Beginning of the Great Northern War and the battle of Narva

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19. November 1700

Swedish kingdom's domination over the Baltic Sea was a splinter in the eye for almost all the other countries in the area. With the strengthening of Sweden's enemies Russia and Poland, and the weakening of Sweden and its allies in the end of the XVII century, there was a good opportunity for war.
Sweden had lost its strong king Charles XI in the 1697 and his place was taken by a mere fifteen year old Charles XII. The time was right: Augustus II the Strong, Elector of Saxony, King of Poland, formed a treaty against Sweden with the Russian czar Peter I and Danish king Frederick IV.
On February 12, the Saxon forces attacked Riga, which they could not capture. In autumn, Russian forces gathered near Narva, starting to bombard the city, while a big cavalry group pillaged the land from county of Virumaa to town Rakvere. King Charles XII's forces landed in Pärnu. Deciding to start pushing the Russian forces back, the king moved his army through Rakvere, all the way to the Russian forces near Narva. The battle was fought on the November 19, and it ended with the complete victory of the swedes. Swedish army remained in Laiuse for the winter.

Image: Alexander von Kotzbue's painting of the battle of Narva.

Source: Ain Mäesalu, Tõnis Lukas, Mati Laur, Tõnu Tannberg. Eesti ajalugu I. Avita, Tallinn 1995
Image source:

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