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Great Northern War - History

Great Northern War - History

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A war breaks out that became known as the Great Northern War. Russia, Poland and Denmark join forces to oppose Sweden. Both Danish and Saxon troops invade Sweden. Charles XII, leading Sweden responded by landing troops in Zeeland and forcing Denmark to withdraw from the alliance. Swedish forces then defeated Russian troops at Narva on November 30, 1700.


The Great Northern War (1700 – 1721) was the main military conflict of Peter the Great's reign, ending in a Russian victory over Sweden that made Russia an important European power and expanded Russia's borders to the Baltic Sea, including the site of St. Petersburg. The war began in the effort of Denmark and Poland-Saxony to wrest control of territories lost to Sweden during the seventeenth century, the period of Swedish military hegemony in northern Europe. When the rulers of those countries offered alliances to Peter in 1698 and 1699, he saw an opportunity to recover Ingria, the small territory at the eastern end of the Gulf of Finland that Russia had lost to Sweden in 1618. Possession of Ingria would once again give Russia access to the Baltic Sea, which seems to have been Peter's principal aim. To achieve this aim Peter built a European-style army and a navy based in the Baltic. The war also served as a major stimulus to Peter's reforms.

The initial phase of the war (1700 – 1709) was marked by Swedish successes. Peter's attempt to capture the port of Narva in Swedish-held Estonia ended in catastrophic defeat on November 30, 1700, at the hands of Charles XII, king of Sweden. The defeat meant the destruction of most of Peter's new army, which he then had to rebuild. Fortunately, Charles chose to move south into Poland, hoping to unseat August II from the throne of Poland and expand Swedish influence. In 1706 Charles succeeded in forcing August II to surrender and leave the war and to recognize Stanislaw Leszczynski, a Swedish puppet, as king of Poland. In 1707 Charles moved east through Poland toward Russia, apparently hoping to both defeat and over-throw Peter and replace him with a more compliant tsar from among the Russian boyars. Charles also managed to convince Ivan Mazepa, the Hetman of the Ukrainian Cossacks, to join him against Peter, but in Russia itself there was no move in favor of Charles. Instead, the Russian army retreated before the Swedes, acquiring experience and mounting ever more effective resistance. Charles was forced south into Ukraine during the fall of

1708, and Peter's defeat of the Swedish relief column at Lesnaya (October 9, 1708) left him without additional food and equipment.

The battle of Poltava (July 8, 1709) proved the turning point of the war. The Swedish army suffered heavy casualties and fled the field southwest toward the Dnieper River. When they reached the banks with the Russians in hot pursuit, they found too few boats to carry them across and had to surrender. Only Charles, his staff, and some of his personal guard escaped into Ottoman territory. Thus the way was clear for Peter to occupy the Baltic provinces and southeast Finland, then a Swedish possession, in 1710.

By the end of 1710 Peter had achieved his principal war aims, for these conquests secured the approaches to St. Petersburg. In 1711 the outbreak of war with the Turks provided an unwelcome distraction, and he was able to turn his attention to the Northern War only in 1712. His allies now included the restored August II of Poland-Saxony, as well as Denmark and Prussia. Russian troops moved into northern Germany to support these allies, and Sweden's German possessions, Bremen, Stralsund, and Stettin, fell by 1714. In 1713 Peter managed to occupy all of Finland, which he hoped to use as a bargaining chip in the inevitable peace negotiations. Charles XII, who returned to Sweden from Turkey in 1714, would not give up. Ignoring Sweden's rapidly deteriorating economic situation, he refused to acknowledge defeat. Peter's small but decisive naval victory over the Swedish fleet at Hang ö peninsula on the Finnish coast in 1714 preserved Russian control over Finland and allowed Peter to harass the Swedish coast. A joint Russo-Danish project to invade Sweden in 1716 came to nothing, and the war continued until 1721 with a series of Russian raids along the Swedish coast. The death of Charles XII in 1718 even prolonged the war, for Great Britain, worried over Russian influence in the Baltic region and northern Germany, began to support Sweden, but it was too late. In 1721 the treaty of Nystad put an end to the war, allowing Russia to keep southeast Finland (the town of Viborg), Ingria, Estonia, and the province of Livonia (today southern Estonia and Latvia north of the Dvina river).

Peter's victory in the Great Northern War radically altered the balance of power in northern and eastern Europe. The defeat of Sweden and the loss of most of its overseas territories other than Finland and Stralsund, as well as the collapse of Swedish absolutism after 1718, rendered Sweden a minor power once again. The events of the war revealed for the first time decisively the political and military weakness of Poland. Russia, by contrast, had defeated the formerly hegemonic power of the region, recovered Ingria, acquired the Baltic provinces and part of Finland, and founded St. Petersburg as a new city and new capital. These acquisitions gave Russia a series of seaports to support both trade and a naval presence in the Baltic Sea, as well as a shorter route to Western Europe. Victory in the war justified Peter's military, administrative, and economic reforms and the Westernization of Russian culture. It also enormously reinforced his personal prestige and power.

See also: lesnaya, battle of peter i narva, battles of poltava, battle of sweden, relations with

Great Northern War (1700-1721)

Charles responded on 4 August 1700 with a bold invasion of Zealand, taking his army through dangerous seas and marching on Copenhagen, forcing the Danes out of the war. By the Treaty of Travendal (18 August 1700), Denmark agreed to return Schelswig and not to fight against Sweden. In October he crossed to Livonia with a tiny army of 8,000 men. Once there he decided to march to Narva, besieged by Peter the Great with 40,000 men. As Charles approached, Peter fled, leaving his army to fight alone, and on 30 November 1700 the Russian army was destroyed in the battle of Narva, fought in a snowstorm. Over the winter of 1700/1, Charles prepared to march on Livonia, where on 17 June 1701 he defeated a joint Russian, Polish and Saxon army at the battle of Riva, relieving the year long siege.

Charles then turned on Poland, invading in July 1701 and defeated a joint Saxon and Russian army at the battle of Dunamunde (9 July 1701). In 1702, Charles still concentrated on Poland, capturing Warsaw in May, before seeking out battle against Augustus. On 2 July 1702, he routed a larger Polish-Saxon army at the battle of Kliszow, before siezing Cracow, and proceeding to take control of Poland, defeating another Polish and Saxon army at the battle of Pultusk (13 April 1703). This left Peter the Great free to invade Ingria, where he defeated a Swedish army at the battle of Errestfer (7 January 1702), then at the battle of Hummselsdorf (18 July 1702), gaining control of the Neva Valley. The following year, Peter reached the mouth of the Neva, and on 16 May 1703 founded St. Petersburg, regaining direct access to the Baltic for Russia.

The same pattern continued in 1704. Charles concentrated on Poland, where Stanislas Leszczynski, his candidate for the throne, fought Augustus, while Peter concentrated on securing the area around St. Petersburg. Charles remained in Poland through 1705, before chasing the Russian's out of Lithuania in early 1706. At the same time, another attempt by Augustus to regain Poland was stopped at the battle of Franstadt (3 February 1706). In August-September 1706, Charles finally defeated Augustus by invading Saxony, where after he siezed Leipzig, Augustus sued for peace, and by the treaty of Altranstadt (24 September 1706) abdicated the throne of Poland. At this point, Peter also sued for peace. If Charles had taken this change, he would have achieved a stunning victory against overwhelming odds, but Charles felt that he could gain a better result by continuing the war.

After a brief dispute with the Empire, Charles prepared for his invasion of Russia. Like so many invaders, Charles was to come to grief in Russia. On 1 January 1708, Charles crossed the frozen Vistula with his army of 45,000 men, his largest ever army, and made good progress, before waiting out the spring thaw near Minsk (March-June). When he started moving, Charles had some initial successes. On 4 July 1708 he defeated Russian forces guarding the river Bibitch at the battle of Holowczyn, and reached the Dnieper in early July. At this point, Peter initiated a scorched earth policy, slowly retreating before the Swedes, destroying all food and crops, and refusing battle, leaving the Swedish army desperately short of supplies. Charles's response was to decide to march into the Ukraine, where he expected to join up with a Cossack revolt, while at the same time ordering a supply column from Sweden to join him there. This was a dreadful error. Peter had learnt of the planned Cossack revolt, and in October 1708 managed to preempt it, while on 9-10 October 1708, the Swedish supply column of 11,000 men was defeated by a larger Russian army (battle of Lesnaja). Only 6,000 troops from the column reached Charles, after having to destroy the desperately needed supplies.

