The Baltics are ours! The victorious end of the Northern War
Peter I proclaims the Peace of Nystad on Trinity Square in St. Petersburg. Author: Charlemagne Adolph Iosifovich (engraver Julian Karlovich Schübler). 1901 g.
Exhaustion of Sweden
Tsar Peter Alekseevich more than once offered the Swedes peace, both before Poltava and after it, but each time he met the stubborn reluctance of King Charles XII to sit down at the negotiating table. At the same time, Sweden was defeated, both on land and at sea, lost Ingermanland, Estonia and Livonia.
Sweden was in a state of disaster.
War and mobilizations left only old people, women and children in villages and towns. The population of the kingdom from 1700 to 1718 almost halved - from 1,2 million people to 600-700 thousand (lands on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea were lost). Industry and trade fell into decay. The merchant fleet decreased by more than three times - from 775 ships in 1697 to 209 in 1718. The treasury was already empty for a long time, there was no money for the salaries of officers, the purchase weapons, ammunition and equipment, for the construction and manning of ships, etc. The national debt has grown significantly.
The first period of the war, when the Swedish army could wage a war by plundering enemy territories (Rzeczpospolita, Saxony, Little Russia, etc.), contributions from the occupied cities were long in the past. Sweden lost its possessions on the southern coast of the Baltic. And the Baltic provinces were a source of food, primarily bread. Also, Russian troops occupied a significant part of Karelia and Finland.
Now the Swedes have learned all the hardships of the war: malnutrition, emergency taxes, numerous mobilizations and duties. The entire working population of Sweden was mobilized into the army, the navy, and auxiliary work. Local trade came to a standstill, factories and shipyards stalled, villages and fields were empty, as were the mines. Markets and barns were also empty; merchant ships from Holland and England did not come.
Thus, Sweden could no longer fight. The country has lost its position as one of the leading military, maritime and economic powers in Europe. The country faced hunger and complete decline, a crisis that could last for decades.
Before Poltava, Pyotr Alekseevich offered modest peace conditions: Izhora land (Ingria-Ingermanlandia) with St. Petersburg and Narva, for which the tsar was ready to give a ransom. That is, Russia was supposed to get access to the Baltic Sea. However, every year, as Russia became stronger and Sweden weakened, the demands of St. Petersburg grew.
Now Russia was striving to secure the lands conquered by weapons. Sweden, supported by England, on the contrary, sought to return everything that was lost during the war. But Sweden was completely devastated by the battles, and the people wanted peace.
Therefore, Stockholm went to peace negotiations.
Negotiations began in May 1718 on the Åland Islands on the island of Vordø. On the part of Russia, Jacob Bruce, Osterman and Pavel Yaguzhinsky were authorized, on the part of Sweden - Goertz and Yullenborg (Gillenborg). For negotiations, a whole town was built, the city, which consisted of the Russian and Swedish halves.
The Russian side offered to transfer to Russia all the lands captured by the Russian army, except for Finland.
Sweden was to be rewarded at the expense of Danish lands, including Norway, and return part of the lands in Germany (recaptured from Hanover). The Russian sovereign was even ready to allocate an auxiliary corps to help Sweden against Hanover (the principality was in personal union with the English throne). The Russian government was not going to fight against Denmark, which was our ally.
Peter was also ready to sacrifice the position of King Augustus II on the Polish throne (the Saxon elector proved to be an unfit ally), since the Swedes and the French insisted on the candidacy of Stanislav Leszczynski.
Who interfered with peace negotiations
If negotiations on the Alands were only between representatives of the two Baltic powers, they would obviously quickly come to a compromise and conclude peace.
Charles XII himself, obviously, was already tired of the confrontation with Russia. He retained his belligerence, but switched to confrontation with Denmark, from which he wanted to seize Norway and thereby compensate for the loss of the Swedish Baltic. The head of the Swedish delegation, Baron Görtz, was for peace at the price of a concession to the Baltic provinces. True, in return he proposed a Russian-Swedish alliance directed against the Commonwealth and Denmark.
However, several powers that supported the anti-Russian party in Stockholm were interested in disrupting the negotiations.
