Swedish Revolt 1434-1437
also referred to as Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson's Revolt

A.) Prehistory of the Revolt

Since 1397, the three Nordic kingdoms - Sweden, Denmark and Norway, were united in a Dynastic Union, under Queen Margarethe (-1412) and then under her adopted son, Erik of Pomerania. In 1408/1409, King Erik had retrieved the island of Gotland from the Teutonic Order by paying them off; he also entered into conflict with the German Hanse by depriving the latter of their exemption of the Øresund toll. However, the three kingdoms were economically weak, and Erik's attempt to increase his revenue by raising taxation caused resentment, in both Denmark and Sweden, all the more in Sweden, for he had chosen København (Copenhagen) as his residence. Revolts against excessive taxation of farmers are recorded in Sweden's Dalarna region for 1431 or 1432, and for 1433.

B.) The Revolt

Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson was the son of a miner from Bergslagen, the descendant of German immigrants. He was wealthy and had married the daughter of a nobleman. In 1434 he headed the rebels in Dalarna, composed mainly of farmers and miners. The rebels sacked the castle of Borganäs and the city of Västerås, where Engelbrekt assembled an assembly, in which a number of Swedish noblemen participated. Then Engelbrektsson moved on to Uppsala, where he promised to lower the taxes. The royal governor, and the archbishop (a Dane and protege of King Erik) fled; the revolt spread to Norrland and Finnland. Engelbrektsson now marched southward into Östergötland; at Vadstena another assembly was held, where the nobles and bishops revoked their allegiance to King Erik. Engelbrekt now decided to split his forces (c. 50,000) in three forces, keeping the command over just one of them.
The rebels did not yet control all of Sweden, and the revolt had an anti-feudal character, as many castles of Swedish nobles went up in flames. The loyalty of Swedish noblemen toward Engelbrektsson therefore has to be questioned. The rebels invaded (Danish) Halland. On St. Martin's Day 1434 a one-year truce was signed.
At an assembly held in Arboga in January 1435, Engelbrektsson was elected Captain of the Realm (Rikshövitsman). At another meeting in May 1435, Swedish nobles confirmed Erik as King of Sweden. Negotiations in October 1435 were unsuccessful; fighting resumed. While the farmers, suffering from heavy taxation, joined the revel forces, the three rebel leaders - Engelbrektsson, Erik Puke (who held Finland) and Karl Knutsson disagreed. In February 1436, a rebellion broke out in Norway. In spring 1436, Engelbrektsson was murdered. At another assembly held at Uppsala 1436, Karl Knutsson was elected sole Captain of the Realm; King Erik was again confirmed as King of Sweden.
Heavy taxation was resumed. A number of regional rebellions was suppressed in 1437; in the same year, Erik Puke was killed in Finland.

C.) The Legacy

In Sweden, an indigenous administration, under Karl Knutsson, continued, while King Erik, for the time being, held on to the crown. The Swedish nobility established political control over the country; future revolts were anti-Danish, but not anti-feudal in character.
In 1448, the Swedish diet elected Karl Knutsson as King, thus rejecting both King Erik and the Kalmar Union. Already in 1440 King Erik had been ousted by the Danes. He had moved his residence to Visborg castle on Gotland, from where he was expelled in 1449.

Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson and the Swedish Revolt in 1434-1436, by Eva Ahl
The Union of Kalmar. Engelbrekt and the Rebellion, from Swedish History by UBoraås
Engelbrektsfejden 1434-1436, from Svenskt Militärhistoriskt Bibliotek, in Swedish, detailed
Article Erik of Pomerania, from Wikipedia
Karl Knutsson, Erik av Pommern, from Kungasidan, Swedish language biographies
Halmstadrecessen 1435, from Svenskt Militärhistoriskt Bibliotek, in Swedish

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on February 22nd 2004, last revised on November 16th 2004

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz