Kalmar Union

gigatos | December 31, 2021


The Kalmar Union was a Scandinavian union between the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden that was formed in 1397 and lasted until 6 June 1523. The union thus included territories such as Finland, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands, and encompassed the largest political unified area in the history of Scandinavia. After Sweden left the union, Denmark and Norway remained in union until 1814, with significant changes to the form of the union in 1536.

The Union was founded at a meeting in Kalmar in 1397, where the aristocracy of the three countries gathered to crown Erik of Pomerania king of the three countries (with Queen Margareta as the initial co-regent). The so-called Letter of Union from this meeting has been preserved. Historians have differing views on how the letter should be interpreted. Some argue that it was not a legally binding treaty. Regardless, the three kingdoms were ruled by the same monarch. Erik was succeeded by Kristofer of Bavaria. However, on his sudden death in January 1448, there was no successor and Denmark and Sweden each chose a regent. It was not until 1457 that the three kingdoms were once again ruled by the same king, Christian I. This was short-lived, however, and successors such as Hans and Kristian II ruled over Sweden for only short periods. In Sweden, the Union remained a political option until the election of Gustav Vasa as king in 1523.

Historian Gottfrid Carlsson characterises the Union as a “federal state”, even though the Kalmar Union lacked legislative power at the federal level. The Union was the largest country in Europe by area. Historian Dick Harrison describes the Union as:

Historian Erik Lönnroth saw the Union as a political and economic necessity to curb German expansion northwards in the 14th century. When earlier foreign policy threats, the Hanseatic League, the Teutonic Order and the North German princes, disappeared in the 16th century, the idea of union also weakened.

Sweden and Norway in union

Sweden and Norway were united under one crown under Kings Magnus Eriksson and Hakan Magnusson. Kristofer II of Denmark had pledged Skåne to John of Holstein in 1329, but a rebellion broke out there in 1332 and in November of the same year John chose to hand over Skåne and Blekinge to the Swedish king in return for a ransom. Magnus recognised Skåne as an autonomous crown land, while the Scanians recognised the Folkungarna as a royal court. Magnus then called himself “King of Sweden, Norway and Skåne”. However, the Danish king Valdemar Atterdag conquered Skåne, Blekinge and southern Halland in 1360. In the summer of 1361 he conquered Gotland. The loss of Skåne caused the Swedish aristocracy to turn against Magnus Eriksson and in 1361 he was imprisoned by his own son, Hakan Magnusson. Hakan was elected King of Sweden on the stones of Mora in February 1362. However, Magnusson and his father were reconciled in the spring of 1362 and they agreed to co-govern Sweden and Norway. For help in defeating the Swedish aristocracy, they turned to Valdemar Atterdag in Denmark. In 1359, Hakan Magnusson had become engaged to Valdemar”s six-year-old daughter Margareta. Under pressure from the Swedish aristocracy, Hakan had broken off the engagement and instead became engaged to a princess from Holstein, Elizabeth. When the princess travelled to Sweden in December 1362 to meet her future husband, her ship was driven by the wind to Bornholm, where she was imprisoned. Magnus Eriksson and his son hurried to Copenhagen and on 9 April 1363, Hakan married Margareta. The Holstein princess was released from prison afterwards; she lived the rest of her life in a convent.

Valdemar Atterdag”s only son Kristofer had been severely injured during fighting in Skåne in July 1362 and died the following summer. Valdemar had two daughters, Ingeborg and Margareta, and in that situation either could be chosen as successor to the throne. Ingeborg was married to Henrik Bödeln of Mecklenburg, son of Albrekt the Great of Mecklenburg and Eufemia Eriksdotter (sister of Sweden”s King Magnus Eriksson). The Grandman opposition in Sweden against Hakan Magnusson joined forces with Albrekt to put his and Euphemia Eriksdotter”s second son Albrekt of Mecklenburg on the Swedish throne. In the second half of 1363, Valdemar Atterdag set out on a long European journey and his allies Magnus and Hakan could therefore not expect any help from Denmark. In November 1363, a large German army sailed to Sweden for a surprise attack on the Volksungarna, which succeeded. In February 1364, Albrekt could therefore be hailed as Sweden”s king on the stones of Mora. The two sons of the people, Magnus and Hakan, retained control of Norway and western Sweden, from which they launched a military attack on eastern Svealand, but were defeated in 1365 at the Battle of Gataskogen on the border between Västmanland and Uppland. Valdemar Atterdag attacked in 1366 and was initially very successful. However, he was eventually attacked by Mecklenburg, Holstein and Hanseatic troops and was forced to make peace. In 1371, Valdemar was forced to agree to make his grandson Albrekt IV of Mecklenburg heir to the Danish throne. Magnus Eriksson was imprisoned for six years until 1371, but was released after the people promised that the West Swedish territories held in fief by them would be handed over to Albrekt on Magnus Eriksson”s death.

Denmark and Norway in union

However, when Magnus Eriksson died in 1374, these territories were not handed over and when Valdemar Atterdag died in October 1375, Albrekt IV was not appointed Danish king. Instead, Hakan Magnusson put up a rival candidate, his own son Olof. Hakan had the support of Denmark”s most influential noblemen, and at a parliamentary meeting in Slagelse in May 1376, Olof was appointed Danish regent. At the same time it was decided that the government would be exercised by his parents, Hakan and his wife Margareta. It was significant that both Hakan and Margareta had been in Denmark to work for their son”s candidacy, but also that only Margareta could be considered to represent the Danish royal dynasty; her sister Ingeborg had died by then. To strengthen her claim to the throne, she began to call herself “Queen of Denmark, Sweden and Norway” in the period leading up to her son”s election as king.

With the appointment of Olof, the union of Denmark and Norway had created a great empire that included not only the two countries but also other territories they ruled, such as Skåne and Gotland. When Hakan died in 1380, Olof also became King of Norway, but Margaret acted as his guardian. The Swedish king Albrekt of Mecklenburg was not idle but tried to conquer Skåne in 1380-1384 but had to settle for southern Halland. Albrecht”s attempt to unite Scania and Sweden under one crown also had widespread support among the Scandi nobility. The influence of the kings in Skåne was also weakened by the fact that western Skåne had been pledged to the German Hanseatic League since 1370. In 1385, however, Olof Håkansson came to Lund, where he was hailed by the Skåne people after confirming the traditional privileges of the Skåne people. A few weeks later, the Hanseatic League surrendered its castles in western Skåne to the Danish king. In the early summer of 1385, Olof Håkansson began to use the title “true heir to the kingdom of Sweden” and was then able to start arming for war instead of defence.

