As the Kalmar Union came to an end in 1523 the balance of control and power shifted in Scandinavia. Due to the tyranny of Christian II, Sweden rebelled and broke away under the leadership of Gustav Vasa while Norway remained in union with Denmark. Although Danes and Norwegians shared common traits and identifiers; including religion, language and cultural aspects, they had a stronger sense of identity to their own country rather to the union. Because of their political and economic influence in Norway prior to 1523, Danish nobles had increased Norwegian's sense of being Norwegians rather then Danish. Frederik I, who ruled from 1523 to 1533, did all in his power to increase his own and Denmark's control of Norway in this period. In clear violation of his Norwegian Coronation Charter of 1524, Frederik placed prominent Danish nobles in central political and military positions in Norway. Frederik also by-passed the Norwegian National Council in many matters that rightfully should have been handled by the council rather then the King. After Frederik I's death in 1533 the Danish-Norwegian throne remained vacant until 1536. Within this interregnum a civil war broke out in Denmark, followed by the Count's War, instigated by the Hanseatic town of Lübeck, which sought to place Christian II back on the throne. This war, which ended in 1536, brought an end to Lübeck’s Baltic dominion and placed Christian III, son of Frederik I, as king of Denmark-Norway. Once in power, Christian III obliterated the Norwegian Council, thus removing Norway's political influence in the union permanently. Although Sweden officially broke away, it maintained a diplomatic relations with Denmark-Norway. In fact, Gustav Vasa made efforts to strengthen their diplomatic during Frederik I's reign. The outbreak of the Count's War in 1534 rallied the former members of the Kalmar Union to cooperate militarily. Together they defeated Lübeck and secured a peaceful relationship between Sweden and Denmark-Norway which lasted until 1563.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; History



Date Submitted


Document Type





Kalmar Union, Frederik I, Christian III, Gustav Vasa, Count's War, Norwegian, Danish, Hanseatic League



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