History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the Treaty of Kiel of 1814, Norway was essentially given from Denmark to Sweden as a "sorry we were on the other side", but Iceland was not a part of this deal at all. This is in spite of the fact that Iceland had been a part of Norway since 1261 AD and then later part of Denmark-Norway in 1380 or so. So why was Iceland (and indeed other Norwegian "colonies", such as Greenland) excluded from the treaty?

share|improve this question
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Norway shares the so-called "Scandinavian" peninsula with Sweden, and the two are contiguous. Therefore, the latter country was eager to make sure that it was in "friendly" hands.

Apart from that, Sweden had an "eastern" (e.g. Baltic), facing strategy, unlike Denmark, which was more west-facing. As such, Iceland (and Greenland) to the west were not of particularly great interest to Sweden, but were of interest to Denmark.

Norway could form an important part of Sweden's "east-facing" strategy, because the northern part goes to the Barents Sea, and from there, Archangel, Russia. Also to the (formerly) Finnish nickel mines in Petsamo.

share|improve this answer
So basically Sweden didn't 'want' the western facing islands? Or rather, Denmark argued so well that it just didn't have to give it up? – noocyte Oct 13 '11 at 13:15
@noocyte: I'd say a little bit of both. In a negotiation, there is a certain amount of give and take. Actually, Sweden offered Swedish Pomerania (the coast of the former East Germany) for Norway, which Germany eventually got. Essentially, Sweden had run out of bargaining chips, so Denmark got to keep Iceland. – Tom Au Oct 13 '11 at 13:18
Thanx for clearing this up for me. – noocyte Oct 17 '11 at 7:16
@LennartRegebro:OK, took about the part about bargained hard. – Tom Au Feb 4 '14 at 13:41

(Old question, but it is now the 200 years "celebrations" coming up...)

I also think that at least one of the countries supporting the Swedish claim, Great Britain, was not interested in having a new great sea power in the north.

Balance of power, etc.

share|improve this answer
There is nothing that supports this claim. Sweden simply did not ask for Iceland. It's that easy.Ref: svd.se/kultur/understrecket/… – Lennart Regebro Feb 3 '14 at 23:45

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.