The war against Albrekt

Albrecht of Mecklenburg”s position as Swedish king had weakened over time. To help him, he had called in Germans to act as lords and bailiffs instead of the Swedish aristocracy. One of the noblemen who supported Albrecht and opposed the mercenaries was Bo Jonsson (Grip), partly in the hope that Albert would be able to reconquer Skåne from Valdemar Atterdag. Bo Jonsson was not only the kingdom”s prince but also its largest landowner. In April 1384 he was on his way to Skåne to take part in the campaign, but in Vadstena he made a will in which he declared as his last wish that all his fiefs in Finland and Sweden proper should be administered after his death by eight named noblemen, thus preventing King Albrecht from gaining control of the counties. Bo Jonsson”s Mecklenburg wife and his children were excluded from any control over the counties. The relationship between Bo Jonsson and Albrekt in later years is not known; probably Albrekt”s inability to conquer Skåne did not benefit him. When Bo Jonsson died in August 1386, the will became known and Albrekt declared himself to be the guardian of the widow and the children in an attempt to overturn the will. Albrekt also managed to take control of some strongholds. In the domestic political crisis that arose in Sweden, the Swedish nobles now sought support from Margaret. Some of them met Olof and Margareta in Skåne in the summer of 1387.

Margaret was staying in Ystad when Olof suddenly fell seriously ill with fever and died at Falsterbo Castle on 3 August 1387. However, Margaret quickly ensured that she was honoured as Denmark”s regent, first at a funeral mass in Lund on 10 August, then at the county council in Ringsted, the county council of Fyn in Odense and probably also at the county council of Jutland in Viborg. Margaret also travelled to Norway, where she was honoured as Norway”s regent at a meeting of lords in Oslo in February 1388. After her visit to Norway, she met Bo Jonsson”s executors in Dalaborg. The Dalaborg Treaty recognised Margaret as Sweden”s “plenipotentiary wife and rightful mistress” by the assembled aristocracy. They promised to put the Swedish castle lands at her disposal and to give her military support to conquer power from King Albrecht.

King Albrecht did not sit idly by as opposition to him grew in strength. In the late summer of 1388, he travelled to Mecklenburg to gather a substantial force of mercenary troops. Albrecht and his mercenary troops were back around New Year”s 13881389, having landed in Kalmar. In the autumn of 1388, the opposition forces had laid siege to Axevalla House outside Skara and Albrekt”s troops marched via Jönköping to rescue Axevalla. Albrecht”s troops were probably all horse-mounted, well armed and had at least a core of battle-hardened cavalry. Margaret”s and Albrekt”s troops met near Åsle kyrkby a mile east of Falköping. The Battle of Åsle was both a military and political victory for Margaret when both Albrekt and his son Erik were captured.

The Danish-Swedish forces were quickly able to take control of the castles that were in the hands of the Mecklenburgs, including Kalmar Castle. Margaret also acted swiftly on the succession to the throne; at midsummer 1389, a large meeting of lords gathered in Helsingborg where Margaret presented the heir to the throne, Erik of Pomerania, son of Margaret”s niece Mary. There, he was recognised by the Norwegian representatives as Norway”s hereditary king, though with Margaret as his guardian while he was a minor. As for Erik”s position in Denmark and Sweden, it took several years; Erik was elected King of Denmark at a council in Viborg on New Year”s Day 1396, and for Sweden he was honoured on Mora stones as King of Sweden on 23 July 1396.

Margareta and Erik met the Swedish National Council in Nyköping in September of the same year. The most important decision was a reduction of all crown property transferred to the aristocracy and the feudal lords during Albrecht of Mecklenburg”s time as king, unless the crown granted an exception. Those who had become commoners during the period would lose this status. The meeting also decided that all fortresses and castles built during this period would be demolished unless the Crown decided otherwise. Margareta was given Östergötland and Skara bishopric, Rumlaborg castle and county with Jönköping, Västerås castle and town with Norbohärad and Dalarna. The recession was issued on 23 September 1396 and is interpreted by the historian Erik Lönnroth as a crushing defeat for the Swedish magnate class as it lost everything it had gained since the rebellion against Magnus Eriksson. The meeting also decided on a new meeting between the leading magnates of the three kingdoms where they would conclude an agreement on perpetual peace between the countries.

The first clear evidence that Margaret wanted to create a union of the three kingdoms over which Erik was king is the Nyköping Recession of 1396. With the personal union at hand, the assembled agreed on a union meeting where representatives of the three kingdoms would agree on a union, a union that was cited as a prerequisite for peace between the kingdoms. This all-Nordic union meeting took place in Kalmar in the summer of 1397. The meeting itself should have taken at least four weeks and began with a coronation ceremony in which Erik was crowned king by the archbishops of Lund and Uppsala. The absence of Norwegian bishops in Kalmar may indicate that Erik was crowned King of Norway as early as 1392. The meeting itself resulted in a letter of union regulating the future relations between the three kingdoms and a coronation letter stating that Erik”s coronation as king of Denmark, Norway and Sweden had been completed in Kalmar. There has been considerable scholarly discussion about how to interpret the letter of union.

Coronation letter

The coronation letter announces that the coronation of Erik has been completed in Kalmar. The signatories swear an oath of allegiance to King Erik and give full discharge to Margaret. The coronation letter does not impose any specific obligations on the king, there is only a passage in general terms, “oc han gøre widh oss alle som hanom bør at gøre”. Lönnroth also points out that in the coronation letter Erik is recognised by the signatories as king, there is no mention of a royal election or transfer of power from subjects to king. The coronation letter also states that Erik is king by the grace of God.

Union Newsletter

The Letter of the Union sets out five key principles for the Union:

The scholarly debate about the Letter of Union has been about whether the Letter of Union was actually issued. The Letter of Union is written on paper and not on parchment, as was the custom. The letter also states that it should be printed in six copies, but there is no evidence that this was done. This would suggest that the Union letter is merely a case proposal. Seventeen people are named as sealers of the document but only ten seals are affixed. The seals are imprinted and not, as the text indicates, with underhanging seals. In addition, the sealing is sloppy, the author has made a mess of the text and some spelling mistakes have been left in. The historian Lauritz Weibull emphasises the great accuracy that usually characterised medieval acts of state, “An act of state of the extraordinary importance of this letter cannot, on account of its defective external nature, be valued more highly than as a purely provisional act.”

