The Kalmar War and the Horn War
|At the end of the 1630´s the Danish king convinced the chancellery and the estates of the realm to establish a standing army, which was financed through a considerable raise of the Sound Duty. This made the Netherlands form an alliance with Sweden, which were disastrous to Denmark.
War and City Plans
Around the year 1600 the Dutchmen were responsible for around 80 % of the yearly ship tonnage through the Sound. Thus it was of vital importance to maintain good relations with the Dutchmen. However the perpetual increase of the Sound Duty and crises situations, where ships were arrested was a thorn in the side of the Dutch and other shipping nations.
Especially the relationship with Sweden was problematic. The Swedish economy flourished with export of raw materials like iron, minerals, wood for ship building and agricultural goods from the southern areas, but Sweden felt fenced in by the Danish Baltic Sea empire.
The Kalmar War 1611-13
The Danish and Swedish chancellors prevented further confrontations for a time, but the ambitious Danish king, Christian IV (1588-1648) aspired to “propagate, improve and enhance the state of the country”, as it was stated in the coronation charter that he had to sign at his accession. It was this passage in the coronation charter Christian used in his request to the chancellery January 31. 1611, when he referred to Swedish violations, which he would not stand for:
“...as it would bring about in posterity a bad memory in Our grave, because We have tolerated and allowed that, which a lawful king must not allow or tolerate and which We have sworn at our coronation and coronation charter and have promised by name and by seal...”
The alleged violations related to the conditions in northern Scandinavia, including Sweden´s access to the Norwegian Sea. The chancellors were reluctant, but when the king threatened to declare war in his capacity as duke of Slesvig-Holstein, he had his way.
Map from around 1600
Map Dedicated to Gustav II Adolf
Christian IV´s Flagship
The Fortress Varberg
The Siege of Kalmar
Scania was ravaged
This time too, it was mostly the civilian population that suffered. Scania was ravaged by Gustav Adolf in 1612 and he himself said:
“We have been in Scania and we have burned most of the province, so that 24 parishes and the town of Vä lie in ashes. We have met no resistance, neither from cavalry nor footmen, so we have been able to rage, plunder, burn and kill to our hearts´ content. We had thought of visiting Århus in the same way, but when it was brought to our knowledge that there were Danish cavalry in the town, we set out for Markaryd and we could destroy and ravage as we went along and everything turned out lucky for us.”
Christian IV won the Kalmar War, but this time too the civilian population paid a heavy price. After the war Christian IV started the building of a number of fortified towns, which could protect the civilian population in wartime. The market towns Vä and Åhus in north-eastern Scania were abandoned and instead the fortified town of Christiansstad was built. In Blekinge Christianobel was founded and in Halland Halmstad was fortified.
At the peace in Knärød in 1613 Denmark took over the fortress of Elvsborg until a compensation of 1.000.000 rix-dollars was paid. Holland´s policy was that no big power should have total control of the Baltic. Therefore the Danish victory led to the signing of a Swedish-Dutch defence alliance in The Hague in 1614.
The Peace in Knærød 1613
The Swedish Instrument of Debt
The increasing central governing meant that a number of new towns were founded, often for military reasons. The most prominent became Kristianstad in northwestern Scania. The market towns Vä and Åhus were shut down and they built an entirely new town, which better could withstand the attacks of the Swedes in the area. Dutch experts were called in and in 1614 they started to build a town with perpendicular streets surrounded by fortified bastions.
The town also had a magnificent church, the Trinity Church, which is considered one of the main works of the Christian IV period. It was built in the renaissance architecture of the time and was inaugurated in 1628.
The church has an equilateral Greek cross. There are a number of slender granite pillars, which carry a very elaborate roof construction. The opulent altar in black alabaster and white marble was made in the Netherlands. The organ is a brilliant renaissance work of art.
The Fortress Christiansstad
The Trinity Church
The Church Room
The Trinity Church
The Side Entrance
The next time Christian IV wanted to go to war was when he in 1626 involved himself in the Thirty Years´ War and that same year was defeated ignominiously at Lutter am Barenberge. This time Christian IV had gone to war in his capacity as North German duke and on his own account, that is, with a mercenary army. This ended in disaster and Denmark was now seriously weakened, whereas Sweden was victorious in the Baltic area.
By the end of the 1630´s the Danish king convinced the Chancellery and the Estates of the Realm to establish a standing army, which was financed through a considerable raise of the Sound Duty.
From 1636 to 1639 the king´s income from the Sound Duty rose from 266.000 to 620.000 rix-dollars.
In the course of the 1640´s war and recession set in. Around this time the value of the corn export was about 400.000 rix-dollar a year, the steer export was around 50.000 stk. a year, while the value of the yearly import constituted around 400.000 rix-dollar.
The Horn War 1643-45
As a reaction to the continued increase of the Sound Duty, the Netherlands entered into a mutual defence and alliance treaty with Sweden, which became disastrous, when Sweden without warning attacked Denmark in 1634 from the south. Jutland was occupied, but at first the navy prevented a total disaster. In Scania field marshal Gustav Horn began a campaign and Denmark was threatened by war on two fronts. The province was ravaged once again and the Horn War was remembered for many years the.
The united Dutch-Swedish fleet defeated the Danes at Fehmern and at the peace in Brömsebro in 1645 the Danes had to give up Gotland, Øsel, Jemtland and Herjedalen in Norway and surrender Halland to Sweden for a period of 30 years. This was the beginning to the end of the Danish Baltic reign and at the same time the prosperity of the period of Christian IV ended with his death in 1648.
Danish naval control
Sound Duty gambling
Three Fleets in the Sound 1644
Kolberger Heide 1644
The Brömsebro Stone