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Reading: C. C. Rafn, J. J. A. Worsaae, Archaeology, History and Danish National Identity in the Schle...

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C. C. Rafn, J. J. A. Worsaae, Archaeology, History and Danish National Identity in the Schleswig-Holstein Question

Author:

C. Stephen Briggs

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Abstract

Between 1789 and 1815 Europe was devastated by a series of intermittent Wars waged by the French. The first part came about through the French Revolution, the second, the Napoleonic Wars, were about Bonaparte’s thirst for conquest. Almost at the end of them, Denmark’s attempted neutrality was to cost her the loss of Norway by cessation to Sweden under the Treaty of Kiel in 1814. The Norwegians felt particularly aggrieved by this, a ploy on the part of the British to disarm the Scandinavians and retain British Naval access to the Baltic. Thus began a half a century of particular national insecurity for Denmark, during which she felt under constant threat from German ambition through an increasingly powerful, predatory Prussia. Schleswig-Holstein was particularly at risk of annexation, because though much of Slesvig was culturally and ethnically Danish, southern Jutland had been strongly infiltrated by German influences unchecked for many decades (Sandiford 1975: 21). With a small population (2,225,000 in 1848) and now detached from those potentially sympathetic in Scandinavia, Denmark would have difficulty effectively opposing any major industrial power. Britain and Germany aside, there was also Russia, still largely undeveloped, but a power with strong Baltic interests. Maintaining Denmark’s borders through this delicately balanced neutrality was not going to be easy for such a small nation state. Would it be remotely possible to achieve this passively by developing trade? Could enduring borders otherwise be protected by influencing perceptions of Denmark’s historic cultural identity and ethnicity?
Keywords: identity ethnicity 
How to Cite: Briggs, C.S., (2005). C. C. Rafn, J. J. A. Worsaae, Archaeology, History and Danish National Identity in the Schleswig-Holstein Question. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology. 15(2), pp.4–25. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/bha.15202
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Published on 22 Nov 2005.
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