Norwegian workers, women campaign for independence from Sweden, 1905


To dissolve the monarchical union between Sweden and Norway.

Time period

May, 1905 to October, 1905



Location City/State/Province

Kristiania (Oslo)
Jump to case narrative


Venstre Party


Norwegian Labour Association, Norwegian Association for the Rights of Women, Association for Women's Suffrage, National Association for Women's Suffrage

External allies

Sweden's Social Democratic Party, Swedish labor organizations

Involvement of social elites

Not known


Swedish government, King Oscar II

Nonviolent responses of opponent

On 8 June, 1905, approximately 30,000 Swedes demonstrated in support of King Oscar II in Stockholm, Sweden

Campaigner violence

Not known

Repressive Violence

Not known


National-Ethnic Identity



Group characterization

government officials
Norwegian citizens

Success in achieving specific demands/goals

6 out of 6 points


1 out of 1 points


3 out of 3 points

Total points

10 out of 10 points

Database Narrative

The kingdom of Denmark ruled Norway until May 1814, when Sweden defeated Denmark in the Napoleonic Wars. On 4 November 1814, Sweden took control of Norway, and the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway shared a Swedish monarch. Still, Norway retained its own separate governing body for local affairs.

Norway's Venstre Party and other liberal groups gained the support of the working class. In 1884, the Venstre Party formed the Norwegian Labor Association, bringing together industry workers and agricultural workers in one organization.

In 1884, the Norwegian Association for the Rights of Women politically organized women under Norwegian nationalism. In 1885, the Association for Women's Suffrage formed, and in 1898 the National Association for Women's Suffrage formed.

In 1905, the women's rights organizations allied with the Venstre Party to push for Norway's independence from Sweden.  On 28 May 1905, King Oscar II refused the Consulate Act, which would allow the Norwegian government its own representation abroad, distinct from the Swedish government. Due to this denial, the Swedish king’s Norwegian cabinet resigned in protest.

On 6 June, the Norwegian parliament, Storting, conducted secret meetings and wrote letters to King Oscar II demanding independence. On 7 June, the Storting declared a resolution to dissolve the union between Sweden and Norway. In response, on 8 June, 30,000 of the King's supporters organized a demonstration in Stockholm against the Norwegian resolution.

In July 1905, the Storting pushed for a referendum in order to determine the dissolution of the union. On 13 August, 368,000 men voted for Norway's freedom while 184 men opposed it. Because women did not have suffrage, they were unable to vote. Instead, on 22 August, over 250,000 women organized and signed a petition for Norway's sovereignty and the dissolution of the union with Sweden. The Norwegian and Swedish governments began negotiations as a result of the referendum and petition. (See "Swedish workers protest, threaten general strike and mutiny to prevent war against Norway, 1905.")

On 23 September 1905, the Norwegian and Swedish governments completed negotiations, resulting in the Karlstad Treaty. The Norwegian government and the Swedish government approved of the treaty on 9 October and 13 October, respectively, officially ending the union.

On 15 October, over 3,000 people demonstrated in Kristiania (present-day Oslo) to demand a referendum to decide the form of Norway's new government. The referendum occurred on 12 and 13 November and the Norwegian majority voted for a monarchical government, inviting the Danish Prince Carl to take the throne.


The Dissolution of the Union of Norway and Sweden. The American Journal of International Law , Vol. 1, No. 2 (Apr., 1907), pp. 440-444.

Nobles, Jenna, Ryan Brown, Ralph Catalano. "National independence, women's political participate, and life expectancy in Norway." Social Science and Medicine. Vol 70, Issue 9. May 2010.

Hare, J. Laurence. "Norway, protest and revolution." The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest. Ness, Immanuel (ed). Blackwell Publishing, 2009. Blackwell Reference Online. 03 March 2013 <>

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy

Fatimah Hameed, 25/02/2013