The growth of Nationalism

During the late 17th and 18th centuries, in the wake of regional economic developments, an urban middle class began to emerge in the Norwegian towns, challenging the government’s on-going efforts to make Copenhagen the economic hub of the two territories. Their efforts, along with demands for a Norwegian University (later established in 1813) and national bank, came to symbolise the growing national consciousness.

This trend accelerated during the Napoleonic Wars of 1807-1814. Denmark and Norway were allied to France, and the resulting blockade isolated Norway from both Denmark and from the market. As a result, shipping and timber exports came to a halt and famine and hunger spread throughout the land. Since Norway could no longer be administered from Copenhagen, a government commission of senior officials was appointed to carry out this task. King Frederik VI submitted to demands for a national university, which was consequently established. All these events formed the backdrop for what was to take place in 1814.