Valdemar I of Denmark

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Valdemar the Great
Valdemar den Store.jpg
Statue of Valdemar the Great in the town square of Ringsted.
King of Denmark
Reign 2 January 1157– 17 November 1182
Predecessor Sweyn III
Successor Canute VI
Duke of Schleswig
Reign 1152–1154
Predecessor Magnus
Successor Christopher
Consort Sophia of Minsk
Issue
among others...
Sophia, Countess of Orlamünde
King Canute VI of Denmark
King Valdemar II of Denmark
Ingeborg, Queen of France
Helena, Duchess of Lüneburg
Richeza, Queen of Sweden
Christopher of Jutland (illegitimate)
Full name
Valdemar Knudsen
House House of Estridsen
Father Canute Lavard
Mother Ingeborg of Kiev
Born 14 January 1131
Died 12 May 1182(1182-05-12) (aged 51)
Vordingborg
Burial St. Bendt's Church, Ringsted
Religion Roman Catholicism
Danish Royalty
House of Estridsen
National Coat of arms of Denmark no crown.svg
Valdemar I the Great
Children
   Sophia, Countess of Orlamünde
   Canute VI
   Maria Valdemarsdatter
   Margaret Valdemarsdatter
   Valdemar II the Victorious
   Ingeborg, Queen of France
   Helena, Lady of Lüneburg
   Richeza, Queen of Sweden
Illegitimate Children
   Christopher, Duke of Schleswig

Valdemar I of Denmark (14 January 1131 – 12 May 1182), also known as Valdemar the Great, was King of Denmark from 1157 until his death in 1182.

Biography[edit]

He was the son of Canute Lavard, a chivalrous and popular Danish prince, who was the eldest son of Eric I of Denmark. Valdemar's father was murdered by Magnus the Strong days before the birth of Valdemar; his mother, Ingeborg of Kiev, daughter of Mstislav I of Kiev and Christina Ingesdotter of Sweden, named him after her grandfather, Vladimir Monomakh of Kiev.

As an heir to the throne, and with his rivals quickly gaining power, he was raised in the court of Asser Rig of Fjenneslev, together with Asser's sons, Absalon and Esbern Snare, who would become his trusted friends and ministers.

In 1146, when Valdemar was fifteen years old, King Erik III Lamb abdicated and a civil war erupted. The pretenders to the throne were: Sweyn III Grathe, son of Eric II Emune, son of Eric I. Canute V, son of Magnus the Strong who was the son of King Niels, who was the brother of Erik I. Valdemar himself held Jutland, at least Schleswig, as his possession. The civil war lasted the better part of ten years.

In 1157, the three agreed to part the country in three among themselves. Sweyn hosted a great banquet for Canute, Absalon, and Valdemar during which he planned to dispose of all of them. Canute was killed, but Absalon and Valdemar escaped. Valdemar returned to Jutland. Sweyn quickly launched an invasion, only to be defeated by Valdemar in the Battle of Grathe Heath. He was killed during flight, supposedly by a group of peasants who stumbled upon him as he was fleeing from the battlefield. Valdemar, having outlived all his rival pretenders, became the sole King of Denmark.

Bishop Absalon topples the god Svantevit at Arkona

In 1158 Absalon was elected Bishop of Roskilde, and Valdemar made him his chief friend and advisor. He reorganized and rebuilt war-torn Denmark. At Absalon's instigation he declared war upon the Wends who were raiding the Danish coasts. They inhabited Pomerania and the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea. In 1168 the Wendish capital, Arkona, was taken, and the Wends became Christians and subject to Danish suzerainty. Danish influence reached into Pomerania.

Valdemar's reign saw the rise of Denmark, which reached its zenith under his second son Valdemar II.

Issue[edit]

Valdemar married Sophia of Minsk (c. 1141–1198), half-sister of Canute V of Denmark and daughter of Richeza of Poland, dowager queen of Sweden, from her marriage with Volodar of Minsk (Vladimir or Volodar Glebovich of the Rurikids, died 1167), ruling Prince of Principality of Minsk, and they had the following children:

His widow Sophia married then Louis III, Landgrave of Thuringia.

Illegitimate with Tove:

  • Christopher (1150–1173), Valdemar's eldest son, Duke of Jutland (dux Iuciae[1]) ca. 1170–1173

Ancestry[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Valdemar I of Denmark at Wikimedia Commons

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Esben Albrectsen, "Das Abel-Geschlecht und die Schauenburger als Herzöge von Schleswig", Marion Hartwig and Frauke Witte (trls.), in: Die Fürsten des Landes: Herzöge und Grafen von Schleswig, Holstein und Lauenburg [De slevigske hertuger; German], Carsten Porskrog Rasmussen (ed.) on behalf of the Gesellschaft für Schleswig-Holsteinische Geschichte, Neumünster: Wachholtz, 2008, pp. 52–71, here p. 52. ISBN 978-3-529-02606-5
Valdemar the Great
Born: 14 January 1131 Died: 12 May 1182
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Eric Lamb
King of Denmark
1146–1182
with Sweyn Grathe (1146–1157)
& Canute V (1146–1157)
Succeeded by
Canute VI
Vacant
Title last held by
Magnus
Duke in Southern Jutland
titled there: Duke of Denmark

ca. 1152–1154
Vacant
Title next held by
Christopher