The Peace Treaty of Fredrikshamn and its Aftermath in Sweden and Finland

Petri Karonen

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7557/4.2425

Keywords

post-war society; Sweden; Russia; Finland; Aftermath of the Finnish War; Peace Treaty of Fredrikshamn

Abstract

This article analyses the Peace Treaty of Fredrikshamn (Hamina in Finnish) and its consequences in Sweden and Finland. The Russians set strict preconditions for the commencement of peace negotiations with the Swedes in the summer of 1809. These conditions were realized almost in toto in the final peace treaty, which consisted of just twenty-one articles. In addition to regulations directly related to the ending of hostilities, the main provisions of the agreement entailed huge territorial losses for Sweden, strictly defining the regions it was to cede to Russia, the most important of which was Finland. Sweden was also enjoined to give up its alliance with Britain and to join the Continental Blockade. Furthermore, the peace treaty laid down provisions for securing the position of both Finns and Swedes as subjects in the new situation, defined measures to ensure the continued functioning of the economy, and stipulated strict provi- sions for the protection of private property. The latter were very significant, especially with regard to the legitimacy of the administration, the pacification of society, and the safeguarding of the infrastructures in both Finland and Sweden. The post-war resumption of peace was not easy for either the Finns or the Swedes. However, the problems caused by the peace treaty were very different on the two sides of the Gulf of Bothnia. The problems in Finland were easier to solve because they were more concrete. The Grand Duchy of Finland, which was born out of the treaty, was permitted to maintain the existing Swedish legislative, social and local administrative framework, and a new central governmental machinery was created on top of it. In Sweden, the most important problems attending the return to peace (which could also be described as a ‘crisis of peace’) included the difficult question of the succession along with serious internal and economic issues. However, the most serious worry concerned the re-establishment and maintenance of the legitimacy of the government in the new situation.

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License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/