This left Charles stranded in Russia for the winter of 1708-9, one of the coldest ever in Europe. The Russians harrassed the Swedes all winter, and by the spring Charles had lost over half of his original army, although managing to maintain any fighting force was an impressive achievement. When campaigning began in 1709, Charles engaged in the siege of Poltava. Peter the Great gathered an army of 80,000 men, and at the battle of Poltava (28 June 1709), crushed the Swedish army, taking 18,794 prisoners. Charles himself escaped to Turkish Moldavia, and remained in Turkey until 1714. In the meantime, Russian and her allies were free to dismember the Swedish empire. In August-December 1709 Peter invaded Poland, reinstating Augustus, and also occupied the Baltic coast. The Danes retook Schleswig, along with Bremen and Verden, also Swedish, while another Danish army occupied Skane in southern Sweden. Another Danish, Polish and Saxon army invaded Swedish Pomerania (now the Polish coast), but were repulsed. The Danes were repulsed from Sweden early in 1710, and the Swedes concentrated on defending their German possessions.

The war took another twist in October 1710, when Charles XII, still in Turkish Moldavia, pursuaded the Turks to declare war on Russian, and a 200,000 strong Turkish army was sent to the border. Peter responded by invading Moldavia with 60,000 men (March-July 1711), where he was promptly outmaneuvered by the Turks, who pinned him against the Pruth River. However, at this point the Turks failed to press their advantage, instead negotiating a peace with Peter (Treaty of Pruth, 21 July 1711), which concentrated on Turkish issues. Charles was furious at the easy terms, and refused to leave Turkey for another four years, eventually having to escape from virtual house arrest, and crossing Europe with a single servant, he finally returned to Swedish territory on 11 November 1714. In the meantime, the war had continued, with little effect despite repeated Swedish defeats, although Russian managed to gain naval dominance in the Baltic.

The return of Charles put new life into the Swedish war effort, although once again he refused several chances to make a good peace. After detering an attempt to invade Sweden (1716), Charles decided to attack Norway, then united with Denmark (1717-1718). It was on this campaign that Charles met his death, shot through the head during the siege of Fredriksten (11 December 1718). 1719 and 1720 saw the Russians use their new control of the Baltic to launch repeated raids against mainland Sweden, and eventually the Swedes sued for peace. Sweden managed to negotiate good terms with Denmark, Poland and Saxony, with a return to the pre-war state, although some of Swedish Pomerania was lost to Prussia. However, peace with Russia was not made until the Treaty of Nystad (30 August 1721), which was not so generous. Russia kept most of the Baltic coast, but returned Finland to Sweden, and paid an indemnity. The war left the balance of power in the Baltic permanently changed, with Russia newly emerged as a major European power, and Sweden relegated from that status.

Armies of the Great Northern War 1700-1720, Gabriele Esposito. A look at the many armies that were involved in the Great Northern War, from the main participants in Russia and Sweden to the Cossacks, Tatars and Ottoman forces that were briefly involved during Charles XII&rsquos time in exile. An important conflict that ended Sweden&rsquos brief time as a great power and established Russia as a Baltic power, and helped establish the reputation of Peter the Great as a great military reformer(Read Full Review)

The Northern Wars, 1558-1721 (Modern Wars In Perspective), Robert I. Frost. One of the very few works in English to look at the long period of warfare that shaped north eastern Europe, Frost provides an excellent overview of nearly two centuries of conflict that shaped Scandinavia, Russia and Poland, ending with the Great Northern War.


  • 793 – Vikings raid Lindisfarne monastery on Holy Island in the North Sea. This is considered the start of the Viking Raids. A large Norwegian exodus occurred particularly to the islands in the west.
  • 872 Harald I of Norway defeats the last petty kings in the Battle of Hafrsfjord and forms the first united Norway.
  • 911 Emperor of Western FranciaCharles the Simple surrenders what will later be known as Normandy to Viking chief Rollo.
  • 991 Olaf I of Norway defeats the Anglo-Saxons in the Battle of Maldon.
  • 1030 Olaf II of Norway is defeated in the Battle of Stiklestad.
  • 1043 Magnus I of Norway defeats the Wends at Lyrskov Hede.
  • 1066 Harald III of Norway defeats the English in the Battle of Fulford leading to his control of York.
  • 1066 The Norwegians are defeated in the Battle of Stamford Bridge.
  • 1107–10 Sigurd I of Norway leads a crusade to Iberia and the Holy Land.

The civil war era of Norwegian history (Norwegian borgerkrigstida) is a term used for the period between 1130 and 1240 in the history of Norway. During this time, a series of civil wars were fought between rival kings and pretenders to the throne of Norway. The reason for the wars is one of the most debated topics in Norwegian medieval history. The goal of the warring parties was always to put their man on the throne, starting with the death of king Sigurd the Crusader in 1130. In the first decades of the civil wars, alliances were shifting, and centered around the person of a king or pretender, but eventually, towards the end of the 12th century, two rival parties emerged, known as the birkebeiner and the bagler. After these two parties were reconciled in 1217, a more ordered system of government centered around the king was gradually able to bring an end to the frequent risings. The failed rising of duke Skule Bårdsson in 1240 was the final event of the civil war era. The country came out of the civil wars in 1240 as a much more unified and consolidated kingdom than it had been in 1130. The rule of King Haakon and his successors until 1319 has sometimes been called the golden age of the Norwegian medieval kingdom, by later historians. Under King Haakon Haakonsson, a centralised administration was for the first time built up, with a chancellery in Bergen, which became the first capital city of the country. Clear succession laws were put into place, stipulating one single ruler, who had to be of legitimate birth. The Old Norse language, which had first been written with the Latin alphabet in the 12th century, was used in administration, as well as for the composition of original literature, and the translation of foreign literature. Haakon also brought Iceland and Greenland under Norwegian rule, in the early 1260s, at which point the kingdom of Norway reached its largest territorial extent.

  • 1262–1266 The Scottish–Norwegian War concerning the control over the Hebrides and the Isle of Man. The Battle of Largs in 1263, which was the only major battle, had an inconclusive result, but over time Scottish profited and gained control over the Hebrides in return for recognising Norwegian rule in Orkney and Shetland.

In 1295, Magnus VI of Norway forged an alliance with France and Scotland against England, whereby Norway undertook to supply the King of France with 300 ships and 50 000 troops. It is clear that Norway could not have the manpower to fulfill the terms of this treaty, however, it was never put to the test.

In 1299, King Haakon V of Norway took the throne, and moved the capital of the country to Oslo. Haakon led an active foreign policy, aimed at increasing Norway's influence in Scandinavia. These policies, which included complex dynastic ties between the Nordic royal houses, were to lead Norway into several centuries of unions with her neighbours. Over time Norway's position in the unions would be increasingly weak. The Black plague came to Norway in 1349 and raged until 1351, severely weakening Norway's military abilities.

The union wars are a period of constant struggle of dominance of the union between Denmark and Sweden. Norway for the most part keeps out of the struggle. In 1501 The Swedes attack Norway but are forced back. However, when the Swedes eventually defeats the Danes and secedes from the union it leaves Norway the sole weak partner in a union with a much stronger Denmark. The elite in Norway was so weakened that it was not able to resist the pressures from the Danes. More and more decisions were taken in Copenhagen and the Norwegian Riksråd was eventually disbanded. The Danish crown was represented by a governor styled Statholder, but it was always important for the King to maintain Norway's legal status as a separate hereditary kingdom. The Norwegian Army would remain a separate body, but a common fleet was established in 1509.

  • 1563, 31 July – Ambition and a fight over the right to each other's national weapons, war breaks out between Denmark and Sweden
  • 1563, 15 September – A Danish army moves into Sweden and occupies Älvsborg
  • 1564, 30 May – A Danish fleet under the command of Herluf Trolle defeats a Swedish fleet between Öland and Gotland
  • 1565 – The war's only big battle stands at Axtorna. Rantzau defeats a numerically superior Swedish army
  • 1571, 25 January – A peace treaty is concluded and terminates the war between Denmark and Sweden. Denmark gives back Älvsborg in return for 150.000 daler (Danish coin).

The Northern Wars (1596–1720) were a period of almost continual war and preparation for war, including the Kalmar War (1611–1613), the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), the Northern War (1655–1658), the Gyldenløve War (1675–1679) and culminating in the Great Northern War (1700–1721).

  • 1611, 4 April War between Denmark-Norway and Sweden breaks out when Sweden attempts to break the Danish monopoly on trade with Russia
  • 1611, 11 June The Swedish Army is defeated at Kalmar.
  • 1612, The Battle of Kringen was an ambush perpetrated by a Norwegian peasant militia against Scottish mercenary soldiers who were on their way to enlist in the Swedish army for the Kalmar War.
  • 1613, 20 January Denmark-Norway and Sweden sign a peace treaty. Denmark becomes an uncontested power nation in Scandinavia

Thorsteinson War 1643–1645 Edit

In December 1643 war with Sweden breaks out because of a long dispute over the dominance of the Øresund, and dissent over the Øresund toll. On 1 July 1644 the Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy meets the Swedish Fleet at Koldberg Heide. The battle ends in a decisive Danish victory, and the Swedish withdraw to the Kiel Bay.

