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Maritime Neutrality

Denmark.Nyhavn Harbors, Copenhagen.

The country was Christianized by Saint Ansgar and Harald Blaatand (Bluetooth) the first Christian king in the 10th century. Harald's son, Sweyn, conquered England in 1013. Sweyn's son, Canute the Great, who reigned from 1014 to 1035, united Denmark, England, and Norway under his rule; the southern tip of Sweden was part of Denmark until the 17th century. On Canute's death, civil war tore apart the country until Waldemar I (1157 1182) reestablished Danish hegemony in the north.

In 1282, the nobles won the Great Charter, and Eric V was forced to share power with parliament and a Council of Nobles. Waldemar IV (1340 1375) restored Danish power, checked only by the Hanseatic League of north German cities allied with ports from Holland to Poland. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden united under the rule of his daughter Margrethe in 1397. But Sweden later achieved autonomy and in 1523, under Gustavus I, independence.

Denmark.Denmark historical map by Aaron Arrowsmith.
Denmark, c. 1812
Aaron Arrowsmith

By 1814, Denmark had become one of the freest countries in the world. Denmark supported Napoleon, for which it was punished at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 by the loss of Norway to Sweden.

The early Danish emigrants to North America were few; US Immigration Statistics estimate that no more than 189 emigrants left Denmark in the 1820's and they quickly blended into the established settlements in America. By the 1840s, Danish settlements were seen. During the 1850's about 4,000 emigrants left Denmark, and in the 1860's the total number of Danish emigrants rose to about 18,000. Records indicate that about 287,000 Danes emigrated from Denmark in the period 1868-1914 -- about 1/10 of the total Danish population during that time.

Destinations were the United States (70%), Canada, America (not part of the United States), Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa (2.4%)

Monday May 1, 1854, New York Daily Tribune, New York, New York

Maritime Neutrality.

Position of Denmark and Sweden in the Pending War.

"It has always been the policy of England to assert and maintain the principle that the property of a belligerent may be seized and confiscated by the adverse party, even if found under a neutral flag. Other Powers have conceded that the flag covers the goods, but Great Britain has constantly persisted in her original course making, at times, certain concessions according to some peculiar state of circumstances yet, in every such case, devising some way by which the basis of her policy was left intact. A Prussian journal has entered into a critical examination of this policy, as it may bear upon the interests of Denmark and Sweden in their assumed position of neutrality. The article contains some very lucid and valuable views, and cannot fail to throw considerable light upon a question which is of the very first importance to American trade, at the present critical moment. We have, therefore, translated it, for the benefit of commercial readers and other parties interested.

"The two Scandinavian States have been the first to announce their future attitude. As the states nearest to the scene where Great Britain and Russia will encounter each other directly, and in all their respective strength, they deemed it opportune, as early as in the concluding weeks of 1853, to proclaim the principle of strict neutrality as their future line of conduct, and notified not only the European maritime powers but likewise the United States and Brazil to that effect. They at the same time took occasion to carefully define the right they claim, in their quality of neutrals, for themselves and their subjects.

"The obligations to which they bind themselves and the advantages they claim, may be summed up under the following general heads:

  1. The vessels of war and mercantile shipping of belligerents shall be admitted into Scandinavian ports excepting for war vessels and transport ships belonging to belligerents.
    1. In Denmark, the port of Christiansoc near Bornholm.
    2. And in Sweden and Norway, the port of Stockholm, outside of the citadel of Waxholm, and the port of Christiana, inside of the fortifications of Kaholmen; the interior roadstead of the military station near Horten in Norway, the ports of Carlsten and Carlscorna, inside of the fortifications, and the port of Notoe near the Island of Gothland, inside of the batteries near Eneholmen, all of which will remain closed to them.
  2. No privateers shall be tolerated or admitted into the ports and roundstrads of the Scandinavian Kingdom.
  3. The vessels of belligerent Powers will be permitted to furnish themselves in the Scandinavian ports with all kinds of merchandise and articles of trade that they may need, with the express exception of those which are contraband of war.
  4. So far as concerns the relations to subsist between the two Scandinavian Kingdoms and the belligerent Powers, it is asked that Scandinavian vessels and their cargos shall enjoy all security and every requisite facility.
  5. Moreover for these vessels the obligation is recognized that they shall observe the rules which are generally followed in cases of del cared war and active blockade.

