Copenhagen, Second Battle of


Copenhagen, Second Battle of
(1807)
   A naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars that followed the defeat of the Fifth Coalition and that lasted from August 16 to September 5, 1807. Great Britain was harassing Danish ships and relations between the two nations were cool. Napoleonic France was courting an alliance with Denmark, and Great Britain, anticipat ing hostility, chose to strike preemptively against the Danish fleet. On September 2, Britain sent 25 ships-of-the-line and 29,000 soldiers against the Danish capital of Copenhagen. For two nights the city was attacked and bombarded. The largely wooden city was badly damaged and more than 2,000 of its citizens killed. Disheartened, the Danish government surrendered its 17-ship fleet and a large quantity of stores. Britain’s military objectives were achieved, but they came at a high diplomatic and political cost. Most of Europe, as well as the United States, condemned her unilateral and illegal action and the opposition party at home was equally outraged. Napoleon took good advantage of this diplomatic disaster and gained both stature and adherents to his Continental System.
   See also <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Rodger, N.A.M. The Command of the Ocean. New York: W. W. Norton, 2004.
   J. DAVID MARKHAM

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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