Weibull interprets the letter of union as a treaty between the royal power on the one hand and the councils of the three kingdoms on the other. The 17 who sealed the letter are not mentioned as councils of the kingdom and did not seal the letter of union as representatives of the councils of the kingdom, but their titles such as archbishop, knight, prophet were used. A treaty valid under constitutional law would also have required that the other party, the royal power, sealed the letter.

Historian Erik Lönnroth also argues that the Kalmar meeting never issued a legally binding treaty in the form of a letter of union between the three countries. Responsibility for the failure to issue the letter of union lies with Margaret. While the coronation letter embraces a theory of the state in which power lies with the princely power, regime regale, the letter of union is imbued with a theory of the state in which the royal power is bound by the laws, regime politicum. The latter was the theory of the state that the aristocracy in the Councils of State later came to embrace. Since the Letter of Union never became valid, the royal power was never bound by the restrictions mentioned in the letter. It was the struggle between these two principles that came to characterise the history of the Union.

Historian Gottfrid Carlsson interprets the Union letter as the seventeen issuers certifying what the meeting actually decided. Carlsson considers these seventeen, four Danish and five Swedish knights, the Norwegian Chancellor and three Norwegian knights, the archbishops of Lund and Uppsala and the bishops of Linköping and Roskilde, to have been the most distinguished in rank at the meeting in Kalmar. The actual letter of union from Kalmar, issued according to all the rules of the art on parchment, was lost at the latest in the 16th century. Carlsson hypothesises that the preserved letter was intended to be handed over to the Norwegian Chancellor, who wanted to present a certified copy of the Union decision. This would then explain why the seals of the Norwegian issuers do not appear on the letter of union – they would have been able to confirm orally to the Norwegian Council of State that the letter was an authentic copy.

Posterity”s view of Queen Margaret and her Union policy has varied. Early Swedish historians such as Olaus Petri and Ericus Olai criticised her for not keeping her promises, and in the Vadstenadi she was criticised for her reductions in estates and the tax burden. During 19th century Scandinavianism, Margaret”s role in uniting the Nordic countries was emphasised. However, Danish historian Kristian Erslev argued that for her the union was a means to her primary goal, a strong royal power at the expense of the influence of the aristocracy.

Margaret made reductions of the land of the saviour both in Denmark and in Sweden as the transfer of tax land to the land of the saviour seriously threatened the crown”s tax revenue. After Sweden”s drots Bo Jonsson (Grip) died in 1386, Denmark”s drots Henning Podebusk died in 1388 and Norway”s drots Ogmund Finsson died in 1388, Margaret did not appoint new drots. Even the office of Marshal was left vacant during her time. Margaret has also been criticised for placing foreign bailiffs in Swedish castles, contrary to Magnus Eriksson”s national laws. According to Erslev, she always placed Danish bailiffs in Swedish and Norwegian counties, while Carlsson claims that the only clear example of this is the castle Tre Kronor in Stockholm, which was her personal possession, but otherwise “the castle lands in Sweden were almost always held by persons who were natives in the sense of the law.” The final assessment of her appointments depends on whether or not the castle-holders can be regarded as native men.

Also in the appointment of ecclesiastical offices, Margaret continued her father”s policy of placing hand-picked people as bishops, so that the Crown could borrow money from the Church. The weakness of the papacy at the time also facilitated this. Already at the Council of the Archbishopric in 1396, the Church came out against Margaret because of the tax burden, comparing the conditions to the slavery of the Jews in Egypt. The Council of Arc in 1412 protested against the reduction of church property and threatened interdict if conditions did not change.

After Margaret”s death in 1412, the absolute monarchy was relaxed somewhat and the Danish Council of State gained greater influence in Denmark. For Sweden, Erik decided on a refectory which meant that the previous reduction of estates was to some extent abolished. The appointment of bishops took place without open conflict. The Danish court was convened in 1413. After 1398, Margaret seems to have spent more time in Sweden than in Denmark. Erik, on the other hand, did spend the first few years after 1412 regularly in Sweden, but after that his visits to Sweden became more and more infrequent. Erik does not seem to have visited Norway at all after 1412. Overall, Erik continued Margaret”s union policy. He donated money to Vadstena monastery but placed his own men as bishops. The influence of the Norwegian Imperial Council diminished and its members lacked influence except in their judicial duties. In Norway, Danes were placed as bishops and the Norwegian castles of Bohus, Akershus, Tunsberghus and Bergenhus were taken over by Danish bailiffs. Erik”s ambition seems to have been to integrate the three union countries. Union meetings with councils of the three countries met in Copenhagen, a union banner and a union coat of arms and a common herald for the three kingdoms.

In Sweden, Erik placed Danes and Germans as bailiffs at the castles. In 1434, the Germans Hans Kröpelin was bailiff at Stockholm Castle and Hans of Eberstein at Gripsholm Castle, the Danes Anders Nielsen at Axevalla, Jens Grim at Kalmar Castle and Jösse Eriksson at Västerås Castle. The castles of Älvsborg, Nyköpingshus and Ringstaholm also had German or Danish bailiffs. Only a few castles in Finland had members of the Swedish nobility as bailiffs.

As a motive for the rebellion against Erik that broke out in Sweden in the summer of 1434, the Engelbrekt Rebellion, some direct causes have been pointed out. On 12 September 1434, the Swedish Council of State issued a circular letter to the High Masters of the Teutonic Order, the Hanseatic cities and the Council of State of Norway. The Council pointed out several shortcomings, including that Erik had appointed unsuitable men as bishops, he had handed over castles to foreigners and by attempting to appoint his uncle”s son Bogislav IX of Pomerania as heir to the throne he was not respecting the electoral rights of the kingdoms. The commoners have been forced to pay oppressive taxes, the cities unreasonable customs duties and the aristocracy has been forced to take part in wars abroad.

