Consolidation

History of Sweden between 1060 - 1396

The consolidation of Sweden was a long process during which the loosely organized social system consolidated under the power of the king. Unlike the history of Norway and Denmark, there is no agreement on a reliable date for a "unified Sweden". Historians judge differently the sources for the history of Sweden's consolidation. The earliest history blends with Norse mythology. Early primary sources are foreign; secondary sources were written at a later date.

A common definition of Sweden is that it was formed when the Swedes and Geats were ruled by one king. The names Swedes and Geats are attested in the Old English poems Beowulf (written down in the 11th century) and Widsith (from the 8th century) and building on older legendary and folklore material collected in England. In both poems, an Ongentheow (sw. Angantyr) is named as the King of the Swedes, and the Geats are mentioned as a separate people. These names of peoples having formed in present-day Sweden, the Anglo-Saxon references and now lost tales they were attached to must have travelled across the North Sea. The first king who is considered historical and to have ruled over both peoples, is early 11th century Olof Skötkonung. Broadly speaking, Kings of Sweden, and the nobility of the land, have seen Götaland and Svealand (as well as growing parts of Finland) as equally important parts of the kingdom at least since the mid-13th century and, in some cases, considerably earlier.

Rather than the unification of tribes under one king, others maintain that the process of consolidation was gradual. To solve the problem of defining an early history of Sweden that coincides with reliable sources, a group of modern Swedish historians have contended that a real state could only exist, in the Middle Ages, if had the backing of Christianity and the clergy. The same connection between Christianity and consolidation is used in other countries where written sources are less scarce, such as England or Harald Bluetooth's Denmark. The definition is based on the fact that English and German priests would have brought organizational and administrative skills needed for statehood (including by local rulers). The process of consolidation would have required this important ideological shift. While an Iron Age Germanic king would claim the elective support of his people, and the Norse gods, a crowned Christian king would claim that his rule was divinely inspired. According to this definition the unification should be completed in 1210 when Erik Knutsson was crowned by the church, or perhaps in 1247 when the last separatist rising was defeated at Sparrsätra. A major problem sometimes pointed out with that view is that it entails circular proof: we know next to nothing about how the authority of the ruler was envisaged in heathen times, while we know some more of the Christian ideology of kingship, and obviously the Christian kingdom would underline the break with the pagan past, but this does not really allow the conclusion that there could have been no fixed and religiously connected ideas of the authority of the ruler in pre-Christian times. Moreover, we have no solid testimonies fixing it as a fact that the king residing in Central Sweden (the lake Mälar and Östergötland area) was actually recognized as king in all of the area that was called Sweden by the 13th century, when the mist really clears. There may have existed local kings in Western Sweden, even though their names have not been preserved.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 1060 and 1396 in Sweden

Storkyrkan

Storkyrkan (Great Church, Stockholm Cathedral), officially Church of St. Nicholas, is the oldest church in Gamla Stan, the old town in central Stockholm. It was first mentioned in 1279 and according to tradition was originally built by Birger Jarl, the founder of the city itself. For nearly four hundred years it was the only parish church in the city, the other churches of comparible antiquity originally built to serve th ...
Founded: 1279 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Riddarholmen Church

The Riddarholmen Church (Riddarholmskyrkan) is the burial church of the Swedish monarchs. The congregation was dissolved in 1807 and today the church is used only for burial and commemorative purposes. Swedish monarchs from Gustavus Adolphus (d. 1632 AD) to Gustaf V (d. 1950) are entombed here (with exceptions such as Queen Christina who is buried within St. Peter's Basilica in Rome), as well as the earlier monarchs Magnu ...
Founded: ca. 1270-1300 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Lund Cathedral

Lund Cathedral was consecrated in 1145, and contains many well-known artefacts and features of considerable historical interest. Since then service has been held here every day for almost 900 years. Today over 700 000 persons visit the church each year with some 85 000 who attends a service. The first cathedral was built in Lund before 1085, but it is difficult to know if the present building was built in the same place. ...
Founded: 1080-1145 | Location: Lund, Sweden

