Portrait of Peder Skram by unknown artist
|Died||11 July 1581 (aged 78-90)
|Service/branch||Royal Danish Navy|
|Years of service||1518–1562|
He first saw service in the Swedish war of Christian II at the battle of Brännkyrka, 1518, and at the battle of Upsala two years later he saved the life of the Danish standard-bearer. For his services in this war he was rewarded with an estate in Norway, where he settled for a time with his young consort Elsebe Krabbe.
During the Count's Feud (Danish: Grevens fejde), Skram, whose reputation as a sailor was already established, was sent by the Danish government to assist Gustavus Vasa, then in alliance with Christian III against the partisans of Christian II, to organize the untried Swedish fleet; and Skram seems, for the point is still obscure, to have shared the chief command with the Swedish Admiral Mans Some. Skram greatly hampered the movements of the Hanseatic fleets who fought on the side of Christian II; captured a whole Lübeck squadron off Svendborg, and prevented the revictualling of Copenhagen by Lübeck. But the incurable suspicion of Gustavus I minimized the successes of the allied fleets throughout 1535. Skram's services were richly rewarded by Christian III, who knighted him at his coronation, made him a senator and endowed him with ample estates.
In 1555, feeling too infirm to go to sea, he resigned his post of admiral; but when the Scandinavian Seven Years' War broke out seven years later; and the new king, Frederick II, offered Skram the chief command, he agreed to go. With a large fleet he put to sea in August 1562 and compelled the Swedish admiral, after a successful engagement off the coast of Gotland, to take refuge behind the Skerries.
This, however, was his sole achievement, and he was superseded at the end of the year by Herluf Trolle. Skram now retired from active service, but was twice (1565–1568) unsuccessfully besieged by the Swedes in his castle of Laholm. His estates in Halland were also repeatedly ravaged by the enemy. Skram died; at an advanced age, at Urup on 11 July 1581.
Skram's audacity won for him the nickname of "Denmark's Dare-devil", and he contributed perhaps more than any other Dane of his day to destroy the Hanseatic dominion of the Baltic. His humanity was equally remarkable; he often imperilled his life by preventing his crews from plundering.
This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (August 2007) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Skram, Peder". Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 194–195.
- Axel Larsen, Dansk-Norske Heltehistorier (Copenhagen, 1893)