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The Bavarian King of Northern Europe

Wiki Commons

When little Prince Christopher was born in Bavaria in 1416 as the son of a German Count, he hardly thought he would become king of three European nations. Yet that was exactly what he became.

Christopher was born as a member of the house of Wittelsbach. He grew up in the safety of the Bavarian royal court and in his teens he served under the German Emperor.

He must have been a very charismatic and well-liked man as he managed to work his way up into the German noble circles. He also gained powerful connections with important Danish nobles.

King Christopher of Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

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. Firstly, he was regent from 1439 and he was then proclaimed King of Denmark in 1440. He was later elected king of Sweden in 1441 and Norway in June 1442.

The situation in Denmark was particularly difficult. Norway and Sweden had terminated the union between the countries. However, Denmark was not keen to join the Union and King Christopher struggled for many years with rebellion. Later in his reign, Sweden wanted to separate from the Union and King Christopher needed to fight with rebels both in Sweden and Finland.

The King`s coat of arms. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Christopher’s last years were spent in constant conflict with the Hanseatic League. After Denmark introduced customs duties for all trade in the Baltic Sea, the king was threatened and put under pressure to give the Hanseatic League privileges. This caused Christopher to lose a lot of power and reputation. Much of the revenue the king got he kept in his castle. He built up a huge fortune, with only one purpose. It was to pay a large army to attack the Hanseatic City of Lubeck. The attack never happened as the king died suddenly.

The King married Princess Dorothea of Brandenburg but they had no children. In 1448, Christopher died suddenly at Helsingborg Castle at the age of 32. King Christopher was buried in the Roskilde Cathedral. His widow, Dorothea, later married King Christian I of Denmark. They became the parents of John, King of Denmark, who succeeded King Christian.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.