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Eric VI of Denmark (The Kalmar Union)

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Eric VI
Eric VI Den (The Kalmar Union).png
Eric VI
King of Denmark
Reign 16th January, 1407 - 1st March, 1426
Predecessor Valdemar II
Successor Eric VII
Spouse Richezca of Lindholmen

Jadvyga of Poland

Issue Eric VII
Full name
Eric Valdemarsson
House Estridsson
Father Valdemar II
Mother Ingeborg Olafsdotter
Born 16th August, 1359
Ribe, Denmark
Died 1st March, 1426
Copenhagen, Denmark

Eric VI successfully built on his father's legacy of shrewd war-making and helped cement Danish dominance of Northern Europe during the first quarter of the 15th century.

The only surviving son of Valdemar II's two marriages, Eric inherited a Denmark which was united, rich and pushing into Pomerania almost with impunity. Valdemar's Denmark had successfully eclipsed Viken-Svealand as Scandinavia's premier power and he had known when make peace with the Empire to safeguard gains. Almost 50 years old when he succeeded, Eric had had a long apprenticeship in government, was well-liked by the nobles and moreover was trusted to carry on the same trajectory. This he did with considerable patience.

His first actions were to support his father-in-law's regime in Poland which was challenged by several powerful nobles

Charles IV's Empire was largely pacified in 1408 and again, to safeguard his Pomeranian possessions Eric secured a peace with the distracted Emperor but kept a steady pressure on his brother Jobst, Duke of Neumark. He would stay his hand until the Empire fell into real trouble once more in 1419, this time rocked by the Hussite Wars. Eric took advantage, renewing the feud with the Duke of Mecklenburg and staying aloof from the various crusades against the heretics. By 1423 however he had cooled on the friendship, a result of their invasion of Sorbia, a long-standing Danish ally, and the increasing chaos being inflicted on Silesia and Western Poland. Even so, the collective damage wrought on Pomerania had left the Duke of Mecklenburg utterly defeated and Barnim II would sign away his lands in 1424. Pomerania, now wholly Danish was parcelled up and granted away to Eric's loyal lords, securing more leverage in the Riksdag, and making the fortunes of lesser families.

This was of course opposed by Charles IV but he had little leeway to challenge it. Then Eric began to campaign against the Hussites in Sorbia and Brandenburg. This action was seen as little more than a cynical show of force to impress (or embarrass) the beleaguered Charles and enraged Imperial lords who began to form more substantial barriers against Danish expansion.

The Danish economy, drained slightly by its wars in Pomerania, and secret funding of the Hussites, was given an instant boost by the permanent introduction of the Sound Tolls in 1425. This was supplemented by the purchase of Copenhagen from the Archbishopric of Lund to which governmental activity was slowly shifted.

Many near contemporaries (and indeed later historians) maintain his greatest achievement was to secure the marriage of his son Eric to Elizabeth of Viken, heiress of Viken-Svealand. Any children she and Eric had would subsequently be heirs to most of Scandinavia. As it was, when Eric died in 1426, his son succeeded smoothly though would only live for another three months. Elizabeth of Viken would serve as regent for their new-born son Eric of Rugia, (Eric VIII).

Family

Eric married Richezca of Lindholmen in 1377 but they had no children.

Eric married Jadvyga (or Hedwig) of Poland in 1397. They had only one child:

  • Eric VII (1405-1426), married Elizabeth of Viken in 1421.

Ancestry

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