Armed Neutrality, League of

   An essentially anti-British and Russian-instigated alliance of Russia, Denmark, Sweden, and, at one point, Prussia, designed to protect the members’ shipping against British search and seizure. The league was initially formed during the American War of Independence to protect neutral shipping against the predations of the Royal Navy. In 1801, Britain went to war with a resurrected league during the Napoleonic Wars, and on April 2 of that year it attacked Copenhagen, successfully destroying the Danish fleet. The British victory at Copenhagen led the Danes to accept an armistice. The assassination of Tsar Paul of Russia, whose anti-British animus had been behind the league, led to an Anglo-Russian peace being signed in July 1801, with the other league powers following by the end of the year. The league did little to secure neutral rights, as was demonstrated a decade later by the Anglo-American War of 1812, fought over many similar issues.
   See also <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Feldbæk, Ole. Denmark and the Armed Neutrality, 1800-1801. Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1980.
   MARK F. PROUDMAN

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

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