Norway, which was then governed by Christian's son-in-law, Statholder (royal governor) Hannibal Sehested, was a reluctant participant. The Norwegian populace opposed an attack on Sweden, correctly suspecting that an attack on Sweden would only leave them open to counterattack. Their opposition to Statholder Sehested's direction grew bitter, and the war was lampooned as the "Hannibal war". Understandably, the Danes cared little for Norwegian public sentiment when Denmark itself was seriously threatened. Hence Jacob Ulfeld initiated an attack into Sweden from Norwegian Jemtland. He was driven back out of Sweden and Swedish troops temporarily occupied Jemtland as well as advancing into the Norwegian Østerdal before being driven back.

Sehested had made preparations to advance with his own army and a similar army under Henrik Bjelke into Swedish Värmland, but was ordered to relieve the King in the Danish attack on Göteborg. Upon the arrival of Sehested the King joined his fleet and performed heroically, even though wounded, preventing Torstensson's army from moving onto the Danish islands.

On the Norwegian front, Sehested attacked the newly founded Swedish city of Vänersborg and destroyed it. He also sent Norwegian troops under the command of George von Reichwein across the border from Vinger and Eidskog as well as troops under Henrik Bjelke into Swedish Dalsland.

12 October 1644 a combined Swedish and Dutch fleet defeats a Danish fleet at Fehmarn. This effectively decides the outcome of the war. In February 1645 peace negotiations are started in Brømsebro and on 13 August Denmark and Sweden conclude the peace of Brømsebro. Denmark is forced to hand over Gotland, Øsel and Halland (South Sweden) as well as the Norwegian province Jemtland, Herjedalen and Idre & Serna. This peace was highly unpopular as the Norwegian Army had performed well and was conducting the war on Swedish soil. The Norwegian provinces had not been lost in war, but was sourrendered by the king during negotiations.

Frederick III was suffering under the humiliating loss of traditional Danish provinces to Sweden in 1645. As Charles X appeared to be fully occupied in Poland, Frederick III judged the time appropriate for recapture of the other Danish-Norwegian provinces. The King's Council agreed to war, a decision that led rapidly to ruin.

The Norwegian phase of the war went well. A Norwegian force of 2000 men recaptured Jemtland and Herjedalen. A Norwegian force set out from Bohuslen to join the Danish force invading Sweden from Skåne.

Reacting swiftly, by forced marches Charles X attacked Denmark with great success leaving the humiliated Danes with no choice but to sue for peace on any terms.

As a result, the Treaty of Roskilde was negotiated in 1658. The terms were brutal:

  • Denmark ceded the provinces of Skåne, Blekinge and Halland
  • Norway was forced to hand over Trøndelag and Bohuslen
  • Closing of the Sound to non-Swedish warships

Charles X did not keep the peace and in the remainder of the war the Norwegian army successfully defended Norway from Swedish attacks and recaptured Trøndelag. In the Treaty of Copenhagen Norway kept Trøndelag but the other Norwegian provinces were to remain with Sweden.

Gyldenløve War Edit

Simultaneously with the Danish invasion, an attack against Sweden was also launched from Norway, to force the Swedes to fight a two-front war. It was named after general Gyldenløve, who led the Norwegian offensive. Despite the defeat at Fyllebro, the successful invasion of Scania allowed Norwegian troops to capture Bohuslän. During the winter of 1677, the Norwegian army was increased to 17,000 men, allowing operations to increase further. Gyldenløve captured the fortress at Marstrand in July and joined forces with General Løvenhjelm. The Swedes mounted a counteroffensive under the command of Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie, sending an army of 8,000 to expel the Norwegian forces. They were defeated by the Norwegians, and pushed further back into Bohuslen. Simultaneously, Norwegian forces also retook Jemtland. However the war turned to Norway's disfavor when the Swedes succeeded in its attempts towards Denmark. Peace was negotiated between France (on behalf of Sweden) and Denmark at the Treaty of Fontainebleau on August 23, 1679. The peace, which was largely dictated by France, stipulated that all territory lost by Sweden during the war should be returned. Thus the terms formulated at the Treaty of Roskilde remained in force. It was reaffirmed by the Treaty of Lund, signed by Denmark-Norway and Sweden themselves. Denmark however received minor war reparations from Sweden. Again Norwegian provinces held by the Norwegian army at the conclusion of hostilities were surrendered by the Danish king in a treaty.

During September 1709 Norwegian forces were ordered to mobilise, and by the end of October 6,000 men were assembled on the Swedish border at Svinesund while 1,500 were congregated near the border at Kongsvinger.

In August 1710, Baron Løvendal arrived in Norway as governor and commander of a country much drained in resources by the wars of the past century. The governor threw himself into building the civil and military leadership in the country just a short march from Sweden. When he left Norway in 1712, he had instituted reforms that served to create a civil service in Norway, and proceeded to document state activities to a degree never before seen in Norway, as well as being a strong military leader.

Baron Løvendal raised and equipped a Norwegian army to invade and recapture the former Norwegian province of Bohuslän under the leadership of General-Lieutenant Caspar Herman Hausmann. In parallel he proposed a strong fleet to provide protection and transportation to seaward, and Frederick IV committed to providing such a force under Vice Admiral Sehested in June 1711. In August, the Norwegian army marched into Bohuslen. But by late summer the fleet Vice Admiral Sehested's fleet had not appeared offshore, having been ordered by Frederick IV to return to Baltic waters. Without naval support, the Norwegian Army was forced to return to Norway.

Great Northern War

While looking for possible wars that relate to the fall of the old world, i stumbled upon this rather unknown conflict from 1700-1721, while i never heard of it in school, there is still a lot of information about it.

First a short summary of the official story:

After the 30-years war, Sweden was the dominant power in the North, but being poorly populated compared to other empires, it relied mostly on its military force, and certain vital trading cities like Riga, as with many other norther conflicts before, this 21 year war was about controlling the baltic sea, and first Russia and it's allies attacked, the Swedes could hold off for a while until the Battle of Poltava turned the tide, but the war went on for many years, because the swedish king was stubborn and hungry for war, so that after his death in 1718, the already pointless war could come to its end in 1721, and Russia emerged as the most important victor.

This was just a translation of the german Wiki, and the pictures show star forts, where important battles of this war took place.

So we have this huge northern conflict, where the czarist Russia, fought against Sweden, but many other nations got involved, Netherlands, Prussia, England, Saxony and even the Osmanic empire, allied to the swedes, and some nations switched sides like Great Britain, which was also founded in the time of the war.
This was a major battle, that is related to the fall of Tartary, as from 1721 onward the Romanovs with Peter the Great, reigned in the now called "Russian Empire", but we don't see that on maps from that time:

These are from 1721 1730 and 1740 according to official sources.
We see that "Moscovie Europe", where the Romanovs reigned, is only a small part in Europa, and they still had to fight against the Golden Horde of Tartaria, or the "Muscovite Tartary" according to Formenko, which means, this war is connected to his theory.
A possible scenario might be that this war was a preparatory effort of the dark forces to destroy the Old World, because they had to control the trade route from Novgorod over the Hanseatic Cities and London all the way to Venice, that's why this war was fought to gain power in the baltic sea, as the official story states, and it started in Riga, and important trade city.

One major reason for this was to set the Romanovs up with enough supply routes in their fight against the Golden Horde, but that still doesn't answer why so many nations where involved so there is also the possibility that some events might have been misplaced and correlate to the period of the Atlantic Revolutions from ca 1750-1850, which are the destruction of the Old World, and also there is the connection to the 30-years war, which is another huge battle against the central part of the old world.

So, this just is another puzzle piece to consider, when we try to figure out the events of our past.

