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Sigrun of Vinland (The Kalmar Union)

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Sigrun
Sigrun Vin (The Kalmar Union).png
Sigrun
Queen of Vinland
Reign 1058-1064
Predecessor St Hafdis I
Successor Thorey I
Spouse Jón Arasson
Issue Snorri Jónsson,

Kolbeinn Jónsson

Full name
Sigrun Ulfsdottír
House Eriksdottír
Father Ulf Bjornsson
Mother Freydis I Eiriksdottír
Born April, 1027
Isafjordhur, Vinland
Died January, 1064
Isafjordhur, Vinland

Hafdis I's tenure as speaker had secured Vinland's tenuous hold on the edge of Leifia. The island of Vinland (Vinlandaeyja) was peaceful, immigrants were moving westwards regularly again and an ever greater amount of land appeared ready for farming. During the final year of Hafdis's life the Althing agreed to keep the role of speaker within the Eiriksson family. Upon the death of Hafdis, with both of her sons at sea and her daughter too young to have attended the Althing before, the second daughter of Freydis and the half sister of Hafdis, Sigrun, was chosen as speaker.

Thoughtful, less forceful than her sister, Sigrun displayed the same style of leadership that had endeared Hafdis to the Althing. Most of this displayed in the calm settling of disputes which were slowly building up due to the increased immigration and spreading of farmland. Vinland itself had little dealing with the wider Leifian world. It certainly knew of peoples on the continent, indeed the farmers on the Markland coast had regular peaceful contact with Markish hunters, but on the whole it had little interest in engaging with the larger Suderfolk groups to the South. In fact it more likely saw itself as merely a slightly out of the way province of Iceland. The church certainly saw it that way, with the bishops in Reykjavik dictating much of what the Althing should or shouldn't do. It was through the church network that Hafdis's eldest son Styrmir heard of his mothers death in 1058. Returning home, he assumed the Althing would quickly rally to his side and give him the speaker's role. However it did not, arguing that the role had always been for three year terms. And besides, it liked Sigrun who had proved fair and reasonable, whereas Styrmir was an unproven quantity who had spent much of his adult life at sea. Smarting, he took a band of loyal followers into the west of Vinland, raised an army amongst the Skraelings and declared war on the Althing and his aunt. For 18 months he and his army had free reign of Vinland, apart from Isafjordhur and the Saudfeó peninsula. Eventually however the Althing received a consignment of horses and war axes from Iceland. With these and Cornish assistance Styrmir and his forces were overcome at the battle of Oxa.

The size of the opposing forces should not however be overestimated. While medieval texts liked to portray 'Styrmir's War' as a clash of ideologies the forces that either side could muster were probably only 60 or so apiece.

Hafdis's other son Halfdan, younger but less gung-ho than Styrmir, deferred to the Althing's authority, and preferred his farm on Kyreyja to Vinland. He spearheaded the development of the island and could, in time, claim to be its earl. In fact, as Sigrun fell ill in the winter of 1063, Halfdan argued that he and the other Eirikssons should be left to farm and expand the colony and the women of the family should be left to handle the day to day business of the Althing. Even so, when Sigrun died the Althing offered him the speaker's role. He declined and it passed to his sister Thorey.

Early Eiriksdottír Family Tree

Eriksdottir Family Tree (The Kalmar Union)

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