independence grew, especially after the adoption of universal suffrage in 1898.

28/3/1904, The British King and Queen visited Copenhagen.

22/1/1904, The Norwegian city of Alesund burned down, leaving 12,000 homeless.

1900, In Sweden, the Liberal party was formed, to fight for an extended franchise. It first took power in 1905 under Karl Staaff.

23/9/1896, Ivar Aaasen, Norwegian philosopher, died in Christiania, (born in Sondmore, 5/8/1813).

16/7/1896, Trygve Lie, Norwegian politician and Secretary General at the United Nations, was born in Oslo.

7/4/1891, Ole Kirk Christiansen, Danish toymaker who invented Lego, was born.

1890, Exploitation of the great iron ore deposits at Kiruna began; see railways (Sweden) for transport development here.

1884, The Norwegian Labour Party was founded, as Norway began to transition from an agricultural to an industrial society.

11/11/1882, Gustav VI, King of Sweden, was born the eldest son of Gustav V.

27/3/1882, Peter Asbjornsen, Norwegian folklorist, died in Christiansand.

18/9/1872, Charles IV of Sweden died at Malmo, aged 46. He was succeeded by his 43-year-old brother, as Oscar II.

3/8/1872, King Haakon VII of Norway was born in Charlottenlund. He refused to surrender to the Germans in World War Two.

26/9/1870, King Christian X of Denmark was born.

1866, The Danish Heathland Society was formed; its object was the reclamation for agriculture of Jutland’s heath and marsh lands. Drainage ditches were dug, the barren sandy heaths improved with clay, and new towns such as Herning constructed. Rows of trees were planted to provide shelter from North Sea storms.

30/10/1864. By the Peace of Vienna, Denmark gave up Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenberg.  These provinces came under Austrian and Prussian rule.

1/2/1864, Austrian and Prussian troops under the command of Friedrich von Wangle invaded Schleswig, Denmark. Although the British monarch, Queen Victoria, was pro-German, the British Prince Edward, the future King Edward VII – who had only months earlier married Alexandra of Denmark – was shocked; they supported Denmark. The Second Schleswig War began. This event ensured that under King Edward VII’s reign, British foreign policy was pro-Danish, anti-German, and Britain formed a triple entente with France and Russia against Germany.

16/1/1864, Denmark rejected an ultimatum, from Germany over the Danish province of Schleswig.

24/12/1863. Following the Danish annexation of the province of Schleswig on 30/3/1863, Saxon and Hanoverian forces moved into Holstein.

15/11/1863, Frederick VII, King of Denmark, died.

20/7/1863, Denmark, with no hope of intervention from England, sued for peace over the German attack on Schleswig.

8/7/1859, King Oskar I of Sweden died aged 60 after a 15-year reign. He was succeeded by his 33-year-old son who reigned as Charles XV until 1872.

16/6/1858, Gustav V, King of Sweden from 1907 to 1950, was born the son of Oscar II.

18/10/1854, Salomon August Andree, Swedish engineer, was born in Grenna.

21/10/1853, Alfred Nobel was born in Stockholm.

26/8/1848. Denmark and Prussia signed a truce at Malmo. Both agreed to evacuate the disputed territory of Schleswig-Holstein.

20/1/1848, Christian VIII of Denmark died aged 50, after a reign of less than 9 years. He was succeeded by his 39-year-old son, Frederick VI, who ruled until 1863, and fought a war with Germany over Schleswig-Holstein.

1847, The Carlsberg brewery business began in Denmark when J C Jacobsen built a new brewery, and named it after his young son, Carl.

22/12/1846, Oscar Josef Alin, Swedish politician, was born in Falun (died 31/12/1900 in Uppsala).

1/12/1844, Queen Alexandra, wife of Edward VII, was born, the eldest daughter of King Christian of Denmark.

8/3/1844, Charles XIV, King of Sweden, died aged 81, afger a 26-year reign. He was succeeded by his son, Oskar I, aged 44.

15/8/1843, In Copenhagen, the Tivoli Gardens opened. They were laid out on part of the old defensive works.

3/12/1839, Frederick VI of Denmark died, aged 71. He was succeeded by his nephew, Christian VIII, aged 53.

7/2/1837, Gustavus IV, King of Sweden, died. King of Sweden form 1792, he was born in 1778.