So, the Danes were afraid that Sweden, having agreed with the Russians, would attack Denmark with all its might in order to seize Norway. Hanover feared for the fate of its acquisitions in Central Europe, which were previously owned by Sweden. Charles XII, despite the unsuccessful war with Russia, was a good commander and, undoubtedly, would like to return Pomerania and other possessions. So, Bremen and Verdun were captured by the Hanoverian Elector Georg (aka the English king), Stettin was occupied by Prussia.
The governments of the Western European states tried to play off the Russians and the Swedes again.
England stood out among the powers hostile to Russia.
In 1716, a combined fleet of England, Holland and Russia sailed the Baltic in order to suppress the actions of Swedish privateers. Sweden had to abandon privateering in the Baltic Sea.
But the British did not want peace between Russia and Sweden.
They wanted to preserve the former position of Russia - landlocked. Also, a certain influence was exerted by the dynastic interests of the Hanoverian prince. Therefore, the British began to promise Stockholm money and support. fleet.
However, Charles XII did not react to the promises of the British. Baron Goertz also strove for peace with the Russians.
Obviously, the British quickly found a way out. November 30, 1718 in Norway during the siege of the Friedrichsgal fortress, the Swedish king died under mysterious circumstances.
Officially, he was killed by a stray bullet. But, most likely, the conspirators shot him. Goertz was immediately arrested, accused of treason and executed. Karl had no heirs, so his sister Ulrika Eleanor took the throne. She and her husband Frederic of Hesse-Kassel took a pro-English position. Swedish troops were withdrawn from Norway, negotiations dragged on.
Closing of the congress in Aland
Tsar Peter is taking vigorous measures to end the war.
In the summer, Osterman was sent to Stockholm with final peace terms ("Conditions"). If the Swedes refused, Russia promised to resume hostilities. A galley fleet with an assault force was sent to the Swedish shores. Osterman's mission ended in vain.
The Swedish government, relying on the help of England, rejected the conditions of Russia. Then the fleet under the command of Admiral Apraksin landed troops in the Stockholm area. Russian troops under the command of Apraksin and Lassi, without storming the fortresses and not getting involved in battles with the enemy, ravaged and burned 8 cities, over 20 factories, dozens of mills, more than 130 villages and villages. The soldiers seized rich trophies.
Apraksin could continue to burn the Swedish lands, but was instructed to withdraw the troops. The lesson was given to Stockholm.
Before that, the Russian detachment of Boryatinsky, near the Swedish capital itself, defeated the Swedish troops under the command of the Prince of Hesse-Kassel. Stockholm was gripped by fear when the Cossacks appeared on the outskirts. The clashes showed a strong drop in the combat effectiveness of the Swedish army and a great increase in the training of the Russian troops.
The 1719 landings did not make the Swedes more compliant. They still hoped that "the West will help."
In 1719 England sent Norris's squadron to the Baltic, ordering the destruction of Russia's Baltic fleet. However, the British were late. When the Swedish-English fleet approached Stockholm, the Russian ships had already calmly left for their shores. At the end of October, the British fleet returned to Britain.
In August, Pyotr Alekseevich sent a letter to Queen Eleanor, in which he reproached Sweden for not wanting to successfully complete the negotiations. The tsar delivered an ultimatum: the Swedes accept the Russian conditions or the congress is over.
The Swedes broke off negotiations.
On September 15, 1719, the Åland Congress was closed.
In 1720, the military-political situation for Russia worsened. There was a threat of attack by the Swedish-British fleet. Relations with Denmark have become complicated. Sweden could now direct all its forces to fight the Russians.
Peter Alekseevich had to strengthen the defense of the Baltic states. In the spring, he instructed Menshikov to form 20 dragoon regiments in Ukraine, some of which were sent to defend the coast. Dragoon regiments, more mobile than infantry, were to overturn possible Swedish landings. Russian troops stepped up their actions in Finland.
Peter was sure that it was enough to show the Swedes in practice that they should not count on real help from England, and Stockholm would ask for peace. He was right. The British limited themselves to demonstrations.
The Russian galley fleet under the command of Mikhail Golitsyn successfully attacked the enemy. One detachment went to Vaza, the other to Aland. The landing under the command of Brigadier Mengden devastated enemy territory. Golitsyn's fleet lured the Swedish squadron and on July 27 defeated it at Grengam. The Swedes lost 4 frigates. Both operations were carried out in front of the British. And the Swedish-British fleet did not achieve any success.
