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Valdemar II of Denmark (The Kalmar Union)

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Valdemar II
Valdemar II Denmark (The Kalmar Union).png
Valdemar II
King of Denmark
Reign 16th December, 1372 - 16th January, 1407
Predecessor Eric V
Successor Eric VI
Spouse Ingebord Olafsdotter

Eleanor of Aragon

Issue Eric VI

Karin
Sigurd
Katerina

Full name
Valdemar Ericsson
House Estridsson
Father Eric V
Mother Matilda of Württemberg
Born 25th October, 1339
Åbyhøj, Denmark
Died 16th January, 1407
Copenhagen, Denmark

Valdemar II was king of Denmark at the end of the 14th century and had the unenviable task of restoring the kingdom's pre-eminence in Scandinavia following half a century of Vikene dominance.

The third son of Eric V, Valdemar had not been expected to become king and had spent his early years as a solid but unimaginative Duke of Scania. Following the death of his elder brother Eric in 1368 he suddenly became heir apparent and began to show the flair for energetic government for which he would be later known.

His early rule was like his father's; closely aligned to Olaf's efforts to impose order on the Empire. To a large degree this involved resisting Brandenburger lords' attempts to extend their remit to the Baltic despite Olaf's ban on their activities. Brandenburg was sold to the Luxembourg family in 1373 and Wenceslaus's encouragement of his lords' attempts, as well as his subsequent attempt to dominate Denmark's long-standing ally of Sorbia, proved too much. Valdemar quickly sought out other anti-Luxembourg allies, most prominently Rupert of Wittelsbach, and had his Riksdag's authority to raise taxes for the provision of an army. Whilst holding out against Brandenburg he would also turn to other areas to combat Wenceslaus and the Luxembourgs' ever spreading sphere.

In 1382 the throne of Poland was contested after the Polish nobles mostly voted to install Jadwiga as their king (they had no provision to elect queens) rather than her sister Adelaide (who was married to Wenceslaus). Wenceslaus soon announced his intention to invade. Valdemar's brother Nicholas, Duke of Funen, was sent with a large army to support Jadwiga's new regime, seeing combat at Trzebnica and Jezierzyca River in 1383. The Battle of Jezierzyca River was especially closely fought and Wenceslaus was lucky to escape with his life. Poland would remain a separate kingdom under Jadwiga and in thanks Poland ceded its interests in Pomerania which were tenuous at best anyway. This aroused Gothenland's ire, as John IV claimed Poland 'entire and indivisible' as a scion of the Piast dynasty. This presaged a short war with Gothenland. Lund was besieged in April-May 1384 but the Danish army chased the Gothenlanders off then inflicted a minor victory over them at Lomma. After this an agreement was reached to divide any subsequent conquest in Pomerania which would go on to form the border between Danish Pomerania and Gothenlandic Pomerelia.

The Danish alliance with Poland continued, with the young prince Eric being betrothed to Jadvyga. Meanwhile to underline his vehement anti-Luxembourg stance, after the death of his first wife Ingeborg Olafsdotter, Valdemar married Eleanor of Aragon in 1384.

Action in Brandenburg continued alongside Wizlaw IV's Vikene and Svealandic forces. Valdemar took immense pleasure in capturing fortresses and then sending Wenceslaus their flags and standards as boasts. However after the Battle of Deggendorf in May 1386 Rupert of Wittelsbach was forced aside. Not overplaying his hand Valdemar signed a peace with Wenceslaus relinquishing any gains in Brandenburg but continuing to hold various Pomeranian lands in defiance of the Duke of Mecklenburg.

During this period Valdemar held off from taxation, which endeared him to the peasants and showed an interest in improving Denmark's navy which was poor. Interested in developing Denmark's trade with Leifia further he gave modest assistance to the Althing-party in the Vinlandic Civil War though he would quarrel with Wizlaw IV about providing more concrete help.

The war in Germany restarted in 1394 and, after a delay dedicated to settling disputes in Holstein, Valdemar began campaigning in Germany once more, proving a thorn in the side of Wenceslaus and his son Charles II.

Valdemar would die in 1407 having successfully elevated Denmark's profile in Europe and seizing the position of premier Scandinavian power from Viken-Svealand. He was succeeded by his only surviving son Eric.

Family

Valdemar married Ingeborg Olafsdotter in 1355. They had three children:

  • Eric VI, (1359-1426), King of Denmark.
  • Karin (1362-1398), married Earl Christian of Lubeck. Had two children.
  • Sigurd (1365)

Valdemar married Eleanor of Aragon in 1384. They had one child:

  • Katerina (1386-1440), Abbess of Lund.

Ancestry

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