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Encyclopedia > Separation of Norway from Sweden in 1905
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Postcard with photo of Prince Carl of Denmark, candidate for king. Propaganda in favor of continued monarchy in Norway, published before the plebiscite on November 12th and 13th
Postcard with photo of Prince Carl of Denmark, candidate for king. Propaganda in favor of continued monarchy in Norway, published before the plebiscite on November 12th and 13th

Norway's parliament dissolved the union between Sweden and Norway on June 7, 1905. After some months of tension and fear of war between the two neighboring nations, negotiations between the two governments led to Norway's recognition by Sweden as an independent constitutional monarchy on October 26, 1905. On that date, King Oscar II renounced his claim to the Norwegian throne under the personal union of the kingdom of Sweden-Norway. This event was quickly followed by Prince Carl of Denmark's ascension to the Norwegian throne on November 27 the same year, taking the name Haakon VII. Copyright Norwegian National Library. ... Copyright Norwegian National Library. ... His Majesty King Haakon VII of Norway, Christian Frederik Carl Georg Valdemar Axel (August 3, 1872–September 21, 1957) was the first King of Norway after the dissolution of the personal union with Sweden in 1905. ... A New Dynasty See also: Charles XIV of Sweden King Charles XIV Charles XIII was both infirm and childless. ... Jump to: navigation, search June 7 is the 158th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (159th in leap years), with 207 days remaining. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1905 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Jump to: navigation, search A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchical government established under a constitutional system which acknowledges a hereditary or elected monarch as head of state. ... Jump to: navigation, search October 26 is the 299th day of the year (300th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 66 days remaining. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1905 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... A personal union is a political union of two or more entities that, internationally, are considered separate states, but through established law, share the same head of state —hence also whatever political actions are vested in the head of state, but none (or at least extremely few) others. ... The Kingdom of Sweden-Norway is a term sometimes, but erroneously, used to refer to the kingdoms of Sweden and Norway between 1814 and 1905, when they were united under one monarch in a personal union, following the Convention of Moss, on August 14, and the Norwegian constitutional revision of... King Haakon VII King Haakon VII of Norway, Christian Frederik Carl Georg Valdemar Axel (August 3, 1872 - September 21, 1957) was the first King of Norway after the dissolution of the personal union with Sweden in 1905. ... Jump to: navigation, search November 27 is the 331st day (332nd on leap years) of the year. ...

Contents


Background

Norwegian nationalistic aspirations in 1814 were frustrated by Sweden's victory in a brief, but decisive war that resulted in Norway entering into a personal union with Sweden. The Norwegian constitution was largely kept intact, allowing for an independent Norwegian state with its own parliament, judiciary, and executive powers. Foreign relations were, however, conducted by the king through the Swedish ministry of foreign affairs. There were largely feelings of goodwill between the two peoples, and the common kings generally tried to act in the interest of both kingdoms. Artists rendition of the Norwegian constitutional assembly in 1814 1814 was a pivotal year in Norwegian history. ... The Storting main building The Storting, or Stortinget, (the Great Assembly), is the parliament of Norway, and is located in Oslo. ...


But over the years, a divergence of Norwegian and Swedish interests became apparent. In particular, Norwegians felt that their foreign policy interests were inadequately served by Sweden's ministry of foreign affairs. There were several driving factors behind the growing conflict:

  • Norway's economy was more dependent on foreign trade and therefore more sensitive to the protectionist measures the Swedes were adopting
  • Norway was more affiliated to the United Kingdom, Sweden to Germany
  • Norway had greater interests outside of Europe than Sweden

In addition, Norwegian politics were increasingly dominated by liberal tendencies, whereas Swedish politics tended more toward the conservative. When free trade between the countries was restricted in 1895 through the abolishment of the "Interstate laws" (Mellomrikslovene), the economic reasons for the continued union were also diminished. Jump to: navigation, search Protectionism is the economic policy of protecting a nations manufacturing base from the effects of foreign competition by means of very high tariffs on imported goods, restrictive quotas, or other means of reducing importation. ... World map showing Europe (geographically) When considered a continent, Europe is the worlds second-smallest continent in terms of area, with an area of 10,600,000 km² (4,140,625 square miles), making it larger than Australia only. ... 1895 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...


