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Landsbyhistorie: Swedish troops crossing the ice

Det var ved Spodsbjerg at den svenske konge Karl 10. Gustav førte sin hær 12 km. over isen.

The Swedish troops on Langeland i february 1658

In 1523, Sweden withdrew from the Kalmar Union; an alliance between the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The secession cast Denmark-Norway and Sweden into a century-long battle for borders, pres-tige and power over the Baltic Sea region: The so-called ‘Swedish Wars’.

The conflict between the rivalling kings culminated during the two ‘Karl Gustav Wars’ from 1657 to 1660. As a result of another earlier war, Denmark had had to surrender large land areas in Sweden and Norway to the Swedish king. It was the hope of regaining these areas that caused the Danish king Frederik III to declare war against Sweden once again on 1st of June 1657.

At that time, the Swedish king Karl X Gustav was on a campaign in Poland, and Frederik III’s hope was that the Swedish king was too busy to resist the Danish troops. But, contrary to expectation, Karl Gustav responded to the declaration of war by immediately sending his troops towards Denmark where they crossed first Jutland and then Funen. In the middle of the hardest winter within living memory, the Swedish king and his troops reached Langeland at the beginning of February 1658.

On the 6th of February the Swedish army gathered at Spodsbjerg ferry. In a bold manoeuvre, the Swedish king succeeded in leading his thousands of men over the frozen Langelandsbelt to Lolland, from where the march went towards Copenhagen.

On the 26th of February 1658, Fredrik III signed the Roskilde Peace Treaty, putting an end to the war actions and the first Karl Gustav War. But peace was dearly bought and turned out to be short-lived. Soon, by the following August, the war between Denmark and Sweden had broken out again.

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