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Christopher of Bavaria

Christopher of Bavaria
King of Denmark
Reign 9 April 1440 – 5 January 1448
Coronation 1 January 1443
Ribe Cathedral
Predecessor Eric VII
Successor Christian I
King of Sweden
Reign 1441 – 5 January 1448
Coronation 13 September 1441 in Uppsala
Predecessor Eric
Successor Charles VIII
King of Norway
Reign June 1442 – 5 January 1448
Coronation 2 July 1442 in Oslo
Predecessor Eric III
Successor Charles I
Born 26 February 1416
Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz
Died 5/6 January 1448(1448-01-06) (aged 31)
Helsingborg
Burial Roskilde Cathedral, Roskilde
Spouse Dorothea of Brandenburg
House House of Palatinate-Neumarkt
(House of Wittelsbach)
Father John, Count Palatine of Neumarkt
Mother Catherine of Pomerania
Religion Roman Catholicism

Christopher of Bavaria[1] (26 February 1416 – 5/6 January 1448) was King of Denmark (1440–48, as Christopher III), Sweden (1441–48) and Norway (1442–48) during the era of the Kalmar Union.

Contents

  • Biography 1
    • Coming to power 1.1
    • Peasant rebellions 1.2
    • Coronation, relations with Swedes 1.3
    • Death 1.4
  • Full title 2
  • Ancestry 3
  • References 4

Biography

Coming to power

He was probably born at Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, the son of John, Count Palatine of Neumarkt, and Catherine of Pomerania, the daughter of Wartislaw VII, Duke of Pomerania in Pomerania-Stolp, and sister of the Scandinavian king, Eric of Pomerania. Count Palatine John was a son of King Rupert of Germany. In 1445, Christopher married Dorothea of Brandenburg (1430 – 25 November 1495), in Copenhagen.

[2] However he succeeded in maintaining some personal control. As a whole his rule, according to the politics of the nobility and his succession, might be called the start of the long period of balance between royal power and nobility which lasted until 1660. He was later elected king of Sweden in 1441, and Norway in June 1442.

Seal of Christopher of Bavaria.
16th-century painting which has been questioned as a real portrait of Christopher

Peasant rebellions

At the start of his reign, he put down on 3 May 1441. The knights charged the camp, and were quickly mired down in the bog. The peasants moved in for the kill. Brok was killed and dismembered and the pieces sent to the towns in the area as a warning. The peasants then raided the area's most important manor at Aagard and burned it, forcing the noble Niels Guldenstierne to flee with nothing but a staff.[2]

The treatment of the captives after the battle strengthened Christopher's determination to put down the peasants. With his own army Christopher rode north to the rebel camp at Mors and Thisted left, for which they were called cowards and traitors ever after. Christopher ordered the attack on the rebel camp on 8 June 1441 and despite fighting ferociously the rebels could not overcome the heavily armed knights. Thousands of rebels were killed, those who survived were fined heavily. The more severe consequence was that rebels lost their free status and became serfs on the farms where they worked.[2] The king made it a capital crime for peasants to carry weapons longer than a short knife. The subjugation of Denmark's once free peasants was complete.

Coronation, relations with Swedes

King Christopher the Bavarian according to a German historical publication of the 19th century.

In May 1442 Christopher traveled to Lödöse to meet with the nobles from all three kingdoms. He was crowned King of Norway there and then went to Oslo and the Trondheim to be confirmed as the king. The next year he was proclaimed King of Denmark at the Urnehoved Assembly near Ribe. When his residence at Roskilde burned down, Christopher moved to Copenhagen and made it the capital of Denmark.

The Swedish nobles were not happy to relinquish any power and thus didn't like him, claiming he was too German for them and that he allowed his uncle (ex-King Eric) to plunder shipping from his castle on Gotland without any attempt to stop him. They blamed a series of bad harvests on him. People were so hungry they mixed ground tree bark with the little flour they could find. Christopher was contemptuously nicknamed the "Bark King" in Sweden.

On the other hand he tried to support the cities and their merchants as far as the limits of nobility and Hanseatic cities allowed. During his reign Copenhagen was made permanently the capital of Denmark (municipal charter of 1443).

He carried on an ineffective policy of war and negotiations against Eric in Gotland which did little to help the dissatisfaction within both Sweden and the Hanseatic League. The Kalmar Union Treaty was changed so that the aristocracy had most of the policy-making powers, and the king lost many of the powers monarchs had acquired since Viking times. The results of this policy of balance were still not reached when he suddenly died as the last descendant of Valdemar IV of Denmark.

Death

Christopher died suddenly at Christian I. King Christopher was buried in Roskilde Cathedral.

In 1654 his Wittelsbach family would return to power in Sweden.

Full title

Christopher's full title was: By the Grace of God, King of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, the Wends and the Goths, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria.

Ancestry

References

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ Danish and Norwegian: Christoffer af/av Bayern; Swedish Kristofer av Bayern
  2. ^ a b c Huitfeldt, Arild. Danmarks Riges Krønike
  • Dansk Biografisk Leksikon, vol. 7, Copenhagen 1980.
  • Politikens Danmarkshistorie, vol. 4 by Erik Kjersgaard, Copenhagen 1962.
  • Politikens bog om Danske Monarker by Benito Scocozza, Copenhagen 1998
Christopher of Bavaria
Cadet branch of the House of Wittelsbach
Born: 26 February 1416 Died: 6 January 1448
Regnal titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Eric of Pomerania
King of Denmark
1440–1448
Vacant
Title next held by
Christian I
King of Sweden
1441–1448
Vacant
Title next held by
Charles VIII & I
King of Norway
1442–1448
Preceded by
John
Count Palatine of Neumarkt
1443–1448
Succeeded by
Otto I
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