Seven Years War of the North 1563–70

Seven Years’ War of the North (1563–70)


a war fought by Denmark in alliance with Lübeck and Poland against Sweden.

The outbreak of Seven Years’ War of the North, a war concurrent with the Livonian War (1558–83), was connected with the general intensification of the struggle between the powers over the Baltic region in the wake of the collapse of the Livonian Order. The establishment in 1561 of Swedish rule in northern Estonia, including Revel (Tallinn), and Sweden’s attempt to dominate trade routes between Russia and Western Europe posed a threat to Denmark’s system of bases in the Baltic and brought Sweden in conflict with Lübeck, Revel’s trade rival. The struggle within Sweden between King Eric XIV and his brother Duke John proved advantageous for Denmark.

In September 1563 the Danes seized the Swedish port of Älvsborg and thereby cut off Sweden’s access to the Atlantic. Only in September 1565 did the Swedish army succeed in lifting the blockade by capturing Varberg (Halland Province). The Danish troops under the command of D. Rantzau (commander in chief of the Danish army from 1565) resumed the offensive in the summer and fall of 1567 and captured Småland and Öster-götland provinces in late 1567 and early 1568 and Varberg in 1569. Military defeat and the prospect of a war between Sweden and Russia forced the adamantly anti-Russian John III, Swedish king from 1568, to seek peace with Denmark. The Peace of Stettin of 1570 virtually restored the status quo, but Älvsborg was returned to the Swedes after payment of an indemnity.