Reconciliation of Sorts
December 10, 1317: King Birger of Sweden holds a “reconciliation” banquet. It was held at Nyköping Castle and is therefore known as the Nyköping Banquet. In 1310, the king’s brothers, Duke Valdemar and Duke Eric, had tried to overthrow King Birger. With the help of both the Danish and Norwegian kings, a settlement was reached and Sweden was divided between the brothers, each having his own sovereign state. Christmas was being celebrated by King Birger and he invited his estranged brothers to join in the merriment at Nyköping Castle. The brothers arrived and were housed at the Castle but due to cramped quarters, their retinues were forced to spend the night in the town of Nyköping.
At some time during the night while the brothers slept, the King’s drost Brunke (a sort of baliff) arrived with a group of crossbowmen and had the Dukes manacled and taken to the dungeon. The following morning, the dukes followers were also arrested. As the Dukes were being taken away, King Birger reminded his brothers of their attempted coup at the Håtuna Games seven years earlier. The brothers knew there would be no mercy bestowed upon them and on January 18, 1318 had their last wills and testaments drawn up and both are preserved to this time. It wasn’t long before both of the Dukes had died of the traditional execution of drawn-out starvation. The Duchesses tried to maintain control over their husbands’ lands, but were unable to do so.
The King had misjudged the political climate in which he ruled. A rebellion broke out after the populace found out about his family problems and the King was forced to flee. He first went to Gotland, an island off the east coast of Sweden, and then had to continue on to Denmark. Legend states the King threw away the key to the dungeon before leaving town. Nyköpingån, the river near the Castle, was dredged in the 19th century and a large medieval type key was found during the dredging. Even with this plan in effect, the King was exiled in Denmark and remained there until his death in 1321.
In 1319, then three-year-old Magnus – the son of Duke Eric, was elected King. The family had a limited supply of names and King Birger’s son was also named Magnus and he resisted his cousin’s getting to rule. He led forces which tried to take Nyköping Castle, but failed. Magnus and drost Brunke fled but were captured in Stockholm and were executed in 1320. The royal family was decimated with all adult males dead by 1321. The old Queen Mother, King Birger’s wife, and the toddler son of Duke Eric were all that was left. Magnus IV was the King of Sweden from July 8, 1319 and was also the King of Norway from August 1319. He had been born in the spring of 1316. He ruled in Norway until 1343 and in Sweden until 1364. He died in a shipwreck on December 1, 1374 at the age of 58.
Remember ye aught of the Håtuna Games? I remember them clearly. – King Birger to his brothers
Insecurity breeds treachery: if you are kind to people who hate themselves, they will hate you as well. – Florence King
Destiny is a good thing to accept when it’s going your way. When it isn’t, don’t call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery or simple bad luck. – Joseph Heller
The complaint of the treachery of friends usually indicates that a man hasn’t been discriminating in his early relationships. – Philander Johnson
Also on this day: Stop! Go! – In 1868, the first traffic signal was used for the railroads.
Giving All – In 1907, a riot broke out in Trafalgar Square against the use of vivisection.
Nobel Prizes – In 1901, the first Nobel Prizes were awarded.
Two Marks – In 1884, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published.
Here He Comes to Save the Day – In 1955, Mighty Mouse Playhouse premiered.