"This characteristic declaration of the Scandinavian Powers presents itself in a double aspect, viz.: as a purely political questions, and, if it may be so expressed, as a question of mercantile law."

The issue became one of commerce and traffic with Russia, which embraced three-fifths of the entire commerce of the Baltic. "England must incontestably, and beyond all comparison, occupies the first rank. One-third, embracing colonial products, raw cotton, cotton twist, dye-stuffs, manufactured articles, etc., imported by Russian, comes from England; on the other than, the export trade, consisting of hemp, linens, tallow, iron and copper, grain, timber, potash, etc., is much more extensive and valuable than the import trade, subjected, as the latter is, to restrictions passed in favor of internal manufactures, such as high tariffs and tolls, and has fallen to the extent of one-half into the hands of the English. As to the amount of shipping and tonnage respectively employed, the proportion is nearly the same. The Russian mercantile marine succeeds but feebly. Of 21, 539 vessels that passed the Sound during the past year, only 1,257 carried the Russian flag, while 4,685 belonged to Great Britain. But, in the Russian ports of the Baltic, the proportion is much more favorable still to the British flag; half of the vessels trading there belong to British shippers."

Denmark.Danish Steamship.

Danish Steamship
by Antonio Jacobsen
Emigrant Ports of Departure

1863 began a long and unedifying struggle for a constitutional government which it was believed had already been established in 1863.

On May 1, 1868, after a series of unfortunate incidents of ticket fraud (which was underway in all seaports around the world), Danish authorities passed a strict law to protect the emigrants. Ticket agents had to deposit a larger sum of money at the police to cover potential demands/ Also every ticket sold had to be validated at the local police office. Limites were placed on how many emigrants a ship could carry and how much food should be aboard the ships.

As a result, after 1868, the Commissioner of the Copenhagen Police systematically registered any person who emigrated from a Danish port using a Danish ticket agent; both those who left directly from Copenhagen or other Danish ports and those who left indirectly, i.e. via an English port. Although these registers comprises the vast majority of Danish emigrants they do NOT cover those emigrants who bought their tickets outside Denmark or those who worked their way over as sailors.


The city of Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark and it is one of Denmark's oldest cities. The original city grew up around the mouth of the Aarhus river where the Vikings decided to settle because of the location's excellent potential as a harbour and trading position. The Danish word for "river mouth" was at that time "Aros", and this is the word from which "Aarhus" of today originates.

During the Viking Age a cluster of houses along the river up to Immervad and down to the Mejlgade street constituted a small urban community encircled by an earthen rampart and a moat.

In 1201 the foundation stone for the Cathedral was laid, and the city started to expand outside the original area. During the Middle Ages until the Reformation in 1536, it was the urban life around the cathedral which was the central element of the town. After the Reformation the large merchants' houses gradually began to form the pivotal point for life and trade in the town, but it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that the actual expansion of Aarhus into the city we know today began to take place.

Landsud Stillingen Aarhus 1909.
Landsud Stillingen Aarhus. 1909.
Valdemar Andersen

In 1847 a major expansion of the harbour was begun. This work was completed in 1861 which coincided with the opening of the first section of the railway line in Jutland between Aarhus and the town of Randers in 1862. Aarhus thus became an important centre for goods and transport, thereby forming the basis for the development of the city into Denmark's second-largest city with the country's second-largest harbour.


The city's origin as a harbour and a place of commerce is reflected in its name. Its original designation, from which the contemporary Danish name is derived, was K pmann hafn, meaning "merchants' harbour" or "buyer's haven."

On April 2, 1801 a British fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker defeated a Danish-Norwegian fleet anchored near Copenhagen. Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack. He disobeyed Parker's order to withdraw, destroying many of the Dano-Norwegian ships before a truce was implemented. The Second Battle of Copenhagen (or the Bombardment of Copenhagen) (16 August 5 September 1807) was from a British point of view a preemptive attack on Copenhagen, targeting the civilian population in order to seize the Dano-Norwegian fleet. But from a Danish point of view the battle was a terror bombardment on their capital. The largest church, Vor Frue Kirke, was destroyed by the sea artillery. Several historians consider this battle was the first terror attack against a major European city in modern times.

