Monday, 2 March 2015

Episode 13: The Kalmar union - an on-off relationship

In the period from 1440 ti 1520 Sweden changes government 20 times. That is a lot. There are two recognised union kings, Christopher of Bavaria and Christian I, one separatist Swedish king Karl Knutsson Bonde - who manage to become king three times during this period, and some stewards ruling when no king is elected. It is really a political mess.

During this period we also see how Swedes - at least the intellectual and politically active ones - start promoting nationalism as an idea. Sweden begins to be seen as something special and Swedes as a people apart from others. This is a usueful concept for kings and stewards opposed to the union king. Sten Sture, steward from 1470, used the idea when he commissioned the sculpture of Saint George and the dragon - with himself as the saint, the evil Danes as the dragon and Sweden as the fair princess saved by him. The statue was made by Bernt Notke and has been seen in the city church in Stockholm since 1489.