The conflict came to a head over the so-called "consul affair," in which successive Norwegian governments insisted that Norway establish its own consular offices abroad rather than rely on the common consuls appointed by the Swedish foreign minister. As the long-standing practice for the conduct of joint foreign policy had been that a Swede always hold the office of foreign minister, the Swedish government and king rejected this insistence as an abdication of the throne's right to set foreign policy.


While Norway's Liberal Party (the predecessor to today's Venstre), had pioneered an uncompromising position through the so-called "fist policy," the Conservative party also came to adopt a strong policy in favor of at least de facto independence and equality within the personal union. Although both parties made efforts to resolve the issue through negotiations, Norwegian public opinion became gradually more entrenched. Venstre (sometimes referred to as the Liberal Party in international context) is a liberal party in Norway, subscribing to social-liberalism. ... Høyre - Norwegian Conservative Party The Conservative Party (norwegian Høyre, H, meaning right) is a Norwegian party. ...


Both Sweden and Norway increased military expenditures. Norway modernized the frontier forts at Kongsvinger and Fredriksten and built a series of new forts along the border. Kongsvinger is a town and municipality in the county of Hedmark, Norway, and has 17,382 inhabitants as of January 1, 2004. ... Fredriksten fortress, Halden, Norway - seen from the citys harbor Fredriksten is a fortress in the city of Halden in Norway. ...


Prelude to dissolution

The Norwegian Storting passes the "revolutionary" resolution
The Norwegian Storting passes the "revolutionary" resolution

In early 1905, Christian Michelsen formed a liberal government whose only stated objective was to establish a separate Norwegian corps of consuls. The law was passed by the Norwegian parliament. As expected and probably planned, King Oscar II refused to accept the laws, and the Michelsen government resigned. When the Norwegian parliament refused to support any government the king proposed, a constitutional crisis broke out on June 7. The Norwegian position was that the impasse had resulted in a de facto dissolution of the union. Norway considers June 7, 1905 to be the date of Norwegian independence. The text of the unanimous declaration, remarkable for the fact that the declaration of the dissolution was an aside to the main clause, read: Copyright Norwegian National Library, reproduced with permission. ... Copyright Norwegian National Library, reproduced with permission. ... Peter Christian Hersleb Kjerschow Michelsen (March 15, 1857 – June 29, 1925) was a Norwegian statesman. ... A constitutional crisis is a situation in which separate factions within a government disagree about the extent to which each of these factions hold sovereignty. ... Jump to: navigation, search June 7 is the 158th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (159th in leap years), with 207 days remaining. ... Jump to: navigation, search June 7 is the 158th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (159th in leap years), with 207 days remaining. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1905 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...

Since all the members of the cabinet have resigned their positions; since His Majesty the King has declared his inability to obtain for the country a new government; and since the constitutional monarchy has ceased to exist, the Storting hereby authorizes the cabinet that resigned today to exercise the powers held by the king in accordance with the Constitution of Norway and relevant laws - with the amendments necessitated by the dissolution of the union with Sweden under one king, resulting from the fact that the king no longer functions as a Norwegian king.

Initially reacting to this declaration as a rebellious act, the Swedish government indicated an openness to a negotiated end to the union, insisting among other things on a Norwegian plebiscite. A referendum (plural: referendums or referenda) or plebiscite is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. ...


The plebiscite was held on August 12 and August 13 and resulted in an overwhelming 368,208 votes (99.95%) in favor of dissolution against 184 (0.05%) opposed. The government thereby had confirmation of the dissolution. 85 percent of Norwegian men had cast their votes, but no women (universal suffrage was not extended to women until 1913, but Norwegian feminists collected more than 200,000 signatures in favor of dissolution.) Jump to: navigation, search August 12 is the 224th day of the year (225th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... August 13 is the 225th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (226th in leap years), with 140 days remaining. ... Jump to: navigation, search Universal suffrage (also general suffrage or common suffrage) consists of the extension of suffrage, or the right to vote, to all adults, without distinction as to race, sex, belief or social status. ...


Polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen weighed in heavily for dissolving the union and traveled to the United Kingdom, where he successfully lobbied for British support for Norway's independence movement. Fridtjof Nansen Fridtjof Nansen (born October 10, 1861 in Store Frøen, near Kristiania, now Oslo - died May 13, 1930 in Lysaker, outside Oslo) was a Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat. ...


Negotiations in Karlstad

On August 31, Norwegian and Swedish delegates met in the Swedish city of Karlstad to negotiate the terms of the dissolution. Although many prominent right-wing Swedish politicians favored a hardline approach to the issue, historical scholars have found that the Swedish king early had determined that it would be better to lose the union than risk a war with Norway. The overwhelming public support among Norwegians for independence had convinced the major European powers that the independence movement was legitimate, and Sweden feared it would be isolated by suppressing it. Also, there was little appetite for creating additional ill will between the countries, closely related as they were and are. Jump to: navigation, search August 31 is the 243rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (244th in leap years), with 122 days remaining, as the final day of August. ... Karlstad [kɑːɭstɑː(d)] is a City and Municipality in Värmland County, in mid-western Sweden. ...


Even as the negotiations made progress, military forces were quietly deployed on both sides of the border between Sweden and Norway, though separated by two kilometers. Public opinion among Norwegian leftists favored a war of independence if necessary, even against Sweden's clear military superiority.


On September 23, the negotiations closed. On October 9 the Norwegian parliament voted to accept the terms of the dissolution; on October 13 the Swedish parliament followed suit. Although Norway had considered itself independent since June 7, Sweden formally recognised Norwegian independence on October 26 when Oscar II renounced his and any of his descendants' claims to the Norwegian throne. Jump to: navigation, search September 23 is the 266th day of the year (267th in leap years). ... Jump to: navigation, search October 9 is the 282nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (283rd in Leap years). ... Jump to: navigation, search October 13 is the 286th day of the year (287th in leap years). ... Jump to: navigation, search October 26 is the 299th day of the year (300th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 66 days remaining. ...


Choosing a Norwegian king

On November 12 and November 13, in the second constitutional plebiscite in three months, Norwegian voters decided by a nearly 79 percent majority (259,563 to 69,264) to establish a monarchy instead of a republic. Many who favored a republic in principle voted for a monarchy because they felt it would help the newly-independent Norwegian nation gain legitimacy among the European monarchies. Jump to: navigation, search November 12 is the 316th day of the year (317th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 49 days remaining. ... Jump to: navigation, search November 13 is the 317th day of the year (318th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 48 days remaining. ...


In its resolution of June 7, the Storting had invited King Oscar II to allow one of his younger sons to assume the Norwegian throne. This offer was formally declined by the king when he renounced his claim on October 26. However, the king's decision had been anticipated months earlier, and already during the summer a Norwegian delegation approached the 33-year-old Prince Carl of Denmark, a younger brother of the Crown Prince Christian of Denmark. The Norwegian parliament had considered other candidates but ultimately chose Prince Carl, partly because he already had a son to continue the line of succession, but more significantly because Carl was married to Maud of Wales, the daughter of King Edward VII. By bringing in a king with British royal ties, it was hoped that Norway could court Britain's support. Jump to: navigation, search June 7 is the 158th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (159th in leap years), with 207 days remaining. ... Jump to: navigation, search October 26 is the 299th day of the year (300th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 66 days remaining. ... His Majesty King Haakon VII of Norway, Christian Frederik Carl Georg Valdemar Axel (August 3, 1872–September 21, 1957) was the first King of Norway after the dissolution of the personal union with Sweden in 1905. ... Jump to: navigation, search Christian X of Denmark (Christian Carl Frederik Albert Alexander Vilhelm) (September 26, 1870 – April 20, 1947) was King of Denmark from 1912 to 1947 and of Iceland between 1918 and 1944. ... Queen Maud (nee HRH Princess Maud of Wales) (Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria) (26 November 1869-20 November 1938) was the Queen consort of King Haakon VII of Norway. ... Edward VII (Albert Edward) (9 November 1841–6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King of the Commonwealth Realms, and the Emperor of India. ...


