The Kalmar War, 1611-1613

The Kalmar War, 1611-1613

Gustavus Adolphus's First War

Michael Fredholm von Essen

The Kalmar War of 1611-1613 was the last war in which Denmark-Norway prevailed against Sweden, then under young Gustavus Adolphus who inherited the war from his father. Gustavus Adolphus's defeat against Denmark was the catalyst which set him on the path to remake Sweden into a regional great power.
Date Published :
March 2023
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Retinue to Regiment
Illustration :
c 60 b/w ills and maps, 8pp color ills
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781804510063
Pages : 196
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


The book describes and analyses the Kalmar War of 1611-1613 between Sweden and Denmark-Norway. Since Denmark controlled the Straits between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, Sweden sought an alternative trade route through the sparsely populated Arctic Lapland – an option enabled by the 1595 Treaty of Teusina (Tyavzino) with Muscovy. In 1607, King Charles IX of Sweden declared himself King of the Lapps and sent men to collect taxes in what by tradition was regarded as Norwegian territory. In response, King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway in 1611 declared war upon Sweden and invaded Swedish territory from the south. Operations also took place along the Swedish-Norwegian border and elsewhere in the Baltic region, on land and on sea. In addition, Sweden employed Scottish privateers and enlisted a Scottish corps which landed in Norway. Nonetheless, Denmark ultimately won the war. However, the Danish thrust against the Swedish heartland failed, and the Kalmar War was the last time when Denmark successfully defended its control of the Baltic Sea against Sweden. The principal commander on the Swedish side was the young Gustavus Adolphus, who later rose to prominence in the Thirty Years’ War. The losses in the Kalmar War proved to Gustavus Adolphus that the Swedish army was becoming obsolete and needed thorough modernization. As a result, the defeat in the Kalmar War was the catalyst that prompted Gustavus Adolphus to reform the Swedish army, which in turn set Sweden on the path to become a regional great power in the subsequent Thirty Years’ War. Michael Fredholm von Essen presents new research on a war previously seldom described in English. Moreover, the book details the military systems of Sweden and Denmark-Norway in the early seventeenth century and explains the development of the Swedish Army and the military thought of Gustavus Adolphus before he used his reformed army with great success in the Thirty Years’ War.

About The Author

Professor Michael Fredholm von Essen is an historian and former military analyst who has published extensively on the history, defence strategies, security policies, and energy sector developments of Eurasia. He currently is the Head of Research and Development at IRI, an independent research institute. Educated at Uppsala, Stockholm, and Lund Universities, Michael Fredholm von Essen has lectured, including during conferences and as visiting professor, at numerous institutions and universities around the world. He is the author of a large number of books, articles, and academic papers, including Muscovy’s Soldiers: The Emergence of the Russian Army, 1462-1689 (Helion, 2018); Charles XI’s War: The Scanian War between Sweden and Denmark, 1675-1679 (Helion, 2018); Transnational Organized Crime and Jihadist Terrorism: Russian-Speaking Networks in Western Europe (Routledge, 2017); Understanding Lone Actor Terrorism: Past Experience, Future Outlook, and Response Strategies (Routledge, 2016); Afghanistan Beyond the Fog of War: Persistent Failure of a Rentier State (NIAS, 2018); Eight Banners and Green Flag: The Army of the Manchu Empire and Qing China, 1600-1850 (Pike and Shot Society, 2009); and a large number of articles on early modern warfare in the Arquebusier, the journal of the Pike and Shot Society.

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