Portrait of Henrik Bjelke by Karel van Mander III
13 January 1615|
Elingård, Onsøy, Norway
|Died||16 March 1683(aged 68)|
|Occupation||Admiral of the Realm|
|Relatives||Ove Bjelke (brother)
Jørgen Bjelke (brother)
Henrik Bjelke (13 January 1615 – 16 March 1683) was a Norwegian-Danish military officer who served as Admiral of the Realm from 1662 to 1679.
Bjelke was the son of Norwegian Chancellor Jens Bjelke and, though still very young, enrolled and registered in 1633 in the University of Padua in Italy. Later he became a soldier under Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. He resigned from the service of Frederick when he heard of the invasion of Jutland by Lennart Torstenson in 1644 and went to Denmark. In March of that year Christian IV sent him to Norway and he served there under the Norwegian governor Hannibal Sehested.
After the peace agreements in Brömsebro he left the king to journey abroad and was for a time with Corfitz Ulfeldt in the Netherlands but then went into the service of general Peter Melander's Imperial Army in Westfalia. 1648 he returned to Denmark and was made administrator of Iceland.
In 1653 he was promoted to captain and in 1654 he was sent to Iceland against English pirates. In the Swedish war he achieved, along with Niels Juel, a famous victory over the Swedish fleet under the command of Clas Bjelkenstjerna near Moen on 12. September 1657. He got a seat in the Danish State Council in 1666 and was promoted to Riksadmiral in 1662. At the same time he was still in touch with Corfitz Ulfeldt and seems to have maintained a friendship with him and Leonor Kristin after they fell out of favor with Frederik III. He does not seem to have been made to suffer for this.
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