In November 1434, the parties agreed to negotiations. These took place in Halmstad in April-May 1435. From the Swedish council participated archbishop Olof, bishops Knut and Sigge, knight Nils Erengislesson and squires Knut Jonsson and Magnus Gren. Bishop Jens of Roskilde, Axel Pedersson, Erik Nielsson, Sten Basse, Morten Jensson and the dean Hans Laxmand participated as Erik”s representatives. At the meeting, it was agreed that the Council of State would appoint bailiffs in the castles that the King still controlled, and that taxes would be decided jointly by the King and the Council of State. The King also promised to appoint drots and marshals in Sweden, that the Rikshövitsmannen Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson would receive Örebro Castle and county for life and Erik Puke would receive Rasbo Hundare for life. In June, the Riksrat met in Uppsala and ratified the Halmstad agreement, but in the ratification letter the Riksrat elaborated on how it interpreted the agreement: the king would rule the kingdom in accordance with the Riksrat and the law.

In the autumn of 1435, Erik arrived in Stockholm and on 14 October a settlement was reached in which Erik was recognised as king if he guaranteed his promises from the royal election and to follow Sweden”s legal system of government. Erik also promised to appoint drots and marshals. As for the appointment of bailiffs, the king would be allowed to appoint Danes or Norwegians as bailiffs at the castles of Stockholm, Nyköping and Kalmar. For the other castles, the King would seek the opinion of the Council, but in the event of disagreement, the King would make the final decision on which Swede would become bailiff. The King appointed the loyal Krister Nilsson (Vasa) as drots and Karl Knutsson (Bonde) as marshall.

However, the rebellion in Sweden soon broke out again and the parties met in Kalmar in July 1436. From the negotiations in Kalmar there is a proposal for a new act of union which seems to have come from the Swedish side. Carlsson (1945) speculates that the author was the bishop of Strängnäs, Tomas Simonsson, while Lönnroth (1969) guesses at someone in the Swedish Church with connections to the then ongoing Church Council of Basel. The proposal is clearly modelled on the 1397 Letter of Union. The proposal lacks the points about Queen Margaret”s rights, but the additions are about guaranteeing the internal independence of the three states, ensuring their influence on foreign policy and preventing the centralisation of power. Each kingdom would have a central administration with a king and a marshal; the king would act as viceroy in the king”s absence and would be in charge of the administration of justice, while the marshal would be commander-in-chief of the military forces. Each kingdom would also have a king”s chamberlain and a chancellor of the court. The king would spend four months a year in each kingdom and would always be accompanied by two councillors from each kingdom. In war, the three kingdoms would act together, but offensive wars required the consent of all three kingdoms” councils. When a new Union King is elected, an All-Nordic Union Meeting is to be convened at Halmstad with forty members from each kingdom. These members would represent the entire population, not only the church and the aristocracy but also the merchant towns and the peasants. The Union meeting would primarily choose one of the deceased king”s sons as the new king. If there was no such king, the Union Assembly could seek a new king from elsewhere.

The proposal for a new Union act did not pass. On 1 September, it was agreed that Erik would again be recognised as King of Sweden, but that he would rule Sweden after the National Council and the Council of State. Questions of reduced taxes for the commoners and the punishment of bailiffs were left aside. The Swedish Council and Erik had agreed to meet in Söderköping in September to decide on the administration of the counties and other matters. However, Erik did not attend and the councils divided up the castle lands on their own initiative and the king”s bailiffs were removed. Erik himself did not sanction the decision, nor did he come to new meetings with the Council. In Denmark, there was conflict between Erik and the Danish Council when, at Easter 1438, he granted four Danish castles to his Pomeranian relatives, and he also tried to get the Council to recognise Bogislav as governor, which the Council refused to do. He forced the commoners on Zealand to swear an oath of allegiance to Bogislav and then sailed to Gotland with the treasury.

The Danish and Swedish councils met in July 1438 in Kalmar, where they confirmed the union of perpetual peace between the three kingdoms, mutual aid in war and the independence of each kingdom. Regarding the election of kings, it was agreed that none of the kingdoms would choose a new king on its own without first negotiating with the other kingdoms. The agreement was confirmed at another meeting in Jönköping in November 1439, where it was agreed to meet in Kalmar by midsummer 1440 to agree on a new constitution and to elect a union king.

Erik”s attempts to forge an alliance between himself, Prussia and Philip the Good, ruler of Burgundy, to conquer Helsingborg and Elsinore were seen as threatening in Denmark and therefore Erik”s 24-year-old nephew Kristofer of Bavaria was elected King of Denmark on 9 April 1440. The Swedish Council managed to get Kristofer to give some guarantees that previous conditions would not be repeated. In his pledge, Kristofer promised to rule Sweden in accordance with the will of the Council, and the Council got its constitutionalist programme, regime politicum, passed, for which it had fought. On 14 August 1441, he was crowned King of Sweden in Uppsala Cathedral. He was crowned King of Norway in Oslo in 1442 and then crowned in Denmark at a ceremony in Ribe Cathedral. There is a certificate from the Danish coronation which states that Kristofer was crowned archirex, arch-king.

Kristofer married Dorothea of Brandenburg in Copenhagen in 1445, and she was crowned Queen of the Union in the presence of bishops from the three kingdoms.

Kristofer divided his time equally between Denmark and Sweden, but it cannot be proved that he visited Norway after the coronation in Oslo. In his pledge of allegiance he had promised to divide his time equally between the three kingdoms, but this was not fulfilled as far as Norway was concerned. The Norwegian Council had an independence that is otherwise unparalleled in Norway”s late medieval history. The Norwegian Council was made up of native Norwegians or men who were descended from Norwegian families. For practical reasons it was divided into two, one with its seat in Oslo, the other in Bergen. In Sweden, the Swedish council had a firm grip on tax collection, while in Norway the tax money was transferred to the Royal Chancellery in Copenhagen.

Carlsson (1945) argues that there is credible evidence that during Kristofer”s time as Union monarch a new union letter was indeed issued that was close to the 1436 proposal for a union act and that this union letter was issued in Stockholm. Whether this happened or not, Kristofer”s reign was characterised by regime politicum, where government was carried out in accordance with the law of each kingdom and in cooperation with the councils of the kingdom. Neither in Norway nor in Sweden were there any other than native county governors. In Sweden, he favoured those in the high nobility who were pro-Union, and in his absence he appointed a government college with Archbishop Nils Ragvaldsson, Bengt Jönsson (Oxenstierna), Erengisle Nilsson the Younger and Magnus Gren. Kristofer also respected ecclesiastical freedom, and the ecclesiastical opposition to state power that had existed earlier was absent during this period.

