Alternate History

Eric II of Hordaland (The Kalmar Union)

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Eric II
Eric II
King of Hordaland
Reign 26th May, 1226 - 29th October, 1256
Predecessor Olaf IV
Successor Haakon VI
Spouse Adele of Wessex
Issue Cecila


Full name
Eric Olafsson
House Maddad
Father Olaf IV
Mother Astrid Kviden
Born 14th June, 1195
Bergen, Hordaland
Died 29th October, 1256
Bergen, Hordaland

Eric II ruled over Hordaland for thirty years in the mid-13th century. Originally a popular monarch, his reign would however end in failure.

The eldest of Olaf IV's children, Eric's early career is unremarkable and almost the only event of any note is his marriage to Adele of Wessex, a coup for his father who was plotting Hordaland's domination of northern Britannia. Although clearly married for their respective states' political gain the couple were extremely fond of one another and Eric would be utterly heartbroken by her death in 1242.

He would succeed to the throne in 1226 and would spend much of the first five years of his reign in Orkney or the Hebrides directing war against Scotland (which had freed itself from Anglian dominance), Alexander III having somewhat foolishly demanded a regular payment of silver for Hordaland's control of the northern islands. Despite enjoying Hordaland's apparent dominance on the battlefield Eric's plans would repeatedly suffer thanks to a less than adequate naval force. Hordaland had traditionally raised a fleet from the leidang which left the provision of men and equipment for ships to be provided by districts but the system had broken down during the civil wars and never restored to full usage. Eric would be unable to grasp the need for a dedicated national navy rather than a occasionally called up force and instead simply requested the farmers to provide more, a request which would only stir up resistance in the districts.

Adele's death seemed to mark a clear break in the fortunes of Hordaland. While Adele was alive he was characterised as 'Good King Eric', afterwards it is said he rarely joked and frequently lashed out at his lords. This period was marked by repeated criticisms in the chronicles and it appears there was a severe lapse in judgment and law and order. By 1254 some of his lords were in open revolt whilst the King of Man, Harald II, had repudiated his agreements with Hordaland.

On the 29th October 1256 Eric was murdered by several of his disgruntled lords. As his marriage had only produced daughters the throne would go to his brother Haakon. The simmering civil war would continue for several more years. Despite his apparent failures in the later years of his reign he would help improve Hordaland's status in the world, sending out official delegations to the more far-flung Norse lands; Iceland, Greenland, Vinland and Álengiamark.

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