Alternate History

Iofridr of Vinland (The Kalmar Union)

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Iofridr (The Kalmar Union).png
Queen of Vinland
Reign 12th October 1142 - 1st November 1201
Predecessor Asdis I
Successor Thorey II
Queen of Álengiamark
Reign 12th January 1198 - 1st November 1201
Predecessor Elin II
Successor Eydis
Spouse Ulf Jokullsson
Issue Eythor Ulfsson

Eydis Ulfsdottír
Thorey II Ulfsdottír
Hákon Ulfsson
Tryggvi Ulfsson
Kristjana I Ulfsdottír
Athalsteinn Ulfsson
Jakobina I Ulfsdottír
Skulí Ulfsson

House Eriksdottír
Father Karí Einarsson
Mother Hafdis II Osvifrsdottír
Born 6th? July 1139
Thoriryup, Vinland
Died 1st November 1201
Isafjordhur, Vinland

Iofridr was Vinland's longest reigning queen and she also had a brief reign as the Queen of Álengiamark, though no attempt would be made to unite the two countries.

She was the only daughter of Hafdis II and was only 3 years old in 1142 when both her mother and her aunt Asdis I died in quick succession. This presented a problem for the Althing as the position of Queen was largely dependent on the role of Speaker within the Althing. If the Queen was not able to function as the mouthpiece for the assembly then what allegiance would, or indeed should, the Althing give her? The Althing adopted a pragmatic solution, Iofridr was recognised as Queen and Head of the Althing whilst a commoner was elected speaker. This ensured the smooth running of government while keeping the Earls and their considerable resources on side.

With her aunt, Elisiv providing a formal if distant protection for the young queen, day-to-day responsibility for her well-being was given to the well-traveled and genial Earl of Gudridsaeyjar, Jokull Pállsson, who brought her up alongside his own family. This was a quiet period in Vinlandic history; the earls and the church appeared to spend their time settling their lands. The only minor controversy surrounded the death of Asdis I and the Earl of Kyreyja's public denial of all involvement. Meanwhile explorers and traders had inched their way down to Meso-Leifia returning with fantastic foodstuffs that would, in time, revolutionise Norse agriculture. Potatoes, squash and Ishtak birds appeared which would help farmers expand into previously unfarmable areas, leading to a population boom. Alongside them came dried chili. This proved an instant hit and the shipments that arrived unsteadily and infrequently from the south became worth their weight in gold.

On her 16th birthday Iofridr was formally crowned, presented to the Althing and had her marriage to her guardian's eldest son Ulf Jokullsson blessed by the Bishop of Vinland. The whole of Isafjordhur, by that point a small town of perhaps a thousand people, was invited to witness the spectacle. At the height of the evening's proceedings the then Speaker Ásgeir Thordursson offering her the speaker's throne. She would barely leave it for the remainder of her life.

The Althing was soon bent and beaten to fit Iofridr's vision of her realm. Tutored by Anglian and Danish monks she was well-aware of monarchy and state building over in Europe. The principles of vassalage and were essentially alien to the virtually republican Vinlanders though she carefully massaged relations between the earls and herself to keep the peace. Added to this she studiously promoted the planting of churches and monasteries in advantageous sites. Even though there was often not enough man-power to fill them she carefully selected the higher clergy from those she felt were close and could be trusted. This extended her reach outside of Vinland (the island) and into the areas controlled by the earls. Incessant record-keeping driven in part by the new church communities slowly changed the systems of tax collection and keep tabs on the trade flowing in and out of the small ports. Itinerant law courts were also set up lessening the burden on the Althing for day-to-day disputes and allowing the more distant provinces and their farmers whom may not travel to the Althing to feel included, justly ruled and safe in the knowledge their disputes would be heard.