21/1/1829, Oscar II, King of Sweden and Norway, was born.

5/2/1818, Charles XIII of Sweden died aged 69. He was succeeded by Crown Prince Jean Bernadotte (55), who now became Charles XIV.

4/11/1814, Norway united with Sweden, see 7/6/1905.

17/5/1814, The independence of Norway was proclaimed.

14/1/1814, Britain made peace with Denmark, restoring all territories except Heligoland.  The King of Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden.

5/8/1813, Ivar Aaasen, Norwegian philosopher, was born in Sondmore (died in Christiania, 23/9/1896).

3/3/1813, Britain agreed with Sweden that it would not oppose a union of Sweden and Norway.

15/1/1812, Peter Asbjornsen, Norwegian folklorist, was born in Christiania.

17/11/1810. Sweden declared war on Britain.

1/3/1810, The world’s first Ombudsman, Lars Mannerheim, was appointed in Sweden.

1809, The Diet of Porvoo (Borga). Following the Russian invasion of Finland (formerly part of the Swedish Empire), Tsar Alexander I guaranteed the Finns the rights they had enjoyed under Swedish rule. This meant Finland enjoyed considerable autonomy within the Russian Empire, and effectively marked the start of the modern State of Finland.

17/9/1809, In February 1808 Tsar Alexander invaded Finland, then part of Sweden, without a declaration of war.  On this day the Treaty of Fredrikshamn ended the war; Sweden ceded Finland and the Aland Islands to Russia. Sweden was unable to secure an undertaking by Russia not to fortify the Aland Islands, which were close to Stockholm, but see 30/3/1856.

13/3/1809, Swedish Army officers seized King Gustavus IV of Sweden and put him under house arrest in the royal apartments. A provisional government was announced, led by the Duke of Sudermania. On 29/3/1809 Gustavus IV officially abdicated, and on 10/5/1809 the Swedish Government announced that the Gustavus family would not regain the throne.

21/6/1797, Andreas Bernstorff, Danish statesman, died (born in Hanover 28/8/1735).

29/3/1792, King Gustavus III of Sweden died, aged 46. He was succeeded by his son, 13-year old Gustavus IV.

16/3/1792, Gustavus III, King of Sweden, was shot at a masked ball; he died on 29/3/1792. King of Sweden from 1771, he was born in 1746.

1/11/1778, Gustavus IV, King of Sweden, was born.

19/8/1772, Gustavus III of Sweden re-established an absolute monarchy, as he removed the Riksdag’s power to legislate. However he also liberalised, abolishing torture and proclaiming the freedom of the press and of religious worship.

18/2/1772, Johann Bernstorff, Danish statesman, died (born 13/5/1712).

12/2/1771, King Adolphus Frederick of Sweden died, aged 60, in Stockholm. He was succeeded by his 25-year old son, Gustavus III.

14/1/1766, Christian VII (1749-1808) became King of Denmark.

26/1/1763, Charles XIV, King of Sweden, was born.

2/6/1761, Jonas Alstromer, Swedish industrialist, died (born 7/1/1685 in Alingsas, Vestergotland).

9/10/1757, Charles X, King of Sweden, was born.

6/4/1746, Christian VI of Denmark died aged 47. He was succeeded by his son, 23, Frederick V.

24/1/1746, Gustavus III, King of Sweden, was born.

28/8/1735, Andreas Bernstorff, Danish statesman, was born in Hanover (died 21/6/1797).

12/10/1730, Frederick IV of Denmark died, the day after his 59th birthday, at Odense. He had reigned for 31 years, and lost some territory in Germany He was succeeded by his 31-year old son, Christian VI, who ruled until 1746.

20/10/1728, A major fire that destroyed a quarter of Copenhagen started. It burned until 23/10/1728.

11/12/1718, Charles XII, King of Sweden, was killed.

24/12/1715, Swedish troops occupied Norway.

6/8/1714, Naval Battle of Gangut, in the Baltic; Russia defeated Sweden.

13/5/1712, Johann Bernstorff, Danish statesman, was born (died 18/2/1772);

14/5/1710, Frederick Adolphus, King of Sweden from 1743, was born (died 12/2/1771).

28/2/1710, Sweden defeated a force of 14,000 Danes at the Battle of Helsingborg.

