Stockholm Bloodbath


After more than one trial separation Denmark and Sweden were together again under the Danish king Kristian II (1841-1559). Anti-Danish feeling was growing apace in Sweden when the Swedish assembly voted to burn the fortress of the Archbishop of Sweden, a pro-Dane, Gustav Trolle.

In the event Trolle was merely imprisoned, but in 1520 the Papal Court excommunicated the Swedish regent, Sten Sture the Younger, for this act. Kristian II had the justification he sought for invading Sweden. He invited Sweden’s leading nobles to a feast in Stockholm at which he chopped off the heads of 82 of Sweden’s finest. This has been named the Stockholm bloodbath.

This “Stockholm Bloodbath” provoked a rebellion. Kristian was driven out of Sweden and Gustav Vasa, a nobleman whose family had been victims in the massacre, seized power. Thus began a Swedish dynasty of exceptional distinction and durability.

Hounded out of Denmark, Kristian II sought refuge in the Netherlands. Norway’s clergy, staunchly loyal to Rome, made him an offer of the Norwegian throne, which provoked violent intervention by Danish and Hanseatic forces with far-reaching consequences.

Kristian spent the rest of his life in Sonderborg Castle, while the Norwegian Church was purged of Roman Catholics to make it Lutheran, and the Norwegian monarchy was abolished.

Norway was thereafter a mere province of Denmark. The tripartite Kalmar Union was dead.

Gustav Vasa, the enigmatic king, portrayed on the Swedish 1,000-krona note, is credited with founding the Swedish state. He’s a folkloric hero, yet his brutal behavior led to armed rebellions in Småland and Dalarne.

All images: Wikipedia