Copenhagen, Denmark, c.1837

The British landed 30,000 men and surrounded Copenhagen. The attacked killed 2,000 civilians within three days and destroyed most of the city. Not until the 1850s were the ramparts of the city opened to allow new housing to be built around The Lakes that bordered the old defences to the west.


Copenhagen towards the Stock Exhcange.

Towards the Stock Exchange
from Gammel Strand
Martinus Rorbye.

The friendly relations between Denmark and the United States have never been interrupted. The President cherishes an ardent disposition to sustain and strengthen them, and he would extremely regret that his determination to assert what he believed to be a just right in an unexceptionable manner should be regarded as an indication of disrespect for Denmark, or a want of a proper appreciation of her friendship. The exactions on foreign commerce at the entrance into the Baltic have been a productive source of revenue to Denmark, and it is very natural that she should struggle to retain it. If these exactions were founded in right the United States would be the last Power to interfere with her enjoyment of them.

It is not proposed to discuss the question of right in this communication; that has already been done, and the United States have adopted the conclusion that they are under no obligation arising from international law or treaty stipulation to yield to this claim. Denmark, on the contrary, has adopted a different and an opposite conclusion.

It is readily conceded that both nations are anxious to arrive at a satisfactory solution of this vexed question. The subject interests several other Powers indeed, all maritime nations and Denmark has invited them to be represented in a convention, to assemble this month at Copenhagen, to consider a proposition to be offered by her to capitalize this revenue and to apportion among commercial Powers the sum to be paid for this renunciation of the present mode of collecting it. The United States have been respectfully invited to send a representative to the proposed convention.

Without at all questioning the fair intention of Denmark in proposing this measure, the President feels constrained, by a sense of duty, to decline the acceptance of this invitation. The convention is to assume as the basis of its proceedings the very right on the part of Denmark which the United States deny. It is assembled without any power to pass upon the right of Denmark to levy a contribution upon commerce, but only authorized to adjust the sum to be paid by each nation in lieu of the collections theretofore assessed upon their respective vessels and cargoes.

The United States, however, contest their liability to pay any contribution whatever. The main question at issue between this Government and that of Denmark is not how much burden shall be borne by, our commerce to the Baltic, but whether it shall be subjected to any burden at all. The proposed tribunal, it will be perceived, by the restriction upon it jurisdiction, is expressly precluded from deliberating and deciding upon the only serious question at issue between the United States and Denmark.

This is not, however, the only difficulty which prevents the President from consenting to be represented in the convention. In claiming an exemption of our ships and their cargoes from taxation by Denmark at the Straits of the Baltic the President is vindicating a great national principle of extensive and various application. If yielded in one instance it will be difficult to maintain it in others. If exactions upon our trade at the entrance into the Baltic were acquiesced in by the United States similar exactions might, on the same principle, be demanded at the Straits of Gibraltar and Messina, and the Dardanelles, and on all great navigable rivers whose upper branches and tributaries are occupied by different independent Powers.

The President cannot admit the competency of such a tribunal as that proposed by Denmark as he would do if this Government were represented therein to deal with a principle of such vast importance to the whole commercial world.

Hochbrucke Square
Copenhagen, Denmark, c.1895

Sweden.Market Day.

There is another ground of objection to joining in the proposed convention quite as controlling as either of the foregoing. The Government of the United States will never consent to the pretension that the New World is to be appropriated to adjust the political balance of the Old. It is clearly stated in the proposition which Denmark has submitted to the United States that the convention is to act upon the question relative to the Sound dues in connexion with the system of the European balance of power. It is more than intimated that the former is to be subordinated to the latter. Of the utility or wisdom of the political theory of the balance of power in its application to the European family of nations it is not proposed to express an opinion; but enough of its operations has been seen to impress upon this Government a fixed determination to avoid being brought within its vortex. It has long been the cherished policy of this Government to avoid such a dangerous complicity ; and the President will not yield in any case to the slightest relaxation of it.

