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The Northern Wars 

The Swedish victory at Narva, November 20th 1700

The Great Northern War (and the Russo-Turkish War, 1710-11, a part of the Great Northern War) was the war fought between a coalition of Russia, Denmark-Norway and Saxony-Poland (from 1715 also Prussia and Hanover) on one side and Sweden on the other side from 1700 to 1721. It started by a coordinated attack on Sweden by the coalition in 1700, and ended 1721 with the conclusion of the Treaty of Nystad, and the Stockholm treaties. As a result of the war, Russia supplanted Sweden as the dominant power on the Baltic sea and became a major player in European politics.

Between 1560 and 1660, Sweden conquered a Baltic empire centered on the Gulf of Finland and comprising the provinces of Karelia, Ingria, Estonia, Livonia. During the Thirty Years' War Sweden gained tracts in Germany as well, including Western Pomerania, Wismar, Bremen, and Verden. During the same period southern Sweden was reconquered from Denmark (1645; 1660). This stunning series of victories was generally due to the training of the army, which was far more professional than most continental armies, and could maintain much higher rates of fire due to constant training with their firearms.

In 1617 Sweden's gains in the Treaty of Stolbova had deprived Russia of direct access to the Baltic sea, and internal strife during the first half much of the 1600's meant that they were never in a position to challenge Sweden for these gains. Russian fortunes reversed during the later half of the 17th century, notably with the rise to power of Peter the Great, who looked to address the earlier losses and re-establish a Baltic presence. In the late 1690s he allied himself with Denmark and Saxony-Poland, both of whom had also lost territory to Sweden, and in 1700 the three powers attacked.

The early part of the war consisted of a continual string of Swedish victories under Charles XII. Denmark was defeated in the summer of 1700 in what was to be the first major battle of the war, and so badly beaten that she could not participate in the war for a number of years. Russia was next, and suffered a crushing defeat in the Battle of Narva in November, and was also knocked out of the war for years. The pace slowed when Charles turned his attention to Saxony-Poland, and it was not until 1706-1707 that he was able to finally defeat Augustus the Strong, who was temporarily deposed.

During the years between 1700 and 1707, Peter rebuilt his army in the modern style, based primarily on infantry drilled in the use of firearms. Charles was forced to invade Russia again in 1708, but became trapped in the Ukraine for the winter, and the abilities of his force was sapped by the cold weather. When the campaign started again in spring 1/3rd of his force had been lost, and he was badly defeated by Peter in the Battle of Poltava, eventually fleeing to the Ottoman Empire and spending five years in exile.

However this shattering defeat did not end the war, although it decided it. Peter continued his campaigns in the Baltics, and built up a powerful navy in the newly formed city of St. Petersburg. Though Charles returned from the Ottoman Empire and resumed personal control of the war effort, he had little time to accomplish anything before his death in 1718. Over the next few years little changed, but a series of raids on Sweden itself demonstrated that there was little fight left, and soon Prussia and Hanover entered the war in the hope of gaining territory when peace was made. Eventually a series of massive seaborne invasions of the Swedish homeland forced the issue.

The war was finally concluded in 1721. Sweden lost all of her "overseas" holdings gained in the 17th century, and ceased to be one of the most powerful countries in the region. Russia gained all of her Baltic territories, and from then on was the major power in the east.

From http://en.wikipedia.org

Extensive information on the major battles and campaigns of the Great Northern War can be found as part of these articles:

Below is a listing of the Battles of the Great Northern War in chronological order. The victor(-s) are listed first, followed by the defeated (with thanks to Ken Sharman)
Dates may not match your own references as many nations were on different calendars at the time. Discrepancies of up to 2 weeks are possible. Ken has used the dates according to the Swedish calendar at the time.

Battle, combatants and victors
November  20th 1700 Narva between Sweden (Karl XII) and Russia (du Croy)
1701 June 6
Dvina (Düna) between Sweden (Karl XII) and Saxony (A H von Steinau)
1701 Sep 5
Rappin between Russia (M Scheremetjev) and Sweden (H H von Liewen)
1701 Sep 5
Rauge between Sweden (W A von Schlippenbach) and Russia (B Scheremetjev)
1701 Dec 30
Erestfer between Russia (B Scheremetjev) and Sweden (W A von Schlippenbach)
1702 July 7
Kliszów between Sweden (Karl XII) and Saxony (August II)
1702 July 19
Hummelshof between Russia (B Scheremetjev) and Sweden (W A von Schlippenbach)
1703 Mar 19
Saladen between Sweden (A L Lewenhaupt) and Russia ()
1703 Apr 21
Pultusk between Sweden (Karl XII) and Saxony (Steinau)
1703 July 9
Systerbäck between Sweden () and Russia ()
1704 July 26
Jakobstadt between Sweden () and Russia ()
Punitz (Poniec) between Sweden (Karl XII) and Saxony (J M von der Schulenburg)
1705 Jul 21
Warszawa between Sweden () and Saxony ()
1705 Jul 16
Gemäuerthof between Sweden (A L Lewenhaupt) and Russia (B Scheremetjev)
1706 Feb 3
Fraustadt between Sweden (Rehnskiöld) and Saxony (J M von der Schulenburg)
1706 Oct 19
Kalisz between Sweden (Mardefelt) and Saxony (August II) & Russia (Menschikov)
Wesenberg between Sweden () and Russia ()
1708 July 4
Holowszyn between Sweden (Karl XII) and Russia ()
1708 Aug 30
Malatitze between Sweden (C G Roos) and Russia ()
1708 Sep 10
Rajowka between Sweden (Karl XII) and Russia ()
1708 Sep 29
Liesna between Russia (Peter I) and Sweden (A L Lewenhaupt)
1708 Nov
Kolkanpää between Sweden () and Russia ()
1709 Jan 7
Veprik between Russia () and Sweden (karl XII)    (Actually a siege and will be put in the upcoming Siege section)
1709 Jun 28
Poltava between Russia (Peter I) and Sweden (C G Rehnskiöld)
1710 Feb 28
Hälsingborg between Sweden (M Stenbock) and Denmark (Rantzau)
1712 Dec 9
Gadebusch (Wakenstädt) between Sweden (M Stenbock) and Denmark (Scholten) & Saxony(Flemming)
1713 Oct 6
Pälkäne (Koljonvirta) between Russia (Apraksin) and Sweden (C G Armfelt)
1714 Feb 19 Storkyro (Napue, Isokyrö) between Russia (Golitzyn) and Sweden (C G Armfelt)
1715 Nov 4 Stresow between Denmark (Dewitz), Saxony() and Prussia (Anhalt-Dessau) and Sweden (Karl XII)

If you are part of a group that re-enacts this war please send me a link to your website and I will add it to the list.

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