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King  Valdemar Sejr 

1170 - 1241             King  1202 - 1241                






Danish Kings, from Gorm the Old to the present Queen Margrethe 2nd


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In 1187 king Knud’s younger brother Valdemar became duke in South Jutland, where the governing until now had been entrusted bishop Valdemar of Slesvig, a mistress-son of Knud Magnussøn.
Bitter by having to step behind the intelligent duke, the power-loving bishop formed a treacheraus union with king Sverre of Norway, the king of Sweden, the German emperor, and several North-German princes, who did not like Denmark’s raising power, among those count Adolf of Holsten.

The treachery was discovered, and bishop Valdemar flet, but came back with a foreign army.
Fast, however, duke Valdemar won, whereafter the bishop was imprisoned at Søborg.
Then duke Valdemar first conquered Rensborg, Hamburg (1201), later all of Holsten (1202).

Valdemar was acclaimed king and was crowned by archbishop Anders Sunesen in Lund, Christmas day 1202.
Emperor Otto 4th issued 1214 a letter, by which he abstained his right to all lands north of Elben and its side-river Elde, which runs south of Mecklenburg.

In 1219 Valdemar went to Estonia together with Denmarks army. The raid was regarded as a crusade.
At once the Estonians submitted and accepted christening, but three days later (15th June) they attacked the Danish camp, and brought it into great danger, until the king had his warriors gathered together, and after that he won a bloody victory.
This raid has given king Valdemar the by-name “Sejr” (Victory).

To this battle the legend about the flag falling down from the heaven is tied (Dannebrog).

Estonia belonged to Denmark from 1229 - 1346.

By the capture of Estonia Valdemar Sejr’s power reached its peak. The connection between the extensive lands, however, was weak, and depended only on the kings personality. Therefore the great kingdom could be dissolved only by removing the king from the country.

A dissatisfied vasal, Henrik of Schwerin, who together with the king and his son, had attended a hunt at Lyø, surprised the night thereafter the king and his son in their tent, abducted them to his vessels, and brought them to an un-sizeable castle south of Elben (1223).

In Denmark the shrewd assault aroused indignation, but no single man had authority enough to gather the people.
King Valdemar Sejr had to compromise to be freed. He had to pay a large amount in ransom, and hand over all lands south of Ejderen and promise not to seek revenge (1225).

Valdemar Sejr did not keep his promise and was by the Pope untied from his oath. He crossed together with his army Ejderen, conquered Ditmarsken and forced his way far down into Holsten.

Then all the threatened princes united, and gave Valdemar a decisive defeat at Bornhøved (1227). Valdemar from now on had to abandon all conquering plans. He only kept Denmark and Rygen. Estonia he got by clever negotiations back to Denmark.


The battle at Bornhøved
Picture in a German writing from about 1250


Shortly after he had issued Jyske Lov (Jutlandic Law) Valdemar Sejr died 1241 in Vordingborg.
Buried in Ringsted.
The almost contemporary Ryd Årbog writes: Then the crown fall from the head of the Danes. And Knytlingasaga writes: He is the greatest king, who has lived in the Nordic countries.

Valdemar Sejr was son of Valdemar den Store and queen Sophia. In 1205 he was married to Dagmar of Bøhmen, daughter of king Ottokar 1st of Bøhmen and Adela of Meissen. She died in 1212 in Ribe.
In 1214 he married for the second time to Berengaria, daughter of king Sancho 1st and queen Dulce of Portugal.
She died when she gave birth in 1221.

Valdemar Sejr and queen Dagmar had the child
Valdemar den Unge (the Young), 1209-31 married to Eleonora of Portugal.

Valdemar Sejr and queen Berengaria had the children:
Erik Plovpenning, 1216-50, later king
Abel, 1218-52, later king
Christoffer, 1219-59, later king
Sophie, died 1247.

Valdemar had outside his marriage together with Helene (widow after Esbern Snare) the son
Knud, 1205-60.

Together with an earlier mistress Valdemar had the son
Niels, died 1218.
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