1701–1706: Poland-Lithuania/Saxony [ edit | edit source ]

Charles XII then turned south to meet his last undefeated opponent: Augustus II, Elector of Saxony, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Poland-Lithuania was formally neutral at this point, as August started the war as a king of Saxony. Disregarding Polish negotiation proposals supported by the Swedish parliament, Charles crossed into the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and decisively defeated the Saxe-Polish forces in the Battle of Klissow in 1702. This successful invasion enabled Charles XII to dethrone August II and coerce the Polish sejm to replace him with Stanisław Leszczyński in 1704. August II resisted, still possessing control of his native Saxony, but was decisively defeated at the Battle of Fraustadt in 1706, a battle sometimes compared to the Ancient Battle of Cannae due to the Swedish forces' use of double envelopment, with a deadly result for the Saxon army. August II was forced to sign the Treaty of Altranstädt in 1706 in which he made peace with the Swedish Empire, renounced his claims to the Polish–Lithuanian crown, accepted Stanisław Leszczyński as king, and ended his alliance with Russia. Patkul was also extradited and executed by breaking on the wheel in 1707, an incident which given his diplomatic immunity, infuriated opinion against the Swedish king, who then was expected to win the war against the only hostile power remaining, Tsar Peter's Russia. ⎠]

The Great Northern Railway was created in September 1889 from several predecessor railroads in Minnesota and eventually stretched from Lake Superior at Duluth and Minneapolis/St. Paul west through North Dakota, Montana and Northern Idaho to Washington State at Everett and Seattle. Headquarters for the line were located in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The line was the culmination of one man's dream, James Jerome Hill, the "Empire Builder" so-called because of his ability to create prosperous business where none previously existed.

The following four railroads merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad on March 2, 1970:

  • Great Northern Railway
  • Northern Pacific Railway
  • Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad
  • Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway

The Burlington Northern merged with the Santa Fe to form the current Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF Railway) on September 22, 1995.

For a more detailed history, read the following:


From the Public Relations Department, Great Northern Railway, St. Paul, Minnesota

The Great Northern Railway serves a vast, diversified and productive region -- the great Northwest.

On a system 8,316 miles in length, its trains carry freight, passengers, mail and express in the area between the Great Lakes and the Pacific Ocean. The railway operates in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California, and in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia.

Principal main lines extend from Lake Superior (Duluth and Superior) and the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis) of Minnesota to Puget Sound, on the Pacific Coast. These lines serve the grain, potato and sugar beet districts of the Red River Valley, North Dakota, Montana and eastern Washington the grain and cattle country of Montana, in addition to the oil, copper and lumbering industries of that state apple and soft fruit districts of the Wenatchee River Valley in Washington, and grain and pea-growing areas elsewhere in that state, and lumbering and fish packing centers of Puget Sound.

Other main lines serve the Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota, and the forests of south-central Oregon and northern California. The line serving southern Oregon and northern California is connected with the balance of Great Northern's system by trackage rights over lines of other companies, to form a north and south through route on the Pacific Coast and between the Northwest and California.

The Great Northern was founded by James J. Hill, "The Empire Builder." In 1912, upon retiring, he said: "Most men who have really lived have had, in some shape, their great adventure. This railway is mine."

Throughout his years of creating, encouraging and directing, Mr. Hill's creed was development of the resources of the region the railway served. He knew the railway could not prosper unless its territory prospered. That conception, that objective, has guided the Great Northern throughout its history.

Mr. Hill's "great adventure" began in 1856. Then 18 years of age, he left his birthplace, a farm carved from the forest by his parents near Rockwood, a settlement in eastern Ontario, Canada. He aspired to be a sea captain in Oriental commerce and headed for the Atlantic seaboard. Not finding a seafaring job, he started west to sign on a ship sailing to the Orient. En route he planned to visit a friend at Fort Garry, now Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The last ox-cart caravan of the season had left for the north before he arrived in July, 1856 at St. Paul, head of navigation on the Mississippi River. Mr. Hill had to find work for the winter and did, as shipping clerk in the office of a Mississippi River steamboat company. His career in transportation thus began.

The Minnesota legislature, eager for rail lines in its territory, granted charters as early as 1853 and issued one in 1857 to the Minnesota & Pacific Railroad Company. The latter provided for construction of a line from Stillwater, Minn., on the St. Croix River, to St. Paul, St. Anthony (now Minneapolis) and Breckenridge, and another by way of St. Cloud to St. Vincent on the Canadian border.

There were delays and difficulties. The St. Paul & Pacific Railroad Company acquired the Minnesota & Pacific's rights, completed the first ten miles of construction in Minnesota -- from St. Paul to St. Anthony, now Minneapolis -- and began regular operations on July 2, 1862.

Train equipment came up the Mississippi on barges. The pioneer wood-burning locomotive of the St. Paul & Pacific was named the William Crooks, after the railway's chief engineer. It still is No. 1 on the Great Northern's locomotive roster and is housed in St. Paul. In 1939 the William Crooks went to and returned from the New York World's Fair under its own power. On infrequent but memorable occasions now the locomotive and two cars, which are replicas of those it pulled in the early years, go on public display or make relatively short runs.

Mr. Hill watched and learned as rail expansion progressed slowly. In 1865 he entered the transportation field on his own account, to represent a steamboat line connecting with east-bound rails at lower Mississippi River points. A year later he was agent for the First Division of the St. Paul & Pacific. By 1870 he was in a partnership doing general business in wood, coal and commissions, and in another to operate a steamboat service on the Red River of the North.

Success here preceded acquisition in 1878 of the St. Paul & Pacific, and the First Division, St. Paul & Pacific. Mr. Hill interested three men in joining him. One was Norman W. Kittson the others were George Stephen, president of the Bank of Montreal who became Lord Mount Stephen, and Donald A. Smith, chief commissioner of the Hudson's Bay Company, later to become Lord Strathcona. The latter two subsequently gained fame as pioneer railway builders in Canada.

The properties were reorganized in 1879 as the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway Company. Settlers came. By 1881 the Manitoba company operated 695 miles of track. Rail reached west to Devils Lake, N. D. by 1885 and on some north and south branches. Colonization progressed and traffic grew. Montana was reached in 1887 to connect with other lines operating to the Pacific Northwest.

On September 18, 1889 the name of the old Minneapolis & St. Cloud Railroad Company was changed to Great Northern Railway Company. The latter, on February 1, 1890, took over properties of the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway Company and when 1890 ended was operating 3,260 miles. The Minneapolis & St. Cloud charter, issued in 1856, had been purchased by the Hill group in 1881.

The Rocky Mountains loomed ahead, and beyond, the Pacific. John F. Stevens, a locating engineer, was engaged to determine an easy, low-altitude route over the Rocky Mountains. He found Marias Pass, at, the headwaters of the Marias river in Montana. A bronze statue of the engineer as he appeared that wintry day in 1889 now stands at Summit, Mont., 12 miles west of Glacier Park station, within a stone's throw of Great Northern's passing transcontinental trains. Summit, 5,215 feet above sea level, is the highest point on the railway's transcontinental line.

Construction of the Pacific Coast extension westward from near Havre, Mont. began in 1890. The final spike was driven near Scenic, Wash., on January 6, 1893, completing the transcontinental project. By midsummer of 1893 Seattle and the East were linked by regular service.

Other development in the territory moved forward with main and branch line construction, for success of Mr. Hill's plans depended upon quick and sound colonization. He had to sell his country, to make good after the settler moved in. Only then would more settlers come.

Earlier Mr. Hill had sold and set up one of Minnesota's first threshing machines, handled the first shipment of Minnesota-grown wheat and from brown office paper cut a stencil for the label on the first barrel of Minnesota-milled flour. Now he advocated crop diversification, showed farmers how to improve methods. He imported purebred cattle from abroad and distributed them among the farmers. He laid his rails, then labored to create traffic for his trains.

Subsidies of large grants of land and cash had helped build earlier lines to the Pacific coast. Mr. Hill's venture was unique in that land grants or other government aids were neither sought nor given. Only government lands ever received by Mr. Hill's company were those attached to 600 miles of railway in Minnesota constructed by predecessor companies and acquired by purchase.

Expansion went on. Access was given to what proved to be the large iron ore deposits in Northern Minnesota. Increasing tonnage of ore was moved for the nation's iron and steel. Today Great Northern owns and operates the world's largest iron ore docks, at Superior, Wis. Here ore is loaded on Great Lakes vessels for shipment eastward.

Mileage exceeded 5,000 by 1901. An outlet to and from Chicago was needed. To provide this, Great Northern and the Northern Pacific Railway Company jointly acquired control of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad in 1901.

Great Northern and the Northern Pacific in 1905 formed the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway Company, which built a line between Spokane and Portland. Subsequently, that company acquired various lines in Oregon by purchase, lease and building.

Utilizing trackage rights, Great Northern began operating trains between Seattle and Portland in 1910.

In 1912 completion of Great Northern's Surrey cutoff, between Fargo and Surrey, N. D., reduced the transcontinental route by 52 miles.

In 1907 Mr. Hill left the railway's presidency to become chairman of the board. He retired in 1912 from the chairmanship and active direction of the railroad system his genius had created.

On May 29, 1916 Mr. Hill died in St. Paul, the headquarters city of the strong railway he had founded and developed. Thus ended the life span which began with his birth on September 16, 1838 in a log house on the Canadian frontier.

