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King  Christian II 

1481 - 1559             King  1513 - 1523
                          Norway  1513 - 1523
                                         Sverige  1520 - 1523              







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


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Åbenrå Kommunes painting exhibition of Danish kings, at Museum Sønderjylland, Åbenrå.

King Christian 2nd

Queen Elisabeth


Christian 2nd was by appearance square-headed, powerful and handsome. Equiped with a sharp intelligens, but at the same time suspicious, secretive about his plans, ruthless in his passions.
He harbored resentment against the higher society, but predilection for the middle classes.
He had to sign a treaty, which particularly contained two severe regulations:
1. He must not attempt to have his son appointet as his successor.
2. If he acted against the treaty and would not take “lessons” from the Council, all the inhabitats of the kingdom should help to ovoid it.

Contemporary portrait of king Hans, Christian 2nd
and two younger princes. The carved figures can
be found at Claus Berg’s gilded alter in Sankt
Knud’s Church in Odense.  


Christian became in 1515 married to Emperor Karl 5th’s sister Elisabeth, who became him a noble and loyal wife.
Anyway he kept the beautiful Dyveke as his mistress. He had learned to know her in Bergen, whereto her mother
Sigbrit had imigrated from Amsterdam.
Christian married in 1515 emperor Karl 5th’s sister Elisabeth, who became him a noble and loyal wife. Still he kept the beautiful Dyveke as his mistress.
He had learned to know her in Bergen, whereto her mother Sigbrit had imigrated from Amsterdam.

When Dyveke suddenly died the 21st September 1517, the king accused the chief of Copenhagen Castle, the brutal and passionate Torben Oxe, of having poisoned her.
When the Council acquitted him, the king exclaimed: Even if he had a neck as thick as an ox, he should loose it, and appointed as to normal trial procedures a committee of 12 peasants, who gave a death sentence with the often mentioned court-formula: “We do not convict him, but his deeds convicts him”.

After Torben Ox’s execution, the enmity between the king and the nobility became cobstant worse, and the clever Sigbrit had more influence than before on him. At last the kingdoms entire economy was lain in her hands. She would help Christian to increase the power of the king and the income of the crown.
First and foremost he had to have money to conquer Sweden.

The leader of the king-friendly party in Sweden was archbishop Gustav Trolle. In trust of Christian’s help, he engaged himself in conflict with Sten Sture the Younger. Christian sent an rescue army, which was defeated by Sten Sture.
The Council decided to dismiss the archbishop, who then was imprisoned in a monastery. About this decision a letter was produced, which was signed by the Council in 1517.

The next year Christian again attacked Sweden, and again he was defeated.

The Pope banned Sten Sture and his supporters for their conduct toward the archbishop, and when Christian for the forth time (1520) sent his army to Sweden, he plastered up the written ban on the church doors.

On the ice covered lake Åsunden at Bogasund in Vester-Götland the Danes defeated Sten Sture, who died from his wounds.
Sten Sture’s widow Kristina Gyldenstjerna defended Stockholm Castle the whole summer until she was persuaded into comprimise, and the king promised oblivion and forgiveness.
Sweden had to accept Christian as king, and he was crowned the 4th November by Gustav Trolle. Some dayes went by in celebration and happiness, it was a bad sign though, that among those, who were knighted, were not one single Swede.

Christian speculated about clipping the wings of the Swedish nobility so, that it never more dared to try to rebel against its king. In consultation with the subtle, law-learned German Didrik Slaghek and several others, he has most likely thought out a plan to hit the nobility for its crime against the church. Then it could not be said, that he went back on his word to forgive, what was offended against the crown.

Wednesday the 7th November gathered after instruction a number of noblemen in the castle, and the gates were closed.
Gustav Trolle appeared with a complaint over those, who had dismissed him. He denied to talk about compromise, and demanded the case judged according to the severity of the law and demanded a huge damage-compensation.

While everybody were horrified, Kristina Gyldenstjerna got up and said, that this complaint could not alone hit her late husband or his heirs, as the dismissal was decided on by the Council.
As proof she brought to light the signed letter from 1517.
But in this letter the persons, who had signed the letter, promised each other, that if they were baned, they would by all means oppose the Pope.

By that the king got a proof for the fact, that they were guilty in the most severe ecclesiastical crime.
Many nobilities were kept prisoned in the tower over night. The 8th November a committee was formed consisting of a Danish bishop and Gustav Trolle along with 12 other Swedish men, who declared, that such a misdeed was apparently heathen.

With this decision as an excuse Christian let the executions start at Stortorvet.
Bishops, nobilities and Stockholmske citizens were executed, among them several, who had not signed the letter from 1517, or were accused by Gustav Trolle.
The first day 82 were killed, and in the following days the assassinations continued. It was raining havily, so that the blood streamed through the streets.

The corpses were lying for three days at the square in mud and dirt. Then they were burned on a huge fire. Sten Sture’s corpse was digged up and thrown on the fire.

Also in Finland several were executed, and their properties were confiscated under the crown.
By this deed Christian thought to have secured Sweden’s crown, and to have ended any attempt to rebellion.
Then he left for Denmark and left the governing of Sweden to Gustav Trolle, Didrik Slaghek and some others.

While Christian was busy with his great reform planes, his many animies began to raise their heads. Gustav Vasa had succeeded in excaping to Lübeck from Kalø, where he was as a prissoner, and half a year before the massacre in Stockholm, he had come back to Sweden, where he silently worked to raise the people to revolting, but it rumored that Sweden’s peasants should return their weapons, and furthermore they should be imposed on havy taxes. Then they woke up and elected Gustav Vasa as their chief, and soon all Sweden was in totally rebellion.

Furthermore Lübeck started war against Christian. His fathers brother Frederik of Gottorp and the Jutlandic nobility joined his enemies.
Towards all these enemies the king lost all of his normal firmness. He became doubtful, if he should gather all his loyal friends for resistance, or in advance give up the fight.

Finally he choose the way out together with his wife and children to go to Holland to get help (1523).
Sigbrit, who was hated and by her arrogance to a great extend had contributed to his fall, he took with him.

Sweden elected now Gustav Vasa as their king. In Denmark the citizens in Copenhagen and Malmø endured a long siege and only surrendered to Frederik’s army chief Johan Rantzau, when all chances for Christian’s fast return were gone.

Not until 9 years later Christian revisited Denmark. He was arrested and prisoned at Sønderborg Castle the 9th August 1532. He never since won back his freedom.

Christian 2nd died at Kalundborg Castle 25th January 1559, 77 years old. He was buried in Gråbrødre Monasteri in Odense, later moved to St. Knuds Church in Odense.
Christian 2nd was son of king Hans and queen Christine, born at Nyborg Castle 1st July 1481.
Became in 1515 married to Elisabeth (1501-1526), daughter of arch duke Filip den Smukke (the Handsome) of Castilien and Johanne den Vanvittige (the Insane) of Aragonien.

Christian and Elisabeth had the children:

Hans, 1518-32
Maximilian, 1519, twin, died after baptism
Philip, 1519, twin, died after baptism
Dorothea, 1520-80, married in 1535 to count Friedrich 2nd of Pfalz
Christine, 1521-90, in 1534 married to duke Francesco 2nd Sforza of Milano. After that in 1541 married to duke Frans 1st of Lorraine.
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