Christopher of Bavaria

Christopher of Bavaria
Christopher of Bavaria
King of Denmark
Reign 9 April 1440–5 January 1448
(&100000000000000070000007 years, &10000000000000271000000271 days)
Coronation 1 January 1443 in Ribe
Predecessor Eric of Pomerania
Successor Christian I
King of Norway
Reign June 1442–5 January 1448
(5 years)
Coronation 2 July 1442 in Oslo
Predecessor Eric of Pomerania
Successor Charles I
King of Sweden
Reign 1441–5 January 1448
Coronation 13 September 1441 in Uppsala
Predecessor Eric of Pomerania
Successor Charles VIII
Spouse Dorothea of Brandenburg
House Pfalz-Neumarkt as branch of the Wittelsbach dynasty
Father John, Count Palatine of Neumarkt
Mother Catherine of Pomerania
Born 26 February 1416
Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz
Died 5/6 January 1448(1448-01-06) (aged 31)
Burial Roskilde Cathedral, Roskilde
Religion Roman Catholicism

Christopher of Bavaria or Christopher the Bavarian;[1] as king named Christopher (Cristofforus);[2] Danish and Norwegian: Christoffer af/av Bayern; Swedish Kristofer av Bayern (26 February 1416 – 5 or 6 January 1448) was union king of Denmark (1440–1448 as Christopher III), Sweden (1441–1448) and Norway (1442–1448).



He was probably born at Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, the son of John, Count Palatine of Neumarkt, and Catherine of Pomerania, the daughter of Wartislaw VII, Duke of Pomerania in Pomerania-Stolp, and Catherine of Pomerania, sister of the Scandinavian king, Eric of Pomerania. Count Palatine John was a son of King Rupert of Germany. In 1445, Christopher married Dorothea of Brandenburg (1430 – 25 November 1495), in Copenhagen.

Eric of Pomerania was deposed as king of Denmark and Sweden in 1439. As Eric's nephew, Christopher, who was rather unfamiliar with Scandinavian conditions, was elected by the Danish State Council as the successor to his uncle, first as regent from 1439, and then proclaimed King of Denmark at the Viborg Assembly (Danish landsting) on 9 April 1440. He was meant to be a puppet, as evidenced by the saying: "Had the Council demanded the stars of heaven from him, he would have ordered it."[3] However he succeeded in maintaining some personal control. As a whole his rule, according to the politics of the nobility and his succession, might be called the start of the long period of balance between royal power and nobility which lasted until 1660. He was later elected king of Sweden in 1441, and Norway in June 1442.

Seal of Christopher of Bavaria.
16th century painting which has been questioned as a real portrait of Christopher

At the start of his reign, he put down peasant rebellions on Funen and Jutland. Once the rebellion on Funen was suppressed, he turned his attention the uprising in Jutland. North Jutland, especially Vendsyssel, was so restive that a peasant army of 25,000 led by Henrik Reventlow posed a serious threat to Christopher's continued reign. Before the king could act, Jutland's noble families raised their own army and marched west of Aalborg to meet Reventlow's forces. The peasants had created a gigantic wagon fortress three layers deep to protect themselves from the mounted knights they knew would come against them. They also placed tree branches across the bog in front of the camp and then cast earth on top to make it look like solid ground. The overconfident army of nobles led by Eske Brok appeared at St Jorgen's Hill on 3 May 1441. The knights charged the camp, and were quickly mired down in the bog. The peasants moved in for the kill. Brok was killed and dismembered and the pieces sent to the towns in the area as a warning. The peasants then raided the area's most important manor at Aagard and burned it, forcing the noble Niels Guldenstierne to flee with nothing but a staff.[3]

The treatment of the captives after the battle strengthened Christopher's determination to put down the peasants. With his own army Christopher rode north to the rebel camp at Husby Hole near St Jorgen's Hill in northern Jutland. Because the rebels outnumbered his troops, Christopher sent word that anyone who left the camp and went home would not be punished for rebellion. The men from the island of Mors and Thisted left, for which they were called cowards and traitors ever after. Christopher ordered the attack on the rebel camp on 8 June 1441 and despite fighting ferociously the rebels could not overcome the heavily armed knights. Thousands of rebels were killed, those who survived were fined heavily. The more severe consequence was that rebels lost their free status and became serfs on the farms where they worked.[3] The king made it a capital crime for peasants to carry weapons longer than a short knife. The subjugation of Denmark's once free peasants was complete.

