(real surname Wessel). Born Oct. 28, 1691, in Trondhjem (now Trondheim), Norway; died Nov. 20, 1720, in Hannover, Germany. Danish naval officer. Vice admiral (1719).
Tordenskjold was of Norwegian nationality, the son of a merchant who had emigrated from Holland. In 1706, as an adolescent, he joined the Danish Navy. In 1712 he was given command of a frigate and later a squadron. Tordenskjold had a record of distinguished service in the Northern War of 1700–21 against the Swedes. In the battle of Dynekilen (1716) he captured a Swedish squadron of 40 vessels; for this he was raised to noble rank and given the honorific surname Tordenskjold (“Thundershield”). In 1718 he forced Charles XII to lift the siege of Frederikshaid (today Halden), and in 1719 he took control of the Marstrand and Karlstein fortresses. Tordenskjold was killed the next year in a duel.