Kalmar Union

History of Sweden between 1397 - 1523

In 1388, at the request of the Swedes themselves, king Albert of Mecklenburg was driven out by Margaret I of Denmark and at a convention of the representatives of the three Scandinavian kingdoms (held at Kalmar in 1397), Margaret's great-nephew, Eric of Pomerania, was elected the common king, although the liberties of each of the three realms were expressly reserved and confirmed. The union was to be a personal, not a political union. Neither Margaret herself nor her successors observed the stipulation that in each of the three kingdoms only natives should hold land and high office, and the efforts first of Denmark (at that time by far the strongest member of the union) to impose her will on the Union's weaker kingdoms soon produced a rupture, or rather a series of semi-ruptures. The Swedes first broke away from it in 1434 under the popular leader Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, and after his murder they elected Karl Knutsson Bonde their king under the title of Charles VIII, 1436.

In 1441 Charles VIII had to abdicate in favour of Christopher of Bavaria, who was already king of Denmark and Norway; however, upon the death of Christopher in 1448, a state of confusion ensued in the course of which Charles VIII was twice reinstated and twice expelled again. Finally, on his death in 1470, the three kingdoms were reunited under Christian II of Denmark, the prelates and higher nobility of Sweden being favourable to the union.

After the briefly successful reconquest of Sweden by Christian II and the subsequent Stockholm bloodbath in 1520, the Swedes rose in yet another rebellion which ousted the Danish forces once again in 1521, though Stockholm did not surrender until the summer of 1523. While independence was being reclaimed, the election of King Gustav of the Vasa at Strängnäs on June 6, 1523, has been seen as a formal declaration of independence, and as the de facto end of a union that had lost all long-term support in Sweden. The day Gustav Vasa was hailed as King (he was not crowned until 1528 though) would become, in 1983, the National Day of Sweden.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 1397 and 1523 in Sweden

Malmö Castle

Malmö Castle (Malmöhus) was founded in 1434 by King Eric of Pomerania. This structure was demolished in early 16th century. The castle acquired its present appearance following major reconstruction in the 1530’s, when King Christian III ordered the building of a modern fortress, splendid Renaissance castle and county governor´s residence, all on the one site. Historically, this fortress was one of th ...
Founded: 1434 | Location: Malmö, Sweden

St. Gertrud's Chapel Ruins

The chapel was built in 1460-1470s and sanctified to St. Gertrude of Nivelles (her picture is carved to the tympanum of chapel). There are also frescoes of Ivar Axelsson Tott and his wife Magdalena. The chapel was part of the St. Jacob’s monastery and destroyed by Lübeck army (as well as many other churches) in 1525.
Founded: 1460-1470s | Location: Visby, Sweden

St. Nicholas' Church

St. Nicholas' Church was built in the 15th century as a three-nave hall church. It was badly damaged by fire in 1619. The font was made in the 15th century, pulpit in 1630 and altarpiece in 1675 (J. H. Wedekind).
Founded: c. 1432 | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

Mariefred Charterhouse Ruins

Mariefred Charterhouse, sometimes referred to as Gripsholm Charterhouse, was a Carthusian monastery, or charterhouse. It was the only Carthusian monastery in Scandinavia, and one of the last monasteries established in Sweden before the Reformation. The establishment of a Carthusian monastery in Sweden was brought about by the efforts of Jakob Ulvsson, Archbishop of Uppsala, and Kort Rogge, Bishop of Strängnäs, ...
Founded: 1493 | Location: Mariefred, Sweden

Nederluleå Church

Nederluleå church is the largest medieval church in Norrland. It was built during the 15th century and inaugurated by Archbishop Jacob Ulfsson in 1492. The church has a very rich interior and furnishings. The late-mediaeval frescos in the chancel were by the school of Albertus Pictor. The richly decorated triptych was made in Antwerpen around 1520 and it is one of the finest in Sweden. The font and cruficix date al ...
Founded: 1492 | Location: Gammelstad, Sweden

Gammelstad Church Town

Gammelstad Church Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in Gammelstaden near the city of Luleå. It is the best preserved example of a type of town that was once widespread throughout northern Scandinavia. As Church Village of Gammelstad, Luleå, it was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1996. At its centre is an early 15th century stone church surrounded by 424 wood-built houses. The houses were only us ...
Founded: ca. 1492 | Location: Luleå, Sweden

