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Copenhagen, Battles of

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Engagements fought in 1801 and 1807 by the British fleet against Denmark during the napoleonic wars . In 1800, Tsar paul i of Russia revived the League of Armed neutrality , a coalition of Baltic states first established in 1780, to prevent Britain from interfering with neutral shipping. Britain responded by targeting Denmark, the nearest and most vulnerable member of the League, and sent a force to attack her fleet at Copenhagen. The engagement was long and hard fought. At the height of the action, nelson famously refused an order from the fleet commander, Sir Hyde Parker, to withdraw, putting his telescope to his blind eye and observing, “I really do not see the signal.” After all but three of the Danish ships were put out of action a ceasefire was agreed. The League was effectively ended. In 1807 British fears for the security of the Baltic were again aroused. Russia and France signed the first of the tilsit treaties , and there were rumors that Denmark and Sweden would be coerced into the alliance which would give napoleon i control of their fleets. A British force was again sent against Denmark. It bombarded Copenhagen and captured the Danish fleet of 15 ships of the line and 15 frigates. On both occasions, neutrality had been violated without even a declaration of war. This aroused concern not only in Europe but among some sections of British opinion too. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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