Fame as a transportation genius and "Empire Builder" has largely eclipsed Mr. Hill's other noteworthy accomplishments. He helped build the Canadian Pacific. His addresses on economic topics are well worth reading in the light of later history. He became an authority on agriculture and livestock. Experimental farms and credit facilities for producers were established. Conservation of natural resources was advocated. Many character-building and educational institutions carry on now with the aid of his endowments.

World War I and federal control of the nation's rail lines preceded the 1920-1930 period of extensive improvements to Great Northern's facilities. About $160,000,000 was spent in the decade.

An easier crossing of the Cascade mountains in Western Washington was completed in 1929. This included construction of the Cascade tunnel, 7.79 miles in length and longest railway tunnel today in the Western Hemisphere relocation of 43 miles of line, and electrification of 74 miles between Wenatchee and Skykomish, Wash. Maximum elevation in crossing the Cascades was reduced from 3,383 to 2,881 feet above sea level. Forty-three miles of steep and winding mountain trackage was replaced by 34 miles of easier, faster, electrified line. Electrified trackage today embraces the 74 miles of main line plus 21 of yards and sidings.

The original line built in the Cascades in 1892 was carried over the summit on a series of switchbacks, with maximum elevation of 4,059 feet above sea level. In 1900 a tunnel 2.63 miles in length was completed, reducing summit elevation to 3,383 feet. This bore, electrified in 1909, was supplanted by the tunnel completed in 1929.

The Empire Builder, the top transcontinental passenger train of the line, began operating in daily service between Chicago and the Pacific coast in 1929, soon after completion of the Cascade project. In 1947 and again in 1951 the Empire Builder name passed to a fleet of new transcontinental streamliners and the newest, third generation Empire Builder is the premier passenger train of the system.

The Great Northern system is known as "The Route of the Empire Builder." The basis of this is dual. It pays tribute to the memory and achievements of James J. Hill, widely known as "The Empire Builder." It also distinguishes the Empire Builder, the line's leading passenger train. Units of the train move eastward and westward constantly, through the large territory to which Mr. Hill devoted his life.

The first Great Northern train into Klamath Falls, Ore., was operated in 1928, after construction and acquisition of trackage. Construction from Klamath Falls to Bieber, Calif., gave a direct connection, through the Western Pacific, with San Francisco in 1931. Only freight service is maintained on this line.

Increased maintenance and improvement programs were inaugurated. When traffic soared from the low planes of the 1930's to ever-higher levels in the pre-war and war periods, Great Northern was ready for its big task.

The railway was busy as a military supply line in World War II. New yearly all-time records for freight traffic were set consecutively in 1942, 1943 and 1944, and for passenger volume in 1944 and 1945.

In the all-time record freight year of 1944, ton miles (a ton mile meaning movement of a ton of freight one mile) totaled 19,586,780,000. In the all-time record passenger year of 1945, passenger miles (each representing transportation of one passenger one mile) amounted to 1,305,138,000. In 1950 ton miles totaled 16,047,498,000 and passenger miles 494,307,000.

The heavy wartime traffic was handled by a growing number of diesel locomotives, as well as oil and coal-burning steam locomotives and by electric motive power in the Cascades area. Improvement of other railway facilities continued also, subject to wartime conditions.

The program of betterments has progressed steadily since the war ended. For example, during 1950 alone, the cash expenditure for property improvements was $34,842,588. Of this $7,860,589 went to fixed property and nearly $27,000,000 was invested in new equipment, chiefly locomotives and cars.

The railway in 1944 produced the American railroad industry's first plywood-steel-lumber boxcars, and thereafter constructed 2,000. Each is two tons lighter than earlier conventional steel boxcars.

Enlarging its fleet of electric locomotives in the Cascade mountains of Washington state, the railway in 1946 added two which are the largest of their kind ever built. The giants, each 101 feet long and developing 5,000 horsepower at the rail, are the world's largest single-cab electric locomotives.

Great Northern's galaxy of streamlined trains began to take form with the announcement in 1944-—during wartime--that five completely new Empire Builders would go into service between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest as soon as they could be constructed.

On February 23, 1947 these streamliners, each of 12 cars and a 4,000-horsepower, two-unit diesel-electric locomotive, began daily service. Great Northern was the first northern transcontinental system to inaugurate this streamliner service and the first among these lines to offer passenger service on a 45-hour schedule between Chicago on the east, and Seattle and Portland on the west.

These were the first completely new sleeper and coach transcontinental trains built in the nation after World War II ended and since before the United States entered the conflict.

Another completely new fleet of five Empire Builder streamliners—-the third generation under this name-—entered service on June 3, 1951. Each has 15 cars and a 4,500-horsepower, three-unit diesel-electric locomotive. This train, again presenting the most modern equipment and accommodations, took over the run and schedule of the predecessor Empire Builder fleet.

Also on June 3, 1951 the five streamliners that began operating in 1947, plus a sixth completely new train, were given the name of Western Star, and the Western Star became the companion train of the Empire Builder between Chicago on the east and Seattle and Portland on the west. Each Western Star has a basic length of 14 cars, and is drawn by a 4,500-horsepower, three-unit diesel-electric locomotive.

Thus travelers on Great Northern's transcontinental line have their choice of two daily streamliners both westward and eastward. Between Chicago and St. Paul the route of the Empire Builder and the Western Star is Burlington Lines, and between St. Paul and Seattle it is Great Northern. Between Spokane and Portland, cars from both streamliners are a part of connecting trains of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway.

When the initial transcontinental streamliner fleet took over the Empire Builder name in 1947, another famous Great Northern train name was revived—-to be retired once more in 1951.

In 1947 the Oriental Limited name was given to the six conventional-type trains which since 1929 had operated as the first-generation Empire Builder. When the fleet of Empire Builders that was new in 1947—the second generation of that train name—was re-named Western Star in 1951, the latter took over the run and schedule of the Oriental Limited and the latter name was dropped.

Oriental Limited first became a Great Northern name in 1905, when the train began operating as an important link with trade of the Orient in the empire-building era of James J. Hill. New equipment in 1924 added to its reputation as the finest train of the time. In 1931, two years after the first fleet bearing the Empire Builder title went into operation, the Oriental Limited was "honorably discharged" as a name train. The Oriental Limited designation then remained unused until the 1947 revival.

In June, 1950 three additional and completely new streamliners, each of five cars and diesel powered, began operating, all on schedules faster than previously effective. Two carry the International name and together make three round trips daily between Seattle and Vancouver, B. C. The third, the Red River, travels a round trip daily between St. Paul and Grand Forks, N. D.

Presidents of the Great Northern following James J. Hill have been Louis W. Hill Sr., 1907-1912 Carl R. Gray, 1912-1914 Louis W. Hill Sr., (who was chairman of the Board of Directors from 1912 to 1929), 1914-1919 Ralph Budd, 1919-1931 William P. Kenney, 1932-1939 Frank J. Gavin, (who became chairman of the Board of Directors in 1951), 1939-1951, and since 1951 John M. Budd.

Throughout the years, the railway's Department of Agricultural and Mineral Development has been active in behalf of Great Northern's territory. With agents at various points, the department furthers diversification, development of new crops and markets, irrigation in areas of inadequate precipitation, conservation and restoration of soil fertility, and other beneficial agricultural practices. Another phase of the department's work concerns mineral resources and their development.

An Industrial Department fosters industrial opportunities and development in the territory. In 1950 new industries established along Great Northern tracks approximated 275.

The Great Northern is the only railway serving Glacier National Park, in Montana. This third largest national park, which is on the railway's main line, was established by Congress in 1910. The affiliated Glacier Park Company operates hotels, chalets and several other services in the park. The Rocky Mountain goat, often seen by park visitors, is the well-known trade mark of the railway.

As 1951 began freight-train cars numbered 43,897 and passenger-train cars 822. Locomotives totaled 844, including 568 steam, 261 diesel-electric and 15 all-electric.

Use of diesel-electric motive power has expanded steadily, and 80 of these locomotives were added during 1950. In 1950 diesel-electrics handled 44 per cent of the railway's freight service in terms of gross ton miles, 82 per cent of passenger service measured in passenger car miles and 71 per cent of yard switching based on locomotive hours.

Through a program of reducing the company's funded debt and fixed charges, annual interest charges were the lowest in 50 years as 1948 ended. This was increased slightly in 1949 and 1950 due to extensive equipment purchases.

The railway had an average of 28,490 full-time employes in 1950. Total payroll for the year was $105,847,930, while taxes were $34,458,432. Net income for 1950 was $28,184,939. On November 21, 1950, the company's 3,092,561 shares of capital stock were owned by 33,655 stockholders, whose holdings averaged 92 shares.

