Christian I Secures Danish Rule
over Kalmar Union
by Jeff Provine
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On October 10th 1471,
to Digg our site.
King Christian I secured Danish Rule over Kalmar
Union. The Kalmar Union had formed thanks to the complicated
intermarriages of Scandinavian royalty. Margret I of Denmark married
Haakon VI of Norway (son of Magnus IV of Sweden and Norway), meaning that
their son Olav had direct claim to the crown of Denmark and Norway as well
as a strong bid for Sweden.
Olav's young death meant that the crown would be given to an elected
regent, who nearly always was Danish. While many Swedes balked, soldiers
and fear of growing German power kept them in line. In 1397, the union was
made formal by the Treaty of Kalmar, which created what hoped would be
eternal united strength for all Scandinavia under one crown.
"A united Scandinavia would have been quite a
bit more of a factor in European politics." - reader's commentsThe
crown passed from Margret of Denmark to Eric of Pomerania and back to John
of Denmark. The Swedes struggled under Danish rule, specifically upset
over routine wars against southern Baltic nations, disrupting trade and
keeping valuable Swedish iron ore in storehouses. All-out revolt sparked
the Engelbrekt Rebellion, which ejected Danes from Sweden as new ideas of
democracy were creeping in. The peasants were willing to fight for
something they could call their own, and such a power base gave rise to
election of Sten Sture the Elder. War broke out between his forces and the
Dane-favored older aristocracy, prompting Christian I of Denmark to step
in with Danish regulars and German mercenaries.
Their armies met at Brunkenberg, just north of Stockholm. Sten planned a
pincer movement with his lieutenants: Sten would sweep in from the west
while Nils Sture attacked from the forest on the northeast and Knut Posse
marched from the city itself. Christian marched into the trap and suddenly
found himself surrounded.
In the midst of battle, a musket ball hurled toward Christian's face, and
he moved slightly enough for it to graze his cheek. The terror of
near-death gave way to a feeling of powerful courage, as if God had given
him a sign to cast out the rebels. He rallied his troops and began a
charge toward Klara monastery, where some of his men had been cut off from
the rest of the army. The other Danish forces held while Christian routed
Nils and regrouped with the lost regiments. They moved from the north
toward Sten, flanking him and causing his loyal army of farmers and miners
to break under Danish might. When word spread that Sten had been killed in
battle, the movement crumbled, and Knut Posse's army surrendered after
considering a desperate defense in Stockholm.
The Battle of Brunkeberg would prove to be a great emblem for the Kalmar
Union. Christian spread propaganda about his victory and commissioned
sculptor Bernt Notke to carve a statue of Michael the Archangel slaying
demons that had rebelled against Heaven. Refocusing Swedish economic
policy toward autocracy, he squelched the growing ideals of democracy and
reaffirmed Denmark as the leader of the Scandinavians. Wielding the might
of the Kalmar Union, the Danes would gradually conquer southward and come
to hold the Baltic Sea as their own.
Denmark would further its sphere of influence with great victories in the
Fifteen Years' War (1618 to 1633), bringing about the collapse of the Holy
Roman Empire and the establishment of free states within the Germanies and
much of the Protestant north under their political sway. France, Spain,
and Austria would unite against the growing Protestant threat over the
next century in a series of wars that would ultimately lead to the forced
breakup of the Union. They would attempt a new, more covert Holy Roman
Empire under the guise of diplomacy and pitting Swedish, Danish, and
Norwegian princes and dukes against one another for the next century.
During his conquests of Europe, Napoleon would reestablish unity for each
of the people groups, but keep them under separate, hand-chosen kings.
Disunited, but finally at peace, the Scandinavians would prosper greatly
as they caught up to latter parts of the Industrial Revolution.
says in reality King Christian I would be hit by the musket ball,
causing him to lose several teeth and order his guard to retire from the
battle. They attempted to retreat to Käpplingen Island, but the
hastily-built bridge was destroyed by Sten's troops, causing havoc while the
rest of the Danes were defeated. To commemorate the battle, before which
Sten said he prayed to St. George, he would commission the statue of St.
George and the Dragon for Storkyrkan Church. Sten was assured as
viceroy of Sweden, beginning the downfall of the Kalmar Union and the
prelude to rule by the Vasas, who would assume power after Sten's death in
1503. After more altercations with Danish invasion, the Swedes would finally
rise to dominate northern Europe in the 1600s.
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Today in Alternate History web site.
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