First Swedish Crusade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Christianization of Finland
Seal of bishop bero of finland.gif
Bishops: Thomas · Henry
Rodulff · Fulco · Bero
Popes: Alexander III
Innocent III · Gregory IX
Archbishops: Anders
Others: Birger Jarl
Sergius · Lalli · King Eric
Kokemäki · Köyliö
Nousiainen · Koroinen
Turku Cathedral
Finnish-Novgorodian wars
First Swedish Crusade
Second Swedish Crusade
Third Swedish Crusade

The First Swedish Crusade was a possibly mythical military expedition around 1150 that has traditionally been seen as the first attempt of Sweden to convert pagan Finns to Christianity by force. According to the legend, the crusade was conducted by King Eric IX of Sweden. English bishop Henry of Uppsala accompanied him and remained in Finland. He was later killed at lake Köyliönjärvi by Lalli.[1]

Academics debate whether this crusade actually took place. No archaeological data give any support for it, and no surviving written source describes Finland under Swedish rule before the end of the 1240s. Furthermore, the diocese and bishop of Finland are not listed among their Swedish counterparts before the 1250s.

At the time, leading the leiðangr was the responsibility of the jarl. This gave rise to a theory that Eric conducted the expedition before he became king or pretender to the throne.[citation needed] Legends give no year for the expedition, and attempts to date it to an exact year in the 1150s are all much later speculations. All that is known about King Eric and Bishop Henry is that they most probably held important positions in Sweden some time in the mid-12th century.[citation needed]

The Swedish bishop normally involved in the eastern campaigns was the Bishop of Linköping, not the Bishop of Uppsala.[citation needed]

The mid-12th century was a very violent time in the northern Baltic sea, with Finnish tribes, such as Tavastians and Karelians and Swedes in frequent conflicts with Novgorod and with eachother.[2] In the First Novgorod Chronicle tells that in 1142 a Swedish "prince" and bishop accompanied by a fleet of 60 ships plundered just three Novgorodian merchant vessels somewhere "on the other side of the sea", obviously being after something more important.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Eric's crusade to Finland". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. . Original medieval legend in Latin.
  2. ^ See articles Swedish-Novgorodian Wars and Prehistoric Finnish wars.
  3. ^ "First Novgorod Chronicle entry on the attack in 1142". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. . In Swedish.