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Language Swedish Literature

denmark, erik, sweden, succeeded, king, sture, swedes, reign, sverker and defeated

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In the case of Sweden, as of many other countries, the industry of chroni clers has supplied details about ages with which they were unacquainted. These early chronicles, called Sagas, contain lists of kings at variance with each other, and stories of ad venture of the kind to which the epithet heroic is usually applied, in which it is impossible to separate the fabulous from the historical. The first dynasty of Swedish kings, according to the legendary chronicles, belonged to a family called Ynglings, from their founder, Freyer Ingve, the reputed grandson of Odin, from whom the family claimed to be descended. The last of them was expelled by Ivar Widfadm, representative of the Danish family of the Skioldings, also descended from Odin, who united Sweden and Denmark under one rule. This event is referred to about 630 A.D. Near the end of the following century Ragnar Lod brok, the reigning representative of this house, fell in battle on the English Coast, and his second son, Biorn Ironside, inherited Sweden, which was again separated from Denmark. Christianity was introduced under his grand son, Biorn II; but it was first established by Olaf, who reigned in the beginning of the 11th century (1001-26 A.D.). Until the beginning of the 12th century the chronicles contain rival lists of kings. From the first appearance of Sweden in history two rival tribes or confed eracies, both of German origin, the Goths and the Swedes, contended for ascendency, and the confusion of the chronicles is probably due to the mingling of the lines of separate chiefs or monarchs reigning simultaneously in differ ent districts. Emund Slemme, the last of the descendants of Biorn, was defeated and killed by the Goths in 1056, when the two nations were united under Stenkil, the Gothic monarch. On the death of his descendant, Inge II, in 1129, the Swedes raised a private individual, Sverker I, to the throne. To conciliate the Goths it was agreed that Erik, a descendant of Stenkil in the female line, should succeed Sverker, and that the two families should reign alternately. This arrangement, which seems to indicate that the power of the monarchs was merely that of leading chiefs, was continued, though the cause of much dissension and civil war, for several reigns. During the reign of Sverker the kingdom was divided into four dioceses (1152). Erik IX, called Saint Erik, succeeded about 1155. In his reign the Finns were conquered and converted to Christianity. Charles VII, son of Sverker, who succeeded about 1162, was defeated and killed by Knut Erikson, who succeeded in 1168. Sverker II, the son of Charles, was likewise defeated and killed by Erik X, son of Knut, who succeeded him in 1210. John I, son of Sverker II, and the last of his line, was succeeded in 1253 by Erik XI, the last of his, who died in 1260. Waldemar I, nephew of Erik, was raised to the throne by election, and founded the dynasty of Folkungar. Waldemar made a voyage to the Holy Land, leaving his brother Magnus regent, in 1272; on his return a civil war took place, but Waldemar abdicated in favor of Magnus in 1279 and failed in subsequent attempts to recover the throne. Magnus assumed the title of king of the Swedes and the Goths. His son, Birger II, in whose reign the conquest of Finland was completed, was expelled by the people in 1319, who chose his nephew, Magnus Snek, an infant, as his suc cessor. He had already succeeded, in right of his mother, to the crown of Norway, which he gave to his son Haco in 1344. Scania, con sisting of the two southern provinces, Mal mans and Kristianstadt, which then belonged to Denmark, yielded to him in 1332, but he restored them on affiancing his son Haco to Margaret of Denmark. Magnus was deposed

by the states and obliged to carry on a civil war for the crown with his son Erik, whose death again left him in possession of the king dom ; but aiming at absolute power, he was again deposed in 1365 in favor of his nephew, Albert of Mecklenburg, who had already been in possession, since 1363, of the supreme au thority. Albert formed a league with Schles wig, Holstein, Mecklenburg and the Hanse towns against Denmark and Norway. He suc ceeded in driving the king of Denmark out of his dominions, but was defeated by the king of Norway, who besieged him in his own capital. Peace was concluded; but Albert, aim ing, like his predecessor, at absolute power, made himself unpopular with his own subjects, who invited Margaret of Denmark and Norway, the Semiramis of the North, who had united the crowns of these kingdoms, to replace him. Al bert, though supported by Holstein, Mecklen burg and the Hanse towns, was finally over come and returned to Mecklenburg. Margaret succeeded in 1389, and by the union of Calmar the three kingdoms were formally united, each retaining its own constitution. Under the reign of her grandnephew Erik (1412-41) the Swedes revolted under Engelbrecht (1433). The union was renewed 1436, but both Danes and Swedes revolted against Erik, and Charles Knutson, grand mareschal of Sweden, was chosen regent. His rule proving oppressive, the joint crown was conferred in 1441 upon Christopher of Bavaria, nephew of Erik. On his death in 1448 Charles VIII (Knutson) was chosen king of Sweden. Norway also acknowledged him, but soon threw off the yoke. The severance of the union also produced a war with Denmark. Charles' reign was stormy and his subjects repeatedly revolted against him. He died in 1470. Christian I, king of Denmark, had been crowned king of Sweden in 1458 'by the party opposed to Knut son, but on the death of Knutson his party chose his nephew, Sten Sture, administrator of the kingdom. Christian attempted to take pos session of the kingdom, but was defeated and forced to retire. In 1483 John I, son of Chris tian, was recognized as king of Sweden in virtue of the Union of Calmar. The country was divided between the Danish and the na tional parties, but Sture contrived to hold the administration, and raised an army to drive the Russians out of Finland. In 1497 John in vaded Sweden with a powerful army. Sture was completely defeated at Rotebro, 28 October. John conferred on him the government of Dalecarlia; but the Swedes again revolted and proclaimed him administrator in 1501. He died in 1503 and was succeeded in the administration by Svante Sture, who concluded peace with Russia and formed an alliance with the Hanse atic towns in order to prosecute the war with Denmark. The clergy and a large portion of the Senate favored the Danish alliance, but the peasantry were strongly opposed to it. Svante Sture died in 1512 and was succeeded by his son, Sten Sture the Younger. In the following year Christian II succeeded to the crown of Denmark. After the death of Sture, Gustavus Vasa raised the peasants of Dalecarlia, de feated the Danes, and, having embraced the Lutheran religion, was crowned king by a Protestant archbishop of Upsala in 1528. The Lutheran religion was formally established in Sweden in 1529. Christian II having been driven from Denmark, his title was acknowl edged by his successor, Frederick I, and in 1544 was declared hereditary in his house. He died in 1560. His son, Erik XIV, reigned only eight years. Erik was one of the candidates for the hand of Queen Elizabeth of England and also of Queen Mary of Scotland.

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