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View series: Europe and nations, 1815-1914

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Independence of Norway

This map is part of a series of 24 animated maps showing the history of Europe and nations, 1815-1914.

In the course of the Napoleonic episode, Scandinavia experiences several territorial upheavals. In 1809, Russia takes over Finland, to the loss of Napoleon’s adversary, Sweden. Five years later, in 1814, Sweden obtains from Denmark (which had remained France’s ally up until the end), Norway, which had been united with it for several centuries.

The Congress of Vienna upholds these territorial evolutions, but the Norwegians do not relinquish their struggle for identity. In 1884 they obtain a parliamentary system, and in 1905, following a disagreement in the matter of foreign policy, the Norwegian Parliament declares the union with Sweden abolished.

Swedish leadership renounces the use of force as a recourse. Consulted by plebiscite, the Norwegian public almost unanimously affirms its will to independence.