IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > B. Early Modern Europe, 1479–1815 > 1. Europe, 1479–1675 > h. Scandinavia
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1387–1412)
h. Scandinavia
1. Denmark and Norway
During this period the union of the three Scandinavian kingdoms became dissolved.  1
The attempt of the Danish king, CHRISTIAN II, to assert Danish supremacy in Sweden by invading it and executing the leaders of the national Swedish party (the massacre of Stockholm, 1520) led to a national revolt (1520) headed by Gustavus Ericksson Vasa, a young Swedish nobleman.  2
The Danes were defeated, and Gustavus Vasa became first administrator of the kingdom, then king (see below, Sweden).  3
In his domestic policy Christian II, in alliance with the middle classes, tried to strengthen royal authority at the expense of the nobility and the Church. This caused a rebellion, led by the nobles and the bishops.  4
They invited the duke of Holstein to rule over Denmark as FREDERICK I. A civil war followed in which the middle classes sided with Christian II. Christian was defeated and deposed in 1532. After the death of Frederick in 1533, civil war broke out anew (the Counts' War).  5
Order was restored with the accession of Frederick's son CHRISTIAN III. During his reign, Protestantism triumphed in Denmark. Church property was secularized and a national (Lutheran) church was established. Simultaneously there was a great strengthening of royal power. Christian III intervened in the religious struggle in Germany, siding with the Protestant princes against the emperor.  6
Frederick II.  7
CHRISTIAN IV. At the same time, rivalry with Sweden in the Baltic caused the War of Kalmar (1611–13), with indecisive results, and Denmark's participation in the Thirty Years' War (1625–29) (See The Danish Period, 1625–29).  8
A second war, in which the Swedes were victorious. Denmark lost some territory on the farther side of the Sound. Upon the death of Christian IV, an aristocratic reaction brought about a temporary weakening of the royal power.  9
Norway during this period remained under Danish domination: all the important posts in the administration were occupied by the Danes, and the Danish language was predominant. However, Norway benefited from the activity of some of the Danish kings. Christian IV improved administration, developed national resources, founded Christiania (Oslo). Under the influence of Denmark, Norway also became Protestant (Lutheran). (See Denmark, Norway, and Iceland)  10
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.