The good moves were tempered by the fact she would insist on being appraised of every decision and problem that passed through the Althing and there was little that escaped her attention. The role of elected speaker which had worked well during her minority shrank away to virtually nothing leaving a vacuum at the top which only she could fill. This served to create delays. It would take a full year to divide up the lands of the heirs of the Earl of Eikland as Iofridr demanded a census of the land, defeat a revolt from the farmers objecting to it and then to read all seven volumes herself.

Peaceful at home and surrounded largely by empty land the Vinlanders slowly expanded their reach into the Leifian interior. Though no permanent settlement followed Vinlandic longships were a common presence on the Briedurass and occasionally into the Fraeburt Votnum. Small scale raiding appears to have occurred but as most of the interior tribes had no written language or even currency until the mid-14th century it is difficult to gauge the extent to which the Vinlanders went viking apart from in the often highly biased and boastful sagas and surviving bard-songs.


After the death of Elisiv in 1155 Iofridr began regular correspondence with Dogg and Elin I. It seems Iofridr was deeply interested in the goings on in the south but also concerned at how the situation there appeared to be moving from one crisis to another. When Elin I died in 1182 Vinland and Iofridr were petitioned by the Álengsk Althing to settle the succession. After a relatively quick three month's discussion Elin II, daughter of the Earl of Ingolfursey, was sent southwards to rule over the Álengsk.

Their appointment did little to stop the country falling into civil war and for six years Vinland sat on the sidelines doing nothing. Iofridr appeared paralysed by indecision and was unwilling to risk the Vinlandic army, withered as it was, on a potentially fool-hardy expedition. The earls of Ingolfursey and Markland appeared to be arranging their own army in Passamaquoddia to take back the throne for Elin II but in the end this was not required. After the death of Asthudur I in 1188 Elin II was recalled.

On Elin II's death in 1197 the Álengsk again asked for Vinlandic assistance in electing a monarch but instead Iofridr was simply crowned in absentia by the Bishop of Vinland. Sources are split over whether this was a spontaneous display of trust in the monarch or a ceremony orchestrated by Iofridr herself. The Suderfolk earls in Álengiamark meanwhile promoted one of their own, Yrsa I as queen. The Álengsk nobles were still split and Yrsa I's forces took a while to regain control of the country. Meanwhile, blocked by the truculent Passamaquoddy from making a land crossing, Iofridr ordered what was then the largest ship building project in history (it would only be surpassed by Venice's efforts to transport the 4th Crusade a couple of years later) and a huge tax collection to pay for it and the army. This tax was grudgingly and haphazardly paid and the previously healthy treasury was severely denuded.

As for the invasion, when it did finally happen in September 1198, it was a slow and painful slog. It would not be until May 1199 that a decisive victory was achieved. Yrsa I was captured in June and executed. Iofridr was crowned, this time in person in October but soon returned to Vinland to deal with the increasing revolts over taxes leaving her eldest daughter Eydis as regent in Álengiamark. For all the effort and money spent on the invasion it had produced virtually no benefits to the Althing or the Earls and tempers flared. Iofridr was therefore forced to send the remaining years of her reign making deals with the nobility, ceding control of trade and in part dismantling the itinerant courts which the earls hated as it eroded their jurisdictions and fealty networks.


It was clear Eydis would take Álengiamark, she had been successful at playing the still smarting factions off against each other and had essentially cemented her rule even while her mother was still alive. The issue of Vinland was more problematic, union with Álengiamark was out of the question and so too was dividing Vinland up into say Vinland and Eikland. There were three other daughters; Thorey, Kristjana and Jakobina. Thorey was deeply religious and had barely set foot in the Althing all her life. She had had to be kept from entering a convent on more than one occasion. Kristjana, headstrong and flirtatious, had made several enemies amongst the earls thanks to her unpredictable behaviour. Jakobina was described by chroniclers as immature, though this may have just meant she was shy and reserved. The Althing settled on Thorey, hoping that she would show a more worldly side. Her reign was a relative failure in this respect but in the end all three sisters would have their turn as queen.

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