Prince Carl impressed the delegation in many ways, not the least because of his sensitivity to the liberal and democratic movements that had led to Norway's independence. Though the Norwegian constitution stipulated that the Storting could choose a new king if the throne were vacant, Carl was aware that many Norwegians — including leading politicians and high-ranking military officers — favored a republican form of government. Attempts to persuade the prince to accept the throne on the basis of Parliament's choice failed; Carl insisted that he would accept the crown only if the Norwegian people expressed their will for monarchy by referendum and if the parliament then elected him king.


Following the November plebiscite affirming Norwegians' desire for a monarchy, the parliament by an overwhelming majority offered Carl a clear mandate to the Norwegian throne on November 18, and the prince accepted the same evening, choosing the name Haakon, a traditional name used by Norwegian kings. The last king with that name was Haakon VI, who died in the year 1380. Jump to: navigation, search November 18 is the 322nd day of the year (323rd in leap years), with 43 remaining. ... Haakon VI Magnusson (appr. ... Events September 8 - Battle of Kulikovo - Russian forces under Grand Prince Dmitrii Ivanovich defeat a mixed army of Tatars and Mongols (the Golden Horde), stopping their advance at Kulikovo. ...


The new king therefore became Haakon VII, King of Norway. His two-year-old son Alexander, the heir apparent, was renamed Olav and became Crown Prince Olav. The new royal family arrived in the capital Kristiania (later Oslo) on November 25. Olav V Olav V (July 2, 1903 - January 17, 1991) reigned as King of Norway from 1957 to 1991. ... In the period 1878–1924, Kristiania was the name used for Norways capital Oslo (having been called Christiania since 1624). ... Jump to: navigation, search County Oslo NO-03 Landscape Viken Municipality NO-0301 Administrative centre Oslo Mayor (2004) Per Ditlev-Simonsen (H) Official language form Neutral Area  - Total  - Land  - Percentage Ranked 224 454 km² 426 km² 0. ... Jump to: navigation, search November 25 is the 329th (in leap years the 330th) day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Haakon VII was sworn in as king of Norway on November 27. Jump to: navigation, search November 27 is the 331st day (332nd on leap years) of the year. ...


Importance of the events of 1905

In many ways, the events of 1905 formed a sequel to the events of 1814, but there were some important differences:

  • Whereas the 1814 independence movement in large part was driven by political opportunism among the national elite, the 1905 movement was a result of political trends largely driven by elected officials with massive popular support.
  • In 1905, Norway was not put in play by war as a territorial prize.
  • By 1905, Norwegians had established many of the institutions and infrastructure of a sovereign, independent state.
  • By 1905, European statesmanship was more inclined to favor Norwegian independence than in 1814

Much has been made of the supremacy of diplomacy in averting war between Sweden and Norway in 1905. In truth, the Norwegians had much more to fight for than the Swedes if it had come to war. Both parties recognized that their geographical proximity made long-term hostility untenable under any circumstance.


Though there is some lingering resentment in Norway toward Sweden, it can safely be said that the relationship between the two countries is that of a very close friendship - and in many minds between that of two close brothers.


Many documents related to the specific events of 1905 were destroyed during and following those years. Some historians speculate[1] that foreign interests played a stronger role than what had previously been assumed; in particular, that Great Britain influenced the dissolution in order to reduce German influence over Atlantic ports. Although Sweden's close relationship with Germany did not last long, Norway's independence immediately put it inside the British sphere of influence.


External resources

  • Joint website by the Norwegian national library and Swedish national archive on 1905
  • Norwegian website on the 100th anniversary of the dissolution

  Results from FactBites:
 
Separation of Norway from Sweden in 1905 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1689 words)
Norway's parliament dissolved the union between Sweden and Norway on June 7, 1905.
Norway modernized the frontier forts at Kongsvinger and Fredriksten and built a series of new forts along the border.
Norway considers June 7, 1905 to be the date of Norwegian independence.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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