Monday, 23 March 2015

Episode 16: Reforms and rebellions

Gustav Eriksson Vasa not only reformed the church but also changed other things in society. The royal central power was strengthened and administration improved so that taxes could be more efficiently gathered, and administration strengthened even more. He more and more relied on professonal administrators, and less on the arostocracy in running the country. The king also claimed new rights, like the right to all oaktrees and to large game. Such changes in what the farming population thought was the proper order of things were provoking and a numer of rebellions broke out. The largest one, the Dacke rebellion, 1542-1543, was serious for the king. A large part of southern Sweden was in effect separated from the rest of the kingdom, the farmers beating the royal army and attracting support from abroad. This rebellion too was eventually broken by the king - who then made further changes in the governing of Sweden, developing the military system, local control and making Sweden a heredetary kingdom.

The leader of the largest rebellion, Nils Dacke, was shot dead in 1543. His body was taken to Kalmar where the head was crowned with a copper crowm and put on a pole.