8/7/1709, The Battle of Poltava (in modern day eastern Ukraine). Peter the Great of Russia destroyed the Swedish army. Hanover and Denmark joined with Russia in attacking the Swedish Empire.

9/10/1708, Battle of Lesnaya; Russia beat Sweden.

4/7/1708, Battle of Holovsin; Sweden beat Russia.

2/7/1708, Battle of Kliszow; Sweden beat Russia.

13/4/1703, Battle of Pultusk; Sweden beat Russia.

18/7/1702, Battle of Hummelsdorf; Russia beat Sweden.

7/1/1702, Battle of Errestfer; Russia beat Sweden.

20/11/1700, Sweden defeated the Russians at Narva.

1699, Drottingholm Palace, near Stockholm, was completed.

14/12/1697, Charles XII was crowned King of Sweden, aged 15.

7/5/1697, The Royal Castle, Tree Kronor (Three Crowns) in Sweden burnt down, destroying a large part of the Royal Library.

5/4/1697, Death of King Charles XI of Sweden, aged 40, after a 37-year reign. He was succeeded by his 14-year-old son, Charles XII, who ruled until 1718, see 14/12/1697.

19/4/1689, Queen Christina of Sweden died (born 1626); she had abdicated in 1654.

29/1/1688, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Swedish mystic, was born.

7/1/1685, Jonas Alstromer, Swedish industrialist, was born in Alingsas, Vestergotland. He died 2/6/1761.

30/4/1683, France, Brandenburg-Prussia, and Denmark agreed that Sweden should be expelled from German territories.

17/6/1682, Charles XII, King of Sweden, was born (died 1718).

1680, The city of Karlskrona, Sweden, was founded by King Charles XI.

14/7/1677, At the Battle of Landskrona, Sweden defeated Denmark.

31/5/1677, Danish ships defeated a Swedish naval force.

4/12/1676, The Swedish town of Lund was defended in the Battle of Lund, one of the bloodiest battles fought in Scandinavia.

9/2/1670, Frederick III, King of Denmark, died.

3/5/1660, At the Peace of Oliva (near Danzig), Frederick William ceded Eastern Pomerania to Sweden.

12/2/1660, Charles X of Sweden died, aged37. He was succeeded by his 4-year old son, Charles XI. Also this day the Treaty of Copenhagen ended hostilities between Sweden and Denmark. The Danes ceded the province of Scania, southern tip of Scandinavia, to Sweden.

28/8/1654, Swedish Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna died (born 1583).

25/6/1656, The Treaty of Mareinburg was concluded between Sweden and Brandenburg-Prussia.  The Poles under John Casimir had expelled the Swedes, and under this Treaty Brandenburg-Prussia was promised part of the spoils should Poland be defeated by Sweden.

16/6/1654, Queen Christina of Sweden abdicated in favour of her cousin, Charles Gustavus (Charles X). There had been discontent at her luxurious lifestyle and failure to produce an heir. She had sold off large amounts of Crown Property to support the 500 nobles she had created . She fled disguised in men’s clothes as ‘Count Dohna’, to settle in Rome.

28/2/1648, Christian IV, King of Denmark, died. Born 1577, he ruled from 1588.

10/5/1641, Johan Baner, Swedish soldier during the Thirty Years War, died in Halberstadt (born in Djursholm Castle 23/6/1596).

6/9/1634, Battle of Nordlingen, Germany. Hapsburg forces defeated Sweden.

16/11/1632, Gustavus II, King of Sweden from 1611 (born 1594), was killed as his army gained victory in the Battle of Lutzen (Thirty Years War) near Leipzig. He was succeeded by his 6-year old daughter, Christina; in the interim, Sweden was governed by Count Axel Oxenstierna.

15/4/1632, Battle of Rain, Bavaria. Swedish forces destroyed the Bavarian army, which had been allied to the Hapsburgs.

23/12/1631, The Swedes captured Mainz, Germany.

17/9/1631, During the Thirty Years War, a battle was fought between Gustavus II, King of Sweden (1594-1632) and the Holy Roman Empire forces under Tilly at Brietenfeld, Germany. (see 4/7/1630).  The Swedes overwhelmingly won. Gustavus II had extended the Kingdom of Sweden right around the eastern Baltic, turning it into a ‘Swedish lake’. Gustavus now began to conquer the wealthy lands of the rivers Main and Rhine.

