- Election of Christian III
The election of Christian III as
king of Denmarkand Norway on 4 July 1534was a landmark event for all of Denmarkand Norway. It took place in the church in the town of Rye, eastern Jutland, where the Jutlandic nobilityelected Prince Christian, son of king Frederick I and Duke of Slesvig and Holsten, as king. This brought about the Count's Feud(the civil war of 1534-36) and later also led to the implementation of the Protestant Reformation in Denmark and Norway. Christian was a zealous Protestantwho had witnessed the defence of Martin Lutherat the Diet of Worms, and he had already carried out the Reformation in the Duchies of Slesvig and Holsten.
Christian's views made it difficult to gain the support of a majority of the Council of the Realm as most noblemen and, of course, the
bishops would rather see a Roman Catholicking on the throne and hence preferred his younger brother. Among the supporters of Christian were Mogens Gøye, Steward of the Realm, and he was among the originators of the meeting in Rye Church between eight Jutlandic members of the Council and the four Jutlandic bishops. Members of the lesser nobility had also turned up – presumably on Gøye's initiative – but had to stay outside the church. The lengthy discussion about the election eventually made them lose patience, and they forced their way into the church and demanded to know who opposed the election of Prince Christian. After that, the opponents finally gave up. Bishop Bille of Aarhus cried wept when he signed the request for the Protestant Duke to become king, realising that it would mean his own downfall.
Although hesitant, Christian accepted the election and was cheered at a meeting in
Horsenson 18 August1534 where he declared that he would, like his predecessors, sign a " håndfæstning" (charter), although with a reform of ecclesiastical affairs, i.e. the implementation of the Protestant Reformation in Denmark and Norway.
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