The following quotation from the Danish document, submitting the proposition to this Government, will show the intended connexion and commixture of the two subjects:

"Besides this condition there is still another which the Danish Government considers essential namely, that the affair in question (the Sound dues) be not considered as one of commerce or money, but as a political one. This would be in accordance with the history of the Sound dues and with the part which they performed in the politics of the North of Europe. Otherwise the negotiation would be deprived of that scope and character which are requisite to prevent its being fettered by questions of a secondary nature, which may be pertinent to an arrangement merely commercial and fiscal, but not to one destined to serve as a complement to treaties of peace and compromises, by which the system of the political balance has been adjusted."

In passing upon the political question presented by this extract this Government cannot be induced to take any part; nor will it submit to have its international rights restricted or modified in subservience to the political theory with which it is intermixed in the Danish proposition.

In the paper submitted by Denmark to the consideration of this Government there is an allusion to " the sacrifice " she has made for facilitating the navigation of foreign vessels through the Baltic straits. Any expenditure she has made for the safety and facility of this navigation may constitute an equitable claim upon foreign Powers for remuneration to the extent they have participated in this advantage. The collections hitherto made have much more than compensated for these outlays. While the United States would not consent to purchase a right which they consider indubitable the free use of the Baltic Sound they would not hesitate to share liberally in compensating Denmark for any fair claim for expenses she may incur in improving and rendering safe the navigation of the Sound.

There is undoubtedly a necessity to keep up at a considerable expense lighthouses, buoys, &c, for the security of this navigation. For such expenses in future, disconnected from a claim for surrendering a pretended right to control the navigation of the Sound and Belts, the United States are willing to enter into an arrangement with Denmark, and to pay a fair equivalent for any advantages to their commerce which may be derived from these outlays.

You are therefore instructed to invite Denmark on this subject, and to assure her that it will receive due consideration from your Government; but she must not expect that it will be favourably entertained if it should include, either expressly or impliedly, any compensation for the surrender of the pretended right to control the free use by our ships of the Sound and the Belts of the Baltic.

I am, Sir, &c., 

In 1856, "The Government of His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias and of His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway having adhered to the propositions made by the Government of His Majesty the King of Denmark relative to the redemption by purchase of the Sound and Belt Dues, the delegates of their said Majesties, as also the delegate of Denmark, in the negotiation on the dues have agreed to make a declaration by the present protocol of the different points arrived at by that negotiation."

"Denmark renounces the Sound and Belt Dues in consideration for a compensation of 35,000,000 of rix-dollars (rigsmynt) on the following conditions: "'a. The purchase shall include all the Powers interested in the commerce and navigation of the Sound and of the Belts. That the abolition of the dues may become obligatory the purchase must be agreed to by all the Powers represented in the present negotiation, Denmark reserving to itself to treat separately with Powers not represented. " 'b. The said sum of 35,000,000 rix dollars shall be considered as compensation for dues on shipping as well as on cargoes. The dues on shipping to be regulated according to flag ; the dues on cargoes to be divided by one-half on imported and the other half on exported merchandise by the Sound or the Belts.'

"Conformably to the principles proposed for the division of the eventual indemnity the quota for which the different Powers represented in the present negotiation shall contribute to the said sum of 35,000,000 rix-dollars are :

Country Rix Dollars Percent of 35,000,000
For Denmark
For Austria
For Belgium
For Spain
For France
For Great Britain
For Norway
For Oldenburg
For The Netherlands
For Prussia
For Russian
For Sweden

The remaining sum of 3,307,224 rix-dollars falls to the charge of the Powers not represented in the present negotiation, inasmuch as it was able to specify those Powers in table N.B.

The delegate of Denmark declares, as expressly understood, that the Governments adhering to the propositions which he has made shall only be eventually responsible for the quotum falling to the charge of each of them, as in the division indicated above.