4/7/1630, During the Thirty Years War, Gustavus Adolphus, Protestant King of Sweden, landed at Peenemunde with an army of 13,000 men, in an attempt to bring the entire Baltic under Swedish control.  See 17/9/1631.

25/9/1629, The Treaty of Altmark ended the Polish-Swedish war.

10/8/1628, The Swedish flagship Vasa sank on her maiden voyage at Stockholm.

8/12/1626, Queen Christina of Sweden was born.

24/8/1626, Battle of Lutter, Germany. The Danes were routed by the Hapsburgs.

1621, Sweden seized Riga.

27/2/1617, The Treaty of Stolbovo ended the Ingrian War between Sweden and Russia.  Sweden gained Ingermanland and Karelia.

20/1/1613, The Peace of Knared. Sweden paid a large ransom for the return of the fortress of Alvsborg, on the frontier with Denmark.

30/10/1611, Charles IX of Sweden died aged 61, having ruled since 1604. He was succeeded by his 16-year old son, Gustavus II.

12/3/1610, Swedish troops under Jacob de la Gardie took Moscow.

18/3/1609, Frederick III, King of Denmark, born.

1596, Svalbard (Spitsbergen) was discovered by the Dutch explorer Willem Barents, who sighted the islands whilst searching for the Northern Sea Route.

23/6/1596, Johan Baner, Swedish soldier during the Thirty Years War, was born in Djursholm Castle (died in Halberstadt 10/5/1641).

9/12/1594, Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, was born.

4/4/1588, Frederick II, King of Denmark, died, aged 53. He was succeeded by his 10-year old son, Christian IV(1577-1648).

13/12/1570, The Peace of Stettin ended the war between Sweden and Denmark, recognising Swedish independence.

30/9/1568, King Eric XIV of Sweden was deposed  after several years of worsening insanity. He was succeeded by his 31-year-old brother who reiged until 1592 as John III.

30/5/1563, The Nordic Seven Years War began between Denmark and Sweden.

29/9/1560, Gustavus Vasa, King of Sweden, died.

25/6/1560, Gustavus I of Sweden abdicated, aged 64. King of Sweden from 1523, he was born in 1496. He was succeeded by his son, Charles IX.

1/1/1559, Christian III, King of Denmark and Norway, died aged 55 after a reign of nearly 24 years. He was succeeded by his 24-year-old son as Frederick II, who reigned for 29 years.

1/7/1534, Frederick II, King of Denmark, was born.

1533, King Frederick I of Denmark died aged 62. He was succeeded as King of Denmark and Norway by his 30-tear-old son, who ruled as King Christian III until 1559.

6/6/1523, Gustavus Vasa, aged 27, was elected King of Sweden, and finally established full independence from Denmark. End of the Kalmar Union. This was confirmed by the Treaty of Malmo, 1524.

4/11/1520, Christian was crowned King of Sweden.

1513, King John I of Denmark (who was also King John II of Sweden, 1497-1501), died after a 32-year reign. He was succeeded by his 32-year-old son as King Christian II of Denmark and Norway, but Sweden refused to accept his rule.

12/5/1496, Gustavus Vasa, King of Sweden, was born.

30/10/1495, An explosion at Vyborg Castle deterred Russian forces who were invading Sweden through Karelia.

21/5/1481, Christian I, King of Denmark and Norway, died (born 1426) and was succeeded by his son John (1481-1513).

15/5/1470,  Charles VIII, King of Sweden, died

28/10/1412, Margaret, Queen of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, died.

20/6/1397. The Union of Kalmar united Denmark, Norway, and Sweden under one monarch. See 1380.

1380, Hakon, King of Norway, died. His surviving wife was Queen Margaret (born 1353, married 1363, and daughter of Waldemar III, King of Denmark). Her son Olaf died in 1387, which meant she became ruler of Denmark also. She defeated Albert, King of Sweden, thereby gaining that country too. Margaret then instituted the Union of Kalmar, 1397, to permanently unite these three countries. Margaret died in 1412.

1363, King Magnus II of Sweden was forced to abdicate at age 47 after a weak 44-year reign. He was succeeded by Albert of Mecklenburg, a puppet of the Swedish aristocracy, who ruled until 1387.

