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Frederick VI

Frederick VI, 1768–1839, king of Denmark (1808–39) and Norway (1808–14), son and successor of Christian VII. After the court party had executed Struensee, expelled Frederick's mother, Caroline Matilda, and imposed their will on the demented Christian (1772), Frederick grew up under the guardianship of the dowager queen. In 1784 by a peaceful coup he established himself as regent. He made Andreas Peter Bernstorff minister, and liberal reforms were instituted. Except for a short war with Sweden (1788), peace reigned in a prosperous Denmark until the close of the century. Denmark clung to its neutrality in the French Revolutionary Wars, but its opposition to the British ruling on neutral shipping resulted in an English attack on the Danish fleet (see Copenhagen, battle of, 1801). Again, in 1807, England attacked neutral Denmark and bombarded Copenhagen. Frederick thereupon allied himself with Napoleon I and was punished at the Congress of Vienna (1814–15) by the loss of Norway to Sweden. As compensation he received the island of Rügen and Swedish Pomerania, which he exchanged with Prussia for the duchy of Lauenburg. Frederick had no male issue; his cousin Christian VIII succeeded him.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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