Gottfried Michaelsen

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Gottfried Michaelsen
Born c. 1360
Wismar, Hanseatic League, present-day Wismar, Germany
Died 1400 or 20 October 1401 (age 40-41)
Hamburg, Hanseatic League, Holy Roman Empire, present-day Hamburg, Germany
Cause of death execution by beheading with sword
Other names Gottfried Michaelsen
Occupation privateer, pirate, privateer ship captain, privateer fleet commander
Spouse(s) 1
Relatives 1 brother
Military career

 Sweden (Kingdom)

Dukes of Mecklenburg

Victual Brothers

Gödeke Michels

Hennig Wichmann

Magister Wigbold
Service/branch independent naval privateers (allies of Kingdom of Denmark)
Rank Captain
Commands held Victual Brothers privateer fleet

Denmark-Sweden War

Hansiatic League Wars

Gödeke Michels (Low Saxon; died 1402), also known as Gottfried Michaelsen in High German, was a German pirate and one of the leaders of the Likedeeler, a combination of former Vitalienbrüder.

Early life[edit]


Together with Klaus Störtebeker, Hennig Wichmann and Magister Wigbold, as well as other leaders of the Likedeeler, he raided shipping in the North and Baltic Sea near the end of the 14th century.

They possessed fast ships, which easily outmaneuvered the ships of the Hanse. Like many of the Likedeeler, Michels was primarily concerned with capturing valuable prizes. However, he disdained cowardice and those surviving crewmen who had not resisted were usually thrown overboard.


Gottfried Michaelsen was eventually captured and executed in the year 1402, shortly after Klaus Störtebeker and crewmen were beheaded on the Grasbrook in Hamburg.


  • Jörgen Bracker, "Klaus Störtebeker – nur einer von ihnen. Die Geschichte der Vitalienbrüder", in: Störtebeker. 600 Jahre nach seinem Tod, Wilfried Ehbrecht (ed.), Lübeck: Porta-Alba-Verlag, 2001, (=Hansische Studien; vol. 15), ISBN 3-933701-14-7.

External links[edit]