Uppsala Cathedral

Uppsala Cathedral is the largest and tallest cathedral and one of the most impressive religious buildings in Scandinavia. Originally built in the 13th century under Roman Catholicism and used for coronations of the Swedish monarch, since the Protestant Reformation, it has been controlled by the Lutheran Church of Sweden. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Uppsala, the primate of Sweden. The construction of the cathedral ...
Founded: 1287-1435 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

St. Mary's Church

Maria (St. Mary's) Church is one of the oldest buildings in Helsingborg. The construction of the church started in the beginning of the 14th century and finished some hundred years later. The place, where the Maria church is standing today, has though been holy ever since people inhabited the area. In the end of the 12th century a little stone church was build in a Romance style, in the place were Maria church stands toda ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Helsingborg, Sweden

St. Lawrence's Church Ruins

Saint Lawrence’s church (Sankt Lars) was built in the central parish around 1210-1220. In the same cemetery a German parish church, Holy Trinity (Drotten in Swedish), was built around 1240. The church was abandoned after the Reformation. Architecturally, Saint Lawrence has its models in Orthodox churches, and it has been wrongly suggested that it would have been a Russian church. It’s more reasonable to imagin ...
Founded: 1210-1220 | Location: Visby, Sweden

Holy Trinity Church

Helga Trefaldighet (Holy Trinity) Church was inaugurated in 1302. It replaced the previous church of local Ullerås parish. The church is made of grey stone and brick and it was originally a three-nave basilica. The western tower was added in the 15th century. The church was damaged badly by fire in 1702. The interior is particularly notable. It is decorated with paintings by the famous medieval artist Albertus Pict ...
Founded: 1302 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

St. Catherine's Church Ruins

The constrcution of St. Catherine’s church was started in the 1250s and continued through the 14th century. It was actually never completed, and in 1540s it was partially collapsed during the worship. Today only ruins remain, but pillars are still very impressive.
Founded: 1250s | Location: Visby, Sweden

Visby Cathedral

Visby Cathedral (also known as St. Mary’s Church) is the only survived medieval church in Visby. It was originally built for German merchants and inaugurated in 1225. Around the year 1350 the church was enlarged and converted into a basilica. The two-storey magazine was also added then above the nave as a warehouse for merchants. There is not much left of the original interior. The font is made of local red marble ...
Founded: 1225 | Location: Visby, Sweden

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter’s Church is the oldest building in Malmö. The construction was started in the early 1300s. It has influenced by the St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck. The tower and several chapels were added during the 15th century. The pulpit is made of stone in the 16th century, the font date back to 1601. Although most of the mural paintings has been destroyed during the centuries, there is one very richly d ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Malmö, Sweden

Kärnan

Kärnan is a medieval tower, the only part remaining of a larger Danish fortress which controlled the entrance to the Baltic Sea. The origins of the fortress is disputed but Danish legend places its origin to the reign of the legendary King Fróði. However, this legend has not been supported by archaeological proof. Dendrochronological dating has shown that the core was built in the 1310s, when Eric VI of Denmark was Ki ...
Founded: 1310s | Location: Helsingborg, Sweden

St. Clement Church Ruins

To the south of St Nicholas's Church, among houses, are the remains of the Romanesque church of St Clement, built in the middle of the 13th century. Excavations have brought to light the foundations of three earlier churches. The oldest, dating from the 12th century, was probably one of the first stone-built churches in Visby. To the right of the church can be seen an old weapon house, in which the men deposited their arm ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

St. Hans' & St. Peter's Church Ruins

St. Hans and St. Peter churches were built side by side during the 1200s. St. Peter was consecrated to the apostle Peter. St. Hans, which was the larger church, was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist. It was where the Lutheran doctrine for the first time preached on the island. In 1527, however, Bishop Brask turned Lutherans out from the church. But as soon as the bishop sailed to Denmark, Lutherans worships were starte ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

Örebro Castle

For over 700 years Örebro Castle has kept a watchful eye on everyone crossing the bridge on the River Svartån. The oldest part of the castle, a defence tower, was erected in the latter half of the 13th century. This tower was added to in the 14th century to make a larger stronghold. The castle was expanded during the reign of the royal family Vasa between 1573-1627 to the impressive Renaissance castle. After Vasa famil ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Örebro, Sweden

