Denmark between Britain and FranceTheme
Hostage of the great powers
Throughout the 18th century, France and Britain were locked in an intense rivalry that led to several wars in Europe and in their colonies – particularly in North America. Many other European states took part in the wars as part of shifting alliances. Denmark's neutrality, meanwhile, benefitted its exporters and shippers, who were able to take over market shares lost by warring countries. Copenhagen and the growing Danish middle class prospered during the 18th century thanks to the blossoming trade. But the commercial success brought Denmark into conflict with Britain, which accused Danish ships of not living up to their neutrality.
The Battle of Copenhagen
In 1773, Denmark entered into a League of Armed Neutrality with Russia in order to have an ally against Sweden. By declaring war on Britain in 1800, however, Russia left Denmark in an impossible situation: go to war against Britain or risk a Swedish invasion of Norway. The answer came on 2…