Denmark in the 13th Century

By | December 18, 2021

The reign of Erik Plovpenning (1241-1250), son and successor of Valdemaro II, was again marked by continuous struggles between the king and his brothers, who received large parts of the country as a fief. And since King C ristoforo I (1252-59), who succeeded A bele of Schleswig (1250-52), had to grant Schleswig as a hereditary fief to Valdemaro, son of Abel, this province remained increasingly detached from the rest of the territory. Christopher’s reign was marked above all by a struggle between the king and the Church, which the energetic archbishop Jakob Erlandssøn tried to make ever more independent. But ultimately, he was taken prisoner by the king. Ceased, under the reign of E rik K lipping(1259-86) the struggle between the king and the Church, however, arose another, very bitter, between the king and the nobles: the king was forced to sign a charter (Haandf œstning, 1282), in which, between the other, it was stipulated that the diets of the states were to be held annually. Nevertheless, the king was assassinated following a conspiracy of the nobles, led by Marshal Stig; and the murderers, exiled by the new king, E rik M enved(1286-1319), son of the slain, did not cease to harass the coasts of Denmark with their raids. The country was not peaceful; and meanwhile the king waged very expensive wars, to re-establish dominion south of the Baltic. But he failed. On the contrary, after his death a lot of territory had to be committed to foreign princes and nobles, while the enormous increase in taxes caused uprisings of peasants and conspiracies among the nobles. In such unfavorable circumstances, the new king C ristoforo II (1319-26 and 1330-32), had to make new concessions to the nobles: not having observed the obligations contracted, a civil war broke out, following which the twelve-year-old was proclaimed king duke V aldemaro(III) of Schleswig (1326-30), under the tutelage of his uncle, Count Gert, to whom he granted Schleswig as a fief, pledging that Denmark and Schleswig no longer unite under a single king (Constitutio Valdemariana). After the death of Christopher II who had ascended the throne, Denmark was ruled by the counts of Holstein – John and Gert – and by the king of Sweden, remaining kingless until 1340, when, after Gert was killed and Ju̇tland rose, he was elected. Valdemaro, son of Christopher II.

Valdemaro IV called Atterdag (1340-75) he first reigned over the fourth part of northern Jütland, brought to him as a dowry by his wife; but, energetic and shrewd as he was and supported by the people, he managed to unite the whole kingdom together and, taking advantage of the internal discords in Sweden, also Gotland. But this enterprise aroused the hostility of the Hanseatic against him, who attacked him in 1367, assisted by the neighboring rulers and the nobles of Jütland. The king was forced to stay out of his country for four years, until in 1370 the Danish states concluded peace with the Hanseatics in Stralsund, who obtained the castles of Scania for 15 years, as a guarantee of their privileges.. Returning to his homeland, the king soon erased all traces of the war and strengthened his power; but just as his efforts to take over Schleswig were about to succeed, he died (1375). With him died the last male descendant of Sven Estridsan. For Denmark history, please check areacodesexplorer.com.

Valdemar IV’s daughter, Margarita, married to the Norwegian king Haakon VI, had her son O laf elected king(Oluf: 1375-87), of which it assumed the protection. Intelligent and skilled, he managed to unite the whole north into one kingdom. In 1380, when Haakon VI died, Olaf was in fact elected king of Norway; and after Olaf’s death (1387), Queen Margaret herself was recognized as queen of Denmark and Norway; finally, in 1388 she was elected queen of the whole North by a part of the nobles of Sweden, dissatisfied with their king. Defeated by him the king of Sweden in the battle of Falen (1389), in 1397 the assembly of Kalmar united the three Scandinavian kingdoms in one, placing the queen’s great-grandson, Erik of Pomerania, at the head of the new state, name of Erik IX. At the same time a closer union was agreed between the three kingdoms (Kalmar Union) which resulted in the dominance of Denmark, promoted and wanted by Queen Margaret, who for this purpose created many Danish and German castellans and bishops in Sweden. No less vigorous policy, the queen followed towards Schleswig, trying to reacquire this province, although she herself granted the duchy as a hereditary fiefdom to the Dukes of Schleswig in 1386. A war ensued, which only ended in 1435, long after the queen’s death, with the Peace of Vordingborg, which restored the status quo ante. Inside, the reign of Queen Margaret was characterized by tendencies towards absolutism. She in fact entrusted the high offices of the state, vacant, to the court officers and suppressed the meetings of the Danehof.

Denmark in the 13th Century