In November 1720, King Frederick of Sweden (Prince of Hesse-Kassel was crowned) proposed to resume peace negotiations. Sweden could not continue the war, the crisis was getting worse. It also came to the realization that hopes that Russia is also exhausted and can no longer fight are in vain. Russian troops and navy showed a high level of combat effectiveness.
London came to the conclusion that the continuation of the war has no prospects. Sweden cannot continue the war. And British traders were interested in developing trade with Russia.
Tsar Peter so far refrained from trade sanctions against England, but his patience could run out, and the British would be expelled from the Russian market. In addition, the annual maneuvers of the British fleet in the Baltic cost a lot of money and did not bring any profit. For the tight-fisted English merchants, such a war had no benefit. In London, they decided that it would not work to impose their own conditions on St. Petersburg, so it was necessary to end the war and fix the losses.
A sharp turn in British policy is taking place. Now British diplomacy was persuading the Swedes to peace and as soon as possible.
Sweden, which followed the lead of England, suffered new losses and losses. Its negotiating position has deteriorated further. The British washed their hands and offered the Swedish side to accept the bitter peace.
The signing of the peace treaty in Nystadt on August 30, 1721. Engraving by Peter Schenk Jr.
In May 1721, negotiations resumed in the Finnish town of Nystadt. Russia was again represented by Bruce and Osterman, Sweden - by Count Johan Lilienstedt and Ullenborg.
In the conditions of the Russian side, there were two new points.
First, Peter agreed to pay compensation for Livonia.
Secondly, in Aland, the king agreed to take Livonia for a period of 20-40 years. Now Livonia passed to Russia forever. They tried to drag out until the fall, before the fleet left for the bases. The Swedes agreed to cede Revel (the capital of Estonia), but Vyborg and the island of Ezel remained with Sweden.
Remembering the lessons of the Aland Congress, Tsar Peter continued the demonstrative preparation of new landings and the construction of new battleships. The Admiralty was working at full capacity. Apraksin was preparing a campaign to Stockholm, it was canceled only because of rumors about the appearance of the British fleet. However, Golitsyn sent a galley detachment of General Lassi to the Gulf of Bothnia, which conducted a successful landing in the Umeå region.
The visit in 1721 to the Russian capital of the Holstein Duke Karl Friedrich had a strong impact on the Swedish government. He was a contender for the Swedish throne, to which he had more rights than Ulrika Eleanor and especially her husband Frederick. Karl also claimed land that the Danes took away. Karl was going to marry one of Peter's daughters - Anna or Elizabeth.
That is, if Stockholm continued to play for time, then Russia could continue the war with the aim of expelling Frederick I. The calculation of Russian diplomacy turned out to be correct, the Holstein card at the negotiations in Nystadt acquired great importance. Swedish diplomats have become more compliant.
In the summer of 1721, Peter promised to resume hostilities in Finland if negotiations were disrupted. Russian diplomats rejected all of the Swedes' claims: compensation for Vyborg, keeping Ezel and mentioning the concession of St. Petersburg.
On August 30 (September 10), 1721, the peace was signed.
On September 4, Peter, with a brigantine that entered the Neva, informed the capital of the victory of Russian weapons. All day long, at the sound of trumpets and timpani, trumpeters and horsemen with white scarves over their shoulders and white banners depicting an olive branch and a laurel wreath (a symbol of peace) rode the streets of the city and announced the conclusion of peace.
The bloody and difficult 21-year war was over. Peter called it "a three-time bloody and very dangerous school" (students then finished school in 7 years).
Russia returned access to the Baltic and the status of a great maritime power. Ingria, Estlandia (Revel), Livonia (Riga), part of Karelia with Vyborg and Kexholm, the islands of Ezel and Dago departed to Russia. Finland was returning to Sweden. Sweden bargained for the right to buy bread in its former Baltic provinces and a $ 2 million compensation for Livonia (Sweden's annual budget).
Sweden lost its position as one of the most powerful military and naval powers in Europe. However, Russia did not completely eliminate the threat from the northwest. Having built the capital by the sea, Peter, in essence, put it under attack. Russia had to fight three more times with Sweden and take away Finland in order to resolve this issue.
"On the Nishtat world." Officer's medal for participants in the Northern War, 1721
- Alexander Samsonov
- https://ru.wikipedia.org/, https://runivers.ru/
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