Throughout his reign, Kristofer was preoccupied with gaining control of Gotland, where the deposed King Erik, with Visborg Fortress as his base, was in charge of a pirate fleet that ravaged the Baltic Sea. Erik”s allies Philip the Good and the Dutch seafaring cities abandoned him after Kristofer concluded a trade treaty with them in the summer of 1441. In 1443, Erik was instead supported by the Wendish Hanseatic cities, as Kristofer had refused to confirm their trading privileges in Sweden and Norway. After Kristofer finally confirmed their privileges in 1445, they distanced themselves from Erik and he sought support from the Teutonic Order instead. In August 1446, Kristofer sailed to Gotland with 2,000 troops and councils from the three kingdoms, where he met Erik for negotiations in Västergarn. Erik demanded Gotland and the diocese of Linköping, or Gotland and 200,000 loden, in return for recognising that Gotland belonged to Sweden. This was rejected and the negotiations failed, although an 18-month truce was agreed. In January 1447, the Union entered into an alliance with the Master of the Teutonic Order for war against the Russians. However, the Orders went to war against Novgorodria alone and their influence in the dispute over Gotland was considerably reduced. Kristofer had therefore succeeded in isolating Erik with the Union”s foreign policy. A new opportunity for a settlement arose in 1447 when Erik”s cousin Bogislav IX died, making Erik Duke of Pomerania-Stolp, and, Larsson (1997) argues, there was thus a chance to get Erik to abandon Gotland. However, Kristofer fell ill suddenly on Christmas 1447 and died in early January 1448.

In Sweden, a meeting of the Estates was convened in Stockholm and, under somewhat unclear circumstances, Karl Knutsson (Bonde) was elected King of Sweden on 20 June 1448. Larsson (1997) interprets this rapid turn of events as meaning that Karl wanted to be elected Swedish king in order to be able to launch himself as a candidate for the Danish throne.

Within the Danish Council, there were different opinions as to whether the Union King should come from within the Nordic nobility or from outside. One faction within the Council turned to Adolf VIII of Holstein, as electing Adolf as Danish king would unite the Duchy of Schleswig with the Kingdom of Denmark. Instead, Adolf proposed his own nephew, Kristian, Count of Oldenburg. Electing Kristian would also solve the problem of the great morning gift that would fall to the Dowager Queen Dorothea on the death of her husband: if Kristian married her, this would not be necessary. On 28 June, Kristian confirmed the so-called Constitutio Valdemariana, Valdemar III”s 1326 charter, which guaranteed that the Duchy of Schleswig and the Kingdom of Denmark would never be united under one ruler. On 28 September, Kristian was elected King of Denmark at the county council in Viborg; a month later he was crowned in Copenhagen at the same time as he married the 18-year-old Dowager Queen.

This was followed by a battle to be appointed king of Norway. Hartvig Krummedige, bailiff of Akershus, and the Danish bishop Jens Jakobsson were the leaders of the Norwegian council, and in March 1449 they won the majority in the council to invite Kristian to negotiations on the Norwegian royal election. Kristian arrived in Marstrand at midsummer 1449 and was elected King of Norway. He then appointed Archbishop Aslak Bolt and the nobleman Sigurd Jonsson as king”s stewards and promised to return the following summer to be crowned. A small group of councillors wanted Charles to be king instead, and during the summer of 1449 he was hailed as king at various East Norwegian county councils. In October 1449 Charles arrived in Norway with 500 horsemen, where he was celebrated as king in various places. In Nidaro Cathedral, Charles was crowned King of Norway by the Norwegian Archbishop on 20 November. At New Year”s time, Charles attempted to conquer the Oslo area and Akershus fortress with large mounted forces. A military conquest quickly proved impossible and a truce was agreed.

A few weeks after Charles became king of Sweden, he also tried to conquer Gotland from Erik. The countryside was quickly conquered and in early December 1448 the Swedish troops were able to capture Visby, but not Visborg fortress. Erik promised to surrender Visborg on 20 April 1449 if he received Borgholm Castle and Öland as a lifetime fiefdom. At the same time, however, Erik had contact with Kristian, who offered him three Danish castles and 10,000 guilders a year if he surrendered Visborg to him. The Danish fleet arrived in Visby with reinforcements and in April 1449 Erik handed Visborg over to the Danish marquis Olof Axelsson (Tott). This led to a new attempt by the Swedes to conquer Visborg. The Danish fleet launched a blockade of the island, which eventually led to the Swedes leaving the island. The question of which country would have control of the island was referred to negotiations in Halmstad in May 1450.

The negotiations in Halmstad meant that Denmark and Sweden agreed that perpetual peace would reign between the countries from 29 July 1450. The Swedish and Danish Council representatives also agreed on a new treaty of union based on the agreement of Kalmar 1438: perpetual peace between the three kingdoms, mutual aid in war and the independence of each kingdom. The meeting also agreed on how to resolve the situation where there were two kings in the three countries of the Union. When either Charles or Christopher died, twelve councils from each kingdom would meet in Halmstad to decide whether to elect the surviving king of the union. If no agreement can be reached, the king of the country without a king is appointed, and when the surviving king has also died, they meet again in Halmstad to elect a union king. If there are suitable royal sons, one of these shall be chosen. A foreigner cannot be elected Union King; he must have been born in Denmark or Sweden. Lönnroth (1969) calls this “one of the most sacred acts of state in the 15th century in the Nordic countries”, while Harrison (2002) argues that “this decision was in practice completely unrealistic”. Otherwise, the meeting decided that Charles would cede Norway to Kristian; the question of Gotland”s future was postponed.

Charles ratified the Halmstad meeting”s decision on Norway in June 1450, but with the proviso that he wished to retain his Norwegian royal title. The fact that Charles gave up Norway so easily can be explained by the fact that Kristian was supported by a majority of the Norwegian council, he had control over all Norwegian castles of importance and he was able to assert his claims with military power. On 29 July 1450, Kristian was crowned in Nidaro Cathedral in the presence of the entire Norwegian Council. On 29 August, a treaty of union was signed between Denmark and Norway in which the two countries agreed to remain united in union under one king. It was also agreed that when the king died, the councils of the two countries would meet in Halmstad to choose a son of the deceased as the new king in the first instance, or in the second instance someone else they thought suitable.

