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
Then duke Valdemar first conquered Rensborg, Hamburg (1201), later all of
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
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.
battle at Bornhøved
Picture in a German writing from about 1250
after he had issued Jyske Lov (Jutlandic Law) Valdemar Sejr died 1241 in
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:
Plovpenning, 1216-50, later king
1218-52, later king
1219-59, later king
Valdemar had outside his marriage together with Helene (widow after Esbern
Snare) the son Knud,
Together with an earlier mistress Valdemar had the son Niels,