9 March 2011

King Christian Frederik of Norway's diary

1814 was an eventful year for Norway, to say the least. Following the Napoleonic Wars, King Frederik VI of Denmark-Norway was by the Peace Treaty of Kiel of 14 January 1814 forced to cede Norway to Sweden.

Norway refused to accept the terms of the treaty, stating that now as Denmark had given up Norway for good, the sovereignty had reverted to the Norwegian people. Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark, heir to the Danish throne and Stattholder (Viceregent) of Norway since 1813, initially wished to be made King of Norway on basis of his rights to the throne, but was persuaded by leading Norwegian men to instead be elected as king following the adoption of a constitution. Prince Christian Frederik thus convened a constituent assembly which met at Eidsvoll on 10 April 1814.

Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark was elected King of Norway on 17 May 1814 after approving the new Constitution. But Crown Prince Regent Carl Johan of Sweden refused to accept Norway's independence and following a short war, King Christian Frederik agreed to cede and leave the country by the Treaty of Moss of 14 August. He formally abdicated on 10 October, a decision that was confirmed by the Storting (the Norwegian Parliament) on 4 November. On the same day the assembly passed the changes to the Constitution made necessary because of the personal union with Sweden and King Carl XIII was elected King of Norway.

The former king Christian Frederik, who in 1839 became King of Denmark as Christian VIII, had left Norway already on 28 October 1814.

King Christian Frederik wrote a diary during his stay in Norway which was published in 1914 as an appendix to Riksforsamlingens forhandlinger (Proceedings of the Constituent Assembly) and titled Kong Christian Frederiks dagbok fra hans opphold i Norge i 1814 ("King Christian Frederik's diary from his stay in Norway in 1814"). The lawyer and historian Arnet Olafsen (1865-1947) had been allowed to make a copy of the diary notes kept in the Archives of the Royal House in the Danish National Archives. An exception was made to those parts of the diary that had "a personal and intimate character". Most of the diary notes were written in French, which were translated into Norwegian by Jens Raade.

Lars Ove Wangensteen has at his website Wangensteen.net today published the diary in form of a flipbook. The diary can also be found at the Eidsvoll 1814 website.

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