The diversified character of the territory served and traffic carried is revealed in the following analysis of Great Northern freight revenues by commodity groups in 1950: Products of agriculture, 26.4 per cent animals and products, 2.2 products of mines, 18.4 products of forests, 14.1 manufactures and miscellaneous, 35.7 all less than carload freight, 3.2 per cent.


Finland was left largely to fend for itself after the disaster of Poltava in 1709. Russia captured Viborg (Russian: Выборг (Vyborg), Finnish: Viipuri) in 1710 and already in 1712 started their first campaign to capture Finland which ended in failure. [1] A more organized campaign starting in 1713 managed to capture Helsinki/Helsingfors and drive defending Swedes away from the coast. [2] The Swedish army in Finland was defeated in Storkyro (Isokyrö) in February 1714 where the Russians won a decisive victory. [3] Swedish efforts to hinder the Russian advance by blockading the coastal sea route at Hangö ended in failure in late July in battle of Gangut. The presence of a Russian galley fleet in the Gulf of Bothnia forced, in the end, both the Swedish fleet and army to largely abandon Finland in late 1714. [4] Even the Swedish areas on the western side of the Gulf of Bothnia were ravaged by the Russians. The city of Umeå was burned to the ground by the Russians on 18 September 1714, and after struggling to rebuild was razed again in 1719, 1720, and 1721.

After the victory in Battle of Storkyro, Mikhail Golitsyn was appointed the governor of Finland. Finns began waging partisan warfare against the Russians. As retaliation, the Finnish peasants were forced to pay large contributions to the occupying Russians (as was the custom in that time). Plundering and raping was widespread, especially in Ostrobothnia and in communities near the major roads. Churches were looted, Isokyrö was burned to the ground. A scorched earth zone several hundred kilometers wide was burned to hinder Swedish counteroffensives. At least 5,000 Finns were killed and some 10,000 taken away as slaves, of whom only a few thousand would ever return [5] According to newer research, the amount of those killed is closer to 20,000. [6] Newer research also estimates the number of enslaved children and women to be closer to 30,000. [7] Thousands, especially officials, also fled to the (relative) safety of Sweden. The poorer peasants hid in the woods to avoid the ravages of the occupiers and their press-gangs. [8] Atrocities were at their worst between 1714 and 1717 when the Swedish Count Gustaf Otto Douglas, who had defected to the Russian side during the war, was in charge of the occupation.

In addition to the predations of the Russian occupants, Finland was struck – as were most other Baltic countries at the time – by the plague. In Helsinki, 1,185 people died: nearly two-thirds of the population. Plague already had struck Finland before the Russian invasion, sapping the strength of Sweden in Finland. [8]

It took several decades for the Finnish population and economy to recover after the peace in 1721, at which point Finland was scourged again during the war of 1741–43, although less devastatingly.


First Northern War (1656–1660) Edit

The First Northern War (also Second or Little Northern War) was a conflict that took place from 1655 to 1661 between Poland, Sweden and Russia for supremacy in the Baltic states. Brandenburg fought initially on the side of Sweden against Poland, but changed sides, after Poland granted its prince-elector sovereignty over the Duchy of Prussia in the Treaty of Wehlau on 19 September 1657. Brandenburg succeeded in gaining ultimate sovereignty over the Duchy of Prussia and proved itself during the war as an important military and political power.

Battle Date Remarks
Battle of Warsaw 28–30 July 1656 In this battle the Brandenburg army, together with Sweden, defeated the far larger Polish–Crimean Tartar army.

Swedish-Brandenburg War (1674–1679) Edit

The Swedish-Brandenburg War was part of the Franco-Dutch War, and was a conflict between the Electorate of Brandenburg and Kingdom of Sweden for the domination of Pomerania. In this war, Sweden was an ally of France, whilst Brandenburg-Prussia, together with Austria, Denmark and Spain, fought on the side of the Dutch. At the end of 1674, Swedish troops invaded Brandenburg, but were successfully repulsed by the Brandenburg army.

Battle Date Remarks
Battle of Rathenow 15 June 1675 Brandenburg troops won the first battle of the Swedish-Brandenburg War by ousting the Swedish garrison at Rathenow.
Battle of Nauen 17 June 1675 The Battle of Nauen was fought between the Brandenburg-Prussian vanguard and Swedish rearguard on the assembly areas of the Battle of Fehrbellin that took place the following day.
Battle of Fehrbellin 18 June 1675 The battle was a rearguard action, in which Brandenburg decisively defeated the Swedish army.
Great Sleigh Drive Winter 1678 A clever manoeuvre by Frederick William, which drove Sweden out of Brandenburg-Prussia again.

Great Turkish War (1683–1699) Edit

Battle Date Remarks
Siege of Buda mid-June – 2 September 1686 A 74,000 man Christian force (including 8,000 Brandenburg troops) besieged the (Turkish) Hungarian capital of Buda (German: Ofen) in mid-June 1686. A Turkish Army came to relieve Buda in mid-August, but its commander shied away from a major attack on the victorious army. As a result, on 2 September 1686, the fortifications were successfully stormed.

Spanish War of Succession (1701–1714) Edit

In the Crown Treaty signed on 16 November 1700, Elector Frederick III had undertaken to provide a body of 8,000 men for the impending Spanish War of Succession for Emperor Leopold I. In return, the emperor promised that Frederick's future self-coronation as "King in Prussia" would be recognised across Europe and the Holy Roman Empire. The coronation took place on 18 January 1701 in Königsberg and from April 1701 the now entitled Royal Prussian Contingent deployed to the Lower Rhine at Wesel. In April 1702 it took part in hostilities for the first time at the Siege of Kaiserswerth.

Battle Date Remarks
First Battle of Höchstädt 20 September 1703 French and Bavarian troops won a convincing victory over a force of Austrian and imperial troops under Count Styrum. Only the resistance of Prussian units (6,000 men) under Leopold I of Anhalt-Dessau prevented the complete disintegration of the Austrian and imperial formations.
Second Battle of Höchstädt 13 August 1704 Units of the Prussian Army (9,000 men) fought successfully in the imperial army under the command of Louis William of Baden together with allied English-Dutch troops against the French army.
Battle of Cassano 16 August 1705 A French army defeated an Austrian–Prussian force. The Prussian contingent was badly decimated in this battle by the actions of the Austrians, nevertheless Prussia was able to ease the pressured on the besieged city of Turin, enabling the city to hold out until it was relieved.
Battle of Turin 7 September 1706 An allied Army, consisting of Austrians, Prussian (under the leadership of Leopold I of Anhalt-Dessau) and Italians, broke the Siege of Turin by the French and forced the French to withdraw fully from North Italy.
Battle of Oudenaarde 11 July 1708 A 70,000 strong army from Prussia, Britain and the Dutch Republic, under the command of Eugen of Savoy and the Duke of Marlborough defeated the French at Oudenaarde in Belgium.
Battle of Malplaquet 11 September 1709 Prussian troops fought and were victorious as part of an allied army, consisting of Austrians, Dutch and British, against the French. This battle resulted in very high losses for the allies.

Great Northern War (1700–1721) Edit

After the death of his father, King Frederick William I joined the coalition against the Swedish king, Charles XII, with the aim of capturing the Swedish territories in Pomerania. As a result, the Prussian occupied Stettin in 1713. In November 1714, when Charles XII took personal command of Swedish Pomerania, the Prussian Army, together with the Saxons and Danes, was able to force him back to Stralsund in 1715–16 during the Pomeranian campaign and besiege him there. After the end of the war Prussia gained Stettin, Usedom and all territories south of the Peene.

Battle Date Remarks
Pomeranian Campaign (1711–15) 1 May 1715 – 19 April 1716 An allied army consisting of Prussia, Denmark and Saxony conquered all of Swedish-Pomerania

Austrian War of Succession (1740–1748) Edit

First Silesian War (1740–1742) Edit

In 1740, in the first year of his reign and shortly after his coronation Frederick II sent the Prussian Army to invade Austrian-ruled Silesia and so precipitated the First Silesian War and, in its broader sense, the Austrian War of Succession. Because Prussia allied itself with Bavaria, France, Saxony, the Electorate of Cologne, Spain, Sweden and Naples, whilst Prussia's main enemy, Austria allied itself with Great Britain, Sardinia, the Netherlands and Russia. For Prussia, the war was restricted to Silesia, and was able to capture the province after several victories.

