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King Valdemar Atterdag
1320 - 1375                   King  1340 - 1375

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

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When Valdemar became king, he owned ¼ of North Jutland. 20 years later he had brought the whole kingdom, also Fuen and Skåne under his power.
The great result, he achieved 1340-1360 was first and foremost due to his extraordinary talents as statesman.
He was persevering and clever calculating, quick to take advantage of his enemies disagreements, ruthless in persecuting his goals by every means.
When the resistance was too strong, he could bend and wait until the lucky moment came.
But his success was also due to the fact, that there was a strong desire to peace and order.

Valdemar Atterdag (chalk painting
In Sct. Peters Church in Næstved).


The men of the church, who had suffered much during the period of disintegration, supported always Valdemar.
The Danish people longed for a governing, which could put boundaries against the foreigners and the squire’s illegal conduct.
Also among the squires there were many, who were tired of the state of unrest, in which they themselves were the guilty, and placed themselves at the kings side.

How Valdemar Atterdag got Jutland and Zealand into his power, is not quite stated.
The bishop of Roskilde gave him the important Copenhagen, which became the starting-point for the association of Zealand.
During the next few years all Zealandic castles were conquered from the Holstener, partly by paying, partly by fight.
Like the Zealanders the Jutlanders agreed to pay a tax “Sølverstød” for cashing in their part of the country.

Estonia was sold in 1346 to the Sword-knights, in which order the kings brother joined. From count Gert’s sons he cashed one half of Fuen. Valdemar even had time to pilgrimage to the holly land.
About 1350 the greatest part of the kingdom west of The Sound was into Valdemars hands.

A serious plague “the black death” devastated at that time The Nordic Contries.

The following 10 years there were disputes between the king and the counts, with whom duke Valdemar and dissatisfied Jutlandec squires joined in.

King Valdemar, however, was throughout lucky. The Holstener were greatly defeated at Gamborg, south of Middelfart, and at last the Jutlanders seeked a settlement with the king at a meeting at Zealand.
On their way back the Jutlandic emissaries were killed by Middelfart, among them Niels Bugge from Hald, and the fight threatened to break out again. But when the king with oaths-men disclaimed responsibility in the murders, it came to usual compromise at Danehoffet (court) in Kalundborg 1360.

In all his time as king Valdemar had never lost Skåne of sight. But an opportunity to conquer it, had not shown.
Sweden’s king Magnus Smek, who was in constant conflict with his nobility, and who with wonder saw, how the Danish king understood to cow his squires, had looked for his advice and help. In a number of years meetings between the two kings were often hold, and as Magnus’s situation toward the nobilities always became worse, he totally shrow himself into Valdemar’s arms.
Magnus Smek’s son Håkon, was the king of Norway, became engaged to Valdemar’s daughter Margrete.
Under these circumstances the Swedish had to watch quitly, when Valdemer together with an army crossed The Sound and shortly afterwards conquered the Skånske lands.
 
 
 

Valdemar Atterdag seizes Visby. Old lithography from Hjortsvang Museum

 

But when Valdemar 1361 attacked and seized Visby and all Gulland, and Magnus did nothing to revenge this, but on the contrary tied himself even closer to the Danish king by letting the marriage between Håkon and Margrete complete, his opponents got the superior force.
The squires called in his sisters son Albrecht of Mecklenburg (1363), and acclaimed him as king. From now on Sweden belonged to Valdemar’s enemies, while Håkon of Norway kept the union with Denmark.

When duke Henrik died in 1375, the king prepared to incorporate South Jutland, but king Valdemar died himself in 1375 at Gurre Castle. At first buried in Borgkirken in Vordingborg, later transferred to Sorø Klosterkirke.

Valdemar Atterdag was son of Christoffer 2nd and queen Eufemia.
In 1340 married to Helvig, daughter of duke Erik 2nd Valdemarsen of Slesvig and Adelheid of Holsten, and sister to Valdemar 3rd.

Valdemar Atterdag and queen Helvig had the children:
Christoffer, 1344-63, duke of Lolland.
Margrete, 1345-50.
Ingeborg, 1347-70, married to Heinrich of Mecklenburg.
Catharine, 1349 died when a baby
Valdemar, 1350 died when a baby
Margrete, 1353-1412, later Margrete 1st.

 


 

                                                          

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