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The Union Of Calmar —Nordic Great Power Or Northern German Outpost?

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Chapter Summary

Many Scandinavian historians, particularly Danish and Swedish ones, hold that the fourteenth-century unification of the three Nordic kingdoms was a response to German expansionism in the Baltic, and that the Union of Calmar (1388/97-1523) was one of the reasons why the Scandinavian peoples were able to preserve their national identities and Scandinavia its "Scandinavian-ness". There is reason to suspect that the historians who encouraged this view had the Germany of Bismarck and Hitler in mind rather than the patchwork of principalities and communes that was late medieval and early modern Germany. This chapter questions this traditional view of late medieval Scandinavia and the Union of Calmar as a bulwark against Germany. It uses the term Norden instead of Scandinavia, since Scandinavia strictly speaking is Norway and Sweden. The chapter outlines the history of this Union of Calmar in Norden and discusses its historiography, and the political and national character.

Keywords: German expansionism; Norden; Nordic kingdoms; scandinavian historians; Union of Calmar



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