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Snaedis I of Vinland (The Kalmar Union)

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Snaedis I
Sneadis I (The Kalmar Union).png
Snaedis I
Queen of Vinland
Reign 1116-1131
Predecessor Sigrun
Successor Hafdis II
Spouse Osvífr Bjornsson
Issue Hafdis II Osvífrsdottír

Elisiv Osvífrsdottír
Grimhild Osvífrsdottír
Asdis I Osvífrsdottír
Jón Osvífrsson

Full name
Snaedis Gunnarsdottír
House Eriksdottír
Father Gunnar Grimrsson
Mother Gudrid Halfdansdottír
Born August 2, 1093
Hvilirábey, Kyreyja, Vinland
Died July 30, 1131
Isafjordhur, Vinland

Snaedis I was, in some ways the first Vinlandic queen who was assured of her position. Whereas her predecessors had to fight jealous brothers or were almost picked as a last resort, she had been the beneficiary of a concerted effort by her grandfather Halfdan to take advantage of the Papal elevation of the heirs of St. Hafdis I to royalty. He effectively bullied his sister, and the Althing, into confirming his daughter gudrun as Thorey's successor. Thorey would outlive her niece by six months and in that short period the Althing fully embraced Snaedis as the rightful successor. This was confirmed by a vote by the entire chamber in February 1116. It effectively recognised Halfdan's continued influence as well as sidelined any other potential claimants, of which there were a couple stemming from Queen Sigrun's descendants.

Snaedis's actual rule barely deviated from the long established pattern. As the mouthpiece of the Althing she did her job without complaint, solving various disputes with the requisite unbiased view expected of her. However she appeared much more interested in the expansion of crown land. Growing up on Kyreyja in Halfdan's relatively large manor had left her with the opinion that the crown should enjoy an income on par with the wealthy earls. As such she began adding to the meagre holdings Thorey had left behind. Farmers too poor to move off marginal land and claim the new expanse of Eikland or Sudervik were vassalised. Large areas of the aforementioned were claimed as the earls took their shares and handed Snaedis a portion, almost as a tribute. Various forests were claimed outright for the crown by the Althing, a move which caused more than a little conflict.

The earls, equally hungry for more land, looked to the South for expansion. The wave of immigration from Iceland that had sustained Vinland throughout its first century was becoming more of a trickle but at the same time the settled population was booming thanks to plentiful livestock and an ever increasing bounty from the sea. The average family size was 12 and two generations of growth now left a sizable population looking for land. Division of old farms took care of some of the problem, refocusing from the land to the sea took care of many others, but the desire for a farm of their own drove many to look to the South. Some lucky ones managed to find an unclaimed island and set up home but most were reliant on the earls for transport and protection. While the earls of Kyrejya and Eikland continued to parcel up their current lands for an army of tenant farmers the earls of Markland and Gudridsaeyjar, already limited by the farmland they could muster out of the cold forests and rugged islands of their fiefs, looked towards the Sudervik and Austereyjar. While islands were numerous and easy to defend the real prize was the mainland but this was jealously guarded by the Wampanoag tribe, alongside other belligerent bands. Small clashes had met the first settlers in 1119 and led to them fleeing back to the safety of Eikland. The resulting First Wampanoag War ended with the main Wampanoag force being defeated at the Eikveggur but the death of Halfdan the following day from his wounds prevented a comprehensive follow up into their territory. A plan to build a wall like Eikveggur across the Fiskuhalvóyar peninsula was agreed by the Althing and started in 1120 but heavy and incessant Wampanoag raiding put a stop to it. The mainland had to be abandoned once more and even the islands came under attack.

By 1122 the activities of the Earls had left Vinland in control of the Sudervik coastline and the Passamaquoddy making severe inroads southwards. The more placid Quiripi, Pequot and Mohegan tribes were slowly to terms with the military dominance of the Norse and had reached out for tentative alliances. However the Wampanoag were by no means defeated and in 1127 rebelled against both the Norse and the Passamaquoddy. The newly installed 3rd Bishop of Vinland, by all accounts a wizened and decrepit Dane (no one else particularly wanted a post on the edge of the known world) by the name of Sweyn suggested a novel take on the ongoing war. He took his cue from a new movement engulfing Europe and suggested it be called a 'crusade'. This neat rebranding of a minor, and in some ways selfish, conflict drew notice from elsewhere, and within a year or so the forces under Earl Ulf of Gudridseyjar were bolstered by men from Greenland, Iceland, even Northern Anglia and Man. The ensuing conflict, the Second Wampanoag War, or Wampanoag Crusade, destroyed the tribe as a military force. The Norse took a vast swathe of coastline from Fiskuhalvóyar to Margirhaedeyja. The church moved in to finalise the conquest, baptising en masse not only the Wampanoag but the Quiripi, Mohegan and Pequot as well as Passamaquoddy and Abernaki allies too.

This massive expansion into mainland Leifia had a secondary purpose. A year into her reign Snaedis had given birth to twin daughters. Primogeniture was an unknown concept to the Vinlanders and so both the Althing and the Earls began preparations to divide Vinland into two. The very distance from Isafjordhur to the new land was enough to convince the new settlers to create a new Althing at St. Hafdiss. Álengiamark was quickly divided up into counties, Earls took their time setting out their fiefs, the crown took forests and its share, the church prime locations for new monasteries. And settlers? They flooded into the lands.

The dramatic expansion of Vinland itself was equalled by the exploration of Leifia. By the end of her reign Vinlanders had rounded the tip of Myrland and through initial trading contacts knew of the vast and opulently wealthy civilisations that lay beyond. The size and populations of Leifia was also beginning to give the church a missionary zeal. Its success with the Wampanoag Crusade gave it land, money and a yen to spread Christianity throughout Leifia, a project it would spend the next four hundred years attempting.

Snaedis died in 1131. As was prepared for her domain was divided. The Northern part, Vinland, would go to Hafdis. The Southern part, Álengiamark would go to Elisiv.

Early Eiriksdottír Family Tree

Eriksdottir Family Tree (The Kalmar Union)

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