Vadstena Town Hall

The Town Hall of Vadstena is Sweden's oldest, dating back to the early 15th century. It was first mentioned in 1417. There were two halls in the downstairs and the actual town hall in the upstairs. The tower was erected in the 1500s.
Founded: ca. 1417 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Hovdala Castle

The oldest parts of Hovdala castle date from the 16th century, although it was first time mentioned already in the 12th century. There are so-called anchoring irons visible on the facade of one of the buildings are marked with the date 1511. Hovdala's gate tower, built in the early 1600's, served as a formidable entrance for the complex. This four-storey structure, with three-foot walls, withstood intensive fighting durin ...
Founded: ca. 1511 | Location: Hässleholm, Sweden

Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus, is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the noble ...
Founded: 1499-1506 | Location: Hammenhög, Sweden

Red Tower

Rödtornet (Red Tower) is the only remaining part of the medieval St. Peter's Church built in the 12th century. The tower was erected in 1464. The church was replaced with a school in 1828.
Founded: 1464 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Kronoberg Castle Ruins

Kronoberg Castle is a medieval ruin located on an island in lake Helgasjön. In 1444 Lars Mikaelson, the bishop of Växjö, built a stone building on the lakeshore. During the Dano-Swedish War of 1470-1471, Danish forces destroyed the house. It was reconstructed and fortified after peace was restored in 1472. During the Swedish Reformation the castle and its estate were confiscated by Gustav Vasa. In 1542, during the Dac ...
Founded: 1472 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Roggeborgen

Roggeborgen was a residence of Strängnäs bishop since 1626. The building was constructed by bishop Kort Rogge (1479-1501) in the late 1400s. Between 1626 and 1930 it functioned as a Gymnasium. Today it is a library including 70000 old articles from the episcopate of Strängnäs.
Founded: c. 1479 | Location: Strängnäs, Sweden

Österbybruk

The Österbybruk was established by the King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century. Int 1643 it was acquired by Louis de Geer and in his time Österbybruk became the center of weapon manufacturing in Sweden. Later it was owned by Grill and Tamm families. The manor house of Österbybruk was built in 1763-1780 by the design of Elias Kessler and Erik Palmstedt. There is also a Calvinist church with a mirror hall bui ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Österbybruk, Sweden

Båstad Church

The Church of Båstad, Saint Mary’s Church was constructed in the 15th century. The building started around the year 1450 and it was completed in the early 1500s. The inauguration was made in 1460. Båstad Church is a Romanesque church, and contains several wall paintings from various centuries; a madonna image; and a Danish altarpiece, among other things.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Båstad, Sweden

Stora Kopparberg Church

Stora Kopparberg Church was built in the late 1400s and it is the oldest building in Falun. The star-shaped arches are an interesting architectural detail. The church has also a high tower with a dramatic spire. The triumph crucifix, Madonna sculpture and pietá date from the 15th century. The pulpit was made in 1618.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Falun, Sweden

Fårö Church

The oldest parts of the Fårö church date from the 15th century, but it has been mainly rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries. Lightning struck the steeple in the 18th century, and the spire had to be rebuilt. Later the church became outgrown, so an extension was built towards the east in 1858, when the church doubled its size and took on its present day appearance. The votive ships made in 1620 and 1767 descr ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Fårö, Sweden

Torpa Stenhus

Torpa stenhus is a well preserved medieval castle near Åsunden. The first stone house was built around 1470 by Privy Council Arvid Knutsson as fortress against the Danes. Reconstruction and remodeling took during the 1500s and 1600s. In the late 1500s the castle was enlarged and modernized: the 4th floor was added, the tower was erected and halls were decorated with beautiful paintings. The castle has still today a well- ...
Founded: 1470 | Location: Länghem, Sweden

St. Gertrud’s Church

St. Gertrud’s Church was built in the 1450s after King Eric of Pomerania had ordered to move the town of Västervik from Gamleby to the present location. The city and the Stegeholm castle were destroyed in a battle in 1517 and inhabitants moved back to the old city. After King Gustav Vasa ordered them to move back, the church was restored as a Lutheran church. It was once again destroyed in 1612 during the battl ...
Founded: 1450s | Location: Västervik, Sweden

