Alternate History

Eric III of Hordaland (The Kalmar Union)

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Eric III
Kong Eirik Magnusson PI IX 1.jpg
Eric III
King of Hordaland
Reign 5th June, 1268 - 14th September, 1313
Predecessor Haakon VI
Successor Olaf V
Spouse Isabel of Scotland
Issue Ingeborg


Full name
Eirik Haakonsson
House Maddad
Father Olaf IV
Mother Ingeborg Sverresdotter
Born April, 1260
Bergen, Hordaland
Died 14th September, 1313
Bergen, Hordaland

The last king of Hordaland from the Maddad dynasty, Eric III oversaw the rebuilding of Hordaland's power and wealth, firmly putting an end to the civil war era.

Eric was eight years when his father Haakon VI died. He had left behind a stable Hordaland, however it had been impoverished by years of poor laws and had been eclipsed by Danish ambitions in Scandinavia. The Kingdom of Man, once a Hordalandic subject, was embarking on its own ventures in Eire and Orkney paid only partial heed to Bergen. Much of Eric's early reign, under the tutelage of Magnus Thorvaldsson, was dedicated to boosting the kingdom's treasury and reversing Hordaland's insularity via building links to other kingdoms. His elder sister Kristin would marry into the Gothenlandic Sverker dynasty whilst Eric himself married Isabel of Scotland in 1274. A comprehensive review of the kingdom's laws and a renewal of the royal council which meant the country could not be derailed so easily by a few recalcitrant nobles left the country better governed and much more confident.

In 1289 the line of the Ladish earls ran out. Eric had a very weak claim to the throne, much like Wizlaw II of Viken-Rugia, but was prepared to go to war for the extensive earldom. Eric III of Denmark, nominally holding the title of King of Norway (and was therefore Lade's overlord), brokered a deal which saw the territory become a fief of Denmark, ensuring peace between Hordaland and Viken. Many historians are scathing about Eric's climb-down, however it bears remembering that Hordaland barely had a working navy, Viken had a formidable army and, Eric's real interests lay to the west in Scotland.

Indeed, only a year later Scotland's independence from Anglia was formally agreed after years of Hordaland's military support of the struggle. And at the same time Hordaland's grip on Orkney was strengthened as Scotland's borders were largely fixed. He would visit the islands in 1303 reaffirming laws and ensuring the power structures respected Bergen's reach.

Eric's marriage to Isabel of Scotland would produce nine children, however he would outlive all of them, leaving a potential issue with the succession. His younger brothers had had numerous illegitimate children, none with any particularly stellar careers and the Hordalandic nobles had long favoured his elder sister's son Olaf. A legitimate succession with links to a foreign crown would, they believed, bode well for Hordaland's future. Upon Eric's death in 1313 Olaf was duly crowned king and the crown passed into the Sverker family for next four and a half centuries.

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