The End of a European Union

The Kalmar Union between Denmark, Norway and Sweden came to an end on 6 June 1523.

Map of Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean, and Asia. New York Public Library.

A decades-long union of European countries is supported by their respective national elites; but its destruction comes through the ruthless exploitation of popular nationalism by an autocratic leader. Does that sound familiar? It is, of course, the Kalmar Union between Denmark, Norway and Sweden, which saw the three kingdoms being governed under a single monarch between 1389 and 1523.

The creation of Denmark’s Queen Margaret, at its greatest the union’s geographic extent included Iceland, Greenland and much of Finland, as well as the Shetland and Orkney archipelagoes.

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