Battle Date Remarks
Storming of Glogau 8 February 1741
Battle of Baumgarten 27 February 1741
Battle of Mollwitz 10 April 1741 The battle took place between a 24,000 strong Prussian army under Frederick II and a 20,000 strong Austrian army. Although both sides made serious military blunders in the course of the battle (it was Frederick's first), Frederick II succeeded in gaining victory.
Battle of Lesch 16 February 1742
Battle of Chotusitz 17 May 1742 In this battle on 17 May 1742, 23,500 Prussians under Frederick II were victorious over 28,000 Austrians under Prince Charles of Lorraine. The latter wanted to ambush the Prussians, but found them in battle formation. His left flank was attacked by Frederick II and beaten. This battle immediately led to the Treaty of Breslau.

Second Silesian War (1744–1745) Edit

The Second Silesian War was also part of the Austrian War of Succession, but also a war fought for supremacy in Silesia between Prussia and Austria. Frederick II had allied himself at that time with France. Austria formed an alliance with Saxony, Great Britain and the Netherlands. In August 1744, Prussia ambushed Bohemia with 80,000 soldiers and thereby opened the Second Silesian War. After several hard battles, it was agreed in the Treaty of Dresden that Silesia would always remain in Prussian hands.

Battle Date Remarks
Battle of Teltschitz 19 November 1744
Battle of Pless 27 November 1744
Battle of Ratibor 9 February 1745
Battle of Hohenfriedeberg 4 June 1745 In this battle in Silesia, Prussian troops under the leadership of Frederick II won a decisive victory against an equally strong army from Austria and Saxony.
Battle of Soor 30 September 1745 The Prussians, with 19,000 men under Frederick II, defeated Austria and Saxony with 32,000 men commanded by Prince Charles of Lorraine.
Battle of Hennersdorf 23 November 1745 A Prussian Army under command of Frederick the Great defeated a Saxon army led by General Buchner.
Battle of Zittau 27 November 1745
Battle of Kesselsdorf 15 December 1745 A Prussian army under command of Leopold I of Dessau defeated the allied Austrians and Saxons under Field Marshal Rutowski. The Battle of Kesselsdorf was the last victory by the Old Dessauer and decided the war in favour of Prussia.

Seven Years' War (1756–1763) Edit

Third Silesian War (1756–1763) Edit

The Seven Years' War, fought between Prussia and Great Britain on one side and Austria, France, Sweden and Russia on the other, involved all the great European powers of the time. In the Third Silesian War (the Austrian-Prussian theatre), Austria's goal was the reconquest of Silesia, but Frederick II pre-empted his enemies, and on 29 August 1756 crossed the border of Saxony without a prior declaration of war. Military success alternated and the Prussian army faced defeat in the end, in spite of major victories. On 15 February 1763 the Peace of Hubertusburg was signed between Prussia and its opponents. The status quo ante was restored. The war established Prussia as the fifth major power in Europe, but Prussia lost 180,000 soldiers during the war.

Battle Date Remarks
Siege of Pirna 11 September – 14 October 1756
Battle of Lobositz 1 October 1756
Battle of Reichenberg 21 April 1757
Battle of Prague (1757) 6 May 1757
Siege of Prague May 1757
Battle of Kolín 18 June 1757
Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf 30 August 1757
Battle of Moys 7 September 1757
1757 raid on Berlin 16 October 1757
Battle of Rossbach 5 November 1757
Battle of Breslau (1757) 22 November 1757
Battle of Leuthen 5 December 1757
Siege of Breslau (1757) 7–20 December 1757
Battle of Rheinberg 12 June 1758
Battle of Krefeld 23 June 1758
Battle of Domstadtl 30 June 1758
Siege of Olomouc 1758
Battle of Zorndorf 25 August 1758
Battle of Tornow 26 September 1758
Battle of Fehrbellin (1758) 28 September 1758
Battle of Hochkirch 14 October 1758
Battle of Güstow 18 November 1758
Battle of Peterswalde 14–20 April 1759
Battle of Kay 23 July 1759
Battle of Kay 23 July 1759
Battle of Kunersdorf 12 August 1759
Battle of Frisches Haff 10 September 1759
Battle of Maxen 20 November 1759
Battle of Meissen 4 December 1759
Battle of Landeshut (1760) 23 June 1760
Siege of Glatz 7 June – 26 July 1760
Siege of Dresden July 1760
Battle of Liegnitz (1760) 15 August 1760
Battle of Strehla 20 August 1760
Battle of Pasewalk 3 October 1760
Battle of Kloster Kampen 15 October 1760
Raid on Berlin October 1760
Battle of Torgau 3 November 1760
Battle of Langensalza (1761) 15 February 1761
Siege of Cassel (1761) March 1761
Battle of Grünberg 21 March 1761
Battle of Villinghausen 15–16 July 1761
Battle of Neuensund 18 September 1761
Battle of Neukalen 2 January 1762
Battle of Wilhelmsthal 24 June 1762
Battle of Burkersdorf 21 July 1762
Battle of Freiberg 29 October 1762

First Partition of Poland (1772) Edit

Overall, Prussia gained 36,000 km 2 and about 600,000 people. According to Jerzy Surdykowski Frederick the Great soon introduced German colonists on territories he conquered and engaged in Germanization of Polish territories.

War of the Bavarian Succession (1778–1779) Edit

The War of the Bavarian Succession was fought between Prussia, Saxony and Bavaria on one side and Austria on the other.

Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1792–1815) Edit

The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars were a series of conflicts in the late 18th and early 19th centuries between Revolutionary France and later the French Empire and coalitions of various European states. Prussia was a member of three of the six anti-French coalitions.

War of the First Coalition (1792-1795) Edit

The War of the First Coalition saw the monarchies of Europe, led by Austria, opposed to revolutionary France. It lasted from 1793 to 1797, though Prussia made peace in 1795.

Battle Date Remarks
Battle of Valmy 20 September 1792 A French army defeated a 35,000 strong Prussian force. The French went onto the offensive in the first coalition war. The strategically rather unimportant battle is of historical significance because the revolutionary soldiers of France withstood for the first time a massive onslaught by opposing troops and saved the revolution.
Siege of Mainz 14 April – 23 July 1793 Prussian troops and allied German troops besieged the French-occupied town. At the end, 19,000 French soldiers surrendered to the allies and withdrew.
Battle of Pirmasens 14 September 1793 was a battle between French troops on the one hand and Prussian and Austrian troops on the other, which ended in victory for the allies. After heavy fighting, the battle was decided by attacking Prussian troops under the command of Lieutenant General Wilhelm de Courbière.

War of the Fourth Coalition (1806-1807) Edit

The War of the Fourth Coalition saw Prussia and her allies in conflict with France over concerns about the formation of the Confederation of the Rhine and the expansion of Napoleon’s influence into Germany. It ended with the defeat of the coalition a year later.

Battle Date Remarks
Battle of Saalfeld 10 October 1806 The battle took place between a French and a Prussian-Saxon army and ended with the defeat of the Prussians. The battle had no strategic influence on the course of the campaign, but the effect of the battle on the morale of the Prussians was considerable. In the night of 10–11 October 1806 disorder and panic broke out amongst the troops. Saxon and Prussian troops of the Hohenlohe Corps mistook each other for French troops and shot at one another.
Battle of Jena and Auerstedt 14 October 1806 One of the most devastating defeats of the Prussian army. Over 10,000 Prussian and Saxon soldiers lost their lives. The defeat was a bitter blow to the Prussian-Saxon army, but the battle itself did not lead to a disaster. Not until the retreat did the troops get into such confusion that they could no longer be controlled in an orderly way and a large number of troops deserted.
Battle of Lübeck 6 November 1806 French troops under Nicolas-Jean de Dieu Soult were victorious against a 21,000 strong Prussian army under the command of von Blücher. He had to surrender with 8,000 remaining soldiers on 7 November.
Siege of Graudenz 22 January – 11 December 1807 France and its allies besieged a Prussian fortress held by Wilhelm René de l'Homme de Courbière. The siege was continued months past the Peace of Tilsit and lifted only after the borders between Prussia and the new Duchy of Warsaw were set.
Battle of Eylau 7–8 February 1807 Was a battle between the French and the allies, Prussia and Russia. The battle ended indecisively. As the fight appeared to be going in favour of the French, the Prussian corps under Colonel Scharnhorst with 8,000 men entered the fray, following a forced march on Preußisch Eylau, and struck the right flank of the French units. As a result, the Russian left flank was able to hold, and the French had to pull back.
Siege of Kolberg 14 March – 2 July 1807 Was one of the biggest Prussia victories of the war. The fortress was able to hold out until the armistice. As a result, the names of Gneisenau, Schill and Nettelbeck became famous. This celebrated event was used by Prussian reformers as an argument for the necessity of involving ordinary citizens in the affairs of the state.
Siege of Danzig 19 March – 24 May 1807 France besieged the Prussian port city which eventually capitulated. Afterwards it was declared as Free City of Danzig.
Battle of Heilsberg 10 June 1807
Battle of Friedland 14 June 1807

War of the Sixth Coalition (1813–1814) Edit

The War of the Sixth Coalition saw a re-vitalized Prussia join the allies against the French in 1813, resulting in France’s defeat in 1814. The German campaign covers all the military engagements that took place from 1813 to 1815 between the troops of Napoleonic France and the allies, consisting of Prussia, Austria, Russia, Sweden and Great Britain. After the liberation of the German nations, the winter campaign of 1814 ended with the abdication of Napoleon and the First Treaty of Paris.

