The first days of January 1719 about 3000 soldiers died in the high mountains between Norway and Sweden. The Caroleans were the soldiers of the Swedish king Charles XII, and the were going home because their king was shot dead in Southern Norway. Most of the soldiers froze to death in a bad winter storm. 13. and 14. January 2012 the play Karolinerspelet are again shown in the village were the army spent the last night before the tragedy in the mountains. A link to more about this tragic story in english.
Karolinerspelet is performed every second year since the beginning of the 1990’ties (In the beginning with the title “Karolinernes hærtog i Tydal”), and always outdoors even if the winter weather in this mountain village can be quite harsh in January.
There are less than 800 inhabitants in the norwegian community of Tydal, next to the border with Sweden. None the less, about 250 of them participate in the play, men, women, childeren, and a lot of horses. The main actors are professionals. In 1718 the campain agains Mid-Norway and the city of Trondheim (which was not taken) was led by the General Carl Gustav Armfeldt. In Karolinerspelet i 2008 Armfeldt was played by the norwegian actor Terje Strømdahl:
In 2005 general Armfeldt was played by the actor Ståle Bjørnhaug (More photos from Karolinerspelet in 2008):
Armfeldt sure was worrying about what to do on the new years eve of 1718. His soldiers already dying from cold, lack of food and other resources.
Desperate soldiers were at this stage not treating the locals, and maybe specially the women, too nicely. This picture from 2005 with Elisabeth Matheson in one of the major female roles.
It is a great play about a tragic event. But dress according to the cold, norwegian winter if you have a chance to see it. (More info about Karolinerspelet)
One thought on “Karolinerspelet – 3000 soldiers froze to death in New Year 1719”
Very good documentary captured !