The Halmstad meeting”s agreement on a perpetual peace between Denmark and Sweden quickly came to nothing, and the next few years were marked by frequent military clashes between the two countries. In Sweden, opposition to Charles grew and in February 1457 he chose to go into exile in Danzig. A few weeks later, the Imperial Council elected Archbishop Jöns Bengtsson (Oxenstierna) and Erik Axelsson (Tott) as its leaders. At the end of March 1457, Christian declared himself pretender to the Swedish royal throne, thereby recognising all existing privileges and laws, that the Swedish nobility would regain the estates they owned in Denmark and Norway, and to acknowledge Sweden”s sovereignty over Gotland, Öland and Älvsborg. Kristian arrived in Stockholm in June and on 2 July he was elected King of Sweden. In his royal proclamation, Kristian confirmed that previous union agreements would continue to apply.

In January 1458, the councils of the three kingdoms met in Skara, where the Norwegian and Swedish councils elected Kristian”s son Hans as successor to the throne in Norway and Sweden. The Danish Council had earlier made the same promise.

In March, Kristian was elected Count of Holstein and Duke of Schleswig, thus achieving what Erik of Pomerania never did: taking control of the two provinces. But the price for this was 123,000 Rhenish gold, a value equivalent to 6 tons of silver. To pay for this, new taxes were required, leading to rebellions in Sweden in 1463-1464 and Charles being re-elected King of Sweden for a time in 1464-1465 and 1467-1470. Negotiations to reinstate Christian as Swedish king went nowhere and he tried to back up his claim to the Swedish throne with military action in Sweden. In the second half of the 1460s, civil war raged between a faction consisting of the Oxenstierna family and the border nobility who supported Christian, on the one hand, and Charles and his relatives and the influential Axis sons, on the other.

After Karl Knutsson”s death in 1470, Sten Sture the Elder, Karl Knutsson”s half-sister”s son, was elected king”s governor. In June, Kristian claimed his right to the Swedish throne. The Swedes and Danes met in Kungsäter for negotiations, the outcome of which is disputed. According to a surviving Swedish proposal for a peace treaty, they were to meet again at Stegeborg Castle to resolve the conflict between Kristian and the Axis sons, after which Kristian was to be recognised as King of the Union on such terms as the three kingdoms” councils could agree on. In June, Kristian arrived in Stockholm with the Danish fleet. The parties agreed on a truce in the fighting. While Sten Sture recruited a peasant army in Närke and Östergötland, Kristian allowed himself to be hailed by Uppland”s county council as Sweden”s king. On 10 October 1471, the two sides met in a military clash, the Battle of Brunkeberg, which Kristian lost.

The historian Gottfrid Carlsson has argued that after 1471 there was no party in Sweden that supported the principle of a Nordic union for its own sake; later support for the union would have been based on opportunistic reasons to protect itself against a power-hungry ruler.

Kristian”s only chance of regaining the Swedish royal throne was through negotiations. The two sides met for new negotiations in Kalmar in 1476, where Sten Sture himself participated while Kristian stayed in Ronneby. In Kalmar, they agreed on a rebellion clause, giving the nobility the right to rebel against the king under certain conditions, and that if the king died, the representatives of the three kingdoms would meet in either Halmstad or Nya Lödöse to elect a new king. The question of whether Christian should be recognised as king went on to the parliamentary meeting in Strängnäs in the summer of 1476, where the decision to recognise Christian was rejected.

Kristian died on 21 May 1481.His son Hans had already been elected successor to the throne in both Norway and Sweden, but when the Norwegian council met in August 1481, it became clear that there was dissatisfaction with Kristian”s rule. Norway wanted the return of the Shetland and Orkney Islands, which had been pledged to Scotland in 1469, a ban on foreigners” merchant shipping to Iceland, and dissatisfaction with the granting of Norway”s castles and counties to foreigners. In August 1482, a new union meeting was held in Kalmar, but the Norwegians did not attend. At the meeting, a new union treaty was agreed, building on the earlier meeting in Kalmar in 1476 and binding the union king with tough guarantees against the influence of the aristocracy. With this new union agreement, the Swedish Council of State was also able to agree to re-recognise the union between the three kingdoms. Kalmar also decided to meet again in Halmstad in January 1483 to elect the Union King.

Representatives of the three kingdoms met in Halmstad in January 1483 to elect Hans as King of the Union in accordance with the Union Treaty of 1482. When the Swedish representatives arrived, they lacked the authority to elect a king, but Hans was nevertheless elected king of Denmark and Norway. It was agreed to meet again in Kalmar the following year. The Kalmar Recess of 1483 agreed on the conditions under which Sweden would rejoin the Union. The agreement includes 50 paragraphs in which the king must respect the laws and customs of each kingdom, respect the privileges of the nobility and the church, work for the return of the pledged islands to Norway, and so on. The only condition for the union to take effect was that Hans should come to Kalmar the following summer to be elected King of Sweden. This meeting also took place, but without Hans being present. What reason Hans had for not attending is unknown, but according to Larsson (1997) it is most likely that he considered the terms of the betrothal to be too harsh.

For the time being, Hans was content to be king of Denmark and Norway. Although he had been forced to take a royal oath that gave great power to the Council of State, as king he made sure to recruit men from the lower nobility and the bourgeoisie for his chancery and his chamber of interest or as bailiffs and bishops. The Swedish governor Sten Sture the Elder had considerably more power than the Kalmar Recess would have given the Union King, and the Swedish nobility must have been aware of this. Sten Sture ended up in a conflict with the Church over, among other things, appointments to ecclesiastical offices and the right to bequeath crown land to the Church, and it was probably the opposition in Sweden that led Sten Sture to bring about negotiations in New Lödöse in 1494 to have Sweden rejoin the Union. There it was agreed to meet in Kalmar midsummer 1495 to confirm the Kalmar recess. In August 1494, the Swedish Council of State approved the outcome of the negotiations. The Parliament in Linköping in March 1495 also approved this but did not want Hans to be elected King of the Union. Hans came to the meeting in Kalmar with a Danish delegation, but after waiting six weeks for the Swedes, they returned home.

The Russians had attacked the Swedish border fortress of Viborg in 1495, but the Swedish troops had been able to counterattack, for example against Ingermanland. Sten Sture, however, wanted peace with Russia in order to meet the military threat from Denmark, as Hans had threatened to attack if the Swedes could not guarantee that they would elect him as king. In March 1497, the Swedish Parliament met in Stockholm. The opposition wanted to remove Sten Sture as governor, but he refused on the grounds that he had not been elected by the council but by the Arboga meeting in 1471 and that only such a meeting could remove him. Civil war broke out in June, but the peasant uprising assembled by Sten Sture was defeated by Han”s Saxon mercenary troops at the Battle of Rotebro. After negotiations, the parties agreed on 6 October 1497 that Sten Sture would resign as king and that Hans would be elected king in accordance with the Kalmar Recession. Hans was elected on 25 November and crowned the following day in Storkyrkan. In Hans” subsequent deliberations with the Swedish Imperial Council, he was given the right to appoint Danish and Norwegian bailiffs to his own fiefdoms. The Council also agreed that Hans”s son Kristian should be recognised as successor to the Swedish throne.