8/7/1319, Three-year-old Magnus Eriksson was elected king of Sweden, thus uniting it with Norway. His mother Ingeborg of Norway was given a place in the regency in both Sweden and Norway.

31/8/1314, King Hakon V Magnusson moved the capital of Norway from Bergen to Oslo, where he built Akershus Fortress. Norway ws ruled from this fortress the next 500 years.

1290, Sweden’s King Magnus Ladulos died aged 50 after an 11-year reign. He was succeeded by his 10-year-old son who was crowned Birger III in 1302; he ruled until his exile in 1318.

15/12/1263, Haakon IV, King of Norway, died.

1255, The city of Stockholm was founded, on an island in a fjord, by Binger Jarl.

15/7/1240. Alexander Nevski defeated the Swedish army, led by General Briger Jarl, on the banks of the Neva.

1150, King Sverker of Sweden was deposed after a 16-year reign that has amalgamated the Swedes and Goths. He was succeeded by Eric IX, who ruled until 1160.

1090, King Ingo of Sweden acceded (died 1112).

1070, Bergen, Norway, was founded by Olaf Kyrre.

1169, Absalom (Axel) (1128-1201) founded the fortress of Havn, now known as Copenhagen. He fought the Wends in 1169, capturing Rugen for Denmark. In 1184 he also captured Mecklenburg and Pomerania.

1063, Haakon the Old, King of Norway from 1217, born 1204, died.

1048, Oslo was founded by Harold Haadraade.

1047, Magnus I died after 12 years rule as King of Norway and five years as King of Denmark. He was succeeded I Norway by Harald Haadraade, 32, who ruled until 1066 as Harald II. In Denmark he was succeeded by Sweyn Estrithson, grandson of Sweyn Forkbeard, who ruled until 1075 as Sweyn II.

993, Sweden’s first Christian ruler, Olaf Skutkonung, acceded. Son of Eric the Conqueror, he ruled until his death in 1024.

961, Haakon the Good, King of Norway from ca. 945 (born ca. 914), died.

951, Earliest record of the Bishopric of Aarhus (Denmark).

907, The city of Trondheim,Norway, was founded.

850, Gorm the Elder united Jutand and the Danish Islands, and became King of Denmark.

800, The Vikings discovered the Faeroe Islands.

768,The major Viking settlement of Hedeby was founded in Denmark.

517, The first documented Viking raid on Gaul. The Viking King Hygelac was killed and his fleet defeated.

500, Danes from Scania (southern Sweden) settled in Jutland (Denmark).


8,000 BCE, Start of hunter-gatherer peoples in Scandinavia, as the climate warmed.


Appendix 1 – Finland

16/4/1994, In a referendum in Finland, voters decided to join the European Union.

4/11/1955, Matti Vanhanen, Prime Minister of Finland 2003-2010, was born in Jyvaskyla.

9/3/1954, Gains for the Centre and Right in Finnish elections.

18/9/1952, Finland paid its final war reparations to the USSR.

3/4/1952, Miina Sillanpaa, Finnish politician, died.

27/1/1951, Carl Mannerheim, Finnish soldier and politician, who as President secured his country’s independence from Russia, died aged 83.

10/2/1947. The USSR concluded a peace treaty with Finland.

9/1945, The Aaland Island Assembly unsucesfully tried to join Sweden.

26/2/1944, The Finnish capital, Helsinki, was devastated in a 12-hour air raid by 600 Soviet bombers.

24/2/1944, Finnish Prime Minister, Risto Ryti, made peace approaches to the USSR.

12/3/1940. Finland signed a peace treaty with the USSR, surrendering large areas of territory on the Karelia Peninsula. See 30/11/1939.  The Finns had lost over 20% of their fighting force in 3 months.  Finland surrendered over 10,000 square miles of territory to the USSR. The border was returned to roughly where it had been drawn by Peter the Great in 1720.  In the hope of recovering these lands, Finland sided with Germany when Hitler attacked the USSR on 22/6/1941.

3/3/1940, Soviet General Timoshenko sent a battalion across the frozen Gulf of Finland to attack and occupy the Finnish town of Vilajoki. This opened the road to Helsinki itself for the Soviet Army.

