What Were The Russo-Swedish Wars?

A memorial statue to the Battle of Svensksund in Finland. Editorial credit: Juha Hopponen / Shutterstock.com.
A memorial statue to the Battle of Svensksund in Finland. Editorial credit: Juha Hopponen / Shutterstock.com.

The Russo-Swedish Wars were a series of military conflicts between Russia and Sweden that took place between the 12th and 19th centuries. The wars were sparked by territorial differences and their individual interventions in other conflicts.

11. Swedish–Novgorodian Wars

The Swedish–Novgorodian Wars were fought between the 12th and 13th centuries. The war pitted Medieval Sweden against the Republic of Novgorod. Both powers laid claim to the Gulf of Finland which was a vital part of the Varangian-Byzantine trade route. Swedish troops laid siege on Novgorod troops and ships in the sea killing thousands in the process and prompting retaliation from the Novgorodians. The Treaty of Nöteborg in 1323 and the Treaty of Novgorod in 1326 ended the wars.

10. Russo-Swedish War (1495–1497)

The Russo-Swedish War of 1495–1497 was a declaration of war by a coalition of the Hans of Denmark and Prince Ivan III of Moscow against the Swedish throne with the aim of dethroning the Sture family and taking over Sweden. The use of explosive powder characterized the. On 30 November 1495, the Swedes used the powder to scare the approaching Russians from taking over the Castle.The Swedish throne finally fell to the Hans of Denmark, but a peace treaty between Sweden and Moscow in 1508 saw Sweden regain the throne.

9. Russo-Swedish War (1554–1557)

The Russo-Swedish War of 1554–1557 was occurred due to a personal difference between Ivan IV of Russia and Gustav I of Sweden. The Russian King did not consider the Swedish king as an equal and could therefore not negotiate with him or any of his ambassadors in person. In 1554 the Swedes invaded the Pechenga Monastery, the Novgorodian Governor sent a delegation to Sweden seeking an explanation but were imprisoned. Russia responded by sending 20,000 men to attack Sweden. It was not until March 1557 that both parties agreed to a peace treaty.

8. Livonian War (1558–1582)

The Livonian War of 1558-82 was fought over the control of the Old Livonia. Russia’s interest in the territory was challenged by a coalition of Kingdom of Poland, Sweden, Lithuania, and Denmark-Norway. The conflict began when Russia successfully invaded Dorpat and Narva and consequentially dissolved the Livonian Confederation. The Truce of Jam Zapolski as the return of peace between Poland-Lithuania and Russia, while the Truce of Plussa a year later ended hostilities between Russia and Sweden.

7. Russo-Swedish War (1590–1595)

The Russo-Swedish War of 1590–1595 was sparked by Russian King Boris Godunov’s interest in taking over Duchy of Estonia that Sweden had occupied after the Livonian War. The war erupted just after the expiry of the Truce of Plussa. The Russians raided Swedish settlements most of which fell with little opposition. The orders the Swedes to surrender Ivangorod, Jama and, Koporye, territories they had acquired under the Treaty of Plussa. In May 1595, Sweden signed the Treaty of Teusina which restored occupied territories to Russia.

6. Ingrian War (1610-1617)

The Ingrian war of 1610-1617 occurred after Sweden tried to oust the Russian king and place a Swede on the Russian throne. The Swedes captured Ingria and Novgorod before they were expelled as they tried to take control of Tikhvin. Although the Swedes did not manage to overthrow the Russian throne, they acquired a large territory which included the routes to the Baltic Sea as part of the Treaty of Stolbovo which ended the War.

5. Russo-Swedish War (1656–1658)

The Russo-Swedish War of 1656–1658 was part of the Second Northern War. It occurred at the time when the Truce of Vilna upheld peace between Russian and Poland. Tsar Alexis of Russia sought to amend the treaty of Stolbovo and regain the Baltic coast lost during the Ingrian War. Russia attacked Sweden hoping that it would surrender immediately, but the powerful Swedes fought off the Russians and forced them to sign the Treaty of Kardis in 1661.

4. Great Northern War (1700–1721)

The Great Northern War of 1700-1721 was a military conflict in which the Russians challenged Sweden’s supremacy in Eastern, Central, and Northern Europe. Russia formed a coalition with Denmark–Norway, Saxony–Poland–Lithuania. The war began when the coalition declared war against Sweden at a time when the young Charles XII had assumed power. Then Swedes successfully pushed back the Commonwealth of Polish–Lithuanian and even ousted Augustus. However, Sweden could not stand its ground against the coalition as Russia proved too strong. In 1721 Russia and Sweden signed the Treaty of Nystad.

3. Russo-Swedish War (1741–1743)

The Russo Swedish war of 1741-43 was instigated by the Swedish urge to restore the territory it had ceded during the Great Northern War. Sweden had already occupied Finland and planned to attack Russia through the Finnish border. However, the Swedish were slow on their plans and the Russians attacked first. After three years of fighting the Russians managed to push their way into Sweden forcing the Swedes to sign a peace treaty.

2. Russo-Swedish War (1788–1790)

Gustav III of Sweden initiated the Russo-Swedish War of 1788-1790 with the aim of convincing the opposition to support him politically. The King had declared himself an autocrat by dethroning the government in a bloodless coup. Sweden initiated the attack on Russia, but the Russians fought back pushing the Swedes back to Finland. In the long run, the war proved insignificant to both parties as the no territory seceded. In 1792 Gustav III was assassinated in Stockholm.

1. Finnish War (1808–1809)

The Finnish War of 1808–1809 between Russia and Sweden occurred when the Russian king learned that peace between the two empires depended on Sweden’s willingness to abide by the treaty of Tilsit which allowed Sweden to follow the Continental System. The Russian King viewed the System as ruinous. As a result of the war, part of Sweden was ceded and declared as the Grand Duchy of Finland.


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