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Hafdis IV of Vinland (The Kalmar Union)

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Hafdis IV
Hafdis IV (The Kalmar Union).png
Hafdis IV
Queen of Vinland
Reign 3rd September, 1420 - 31st May, 1453
Predecessor Asdis II
Successor Jakobina II
Spouse Kristian Hákonsson
Issue Olafur Kristiansson

Jakobina Kristiansdottír
Freydis Kristiansdottír
Sigurbjorg Kristiansdottír
Ísak Kristiansson
Kristjana Kristiansdottír
Karl Kristiansson

Full name
Hafdis Birgirsdottír
House Eiriksdottír
Father Birgir Magnusson
Mother Asdis II Svendsdottír
Born 14th October, 1406
Isafjordhur, Vinland
Died 31st May, 1453
Fjallasay, Vinland

The crown Hafdis IV inherited from her mother Asdis II was a much reduced institution from that which her great-grandmother Geirfrithur had enjoyed. The Civil War had realigned government into the hands of the Althing and the power of the crown had settled more into the level of an earldom. The crown still had extensive land, certain rights of taxation but otherwise had ceded much of its legislative and executive power. Hafdis succeeded in 1420 at the age of thirteen as her older sister Snaedis had died the year before.

Under the guidance of her tutors she slowly tested the limits of royal power, knowing when and where she could press. Her support was instrumental in Vinland's alliance to the Kalmar Union. Whilst many in the Vinlandic and Álengsk Althings appreciated the centuries-old link to Scandinavia, going back to Freydis I's pledge of fealty to the already dead Sweyn I Forkbeard in 1020, they had started getting used to the idea that they could essentially survive on their own. They had weathered the storm of Civil War and the threat of the Aniyunwiyan Empire without calling on Denmark (nor for that matter receiving any offer of assistance). However, mindful of her own funds and in the knowledge that Denmark still carried most Vinlandic trade to Europe Hafdis argued that the formal step of alliance would be of benefit, especially now that the wealthier and more populous Iberian nations could reach Leifia and the Papacy was becoming more vocal in its proclamations regarding the continent. Both Vinland and Álengiamark would therefore sign up to the Kalmar agreement, effectively making their lands guaranteed by Denmark.

Her only real mis-step in government was the ill-will stirred up by her efforts to reinstate the 'Fjallasay Skatt', effectively the royal prerogative to tax all trade passing through the ports of Fjallasay, in the 1430s. This was strenuously resisted both by the Althing and by the merchants of Fjallasay. The city had already suffered thanks to an outbreak of the Plague in 1417 as well the general movement of the fur trade to Algonquin Quebec and Hafdis would eventually back down after several months of civil disorder in the city. She would however eventually secure a less valuable monopoly over the trade passing through Wawetanoog Vatn and would in part spur a more cohesive policy regarding the nation states forming to Vinland's west.

Her earls kept themselves busy with yearly ventures into the Ohio lands and the western Hafsvaedaland was soon a patchwork of marcher lordships. Hafdis created the Order of the Lion in 1435 to honour the efforts of the minor marcher nobility (and to cover a general lack of support from the treasury) but there was little enthusiasm from farmers to settle these new lands. The already pacified eastern Hafsvaedaland provided more than enough opportunities for the growing and occasionally plague stricken population. The population of Vinland grew to around 400,000 during her reign but still vast areas remained untamed and unfarmed.

However mostly Hafdis concerned herself with the religious sphere. The construction of new and expanded chapels, monasteries and churches were sped throughout Vinland, most prominently into the Sauk lands. The Sauk and a couple of smaller tribes made wholesale conversions to Christianity in the 1440s. She also instituted stricter legal definitions of religion, separating out those who had not converted to Christianity from those who were Christian yet did not follow the Catholic doctrine, mirroring similar efforts in Álengiamark and Erie. This was is some ways a reaction to Hussite ideas which came across the Atlantic with trade and threatened the clerical hierarchy. Heresy was made a crime in Vinland, however, there were few arrests or trials unlike the mass denunciations that rocked the Álengsk clergy. Indeed most of the more troublesome Vinlandic clergy went south to Álengiamark to join already notorious preachers such as Jón Irronsson. Popular thought amongst the laity wouldn't really be addressed until the 16th and 17th centuries.

While no one in Vinland appears to have emulated Ironnsson in attempting to translate the Bible into Vinlandic, many writers were beginning to use and promote works in vernacular Vinlandic. Writers such as Valdimar Eirikursson and Hafsteinn Kristiansson became well-known for their versions of the sagas and newer stories. Eirikursson's prose poem Riddarýs Framrás (Knight's Progress) is often held up as the finest piece of medieval Vinlandic literature and is still studied in schools. Literate monks supplemented their clerical incomes by copying out the new fiction and this standardised Vinlandic to a certain degree and the old letters of þ and ð were largely dispensed with. In fact this pre-printing press period can be seen as marking the break between Old Icelandic and 'new' Vinlandic.

Hafdis died in 1453, perhaps of typhoid. Her eldest daughter Jakobina succeeded her and would reign for almost 50 years.

She was briefly promoted as a saint by her daughter Jakobina and her court. Indeed in some portraits of her rediscovered in the 1940s she is depicted with a halo. However the lack of attestable miracles, and hostility from the Bishop of Ashtabula (as Eriac forces increasingly scuffled with Vinlandic marcher lords) meant the effort was dropped in the 1480s.

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