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Cnut VII of Denmark (The Kalmar Union)

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Cnut VII
Cnut VII Den (The Kalmar Union).png
Cnut VII
King of Denmark
Reign 9th July, 1323 - 3rd September, 1333
Predecessor Eric IV
Successor Eric V
Spouse Karin of Finland
Issue Eric V

Anna
Catherine
John
Gerhard

Full name
Cnut Erikssen
House Estridsson
Father Eric III
Mother Elizabeth of Holstein
Born 6th? February, 1263
Copenhagen, Denmark
Died 3rd September, 1333
Lubeck, Denmark

Succeeding his brother Eric IV in 1323 Cnut VII's decade on the Danish throne was a constant struggle for authority.

Eric IV had placed Denmark under Papal authority and Cnut would much of his reign attempting to extract the kingdom from the arrangement as it encroached on his ability to make war in Pomerania or deal with church affairs. Denmark's fiscal situation was slowly improving after the Great Famine (1315-1322) but the Papacy insisted its Italian loans were repaid in full. Unwilling to pay the huge sums Cnut set the clergy of Denmark to work, bombarding Rome with pleas for clemency. Through this Denmark managed to wrangle its way out of most of its debt, ruining several Italian families in the process, but did not budge the papacy from its overlordship. In fact Cnut was regularly called upon to crusade, a duty he put off, partly as he over sixty by this point, but also because he was never quite secure enough to leave Denmark in the hands of others.

Attempts at rebalancing the Riksdag's power over the crown came to nothing. After a generation of generally being left to their own devices the nobility were in little mood to let the king have more power. Therefore Cnut had little desire to give them any. He attended the Riksdag sessions compulsively, not trusting that the chamber would not grant laws that undermined his authority further. Despite being a somewhat paranoid move it actually increased Cnut's standing, showing his fair judgment over disputes which came before the chamber. While many lords were put off by his close management style, he was lauded by the commoners who benefitted from the restoration of various good laws.

In 1329 he had the good fortune for the Duchy of Holstein to fall vacant, and as the nearest heir, inherited it. While he would take the lion's share as his own land, granting the remainder in return for generous 'gifts' enriched him and gave him a trusted band of nobility on which he could rely, crucially turning the balance of the Riksdag in his favour. Cnut was careful not to overplay this advantage, thinking it far better to show good conduct than to provoke a sudden reaction.

Eventually in 1330 Pope Celestine VI relented, being 'paid off' with Cnut's significant donations to the Bishopric of Lund and a repayment of the loan to the Pope's nephew in Parma. Cnut immediately began planning his long-dreamt of Pomeranian war but without the means to pay for significant allies found himself only carrying out minor raids rather than the defining clash he longed for. His neighbours had bigger aims anyway. Gothenland with its new Piast dynasty was eager to carve itself out huge chunks of Poland, Hordaland was becoming ever-more involved in Irish politics and Olaf III turning Viken into the very model of a medieval state.

Dying in 1333, Cnut was succeeded by his eldest son Eric IV whose long rule was utterly overshadowed by the Black Death and Olaf III.

Family

Married Karin of Finland in 1289 and had six children:

  • Eric V (1290-1372), King of Denmark
  • Anna (1293-1358), married Count Nicholas of Hoya and had four children
  • Catherine (1294)
  • Unnamed son (1296), still-born twin of John
  • John (1296-1316), Duke of Estonia, married Elizabeth von Feuchtwangen and had one child.
  • Gerhard (1300-1345), Bishop of Hamar

Ancestry

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