Sten Sture was compensated by being given the entire Diocese of Turku and the County of Nyköping as a lifelong trustee, and was also elected by the King to be his Master of the Court. Together with Archbishop Jakob Ulvsson, Bishop Henrik Tidemansson of Linköping and the Maréchal Svante Nilsson (Sture), a quartet with great internal contradictions, he was part of the group that would govern the kingdom when the King was abroad. Dissatisfaction with Han”s regime soon spread, especially with the behaviour of the Danish bailiffs, and the former enemies Sten Sture, the archbishop and Svante Nilsson were soon able to unite in opposition to the king. When the Swedish Council met in June 1501, the Council demanded that only Swedes be allowed to hold the castles in accordance with the Kalmar Recess, despite the fact that the main members of the Council had agreed to exceptions. The king refused to agree to this

In early August, seven of the councilors, including Sten Sture, Svante Nilsson, Hemming Gadh and the Norwegian knight Knut Alvsson (Tre Rosor), met in Vadstena, where, referring to the rebellion clause in the Kalmar Recess, they pledged allegiance to the king and proclaimed rebellion. Sten Sture was elected national leader. Stockholm Castle was besieged and Queen Kristina was forced to surrender the castle in May 1502. In March 1502, Knut Alvsson controlled Tunsberghus and Akershus and besieged Bohus fortress, which was controlled by Henrik Krummedige. King Hans had enlisted German and Scottish mercenary troops in the spring and they captured Bohus fortress and then captured Älvsborg fortress. Under the leadership of Henrik Krummedige, Tunsbergshus was recaptured and Akershus was besieged. Knut Alvsson came to Oslo to start negotiations with Henrik Krummedige. The negotiations took place on Krummedige”s ship on 18 August, but despite a free hand, Knut Alvsson was killed. With his death, the rebellion in Norway was over.

Posterity”s image of Knut Alvsson has varied. In Povl Helgesen”s 16th-century Skibby Chronicle, he is a mediocre man exploited by the Swedish rebels, while the Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen saw him as a national martyr. Knut Alvsson”s struggle has been interpreted as a fight for a Swedish-Norwegian noble union, an attempt to take Norway out of the union with Denmark or simply a fight to regain his confiscated estates.

Queen Kristina had been captured when Stockholm was conquered in 1502. The merchants of Lübeck were anxious for the fighting to stop and through their mediation the parties agreed to release the Queen. She was handed over at the Danish-Swedish border in December 1503, but on the way back to Jönköping, Sten Sture, the king”s steward, fell ill and died. Svante Nilsson was elected as the new king. Denmark and Sweden met in peace negotiations in May 1504 in Copenhagen, where it was agreed that the councils of the three kingdoms would meet in Kalmar in June 1505 to resolve the disputes by negotiation or trial. In February 1505, the Swedish council informed the Danish council that the negotiations had to be postponed. The Danish Council took no notice of this and in June Hans came to Kalmar with the Danish and Norwegian Councils, James IV of Scotland, James I of Brandenburg, representatives of the German Emperor and some North German cities. As the Swedes did not come, a court was appointed by the Danish and Norwegian councils. Hans accused Sten Sture, Svante Nilsson and their followers of crimes against majesty. The court found the defendants guilty and sentenced them to forfeit their honour, freedom, privileges and estates. The court asked the German emperor to confirm the sentence and to forbid all Christians to trade with, negotiate with or in any way support the guilty. In connection with the verdict, several citizens of Kalmar were executed, an event that has gone down in history as the Kalmar bloodbath.

The Swedish National Council protested against the ruling and declared its willingness to negotiate. The parties met in Malmö in the summer of 1506, where the Swedes were given one of three options: to recognise Hans as king again, to recognise his son Kristian as king, or to pay an annual tribute. The meeting ended without any result. The Kalmar judgment was appealed in October to the Chamber Court of the Holy Roman Empire, where ten Swedes were condemned as rebels and all the inhabitants of Sweden were “in the act of the kingdom”, i.e. banished. The sentence prohibited German cities from trading with Sweden. In August 1507, a trade delegation from Lübeck came to Stockholm to announce that trade was now suspended, while offering to mediate. In 1508 and 1509 there was a truce and negotiations between the parties. The Peace of Copenhagen of 17 August 1509 recognised Han”s right in principle to the Swedish throne and the Swedes promised to pay an annual tribute of 13,000 marks per year.

However, there was disagreement within the Swedish Riksrat about the peace treaty. In May-June 1510, the Council met in Stockholm and decided to refuse to pay the tribute. War broke out again between Denmark and Sweden. In Sweden, there was war fatigue and the Council called on Svante Nilsson to resign in 1511. However, he refused. Svante Nilsson”s sudden death on 2 January 1512 made it possible to negotiate peace, and in April 1512 the parties made peace again. The conditions were that Sweden would recognise the Peace of Copenhagen and that a new union meeting would be held in the summer of 1513 in Copenhagen.

Sweden leaves the Union

King Hans died in February 1513, and the union meeting was postponed for two years until June 1515. This meeting was also postponed for two years until a meeting in Halmstad in February 1517. The Swedish representatives refused to choose between recognising Kristian II as king or paying an annual tribute. In connection with the demolition of Stäket, the Archbishop of Lund, Birger Gunnersen, had excommunicated the Swedish governor Sten Sture the Younger. Kristian could therefore go to war on the grounds that it was a Christian duty. In January 1520, the governor was seriously wounded at the Battle of Åsunden Ice and died shortly afterwards. A group within the Swedish Council of State began negotiations with Kristian, and on 6 March 1520 he was recognised as King of Sweden. However, the Sture Party, the supporters of the late governor, did not support this agreement and Kristian was forced to promise an amnesty before the Sture Party surrendered Stockholm Castle in September 1520.