23/2/1940, The USSR presented terms of surrender to Finland. Finland was to cede considerable territory in the Karelia and Lake Ladoga regions, and Finland must protect the Russian border in the NW.

16/2/1940. Soviet troops pierced the Mannerheim Line of the Finnish defences at Summa.

1/2/1940. The Soviet army launched an attack in Karelia, against the Finnish Mannerheim Line. Finnish lines were pounded with 300,000 artillery shells.

28/1/1940, Finnish troops gained ground against the Russians at Kuhmo.

15/1/1940, In order to reverse earlier Soviet losses in the war against Finland, Stalin appointed General Semyon Timoshenko as commander, and brought in heavy siege artillery to demolish the Mannerheim Line. Finnish troops got no rest, day or night, as their gunposts were destroyed, and gave in due to exhaustion.

2/1/1940, A further Soviet offensive in Karelia against Finland ended in failure.

For main European events of World War Two see France-Germany

See also Russia for more events of Finland-Russia conflict 1939-40

29/12/1939, The Soviet 163rd Division was surrounded at Suomissalmi. It broke up and fled, leaving 11 tanks, 25 guns, and 150 lorries to the victorious Finns. After the Finns recaptured Suossalmi, they crossed into Soviet Karelia, inflicting some 27,000 casualties on the Russian forces.

22/12/1939, The Russian attack on the Mannerheim Line, SE Finland, from the Gulf of Finland to the River Vukosi, petered out on the face of impregnable Finnish resistance. The Soviets totally lacked ski troops, whereas the Finnish Army was well trained in their use.  Soviet troops found themselves cut off from supplies, and in some cases their units were surrounded and annihilated.

9/12/1939, Amphibious assaults and air raids in Helsinki ceased as winter set in, giving the Finnish defenders a tactical advantage over the Russians. However in NE Finland, Russians captured the town of Suossalmi, where Finnish troops were more thinly spread.

5/12/1939, Russian troops invading Finland reached the Mannerheim Line, and were held there.

4/12/1939, The USSR rejected League of Nations intervention over its invasion of Finland, claiming it was merely ‘supporting the new Finnish People’s Government’, as led by Otto Kuusinen.

1/12/1939, Russia established a pro-Soviet Finnish Government at Terijoki led by Otto Kuusinen.

30/11/1939. The USSR attacked Finland. Finland had earlier refused Soviet demands to use bases on its territory against Germany. Helsinki was heavily bombed. See 12/3/1940.

28/11/1939. Stalin renounced the Finno-Soviet non-aggression pact. On 30/11/1939 the USSR bombed Helsinki and Vipuri, as it invaded Finland.

3/3/1932, In Finland the suppression of the Mantasala Rising, a pro-Facsist Lapua Movement who had gathered at Mantsala, was completed.

11/11/1930, Finland enacted repressive legislation against Communists.

14/10/1930, An attempted Fascist coup in Finland.

1929, The Lapua Movement began in Finland. It was a quasi-Fascist organisation, named after the town of Lapua where it began. It succeeded, through pressure and acts of violence, in having the Communist Party’s front organisations banned in Finland in 1930, but was irself banned in 1932 after an attempted failed armed coup against the Finnish Government.

1921, Finland gained possession of the Aaland Islands.

14/10/1920. Russia recognised the independence of Finland.  Russia ceded the port of Petsamo to Finland, giving Finland access to the Arctic Ocean.

1919, The Finnish Communist Party was formed. It was illegal in Finland.

6/6/1919. Finland declared war on Russia.

14/4/1918, In Finland, German General Goltz captured Helsinki from the Communists.

6/4/1918. In Finland, the German General Mannerheim captured Tampere from the Communists.

See Russia for events of 1917 Revolution

6/12/1917. Finland became independent from Russia. 

29/7/1917, Taking advantage of Revolutionary chaos, the Finns declared their independence from Russia.

22/9/1902. Czar Nicholas II abolished the nominal independence of Finland and appointed a Russian Governor-General.

4/6/1867, Carl Mannerheim, Finnish soldier and politician, President, was born in Vilnas.

30/3/1856. The Treaty of Paris ended the Crimean War. Russia agreed to demilitarise the Black Sea, demolishing its naval bases at Sevastopol and three other locations. It also renounced its claim to protect the Holy Places in Palestine.  Russia ceded a part of Bessarabia, forcing it back from the Danube River. The Treaty also stipulated that the Aland Islands should not be fortified, by the army or navy. This allayed British fears over threats to its trade in the Baltic, see Russia-1854.

