Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Episode 14: The Age of the Sturar and the Bloodbath in Stockholm

The turbulent political situation continues during the last years of the 15th century and the first of the 16th century. Sten Sture in all effect rules Sweden until his death in 1503, apart from a short period when the union king Hans is recogniced. Sten Sture is then followed by two more stewards - Svante Nilsson and Sten Sture the younger - all of them from the Swedish aristocracy.

Late in 1519 the union king Christian II launches an attack on Sweden. The steward Sten Sture the younger dies of wounds after a battle in february but resistance is kept up under the leadership of his widow Christina Nilsdotter Gyllenstierna. In the autumn she accepts an amnesty and opens the gates of Stockholm to king Christian. At his coronation feast, the guests are imprisoned and accused of heresy by the former - and now revengful - archbishop Gustav Trolle. Around 100 persons are executed during two days in November - an event known as the Bloodbath in Stockholm. Christian II also executes actual or suspected enemies in other Swedish towns while he travels back to Denmark. He has however barely left the country until rebellion breaks out among farmers in south and mid Sweden - the latter associated with the nobleman Gustav Eriksson Vasa.

In 1524, when Gustav Eriksson Vasa had himself become king, he comissioned the so called Bloodbath poster, telling about the deeds of Christian the Tyrant. The original is lost, but a copy from the 17th century remains. The large image is one of the earliest representations of Stockholm. The smaller pictures below shows the events from the coronation feast, over the executions and to the rebellion against the king.