Kristian was crowned in Stockholm in November 1520, and after three days of coronation festivities, the Stockholm bloodbath followed, with the Sture Party and their supporters executed as heretics. Kristian left Sweden in January 1521 and handed over responsibility to the Council of State, including his henchman Didrik Slagheck, the bishop of Odense and Strängnäs Jens Beldenak, archbishop Gustav Trolle and the bishop of Västerås Otto Svinhuvud. Rebellion breaks out in Småland. In June 1521, Didrik Slagheck was arrested by the Imperial Council, and Gustav Trolle was appointed governor instead. Rebellion also broke out in Värmland, and in August 1521 Gustav Vasa, the chief of Dalarna, was elected governor in Vadstena town hall.

In Denmark, Kristian was threatened by a noble rebellion in which the nobility gathered around his uncle Frederick of Holstein. In March 1523 he was elected the new Danish king, while Kristian fled abroad. The royal election proposed a new union meeting to renew the union. This did not happen, but in Sweden Gustav Vasa was elected king on 6 June 1523. Frederick and Gustav met in Malmö in August 1524, where Sweden declared its claim to Bohuslän, Blekinge and Gotland, while Frederick declared his claim to the Swedish throne.

Historian Erik Lönnroth puts the dissolution of the union in a broader context and argues that the idea of union was undermined by changes in the Scandinavian world. The idea of union had benefited from a perceived hostility towards the outside world, but by the early 16th century this had changed. The great influence of the Hanseatic League had been neutralised to some extent by Dutch traders, the Teutonic Order was disintegrating, the North German princes who had previously had so much influence lacked military resources, and the Russians were not perceived by Sweden as a particular threat either.

Norway loses its independence

The Union Treaty between Denmark and Norway of 1450 was still in force, and in August 1523 two Danish councillors, Vincens Lunge and Henrik Krummedige, came to Norway to have Frederick recognised as King of Norway. In 1524, however, the council found a powerful leader in the newly appointed archbishop Olav Engelbrektsson, who persuaded the council to demand a covenant in which the king promised that the Norwegian church would be free of “Lutheran heresy” and that only Norwegians or native Danes would be granted counties. The king agreed; Vincens Lunge became lord of Bergenhus, the Norwegian nobleman Olav Galle of Akershus fortress. However, as soon as the king felt secure on the throne, he again appointed Danes as lords. These also became members of the Council of State and the archbishop”s influence in the Council of State diminished.

In 1529, Crown Prince Kristian arrived in Norway with 14 ships and 1,500 men who looted the treasures of St Mary”s Church in Oslo. All the abbots and abbesses in Norway were deposed and the monasteries were handed over to the king”s faithful. Faced with this threat, the archbishop summoned help from the deposed King Christian II, who arrived in Oslo with ships and a force of 2,000 mercenaries. The councils of southern Norway hailed Kristian II as king, but his forces were unable to capture the fortresses of Akershus or Bergenhus, and in the spring of 1532 he was defeated by a Danish-German force of 6,000 men who arrived in Oslo. Kristian II was promised a free lease, but instead he was captured and imprisoned for the rest of his life, initially in the castle of Soenderborg.

After Fredrik”s death in 1533, a civil war broke out in Denmark, the Count”s Feud, in which both sides fought for a Lutheran pretender to the throne, Kristian II and Kristian III. In Norway, the Council of State took power and most people there supported Kristian III, but not the bishops, who saw his Protestantism as a threat to the Catholic Church. Instead, the Norwegian archbishop promoted Christian II”s son-in-law, Frederick II of the Palatinate, as a candidate for the throne and attempted to start a revolt in southern Norway, which was brutally crushed. In October 1536, Kristian III was elected King of Denmark and in his investiture, Kristian promised that Norway would no longer be an independent kingdom, but part of Denmark, and that the Norwegian Imperial Council would be abolished. In the spring of 1537, Danish troops were able to seize the Norwegian archbishop”s castle of Steinviksholm, punish anyone who supported the archbishop and confiscate the church”s property. Soon Kristian III was also able to appoint Lutheran bishops in Norway.

In Norway, the Council of State was divided, both by interests and geography. The Norwegian counties had previously been granted to Danish nobles, trade agreements with the Hanseatic League on privileges in Bergen were decided in Denmark. This may explain why Norway”s downgrading from an independent kingdom to a crown country did not meet stronger resistance; Kristian III”s decision was merely a formalisation of prevailing practice.

Erik Gustaf Geijer published the History of the Swedish People in 1832, in which he wrote about the Kalmar Union “An event that looks like a thought” and argued that the Union appeared to posterity to be planned when in fact it came about by chance.

The Royal Library”s chief librarian Gustaf Edvard Klemming published the Karlskrönikan and Sturekrönikan in 1866-1868, and their tendentious view of the Union was to influence scholarship for a long time to come. From the mid-19th century, a wealth of original medieval documents, diplomatarium, were also published from Danish, Norwegian and Swedish archives and this meant that historians such as Carl Gustaf Styffe, Carl Ferdinand Allen, Caspar Paludan-Müller and others had detailed knowledge that was previously lacking. The prevalence of Scandinavianism at the time meant that these historians took a certain point of departure when writing about Scandinavian history that later historians lacked. Their influence on the Swedish rhyming chronicles also meant that they interpreted events in Sweden as a national liberation struggle in which the commoners fought against the Danish Union King”s regime of violence.

From around 1900, scholars began to take an interest in critically examining source documents. Historians such as Kristian Erslev, Gottfrid Carlsson, Arnold Heise and Absalon Taranger often based their findings on interpretations of the source documents, while the narrative sources took second place. From the 1920s onwards, personal portrayals become more nuanced and less of a hero or villain. The view that the Union”s internal problems were due to struggles between the Danish king and his supporters in the Swedish aristocracy, on the one hand, and Karl Knutsson or the Sture Party with the support of the Swedish commoners, on the other, persisted well into the future. The historian Erik Lönnroth questioned the value of the rhyme chronicles as a source and considered that the Union”s problems were due to a conflict between two theories of the state: regime regale, in which power lies with the king, and regime politicum, in which the king is controlled by his council and his hand. Lönnroth”s basic view of how the political struggles should be understood has in time been accepted by most scholars.

Lönnroth”s theory of the struggle between the two theories of the state was launched to explain events and the motives of the actors in the period 1397 to 1448. For the period after this one often speaks of parties; the border nobility, the Axis Sons, the Oxenstierns and the Sture Party, but some scholars have warned against placing the actors too categorically in these categories.

Monarchs of the Kalmar Union:


  1. Kalmarunionen
  2. Kalmar Union
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