Sten Sture the Elder

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Sten Sture, den äldre
Förslag till Sten Sture däs minnesvård på Brunkebergstorg (ur Svenska Familj-Journalen).png
Statue of Sten Sture
Reign 1 June 1470 – 6 October 1497
12 November 1501 – 14 December 1503
Predecessor Charles VIII
John II
Successor John II
Svante Nilsson
Spouse Ingeborg Tott
Issue None
House Sture
Father Gunnar Anundsson
Mother Birgitta Stensdotter Bielke
Born 1440
Died 14 December 1503
Burial Katarina Church, Stockholm

Sten Sture the Elder (Sten Sture den äldre; 1440 – 14 December 1503) was a Swedish statesman and regent of Sweden from (1470–1497 and 1501–1503).


He was born around 1440, the son of Gustav Anundsson of the Sture family and Birgitta Stensdotter Bielke, half-sister of the future Charles VIII. He was married to Ingeborg Tott, niece by marriage of Magdalen of Sweden, in 1467; she was a renaissance personality interested in theology and science and seemed to have had some importance in the intellectual development during his reign, but the marriage remained childless. According to genealogical research, Sten Sture's father descended from King Sverker II of Sweden (both through family of Vinga and through family of Aspenäs).

First regency[edit]

Sten Sture the Elder enters Stockholm. Painting by Georg von Rosen in 1864.

Sture came to power after the death of Charles VIII and consolidated his position through the victory of Brunkeberg. For a quarter of a century he ruled Sweden making the regency almost an office in its own right. He was supported by the peasantry and the lower nobility, wisely playing them out against the high-ranked nobility and managing a clever act of balance towards the Danish demands of reunion.

At the Battle of Brunkeberg in 1471, he triumphed against Swedish and Danish forces in the support of Christian I. This victory elevated Sture to the position of a national savior. The sculpture St. George and the Dragon created by the German sculptor Bernt Notke in Storkyrkan in Stockholm was raised to commemorate the battle.

In 1493, the Danish and Norwegian king, Hans (also called John I), formed an alliance with Ivan III of Russia against Sten Sture. From 1495 to 1497, Sten successfully repelled a Russian invasion of Finland. However, he subsequently fell out with the majority of the Swedish nobility, most prominently Svante Nilsson, and the Swedish council of the realm declared him to be deposed as regent on 8 March 1497.

Second regency[edit]

In the ensuing war, Sten was supported by peasant forces, but they were defeated at the Battle of Rotebro by Hans of Denmark (also known as King John I of Denmark and Norway), who invaded Sweden in July the same year. On 6 October, Sten surrendered to King John in Stockholm and was reconciled with him. John was crowned King of Sweden, and Sten was given the highest position of authority in Sweden below the King. However, during the next rebellion against the Danes in 1501, he again took office as regent, leading the Swedish struggle for independence until his death.

His closest relatives and heirs were his deceased sister's, the House of Vasa. His great-nephew the future King Gustav I of Sweden had been born a few years before Sten's death. At the time, however, none of them were members of the experienced political elite of Sweden. Regent Sten was succeeded by his colleague from the Privy Council of Sweden and former enemy Svante Nilsson as regent.


An underground restaurant in Stockholm, close to the Royal Palace is named after Sten Sture. In 1792 it was a prison, where the murderer of King Gustav III of Sweden was jailed before his execution.



Sten Sture the Elder
Born: 1440 Died: 14 December 1503
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles VIII
as King of Sweden
Regent of Sweden
Succeeded by
John II
as King of Sweden
Preceded by
John II
as King of Sweden
Regent of Sweden
Succeeded by
Svante Nilsson