11/1827, Much of Abo burned down in a  great fire. The University and its large library were destroyed.

19/8/1814, Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt, Governor General of the Grand Duchy of Finland, died in Tsarskoe Selo (born 31/3/1757 in Finland).

17/9/1809, In February 1808 Tsar Alexander invaded Finland, then part of Sweden, without a declaration of war.  On this day the Treaty of Fredrikshamn ended the war; Sweden ceded Finland and the Aland Islands to Russia. Sweden was unable to secure an undertaking by Russia not to fortify the Aland Islands, which were close to Stockholm, but see 30/3/1856.

Abo (Turku) was nominated the capital of Finland, but was replaced by Helsingfors (Helsinki) as capital in 1819.

21/2/1808. Russia occupied Finland, which was formerly under Swedish domination.

21/6/1788, King Gustavus III of Sweden invaded Russian Finland, without declaring war first.

31/3/1757, Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt, Governor General of the Grand Duchy of Finland, was born in Finland (died 19/8/1814 in Tsarskoe Selo).

1556, John III of Sweden became ruler of Finland.

1550, Helsingfors (Helsinki), Finland, was founded by Gustavus I of Sweden.

1258, Abo Cathedral was constructed; it was rebuilt after the great fire of 1827.

1157, King Eric IX of Sweden conquered Finland, and forced the Finns to be baptised as Christians.


Appendix 2 – Greenland, Arctic

21/6/2009, Greenland took steps towards further separation from Denmark; it took control of police, law enforcement, the legal system and natural resources.

25/11/2008, Greenland held a referendum on further autonomy from Denmark, with a result 75% in favour.

23/2/1982. Greenland, a Danish territory, with home rule, voted to leave the EC.

1/5/1979, Denmark granted Greenland home rule.

5/4/1933, The International Court at The Hague ruled that Greenland was a Danish possession, against Norway’s claim.

16/6/1928, Arctic Norwegian explorer Roald Engelbregt Amundsen died in a plane crash whilst searching fro shipwreck victims.

20/2/1920. Robert Peary, American Arctic explorer and first man to reach the North Pole in 1909, died in Washington DC.

6/4/1909.   Commander Peary of the USA became the first person to reach the North Pole, with a Black assistant, Matthew Henson, and four Eskimos.. It was his sixth attempt in 15 years.

6/12/1905, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen landed at Fort Egbert, Alaska, after a 2 ½ year exploration of America’s Arctic coast.

16/7/1905. Commander Peary of the USA set out on his second expedition to the North Pole.

11/7/1897, The Swedish balloonist S A Andree set off from Spitsbergen with two companions to fly over the North Pole. After a few days all contact with them was lost; their remains were discovered in 1930 on White Island.

3/11/1879, The Arctic explorer, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, was born.

1888, Fridjtof Nansen explored the interior of Greenland.

25/10/1888, Richard Byrd, US naval officer and polar explorer, was born in Winchester, Virginia. In 1926 he became the first person to fly over the North Pole.

10/10/1861, Fridjtof Nansen, Norwegian Polar explorer, was born near Oslo. He became the first person to cross Greenland overland in 1888.

6/5/1856, Robert Peary, American Arctic explorer, was born in Cresson Springs, Pennsylvania.

1/6/1831. Sir James Clark Ross located the Magnetic North Pole on his Arctic expedition with Admiral Parry.

1728, The Danish explorer Vitus Bering discovered the Diomede Islands, midway between Siberia and Alaska.

1721, A Norwegian ship calling at Greenland found no trace of the Norse colonists. They may have suffered disease or starvation, or migrated to America.

1611, Jan Mayen Land, between Spitsbergen and Iceland, was discovered by the Dutch explorer Jan Mayen.

16/9/1408, The last recorded event in Norse history in Greenland; a wedding at Old Hvalsey church.

1194, Spitsbergen was discovered by Norsemen.

986, Erik the Red was banished from Iceland, and sailed to Greenland where he founded a new Viking colony. The name ‘Greenland’ may have been chosen to attract new colonists to an inhospitable place where farming was only possible, with a short growing season, in the extreme south-west. The Vinking colony died out in the 1400s as climatic conditiins deteriorated.

982, Erik the Red set up a temporary Viking camp on Greenland, the first settlement by man there. This camp was replaced by a permanent colony in 986.


Appendix 3 – Iceland

2013, After new elections Iceland became cooler about joining the European Union, and formally withdrew its application in 2015.

16/7/2009, Iceland’s Parliament voted to begin negotiations to join the European Union. The country had a new leftist Government, following the near- collapse of the Icelandic banking system after the 2007 Credit Crunch.

1/2009, Johanna Sigurdardottir became Prime Minister of Iceland; she was Europe’s first openly lesbian head of state.

5/2007, The Iceland Movement, an ecological, Green, Party chaired by Omar, first contested elections. It got 3.3% of the vote, failing to achieve the 5% needed for representation in Parliament; however the Green agenda was becoming more prominent in Icelandic politics.

14/11/1985, Holmfriour Karlsdottir of Iceland, 22, was crowned the 35th Miss World.

1/6/1976. Britain and Iceland signed an agreement in Oslo to end the Cod War.  Up to 24 British trawlers would be permitted to fish within the 200-mile zone claimed by Iceland.

19/2/1976. Iceland broke off diplomatic relations with Britain after the two countries failed to reach agreement on fishing limits in the ‘Cod War’ dispute. Conflict began in 1958 when Iceland extended its territorial waters from 3 to 12 nautical miles; Britain finally recognised this limit in 1961. In 1972 Iceland claimed a further extension to 50 miles; Britain ignored this, and Icelandic gunboats sank two British trawlers. In January 1976 an Icelandic gunboat rammed the Royal Navy frigate Andromeda, which had been protecting British fishing boats.

10/12/1975, The first shots were fired in the Cod War between Britain and Iceland.

24/10/1975, Women in Iceland staged a one-day general strike.

For events of Cod War see also Great Britain 1970s

15/10/1975, Iceland unilaterally extended its fishing grounds to 200 miles, leading to a resumption of the Cod War with Britain.

25/7/1974, The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that Britain was not bound to observe Iceland’s unilateral extension of its fishing rights from 12 to 50 miles in 1972.

8/11/1973, The Cod War between Britain and Iceland ended.

7/9/1973, Iceland threatened to break off diplomatic relations with Britain over the fishing dispute.

24/5/1973. The Cod War continued between Britain and Iceland. In Reykjavik several hundred protesters, in a crowd of several thousand, threw stones, eggs, and paint at the British Embassy. Reykjavik’s 150 police officers were hopelessly outnumbered.

25/10/1972. Iceland boycotted British goods as part of the Cod War.

1/9/1972, Iceland extended its fishing limit from 12 to 50 miles.

27/2/1961, Britain and Iceland settled their fishing dispute. British ships would no longer fish within 12 miles of the Icelandic coast.

10/12/1959. US troops began to leave Iceland.

6/5/1959. The UK protested to Iceland about violence in the Cod War. Icelandic gunboats had fired live ammunition at British trawlers. Iceland said they were just warning shots, but one only missed a trawler by three metres.

1/9/1958, British trawlers defied the Icelandic 12-mile fishing limit, which came into force this day.

1/6/1958. Iceland extended its fishing limits to 12 miles.

17/6/1944. Iceland became an independent republic. The 25-year Union with Denmark had expired, see 1/12/1918.

13/12/1922, Hannes Hafstein, Prime Minister of Iceland, died.

1/12/1918. Denmark granted independence to Iceland; a 25-year union with Denmark was instituted.

13/5/1894, Asgeir Asgeirsson, President of Iceland, was born.

1627, Reykjavik, Iceland, was attacked by pirates.

1262, Icelandic chieftains accepted rule by Norway.

1000, Iceland’s Althing chose to adopt Christianity over Odin-worship.

939, Major volcanic eruption in Iceland, affected climate and crops worldwide.

928, The Althing, the Icelandic Parliament, was founded at Thingvellir. It was reformed in 1874.

874, Norse settlement of Iceland began. Ingolfur Arnason brought in the first settlers.

866, Floki Vilgeroarson, Norseman, made an early expedition to Iceland, and named it ‘Ice-Island’ due to the quantity of ice in its fjords.


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