Armies Battles and Sieges Colours and Standards
















Örjan Martinsson

Swedish army

Saxon army

Danish-Norwegian army

Russian army

Prussian army

The Great Northern War 1700-1721 was fought between Sweden and an anti-Swedish coalition whose members changed during the course of the war. The original coalition was formed by King Frederick IV of Denmark-Norway, Tsar Peter the Great of Russia and Augustus the Strong as Elector of Saxony. Augustus was also king of Poland and this country's military forces were also heavily involved in the war. After successfully knocking Denmark and Saxony out of the war, the fortunes of war would turn for Sweden. After the defeat at Poltava, Sweden found itself at war against an ever-growing group of states that wanted to conquer Swedish territory, as the table below illustrates.

The Anti-Swedish Coalition

War against Sweden Civil war Neither war nor formal peace Peace with Sweden
  1700 1702 1704 1706 1708 1710 1712 1714 1716 1718 1720

Poland's status in the Great Northern War is complicated. It did not formally declare war on Sweden, but Polish troops loyal to Augustus the Strong fought the Swedish army when it entered Polish territory. From 1704, there was civil war in Poland between the Swedish-supported Warsaw Confederation and the anti-Swedish Sandomierz Confederation. The latter won the civil war in 1709, but no formal peace was concluded with Sweden. It was only in 1732 that a "declaration of the restoration of friendship" was signed by Sweden and Poland. For Saxony, a similar declaration had been concluded in 1729.

Also worth mentioning is that several of the armies involved in the Great Northern War also participated in the War of the Spanish Succession 1701-1715. Either by renting out auxiliary troops to the allies (Denmark, Saxony and Hanover) or, like Prussia, participating as a fully belligerent party. Even the small duchy of Holstein-Gottorp, which was allied with Sweden, contributed troops in this war.