In May 1442 Christopher traveled to Lödöse to meet with the nobles from all three kingdoms. He was crowned King of Norway there and then went to Oslo and the Trondheim to be confirmed as the king. The next year he was proclaimed King of Denmark at the Urnehoved Assembly near Ribe. When his residence at Roskilde burned down, Christopher moved to Copenhagen and made it the capital of Denmark. The Swedish nobles were not happy to relinquish any power and thus didn't like him, claiming he was too German for them and that he allowed his uncle (ex-King Eric) to plunder shipping from his castle on Gotland without any attempt to stop him. They blamed a series of bad harvests on him. People were so hungry they mixed ground tree bark with the little flour they could find. Christopher was contemptuously nicknamed the "Bark King" in Sweden.

On the other hand he tried to support the cities and their merchants as far as the limits of nobility and Hanseatic cities allowed. During his reign Copenhagen was made permanently the capital of Denmark (municipal charter of 1443).

He carried on an ineffective policy of war and negotiations against Eric on Gotland which did little to help the dissatisfaction within both Sweden and the Hanseatic League. The Kalmar Union Treaty was changed so that the aristocracy had most of the policy-making powers, and the king lost many of the powers monarchs had acquired since Viking times. The results of this policy of balance were still not reached when he suddenly died as the last descendant of Valdemar IV of Denmark.

Christopher died suddenly at Helsingborg in 1448. On 28 October 1449, Dorothea remarried Christian I. King Christopher was buried in Roskilde Cathedral. In 1654 his Wittelsbach family returned to power in Sweden.

Full title

Christopher's full title was: By the Grace of God, King of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, the Wends and the Goths, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria.



Media related to Christopher of Bavaria at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ Christoph der Baÿer by Dr. Nathanael von Schlichtegroll, Taschenbuch für die vaterländische Geschichte, Munich 1852
  2. ^ all his royal seals
  3. ^ a b c Huitfeldt, Arild. Danmarks Riges Krønike
  • Dansk Biografisk Leksikon, vol. 7, Copenhagen 1980.
  • Politikens Danmarkshistorie, vol. 4 by Erik Kjersgaard, Copenhagen 1962.
  • Politikens bog om Danske Monarker by Benito Scocozza, Copenhagen 1998
Christopher of Bavaria
Cadet branch of the House of Wittelsbach
Born: 26 February 1416 Died: 6 January 1448
Regnal titles
Title last held by
Eric of Pomerania
King of Denmark
Title next held by
Christian I
King of Norway
Title next held by
Charles I & VIII
King of Sweden
Preceded by
Count Palatine of Neumarkt
Succeeded by
Otto I

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Christopher — may refer to: Christopher (name) People: Christopher (Pulets) of Prague, primate elect of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia Christopher Lekapenos, Byzantine co emperor (921–931) Christopher of Bavaria, union king of Denmark (1440–1448),… …   Wikipedia

  • Christopher (given name) — Christopher Gender Male Origin Word/Name Greek Meaning Χριστόφορος (Christóphοros), Christ bearer Other names Related nam …   Wikipedia

  • Christopher III — ▪ king of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden also called  Christopher of Bavaria , Danish  Christoffer af Bayern , Swedish  Kristofer av Bayern , Norwegian  Christoffer av Bayern  born Feb. 26, 1418 died Jan. 5, 1448, Hälsingborg, Den. [now Helsingborg …   Universalium

  • Christopher II of Denmark — Christopher II Christopher II s tomb effigy at Sorø Abbey. King of Denmark Reign 1320–1326 Cor …   Wikipedia

  • Christopher Freemeyer — Born 1838 Bavaria, Germany Died October 14, 1894(1894 10 14) (aged 56) Brooklyn, New York, United States Place of burial …   Wikipedia

  • Christopher Elliott — Born 18 December 1962 (1962 12 18) (age 48) Brisbane, Australia …   Wikipedia

  • Christopher Haase — (born September 26, 1987 in Kulmbach, Bavaria) is a German racing driver.[1] He became the FIA GT3 European Champion in 2009, racing for Lamborghini and Reiter Engineering, and raced in GT1 for the first time in 2010.[2] He began racing in 2006… …   Wikipedia

  • Christopher Besoldus —     Christopher Besoldus     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Christopher Besoldus     A German jurist and publicist, b. of Protestant (Protestantism) parents in 1577 at Tubingen, Würtemberg; d. 15 September, 1638 at Ingolstadt, Bavaria. He studied… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Christopher Clavius —     Christopher Clavius     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Christopher Clavius     Christoph Clau, mathematician and astronomer, whose most important achievement related to the reform of the calendar under Gregory XIII; born at Bamberg, Bavaria, 1538; …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Christopher Columbus (1985) — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel Christopher Columbus Produktionsland Italien, USA, Deutschland …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.