The Battle Of Copenhagen saw a British fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker fight and strategically defeat a Danish-Norwegian fleet anchored just off Copenhagen. Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack. He is reputed to have disobeyed Sir Hyde Parker's order to withdraw by holding the telescope to his blind eye to look at the signals from Parker. His action in proceeding resulted in the destruction of many of the Dano-Norwegian ships before a truce was agreed. Copenhagen is often considered to be Nelson's hardest-fought battle. The battle was the result of multiple failures of diplomacy. Sweden.Battle of Copenhagen. Map.

At the beginning of 1801, during the French Revolutionary Wars, Britain's principal advantage over France was its naval superiority. The Royal Navy searched neutral ships trading with French ports, seizing their cargoes if they were deemed to be trading with France.

"... Finally, the same delegate having pointed out that the present negotiation is temporarily stopped in consequence of a difference of opinion which has arisen between the Danish Government and that of Her Britannic Majesty, that, consequently, the labours of the Conference on the dues might remain a long time in suspense, the length of which it is impossible to fix, the delegate of Russia declares, 'That the adhesion of the Imperial Government to the Danish propositions, as defined above, shall remain in full force until such time as the Copenhagen Cabinet itself shall declare the negotiation broken only and shall withdraw the propositions it has made...'"

Done at Copenhagen, May 9, 1856

In 1864, the Prussians under Bismarck and the Austrians made war on Denmark as an initial step in the unification of Germany.


August 13, 1864, Illustrated Times, London, United Kingdom

The Peace Between Denmark and Germany.

The following is the translation of the official text of the preliminaries of peace concluded between Austria and Prussia on the one hand and Denmark on the other:

The Preliminary Treaty.

  1. His Majesty the King of Denmark renounces all his rights to the duchies of Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg In favour of their Majesties the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria, engaging to recognise the arrangements their said Majesties shall make in respect of those duchies.
  2. The cession of the duchy of Schleswig comprehends all the Islands belonging to that duchy, as well as the territory situated upon the mainland To simplify the boundary question and put an end to the inconveniences resulting from the portion of Jutland territory situated within Schleswig, his Majesty the King of Denmark cedes to their Majesties the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria the Jutland possessions situated to the south of the southern frontier line of the district of Ribe laid down upon the maps, such as the Jutland territory of Mogeltondern, the island of Amrom, the Jutland portions of the islands of Fohr, Sylt, and Romo, etc. 
    On the other hand, their Majesties the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria consent that an equivalent portion of Schleswig, comprising, in addition to the island of Arroe, the territories connecting the above mentioned district of Ribe with the remainder of Jutland, and rectifying the frontier line between Jutland and Schleswig from the side of Kolding, shall be detached from the duchy of Schleswig and incorporated in the kingdom of Denmark. The island of Arroe will not make part of the compensation by reason of its geographical extent. The details of the demarcation of the frontiers shall be settled by the definitive treaty of peace.
  3. The debts contracted upon special accounts, whether of the kingdom of Denmark, or of one of the duchies of Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg, will remain respectively at the charge of each of these countries. Debts contracted for account of the Danish Monarchy shall be divided between the kingdom of Denmark upon the one hand and the ceded duchies upon the other, in proportion to the population of the two parts. From this redistribution are excepted
    1. The loan contracted in England by the Danish Government in the month of December, 1863, which is to remain at the charge of the kingdom of Denmark;
    2. The war expenses Incurred by the Allied Powers, the repayment of which will be undertaken by the duchies.
  4. The high contracting parties engage to establish an armistice upon the basis of the military uti potsidetis, dating from the 2nd of August, the conditions of which will be found specified in the annexed protocol.
  5. Immediately after the signature of these preliminaries of peace the high contracting parties will meet at Vienna to negotiate a definitive treaty of peace.

Protocol Respecting the Conditions of the Armistice.

North German Lloyd Line, 1898Denmark.


