Amber’s Swedish History – Chapter 6


Image1400 A.D.

King Eric and Marageta were still running the show. After she died Erik continued his war with the Germans and created a toll for Germans passing through the sound. They responded by blockading all of Sweden. War taxes were created. By 1430 Swedes were pretty much fed up with the king and royalty in general.

Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson was a short guy with a long name. His grandfather was German. Engelbrekt wanted to limit the power of the king and remove the blockade. He was appointed as spokesman for dissatisfied miners and peasants who stormed a castle in what is now the town of Börlange. A few months later they were closing in on Stockholm, so the king gave Engelbrekt a castle and a lot of land. Things were peaceful for a couple years, but then a new rebellion started. The peasants were successful again, but Engelbrekt got murdered while on his way to Stockholm.

In the nineteenth century politically minded scholars started calling Engelbrekt the first Swedish hero to fight for freedom, but they were tripping. Nationalism had not been invented yet, and there was no country in Europe where people all spoke the same language.
King Erik was finally deposed and went to Gotland where he became a pirate, but he wasn’t very good at it. He ran out of money and tried to sell Gotland to Sweden, but they weren’t buying. He finally moved to Pomerania, (on the Baltic coast of what is now Germany and Poland) and managed to live a long time without getting murdered.

The new Swedish King was Kristopher of Bavaria, a twenty-four-year old whose mother was King Erik’s sister. Kristoffer was already a king in Denmark, and the Swedish Councilors of the Realm liked him because he dressed like a fop.

Krisoffer of BavariaKristoffer

They thought he would be easy to manipulate. Kristopher didn’t get much done, probably because he died eight years later.

After Kristopher died things went up for grabs again. There were a lot of people grabbing: Lords, bishops, knights – pretty much anybody who had horse.


Karl Knutsson Bonde

Karl Knutsson Bonde was the most merciless of these, and managed to be crowned king three different times. The last was in 1467 when he managed to stay on the throne until he died, three years later.

The University of Uppsala was opened a decade after that, and is still in business. Sweden’s first book press was created a few years later, but the most Swedes think the most important creation of that time was made by Kurt Flaskedragare (affectionately known in the day as, Kurt the Bottlepuller). Kurt invented Aquavit which was previously used as a medicine, and for making gunpowder. Book reading and drinking aquavit are still popular Swedish pastimes.

ImageAquavit is distilled from grain, or potatoes, and spiced with caraway and other flavors like dill, anise, fennel, coriander and cardamon. The drink is served chilled in small, stemmed glasses. You’re supposed to drink it in one gulp. Swedes burst into song before downing a shot, and often keep on singing, before, during and after each round with increasing enthusiasm. I usually leave the room at this time. More than 9,000 drinking songs are recorded at Sweden’s Historical Museum of Wines.

Coming Next: The Stockholm Bloodbath


About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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6 Responses to Amber’s Swedish History – Chapter 6

  1. It’s not just the accurate, interesting content, it’s the style that does it for me – fluent, almost off-hand and a devilish sense of humour as icing

  2. I must apologize to Amber for getting behind in my reading. I must find the previous chapters for I am hooked on Amber’s style.

  3. A interesting thumbnail sketch there Bruce. It seems Aquavit had a more lasting impression on Swedish history. 🙂

  4. Amber sure has a way with teaching history….love it!

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