Alternate History

Kristjana I of Vinland (The Kalmar Union)

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Kristjana I
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Kristjana I
Queen of Vinland
Reign 3rd June 1206 - 16th April 1230
Predecessor Thorey II
Successor Jakobina I
Spouse Sturla Gissurarsson
Issue Thorgil Sturlasson
Gudrun Sturlasdottír
Eirik Sturlasson
Full name
Kristjana Ulfsdottír
House Eriksdottír
Father Ulf Jokullsson
Mother Iofridr
Born November, 1180
Isafjordhur, Vinland
Died 16th April, 1230
Isafjordhur, Vinland

The third daughter of Queen Iofridr, Kristjana I spent most of her childhood at leisure. Beautiful, she was indulged by her father, largely ignored by her overbearing mother, and while her two older sisters found roles in governing and the church, Kristjana found her role lay in the intrigues of court. Originally betrothed to the heir to Langaeyjar the marriage was cancelled after she ran away to be with a prominent Althing member. Preferring the slightly more idyllic surroundings of Eikland a small court of minor landed gentry sprang up around Kristjana and she was repeatedly linked to various men - most looking for the ear of her mother. By the time Iodfridr and many of the earls had moved south, fighting the endgame of the Álengiamark Civil War, Kristjana was left in nominal charge of the Gudridsaeyjar but had little enthusiasm for the small islands.

On the death of her mother, Kristjana was briefly considered for the Vinlandic throne, however her previous infidelities and unpredictability weighed against her. Her older sister, Thorey II, though pious and deeply uninterested in the workings of government, was elected queen by the Althing in 1201.

During Thorey's rule Kristjana attracted a higher status string of beaus and by 1205 she was the lover of the Earl of Konunglegursaey.

When the news that Thorey had died in a hunting accident on Kyreyja in June 1206 broke, the Earl of Konunglegursaey rushed to force the Althing to proclaim Kristjana queen. The unfortunate effect of his haste was the widespread rumour that he and Kristjana had engineered the accident and it was nothing less than murder. While the Althing acquiesced, secretly glad the ineffective Thorey had been removed, others were less than supportive, most notably Kristjana's eldest sister, Eydis, Queen of Álengiamark. Eydis made no secret of her loathing for her sister's rumoured deeds and prepared for an invasion. On news of this the Althing rallied around their new queen, whatever her sins, however many of the earls were ready to ditch her to hold on to their possessions and freedoms.

Eydis's invasion was abandoned after having to spend valuable time and men on the resurgent Kanien'gehaga, however Kristjana did not forget those who had not rallied to her aid. During Thorey's reign the earls had quickly taken over the main organs of state. They built their own ships, maintained their own private armies and fortified their castles. Meanwhile, the Althing, mainly made up of farmers, had little in the way of control and there was little in the way of a state treasury. Realising her position was untenable without the earl's support she leveraged what troops and money she could out of Konunglegursaey and set about slowly reducing the earls' independent power.

Using the threat of the Álengsk invasion Kristjana cajoled troops away from the regional earls to protect Vinland which she placed under the command of the Althing. Although they would be untested against their southern brethren she had other plans for them. Pre-empting the inevitable, as soon as the Briedurass had sufficiently melted in early 1208, she borrowed ships from Konunglegursaey and had the Althing's troops capture the Algonquin island of Hochelega, the future Fjallasay, effectively capturing the trade route out of the Fraeburt Votnum. Declaring it crown land Kristjana ensured a steady stream of income for both herself and the Althing, to which she also gave generous subsidies. With her base secure the earls were slowly brought into line, with Kristjana often engineering crises that would force the earls to either comply or back down. Often there was the threat of, if not actual violence. Both Kyrejya's and Eikland's earls had to be besieged to get their submission while all the earls' fleets would in time be confiscated.

Marrying Sturla Gissurarsson, a wealthy Isafjordhur noble, Kristjana would have three children. On her death her daughter Gudrun, weak and often sickly, was passed over in favour of her sister Jakobina. Kristjana left Vinland with a newly invigorated Althing with a sizable treasury, a cowed group of earls ready to do the state's bidding and a centralised army and beginnings of a profession navy. Perfect for the troubles that lay in wait.

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