Armed Neutrality of the North


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The Armed Neutrality of the North, between Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Prussia, was an agreement to prevent the Royal Navy stopping and searching trading vessels of those countries.

Britain had three important tasks for its fleet in the Baltic Sea.

It needed to restrict French access to war materiel and supplies, almost the only way Britain could hurt France during that period of the Wars.

After two years of poor harvests, the navy needed to keep Britain's own grain imports flowing to avoid social unrest at home.

And in order to maintain its naval programmes, the British fleets had to ensure that vital supplies of wood, pitch and rigging hemp were not disrupted.

In 1801, the British Admiralty sent a large fleet to deliver an ultimatum for Denmark to withdraw from the northern pact.

The British - led by the indecisive Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, but bolstered by the talents of Horatio Nelson, responded by attacking and destroying the Danish fleet at Copenhagen.

The Armed Neutrality of the North then fell apart.

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