1. Kalmar Union (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), 1397-1523
The three Scandinavian kingdoms – Denmark, Norway, Sweden – were united in 1397 in the Kalmar Union. This is really the name of an intermittent series of personal unions that lasted until 1523. Denmark was the dominant partner and supplied the monarchs, but met resistance from Norway and Sweden.
2. Dano-Norwegian Union, 1536-1814
Sweden left the Kalmar Union under Gustav Vasa in 1523 and went its own way. Civil war broke out in Denmark and Norway. The Reformation followed. The kingdoms of Denmark and Norway then entered into a personal union in 1536 which lasted until 1814. Denmark was again the dominant partner. Norway kept separate laws, coinage and army and some other institutions.
3. Swedish-Norwegian Union, 1814-1905
The Dano-Norwegian Union was dissolved at the Treaty of Kiel (1814). Norway’s overseas possessions since pre-Kalmar days – Iceland, Greenland, the Faroes – were kept by Denmark (Shetland and Orkney had been ceded to Scotland in 1471). The territory of Norway proper was ceded to the King of Sweden. Norwegian resistance to the prospect of union with Sweden induced the governor of Norway, Crown Prince Christian Frederick (later Christian VIII of Denmark), to call a constituent assembly at Eidsvoll, which drew up a liberal constitution and elected him to the throne. Sweden invaded. The peace conditions specified that king Christian Frederick had to abdicate, but Norway was to keep its independence and constitution within a personal union with Sweden. Christian Frederick returned to Denmark. The assembly elected Charles XIII of Sweden king of Norway (November 4). The Union was dissolved in 1905. Denmark supplied Norway with the missing monarch. Prince Charles of Denmark was elected king of Norway under the name of Haakon VII and reigned until 1957.
4. Scandinavism, c 1840-
5. Dano-Icelandic Union, 1918-44
Iceland was already part of Denmark, but the Danish-Icelandic Act of Union, signed on December 1 1918 and valid for twenty-five years, recognised Iceland as a sovereign Kingdom in personal union with Denmark. After the German occupation of Denmark on April 9 1940, the Icelandic Althing replaced the King with a regent and declared that the Icelandic government would assume the control of foreign affairs and other matters previously handled by Denmark. A month later, the British invaded, violating Icelandic neutrality. In 1941, the occupation was taken over by the US so that Britain could use its troops elsewhere, an arrangement reluctantly agreed to by the Icelandic authorities. On December 31 1943, the Union expired. Icelanders voted on their constitution in a plebiscite. A republic was inaugurated on June 17 1944.
Denmark joined the EEC in 1973, Sweden the EU in 1995. Neither is in the eurozone. Norway and Iceland are not members of the EU.
Devolution: Home rule for Greenland, 1979
Denmark granted home rule to Greenland in 1979. Greenland left the EEC in 1985. In 2008, Greenlanders voted to transfer more power from the Danish royal government to the local Greenlandic government.