chapter  12
15 Pages

Kingship, Religion, and History

Swedish Naval Ideology, 1500–1830
WithLars Ericson Wolke

This paper describes how the Swedish navy was built and deployed for battle against Denmark, since the breakup of the union between Sweden (including Finland) and Denmark-Norway in the 1520s. The new independence as well as a new royal family on the throne was reflected in the ideology of the navy, as the foremost symbol of the Kingdom. After the reformation during the sixteenth century, a religious, anti-Catholic aspect was added to this naval ideology. During the seventeenth century, this process culminated in a Lutheran orthodoxy developed by the state and also manifested within the navy. During the eighteenth century, an archipelago fleet was developed, parallel to the traditional blue-water navy, in order to handle a growing threat from the Russian Baltic Sea navy. These smaller vessels were given names reflecting an admiration for the Viking Age, but also the importance of the eastern part of the realm, Finland. Thus, it can be said that the two navies reflected two different ideologies: one national, royal and Lutheran, and one devoted to a presumed historical past of the Viking Age and a symbol of Finland.