Battle Date Remarks
Battle of Lützen 2 May 1813 Napoleon lured the Prussian and Russian armies in this battle into a trap. The Prussians and Russians had to retreat after a day of heavy fighting.
Battle of Bautzen 20–21 May 1813 During the retreat of the Prussian-Russian army Napoleon attacked again at Bautzen. Although the French were only able to win terrain, this battle is seen as a victory for Napoleon.
Battle of Großbeeren 23 August 1813 The Prussian army under the command of Blücher defeated a French army under the command of Marshals Reynier and Oudinot. After this defeat, Reynier and Oudinot decided to retreat to Wittenberg. The attack by Napoleon's forces on Berlin had failed the Prussian capital escaped being conquered by the enemy.
Battle of Katzbach 26 August 1813 The battle was an accidental encounter between French forces under the command of Marshal MacDonald and Prussian forces under Blücher. It ended in victory for the Prussian army.
Battle of Dresden 26–27 August 1813 The outcome of the battle was a French victory under Napoleon against the allied forces of the Austrians, Russians and Prussians under the command of Field Marshal Schwarzenberg.
Battle of Hagelberg 27 August 1813 The battle took place as a consequence of the Battle of Großbeeren. A Prussian contingent (3,500 regular soldiers, 8,000 militia) under General von Hirschfeld defeated a French corps (about 10,000 men strong). Only about 3,000 Frenchmen reached Magdeburg. The battle, actually just a skirmish, was one of the first times the newly formed militia was deployed, and confirmed the value of this force.
Battle of Kulm 29–30 August 1813 A 32,000-strong army of French, under command of General Vandamme, lost to an allied army of Austrians, Prussians and Russians.
Battle of Dennewitz 6 September 1813 In this battle, Prussian troops of the Northern Army, which was under the command of the Swedish Crown Prince, Charles XIV John, defeated the French army and their allies, the Saxons. The victory prevented Napoleon finally from escaping to Berlin, and was an important precursor to the Battle of Leipzig.
Battle of the Göhrde 16 September 1813 A Prussian contingent (12,300 men) defeated a 3,000-strong French unit under the command of General Pécheux.
Battle of Leipzig 16–19 October 1813 In this battle, the troops of Emperor Napoleon fought the allies: Russia, Prussia and Austria. Napoleon's defeat marked the end of French rule in Germany. The Prussian army suffered 17,200 dead and wounded, in the battle.
Battle of Brienne 29 January 1814 The battle was a victory by the French against a Prussian–Russian army under Blücher.
Battle of La Rothière 1 February 1814 A 110,000 strong Prussian army defeated a 40,000 strong French army under Napoleon.
Battle of Montmirail 11 February 1814 A 20,000 strong French army under Napoleon won against the Russian and Prussian troops.
Battle of Château Thierry 12 February 1814 The Prussian–Russian troops lost this battle to French troops under Napoleon.
Battle of Vauchamps 14 February 1814 18,000 French under Napoleon defeated a 30,000 strong army under Blücher.
Battle of Craonne 7 March 1814 The French troops won a victory against the Prussian and Russian armies.
Battle of Laon 9–10 March 1814 The Battle of Laon was a victory by the Prussian Army under Blücher against the French Army of the North in France.
Battle of Paris 30–31 March 1814 The defeat of the French against Prussian, Austrian and Russian armies in this battle led to Napoleon's immediate abdication.

War of the Seventh Coalition (1815) Edit

The War of the Seventh Coalition, also called the Hundred Days, occurred in the summer of 1815. Following the short-lived return of Napoleon, his reign was finally ended following his defeat against Great Britain and their Prussian allies in the Waterloo Campaign.

Battle Date Remarks
Battle of Ligny 16 June 1815 Ligny was Napoleon's last victory. He was able to defeat Blücher's Prussian troops, but not completely destroy them. This was to have fatal consequences for him at Waterloo.
Battle of Waterloo 18 June 1815 The battle was the last and decisive battle of the Napoleonic Wars and ended in a victory for the allied Anglo–Prussian force under Blücher and Wellington. Napoleon Bonaparte had to resign as a result and was exiled to St. Helena. As a result, this battle is one of the most important battles in world history.
Battle of Wavre 18–19 June 1815 This battle marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars and was fought between the Prussian rearguard under Johann von Thielmann and three French corps under Emmanuel de Grouchy. This fighting successfully prevented the intervention of these French units in the battle of Waterloo which might have been helped Napoleon to avoid defeat.

First Schleswig War (1848–1851) Edit

The First Schleswig War was the first military conflict over the Schleswig-Holstein question, which was about who should rule over the Duchy of Schleswig. The warring parties were, on the one hand the German movement in the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein in conjunction with the majority of nations in the German Confederation (including Prussia), and on the other hand the State of Denmark. The war was indecisive, so that, 13 years later, the next war broke out.

Battle Date Remarks
Battle of Schleswig 23 April 1848

Second Schleswig War (1864) Edit

The Second Schleswig War (also the German-Danish War) was a military conflict for the Duchy of Schleswig between the German Confederation and the Kingdom of Denmark. The war ended with the defeat of the Danes. The two victorious powers, Austria and Prussia, initially owned and ruled jointly over the duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg. The strained relationship between the two states worsened however in the period that followed, until finally the Austro-Prussian War broke out in 1866.

Battle Date Remarks
Battle of Dybbøl 18 April 1864 The battle was the decisive engagement of the Second Schleswig War. The ten fieldworks at Dybbøl were stormed after a siege of almost five weeks on 18 April 1864 by Prussia under Prince Frederick Charles.
Battle of Alsen 29 June 1864 Prussia under Herwarth von Bittenfeld conquered Alsen after a night attack against the Danish army. The battle was the last major event of this war. The Danish army lost 3,000 dead, wounded and captured.
Battle of Lundby 23 July 1864 The battle was the last in the Second Schleswig War. The result was a clear defeat for Denmark. The Danish side lost 32 dead, 44 wounded and 20 prisoners, whilst Prussian losses were only three wounded.

Austro-Prussian War (1866) Edit

The Austro-Prussian War was a military conflict between Austria and Prussia. The war was fought for supremacy in the German lands (aside from Switzerland). It ended with a victory for Prussia (and its allies) over Austria (and its allies) and the dissolution of the German Confederation. Prussia thereby assumed political supremacy over Austria amongst the German nations and founded the North German Confederation.


Over the winter of 1500-01 the allies picked over the bones of their victory. The outcome of the 'Second Congress of Fjallasay' was praised as restraining the Algonquin but effectively dismembered their kingdom.

The whole of their holdings south of the Breduras were divided up between Six Nations and Abernakriga who would use the new trading links on the river to help build impressive merchant led economies in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Both Atikamekwia and Vinland gorged themselves on western Algonquinland, confiscating almost half of its old territory. By this Fjallasay was finally linked up to the rest of Nor-Hafsvaedaland by a land route. Finally Quebec itself was occupied by Atikamekwia and Vinland while the Algonquins abandoned their fortresses to their new owners. Eventually the Algonquins bought back a large part of their kingdom in the mid-1600s thanks to the proceeds of mining ventures.

Although all powerful now on the Kanien'gehaga River the Álengsk Althing balked at annexing Kanienmark outright, for much the same reason it could not absorb any Powhatan or Dasamongueponk territory either the severe political divisions generally stopped any earldom getting too powerful and it was said even another acre of land for any earl would start a new civil war. Therefore a pro-Álengsk puppet king was merely installed on the throne and various harsh laws imposed upon the people. This crushing of Kanienmark's independence would spread the Kainen'gehaga people out across North-East Leifia. They formed a significant minority in Vinland helping to develop the new lands of Nor-Hafsvaedaland. This diaspora would eagerly absorb Lutheranism, as much as a reaction to the Catholicism of the Álengsk as a genuine calling, and by the time of the Leifian War of Religion the Kanien'gehuga were ready and willing to violently reassert their independence.

Watch the video: Great Northern War. 3 Minute History (May 2022).