Arvid Trolle

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Arvid Birgersson, Lord of Bergkvara (c. 1440 – 20 February 1505) was a Swedish magnate and politician in the last decades of Middle Ages. He was justiciar of Östergötland and then of Tiohärad, as well as a Lord High Councillor of Sweden, and once a candidate for the Regentship.[1][2]


Arvid Birgersson was born as second son of Birger Birgersson, Lord of Bo and Bergkvara, and his royally-descended wife Cecilia Knutsdotter of Aspenäs. His family coat of arms depict a headless troll whereby some have retrospectively called him Arvid Trolle. His elder brother Erik Birgersson was murdered in Lübeck in c 1460, which left Arvid as the heir of their parents' lands.

In 1460s, Arvid sympathized and somewhat supported King Charles VIII of Sweden in his opposition against the Kalmar Union. He was married with Beate, daughter of Iver Axelsen of Lilloe in Skåne, fiefholder of Gotland, who was in almost open opposition against Danish central government, and himself became a son-in-law of Charles VIII.

Iver Axelsen, Charles' mightiest and chief ally in late 1460s, had once been promised succession after him by King Charles, but Charles' nephew Sten Sture the Elder managed to wrest the regentship. Iver supported Arvid's election to regent to replace Sten Sture. They actually succeeded once in a coup in Stockholm, so the Swedish High Council chose Arvid, but they soon lost their base to Sten Sture who had the support of burghers and peasantry.

In 1487, Iver Axelsen died and his daughter Beate inherited his lands in Skåne. It had been the intention that Beate and Arvid succeed him also in Gotland, but Iver had lost it to the Danish king during his last year and the island was never recovered. Soon Beate died, and her sizable inheritance in Eastern Denmark became property of the couple's underage children, under guardianship of Arvid.

After Arvid's third marriage with daughter of High Constable Ture Turesson of Kråkerum, the leading union-supporter in Sweden, Arvid took a clear stance in support of union with Denmark.

Arvid was a leader of the 1497 rebellion against the regency of Sten Sture, which led to enthronement of King Hans of Denmark as ruler of Sweden, and the regency was abolished for four years. In 1501 Swedes revolted against King Hans and Sten Sture returned to regency. Arvid had to flee to Denmark, where he died.

Arvid was his era's biggest landowner within Scandinavia. Almost 1000 manors in Sweden were in his allodial possession, and additionally he received over 475 manors more in Eastern Denmark jure uxoris upon the death of Iver Axelsen, fiefholder of Gotland, his second wife's father, in 1487. He also sometimes held as fief counties of Nyköping, Stegeborg and Borgholm.


Arvid Birgersson married three times:

  • Kerstin Jonsdotter of Fållnäs (family of Gädda), c 1459 who died c 1465
  • Beate Iversdatter of Lilloe (Skånish family of Thott) 1440 - 5 December 1487 (married 1466, succumbed to plague)
  • Birgita Turesdotter of Kråkerum (family of Bielke), married 23 September 1488, died 1513

He had children from all his three marriages. Eric Trolle was his son by his first wife.[3] Archbishop Gustav Trolle was his grandson through Eric,[4] and Admiral Herluf Trolle was Arvid's grandson through the second wife.[5]


  1. ^ "Trolle", Norsk Haandlexikon
  2. ^ "Trolle", Svenskt biografiskt handlexikon
  3. ^ "Trolle", Nordisk familjebok (1919), volume 29, pages 821-822
  4. ^ "Trolle", Nordisk familjebok (1919), volume 29, pages 823-824
  5. ^ "Trolle", Nordisk familjebok (1919), volume 29, pages 831-832