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Wizlaw III of Viken (The Kalmar Union)

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Wizlaw III
Wizlaw III Viken (The Kalmar Union).png
Wizlaw III
King of Viken
Reign 18th March, 1304 - 3rd August, 1325
Predecessor Wizlaw II
Successor Olaf III
Prince of Rugia
Reign 18th March, 1304 - 3rd August, 1325
Predecessor Sambor
Successor Olaf III
Spouse Märta of Anglia

Catherine of Svealand

Issue Elizabeth

Jaromar
Wizlaw
Agnes
Olaf III
Ingeborg
Ragnfrid

House Rugia
Father Wizlaw II
Mother Agnes of Bavaria
Born 24th January, 1276
Oslo, Viken
Died 3rd August, 1325
Larvik, Viken

The death of Wizlaw II in 1302 appeared to leave the throne of Viken in the hands of his eldest son Sambor. However thanks to Sambor's previous dealings with the church the Bishop of Oslo, Einar Bårdsson, refused to crown him. While Rugia crowned him Prince without much argument Sambor would spend his entire reign petitioning Bremen, Lund and Nidaros to try to force Bårdsson into accepting him.

In the end end Bårdsson's intransigence outlasted Sambor and the prince died in March 1304. His younger brother Wizlaw was now the heir and was quick to pledge his support for the church. It seems he had already spent much of Sambor's aborted reign positioning himself as a friend of the Vikene lords possibly as a precursor to a power grab but in the end he was roundly accepted as the rightful ruler in both Viken and Rugia without any bloodshed.

That is not to say Wizlaw was adverse to war. Within weeks of the coronation he had married Magnus III of Svealand's only child, Catherine, and now, allied to the exiled king, pledged Viken's assistance to help him in his fight against his cousin Eric VIII. Wizlaw gladly played host to Magnus and his retinue and with Wizlaw's assistance Magnus had retaken Svealand and Finland by the end of 1307. This came with the sure knowledge that any of Wizlaw and Catherine's children would be virtually guaranteed the Svealandic throne and would return the Rugia dynasty to power there after a 40-year gap. However the three children the couple had were all stillborn and Catherine died in 1311, a month before her father. Wizlaw would be largely powerless to prevent the son of Eric VIII, Carl I from seizing power. Wizlaw had surviving children with his first wife Märta of Anglia but it would take considerable plotting and luck before one of them, Olaf, would be able to challenge for the Svealandic throne in the 1330s.

While he continued the policy of campaigning in Pomerania for the Danes, maintaining a good relationship with Eric IV in the process, the Great Famine (1315-1322) put a halt on much vigorous foreign adventures. Castle building drained much of the still buoyant treasury and by 1319 Wizlaw was forced to go cap in hand to the lords for taxes and loans. Humiliated he would try to prise money out of the church, going back on his coronation oath to Bishop Bårdsson who had conveniently died the previous winter. Attempts to place his own man on the episcopal throne failed and he faced a rebellion in Agder which he struggled to contain. Nevertheless in 1320 he was forced to re-pledge his various coronation oaths in return for peace and taxes.

On his death in 1325 only one of Wizlaw's male heirs remained alive. A military genius, Olaf III 'the Great' would succeed to his Rugian and Vikene territories with ease, forcibly seize Svealand from Carl I and then go on to campaign successfully for the Imperial crown, even receiving a papal coronation.

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