Holy Spirit Church Ruins

The Holy Spirit (Helgeand) Church, sometimes incorrectly mentioned as St. James, was built in the early 1200s. It was probably constructed as a chapel for the Danish Guild and donated by the Danish King Valdemar. In the mid-1200s the guild lost its importance and the church was sacrified as Holy Spirit Church and it also functioned as a sanctuary. The church is octagonal and built on two floors. Both floors have a common ...
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Visby, Sweden

Härlanda Church Ruins

Härlanda Church Ruins are the remains of a medieval church in Gothenburg, Sweden close to the picturesque housing area Bagaregården. The church was built in the first part of the 12th century and torn down in 1528 by request from Gustavus I, King of Sweden to build a new church in Nya Lödöse, the precursor of Gothenburg which was founded in 1621.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Powder Tower

The so-called Powder Tower (Kruttornet) is the oldest monument in Visby. It was built in the 12th century to protect the harbour. There was initially no door in the tower, but only a small entrance in 10 meters high. Defenders used ladders to climb up to the entrance. Today 25 meter high tower is open to the public in summer season.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

Linköping Cathedral

The Linköping Cathedral is the seat for the bishop in the Church of Sweden Diocese of Linköping. The present church is about 800 years old. However, its history starts in the 11th century, with a wooden church being built. Later, around 1120, a stone church was being constructed; a basilica of about half the size of the present building. Around 1230 it became necessary to construct a larger church, as the basil ...
Founded: c. 1120 | Location: Linköping, Sweden

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary’s Church (Sankta Maria kyrka) is the oldest building in Ystad. The construction was began around the year 1200. The Romanesque style church was enlarged in the 1400s. The tower collapsed in a storm in 1648 when the nave was also damaged. The church was restored to double size. There is a big altarpiece made of oak in the early 1400s and two medieval crucifixes. The pulpit is a great sample of Scanian Baroq ...
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Bohus Fortress

Bohus Fortress construction began in 1308 under King Haakon V Magnuson, king of Norway from 1299 until 1319. At the time Bohuslän was Norwegian territory and it served as a main Norwegian defence against Sweden along the coast as well as the strong point for the Bohuslän region from 1308 until 1658. According to architect Guthorm Kavli, by 1310 records show it was constructed, as normal for that period, out of ...
Founded: 1308 | Location: Kungälv, Sweden

Visby City Wall

The City wall of Visby (Swedish: Visby ringmur) is an old medieval defensive wall surrounding the city. The building of ringwall was probably started in the 13th century. Around 1280 it was rebuilt to reach its current height, along with the addition of its characteristic towers (although some towers were not constructed until the 15th century) It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Visby. The war in 1288 betwe ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

St. Olof's Church Ruins

St. Olof's Church was originally built around the year 1100 and it consisted of a main tower, chancel and nave. It was later extended, but the construction was probably interrupted when archbishop’s seat was moved to Gamla Uppsala in the 12th century. St. Olof's church has been influenced by the Nidaros Cathedral in Norway, while the small tapering windows have an Anglo-Saxon style. The church is dedicated to the N ...
Founded: ca.1100 | Location: Sigtuna, Sweden

St. Peter's Priory

St. Peter's Priory (Sankt Peters Klosters kyrka) was one of Denmark's early monastic houses. It was established before 1166 during the tenure of Eskil, Archbishop of Lund, for Benedictine nuns. It was originally dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Peter, but by 1200 it was simply referred to as St. Peter's Priory. The original church was built in the latter half of the 1160s of sandstone with the rounded arches of the Roman ...
Founded: 1160s | Location: Lund, Sweden

St. Nicholas' Church

St. Nicholas" is one of the medieval churches in Nyköping.The building history is quite complex and the age is therefore unknown. it is probably founded in the 12th century. The church was enlarged in the 14th century and the tower was added a century later. The church was burnt during the two major town fires in 1665 and 1719. The oldest item in the church is a altar made around 1500.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nyköping, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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Sirmione Castle

Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.

Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.