In execution of Article 4 of the preliminaries of peace signed this day between his Majesty the King of Denmark upon the one part and their Majesties the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria upon the other, the undersigned Plenipotentiaries assembled in conference have agreed to the following conditions:

  1. Dating from the 2nd of August next there shall be a complete suspension of hostilities by land and by sea, which shall last until the conclusion of peace. In case, contrary to all expectation, the negotiation of a peace should not be effected before the 15th of September next, the high contracting parties will be at liberty after that date to terminate the armistice in six weeks' time.
  2. His Majesty the King of Denmark engages definitively to raise the blockade after August 2.
  3. Their Majesties the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria, while maintaining the occupation of Jutland under the existing conditions of the uti possidetis, declare themselves ready to keep in that country no larger number of troops than their Majesties may judge necessary according to purely military considerations.
  4. The levy of contributions, in so far as it has not yet been carried into effect, is suspended. Goods, or other objects seized as such war contributions and not sold prior to August 3 , will be returned. Fresh levies of contributions will not be ordered.
  5. The provisionment of the allied troops will be furnished at the expense of Jutland, conformably with the Prussian and Austrian provisioning regulations in operation for each of the allied armies upon the war footing. The lodging of the troops and officials connected with the army, as well as the means of transport for the use of the army, shall equally be furnished at the expense of Jutland.
  6. Dronning Maria and Waldemar.
    Prison Ships 
    Dronning Maria 
    and Waldemar 
    at Kjobenhavn (Copehnagen)
  7. The surplus of the ordinary revenue of Jutland in the public treasuries of that country, after the costs of the different supplies and requisitions above-mentioned have been paid by such treasuries to the communes charged with furnishing them, and after the necessary expenses of administration have been equally defrayed from their funds, shall be handed over to the Danish Government either in money or by way of set-off at the time of the evacuation of Jutland.
  8. The pay of the allied troops, including the extraordinary war pay, is excluded from the expenses chargeable upon Jutland.
  9. Prisoners of war and political prisoners will be set at liberty upon promise that the prisoners of war will not serve in the Danish army before the conclusion of peace. The liberation of the prisoners will take place, at the earliest possible period, at the ports of Swinemlmde and Lubeck.
  10. Danish soldiers allowed to visit Jutland during the armistice shall be allowed to return to the Danish army unhindered in case of the resumption of hostilities as soon as they are called to their flag.

The Sound


All foreign ships passing through the strait, whether en route to or from Denmark or not, had to stop in Helsing and pay a toll to the Danish Crown. If a ship refused to stop, cannons in both Helsing and Helsingborg (image right) could open fire and sink it. In 1567, the toll was changed into a 1-2% tax of the cargo value, providing three times more revenue. The Sound Dues remained the most important source of income for the Danish Crown for several centuries, thus making Danish kings relatively independent of Denmark's Privy Council and aristocracy. However, the dues were an irritant to nations engaged in trade in the Baltic Sea, especially Sweden. Sweden had initially been exempted from the dues at the time of their introduction because it was then in the Kalmar Union along with Denmark.

December 22, 1855, The Banker's Circular

The Sound Dues.

Mr. Marcy, the Foreign Minister of the United States, has addressed the following despatch to the Danish Government:

Department of State, Washington, November 3.

Sir, I proceed to communicate the President's reply to the proposition of the Danish Government to the United States to join in a convention with other Powers interested in the "Sound Dues," at Copenhagen, for the purpose of deliberating on the subject.

Nelson Against Napoleon. From the Nile to Copenhagen. 1798-1801.Nelson Against Napoleon. Nelson Against Napoleon: From the Nile to Copenhagen, 1798-1801Nelson Against Napoleon.
Chatham Pictorial Histories
David Lyon
This volume is the second of five covering the whole of the French Revolution, Napoleonic and 1812 Wars based on contemporary images, a series depicting the reality of warfare under sail in a depth never previously attained. Features a stunning collection of 300 contemporary images, many illustrations previously unpublished, and introductory essays and thematic text boxes by well-known authorities.

Literary Fiction

We, the Drowned

We the Drowned, An Epic Tale of the Sea.Denmark.

Carsten Jensen
From the Washington Post 
". . . sets sail beyond the narrow channels of the seafaring genre and approaches Tolstoy in its evocation of war's confusion, its power to stun victors and vanquished alike." Author Carsten Jensen has been referred to as "one of the most exciting authors in Nordic literature." In Europe, his story was considered an instant classic.

In the middle of the chaos of war, the book illustrates the chaos in the minds of men pulled into battle without any knowledge of exactly what it is they are facing or what to do until their ships are shelled. Insanity reigns.

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping.Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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