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Hafdis III of Vinland (The Kalmar Union)

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Hafdis III
Hafdis III (The Kalmar Union).png
Hafdis III
Queen of Vinland
Reign 1st December, 1301 - 4th June, 1320
Predecessor Kristjana III
Successor Kristjana IV
Spouse Halfdan Eythorsson

Elvar Elvarsson

Issue Alti Halfdansson

Hordthur Halfdansson
Hlynur Halfdansson
Kristjana IV Halfdansdottír
Geirfrithur Elvarsdottír
Karí Elvarsson

Full name
Hafdis Kárisdottír
House Eiriksdottír
Father Kári Olafsson
Mother Snaedis Gardarsdottír
Born 30th August, 1278
Fallíyvatten, Vinland
Died 4th June, 1320
Isafjordhur, Vinland

After the reigns of Thyri and her daughter Kristjana III, which in some ways were the Althing's experiments, the crown of Vinland reverted to Hafdis III, the eldest daughter of Snaedis Gardarsdottír (whom had been passed over in favour of Thyri).

Hafdis's reign is chiefly marked by two events, both of which began in 1312. The first was the so-called Long Althing a session of the Althing which lasted 15 months. This saw to the reform of the Althing to take in the new expanding areas and attempt to get rid of the 'empty' counties created by St. Hafdis I and Thorey I in the maritime provinces. The end result was a mixed bag. Fjallasay, despite having a comparable population with Markland, was only split into two counties, compared to Markland's six while Konunglegursaey; its population already in decline, received two as well. Ingolfursey refused point blank to give up any of its 10 counties.

Hafsvaedaland was split into 30 counties using unreliable maps and biased testimony. Therefore many of its new counties were either uninhabited, under the control of the tribal earls who had no intention of playing by the Atlhing's rules or woefully unrepresentative of real populations. The actual membership of the assembly had altered too. Before it had largely been the heads of prominent farming families. Though these still were represented a new class of merchants were slowly coming through. Still, the precedence had been set. The political classes of Vinland could be expected to reform the Atlhing every so often to better represent Vinland.

The second was less welcome; Vinland, along with much of Eastern Leifia, suffered a famine which would eventually last 8 years. Although the population would keep steady thanks to sustained immigration from Iceland and Greenland the prolonged suffering of the peasantry would rapidly wear out their patience. Taxes were widely flouted or stolen by outlaws (the myth of Svart Rúnar dates from this period). Priests, of which there was a general shortage anyway, stopped going to the more remote areas thanks to the threat of robbery and on more than one occasion monasteries in Eikland were sacked. The indentured farmers of the Hafsvaedaland were prevented from moving from their blighted lands by their lords worsening their misery. Those free farmers in the maritime provinces could move, and many packed up and moved to Álengiamark though they found an equally tough time in the south, where if anything, the famine was hitting harder.

Hafdis's reputation suffers greatly because of the famine. In contrast to her 'good' daughter Kristjana IV Hafdis is regarded as corrupt and out of touch. She is accused of ignoring the plight of her subjects, debasing the currency and feasting while the countryside starved. This reputation is not all deserved. She certainly did debase the currency but most of the hostility appeared to stem from the clergy who as they saw it were being robbed by the state via taxation, and robbed by the peasants pushed into criminality by the famine.

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