FREDERICK VI., OF DENMARK, the son of Christian VII. and Caroline Matilda of England, was b., in 1768, and assumed the regency of the kingdom in 1784, on account of the insanity of his father, on whose death; in 1808, he ascended the throne. In this reign, feudal serfdom was abolished, monopolies abrogated, the criminal code amended, and the slave-trade prohibited earlier than in any other country. In 1800, Denmark joined the maritime confederation formed between Russia, Sweden, and Prussia, which led to retaliation on the part of England, to the seizure by that power of all Danish vessels in British ports, and to the despatch of a powerful fleet, tinder sir Hyde Parker and Nelson, to give efficacy to the peremptory demand that the regent should withdraw from the coifve%tion. His refusal to accede to this demand was followed by a fierce naval engagement, in which the Danish fleet was almost wholly destroyed. A peace was concluded on the regent's withdrawal from the confederation: but in consequence of his persisting to maintain an attitude of neutrality, instead of combining with Great Britain against Napoleon, the war was renewed in 1807 by the appearance, before Copen of a British fleet, bearing envoys, who summoned F. to enter into an alliance
with England, and to surrender his fleet and arsenals, and the castle of Cronborg, com manding the sound. On his refusal, Copenhagen was bombarded for three days, the arsenals and docks destroyed, and all the shipping disabled, sunk, or carried to England. This blow paralyzed' the national resources, and it required the exercise of much discre tion on the part of the government, and great endurance on that of the people, to prevent the irremediable ruin of the country. Smarting treatment which he had experienced from the English, the Danish monarch became the ally of Napoleon, and suffered proportionally after the overthrow of his empire. In 1814, Norway was taken by the allies from Denmark, and given to Sweden. The state became bankrupt, and many years passed before order could be restored to the finances. Notwithstanding his autocratic tendencies. F. so far yielded to the movements of the times as to give his subjects, in 1831, a representative council and a liberal constitution. He died Dec. 3, 1839.