Alternate History

Yrsa I of Álengiamark (The Kalmar Union)

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Yrsa I
Yrsa I Alengia (The Kalmar Union).png
Yrsa I
Queen of Álengiamark
Reign 25th December, 1197 - May, 1199
Predecessor Elin II
Successor Iofridr
Issue unknown
Full name
Yrsa Nepaupucksdottír
House House of Quiripi
Father Nepaupuck Quosoqsson, Earl of Quiripiland
Mother Thórdís Olafsdottír
Born c. 1160
nr. Jakobstron, Álengiamark
Died 3rd June, 1199
St. Hafdiss, Álengiamark

The first non-Eiriksdottír queen of Álengiamark, Yrsa I was elected to the throne in the latter stages of the Civil War period.

The country had been largely peaceful during Elin II second stint as queen. The animosity between the earls had been largely buried however the Norse earls had lost much of their momentum and had singularly failed to produce any heirs. The Suderfolk earls were very much dominant during this time (they had recalled Elin II from exile in 1188) and they managed to extract many rights and privileges, mainly concerning the settlement of Norse in their territories. This Norse settlement had also dropped off, thanks to the conflict, which only gave the Suderfolk more power. The country however ploughed onwards, avoiding the topic of the power of earldoms or town rights, and spending its time expanding farmlands and raiding its less-settled neighbours. During the nine years of her second reign there was remarkably no internal conflict.

So when Elin II died of pneumonia in 1197 without a clear heir, the lords were perhaps a little nervous as to what would happen next. The Althing believed the correct thing to do was to send a delagation to Isafjordhur, much as they had done for Elin II originally, to ask for a new ruler. However the Suderfolk earls blocked the motion; they already had a candidate.

The half-Norse daughter of the Earl of Quiripiland, Yrsa, was only distantly related to the Eiriksson/dottír line. However she was proclaimed by a diminished Althing on Christmas Day 1197. In the Spring the supportive earls raised an army and sought out the other earls, to either force them into accepting Yrsa as queen (and thereby accept Suderfolk dominance) or exile them. The civil war had effectively restarted. Into this however came a new dimension, while the Althing had been blocked from contacting Vinland, the Earl of Margirhaedeyja, Thorgeir Karlsson, had done so anyway. And Iofridr had had herself crowned queen of Álengiamark in absentia. Eager to claim her new kingdom and oust the usurper Iofridr soon had a fleet built and an army landed on Álengsk shores.

It took the Vinlanders over a year to be in control of the east of Álengiamark, with Margirhaedeyja and Langaeyjar still holding out in their respective earldoms, but this was enough to gain access to St. Hafdiss. Quiripiland's forces were defeated at the Battle of Nahigavik in May 1199 and Yrsa captured soon afterwards. On 3rd June she was executed in front of a crowd in St. Hafdiss. Norse rule was restored.


Yrsa's reign provided little of lasting effect. Iofridr and Eydis made sure to sweep away much of the pro-Suderfolk laws after the sack of St. Hafdiss and in this regard it is the reaction to her reign that set Álengiamark on its historical course. By doing away with the restrictions on areas of settlement the Norse mixed more easily with the Suderfolk and today it is rare to find anyone but the newest immigrants who do not have mixed ancestry. It also however reinforced the rights of individual communities, as many of the towns had held out against Yrsa's forces, and this only fuelled further division and absence of central authority in the years to come. Her reign also saw the beginning of the feeling that the Álengsk did not have to always defer to Vinland, that Álengiamark could make its own way.

Although recognised as an illegitimate queen at the time Yrsa has been rehabilitated somewhat over the years. After the generally well-regarded reign of the non-Eiriksdottír queen Atamaja and her successor, Thorey II (with her dubious and undoubtably faked ancestry) a sense that a direct descent from Freydis or even Eirik the Red was not required spread. In fact it wasn't until the election of Thyri in 1422 that a dynastically 'spotless' Eiriksdottír held the throne again. As the various tribal populations inter-married and started regarding themselves as Álengsk rather than Norse, Quiripi or Mohegan for example, the desire to forge a new cultural identity grew and the half-Norse/half Quiripi Yrsa became an integal 'first step' in this new history. By the time Yrsa II was crowned and took those regnal numbers, Yrsa I's reign was regarded as canon.

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