Alternate History

Olaf II of Hordaland (The Kalmar Union)

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Olaf II Kyrre
Olaf II Horda (The Kalmar Union).png
Olaf II Kyrre
King of Hordaland
Reign 28th April, 1069 - 7th January, 1093
Predecessor Magnus II
Successor Haakon III
Spouse Ingerid of Denmark
Issue Magnus III Barefoot
Full name
Óláfr Haraldsson
House Fairhair
Father Harald IV Hardrada
Mother Tora Torbergsdatter
Born c. 1050
Died 7th January, 1093
Bergen, Hordaland

Olaf II Kyrre, Olaf the Peaceful stabilised Hordaland after a near century of violence. Described as tall and strong but quiet and thoughtful, Olaf presided over 25 years of growth and modernisation.

At the age of 16 he travelled with his father to participate in the attempted conquest of Anglia. However he was not present at the Battle of Stamford Bridge where Harald was slain and so escaped with his life. Fleeing from the defeat the Hordalandic army and its fleet escaped to Orkney.

Meanwhile his elder brother Magnus, who had remained in Hordaland as regent, had succeeded Harald as king once the news filtered back. Olaf returned the following year. The nobility and church who may have expected a clash between the two brothers were pleasantly surprised when they embraced as kin and maintained peaceful relations. Magnus set his brother up as co-king and his successor. When Magnus died in 1069 Olaf was quickly proclaimed by the Hordalandic nobles.

Olaf set Hordaland on a course of peaceful relations its neighbours, perhaps recognising that Hordaland would be better served by a period of calm rather than incessant warfare. He came to terms with Sweyn II of Denmark, at that point ruling Viken too and would marry Sweyn's daughter Ingerid. In turn Olaf's half-sister Ingegerd was married to Sweyn's son Olaf, the future king of Gothenland. He also made peace with Anglia too, renouncing his father's claims.

Olaf is noted with having founded the city of Bergen, which would soon become Hordaland's capital, in 1070. He also buried a feud with Bremen, acknowledging the Archbishop's primacy over the Hordalandic church, and allowed the two Hordalandic bishops to establish fixed residences in their sees rather than follow the royal court. Laws too were strengthened whilst guilds were set up to ensure good standards of production. The net result of all of this activity was that when his successors looked abroad once more they could rely on a stronger base and a undivided nobility.

Olaf had no children with his wife Ingerid of Denmark and his only known child, Magnus 'Barefoot', was illegitimate. It would be Magnus II's illegitimate child, Haakon III, who would succeed Olaf, however Magnus Barefoot would not have to wait long for his turn.

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