Stora Tuna Church

The medieval church of former Stora Tuna municipality was built in 1469 as the three-nave cathedral. During the years 1557-1568, three priests with bishop title worked in the church. After that Dalarna and Västerås dioceses were joined and the church remained as one of the largest parish churches in Sweden. The 86m high tower was erected in 1917. The church contains many valuable artefacts including a fine 16th century ...
Founded: 1469 | Location: Borlänge, Sweden

Backen Church

Backenkyrkan or Backen Church is the oldest church in Umeå. There was a wooden church probably already in the 13th century. In the late 1400s the archbishop of Uppsala ordered to replace it with a stone church. The current church was built between 1501-1508. Backenkyrkan was damaged badly by fire in 1893 and again in 1986, when the wooden interior was completely destroyed. The church was restored and reinaugurated in 199 ...
Founded: 1501-1508 | Location: Umeå, Sweden

Husaby Castle Ruins

Husaby Bishop’s castle was built in the 1480s as a residence for Brynolf Gerlakson, bishop of Skara. It was confiscated by the state during the Reformation in the 1520s and destroyed shortly afterwards.
Founded: 1480s | Location: Götene, Sweden

Bollerup Castle

The Bollerup estate was first time mentioned in 1130. The castle was built in the end of 15th century. The present living quarters were built in the 1840s. It lies on an islet and is surrounded by a moat. Bollerup has been owned by several families like Thott, Gjöe and Rantzau. Today it houses the Bollerup Agricultural Institute. Guided tours of the fort, grounds, stables and church are available during the summer.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Tomelilla, Sweden

Kalix Church

Kalix Church is the northernmost medieval church in Sweden. It dates from the 15th century (first mentioned in 1472). Several items of medieval inventory are preserved including the font, altarpiece and two sculptures. The pulpit, a Baroque work, is from 1674, and is among the oldest to be found in the north of Sweden. The church has a separate wooden belfry, which was made in 1731. The church has been sacked by Russian t ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Kalix, Sweden

Wik Castle

Wik Castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Sweden. The first owner was Israel And in the end of 13th century. The current magnificent castle with seven floors was built in the late 15th century. The massive walls and moats made the stronghold impregnable. During the Middle Ages, the castle was one of the sturdiest strongholds in the Mälaren Valley, and Gustav Wasa once besieged Wik Castle for over a ...
Founded: ca. 1450 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of Our Lady before Týn

The Church of Our Lady before Týn is a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires.

In the 11th century, this area was occupied by a Romanesque church, which was built there for foreign merchants coming to the nearby Týn Courtyard. Later it was replaced by an early Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn in 1256. Construction of the present church began in the 14th century in the late Gothic style under the influence of Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler. By the beginning of the 15th century, construction was almost complete; only the towers, the gable and roof were missing. The church was controlled by Hussites for two centuries, including John of Rokycan, future archbishop of Prague, who became the church's vicar in 1427. The roof was completed in the 1450s, while the gable and northern tower were completed shortly thereafter during the reign of George of Poděbrady (1453–1471). His sculpture was placed on the gable, below a huge golden chalice, the symbol of the Hussites. The southern tower was not completed until 1511, under architect Matěj Rejsek.

After the lost Battle of White Mountain (1620) began the era of harsh recatholicisation (part of the Counter-Reformation). Consequently, the sculptures of 'heretic king' George of Poděbrady and the chalice were removed in 1626 and replaced by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, with a giant halo made from by melting down the chalice. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.

Renovation works carried out in 1876–1895 were later reversed during extensive exterior renovation works in the years 1973–1995. Interior renovation is still in progress.

The northern portal is a wonderful example of Gothic sculpture from the Parler workshop, with a relief depicting the Crucifixion. The main entrance is located on the church's western face, through a narrow passage between the houses in front of the church.

The early baroque altarpiece has paintings by Karel Škréta from around 1649. The oldest pipe organ in Prague stands inside this church. The organ was built in 1673 by Heinrich Mundt and is one of the most representative 17th-century organs in Europe.