after the death of his father, Harald Bluetooth, a certain Sigvald and
the Vikings from Jom took the young King Swein prisoner.
To free him, Swein’s followers were forced to pay ransom
money. From that
moment on, Swein felt that his name, honour and reputation had been
blemished. A way to
retain his name and reputation was to resume raiding the coasts of
England. In the meantime,
Denmark was left in the hands of the Swedish King Erik Sejrsæl.
As a matter of interest, Swein later married Erik’s widow,
Gunhild, the daughter of Duke Miscio of Poland.
various reasons, the King of England, Æthelred the ‘Unready’ (born
979 - died 1016) was unable to defend the English coast from the
Viking raiders. To keep
the peace and avoid defeat the English were forced to pay the Vikings
huge amounts of silver, the so-called Dane geld.
Together with the Norwegian Olav Trygveson, Swein collected
16.000 pounds of silver in Dane geld in 994.
few years later, Swein returned to Denmark to free it from the Swedes.
After some hard and vicious fighting near Hedeby, the Swedes
were beaten and Swein finally took full control over Denmark again.
Swein’s next step was to rid himself of his former ally, the
Norwegian Olav Trygveson. This
he did at the battle of Svold, (whereabouts unknown) were the
Norwegian fleet was beaten, and Olav killed.
Swein was now master of Norway and Denmark.
To show his strength, Swein minted Denmark’s first official
Battle of Svold, 1000 ad. Depicted on an older painting
the mean time, Æthelred found it increasingly difficult to sustain
peace with the Vikings by payment of Dane geld alone.
He then made his life’s greatest mistake, by ordering the
murder of all Danes living in England.
This happened in 1002. Back
in Denmark, the natural reaction was to demand revenge.
The following years the Vikings raided the coasts of England
again and again. In 1013
these raids took on the form of an invasion.
Together with a huge fleet, and together with his young son,
Canute, Swein tried to take London by siege, but without success.
Undaunted by this, Swein was paid homage to by the rest of the
population. London was
alone, and consequently surrendered.
1014, at a meeting in Gainsborough, Swein fell off his horse and died.
His body was taken to York, prior to being sailed back to
Denmark for burial.
eldest son, Harald, was elected as King of Denmark, whilst his
youngest son, the 18-year-old Canute was to become the next Viking
king of England. Later to
be known as Canute the Great. Before
this could happen, Canute had to fight Edmund Ironside, elected King
of England and son of King Æthelred, who died in 1016.
The two, who divided England between them, made a truce.
Everyone expected them to make battle again, but Edmund died
suddenly on the 30th of November 1016.
Now Canute was finally crowned as King of England, and reigned
until his death in 1035.
Forkbeard and Queen Gunhild had the children:
who got married to Erik Jarl Haakonson
2. (989-1018) later King.
(995-1035) later King.
Forkbeard and Sigrid Storråde had the child:
and translated from the Danish by Christopher Paul Jarvis.