Haakon of Norway Haakonsson, IV

Haakon of Norway Haakonsson, IV

Birth
Norway
Death 16 Dec 1263 (aged 58–59)
Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland
Burial Non-Cemetery Burial, Specifically: Old Bergen Cathedral. It was demolished in 1531 and the site is marked by a memorial.
Memorial ID 80827144 · View Source
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Norwegian Monarch. He reigned as King of Norway from 1217 to 1263. Under his rule, medieval Norway reached its peak. He was the illegitimate son of King Haakon III Sverresson from one of his concubines whom he had met while visiting in Vartieg, Norway. Upon the death of Haakon III, the civil war between the primary political parties in Norway, the Bagler and the Birkebeiner, which Haakon III had managed to get under control during the course of his reign, erupted once again. Haakon III had belonged to the Birkebeiner party and not long after he died, the Bagler party attempted to seize control of Norway by eliminating the apparent male heir to the throne. Because he was born in a location (Varteig) that was controlled by the Baglers, a group of Birkebeiner warriors interceded and fled with the child, heading for King Inge II of Norway (Haakon III's successor), who was the ruling Birkebeiner king in Nidaros (now Trondheim). While traveling, they came into a blizzard and only the two mightiest warriors continued on skis, carrying the child in their arms. They were able to bring the future heir to safety and he was placed under the protection of King Inge II. Upon King Inge's death in 1217, Haakon IV was chosen as king against the candidacy of Inge's half-brother, Earl Skule Bardsson, who still retained the real royal power. In connection with the dispute over the royal election, Haakon's mother had to prove his parentage through a trial by ordeal in Bergen in 1218, which she successfully passed. In 1223, a meeting was held in Bergen of all the bishops, earls, and other prominent men in Norway to finally decide the issue of Haakon IV's right to the Norwegian throne. Of all the candidates submitted who had family links to either Haakon III or Inge II, Haakon IV was finally confirmed as the King of Norway. This victory meant the Church now sided with him, despite his illegitimate birth. However, the Pope's dispensation for his coronation was not gained until 1247. The ongoing struggle between the Bagler and Birkebeiner political factions continued under his reign until 1227, when an uprising by the last Bagler leader, Sigurd Ribbung, was crushed, leaving Haakon as the overall uncontested monarch. In the very early part of Haakon's reign, it was decided that Earl Skule Bardsson would have authority over one-third of the kingdom. However, as Haakon grew older and began to assert his power, his relationship with Skule became more and more strained. To help reconcile the two, in 1225 Haakon agreed to marry Skule's daughter, Margret Skulesdotter. In 1239, the conflict between the two finally erupted into open warfare when Skule proclaimed himself king in Nidaros. Haakon ended the rebellion in 1240 when Skule was captured and put to death. The end to this rebellion is generally accepted to mark the end of the internal civil wars and Norway entered into what is traditionally known as its golden age. During this time of prosperity, Haakon mounted a campaign against the Danish province of Halland (1256), gained submission of Greenland (1261) as well as Iceland (1262), making the kingdom of Norway the largest it had ever been. In 1263, a dispute with Scotland's King Alexander III over the Hebrides, a Norwegian possession, induced Haakon to undertake an expedition to the west of Scotland. Alexander had conquered the Hebrides the previous year and Haakon retook it with his formidable naval fleet and launched some forays into the Scottish mainland as well. Negotiations between the Norwegians and the Scots began, which were purposely prolonged by the Scots as Haakon's position would grow more difficult the longer he had to keep his fleet together so far away from home. An Irish delegation met with Haakon and offered to provide for his fleet through the winter if he would help them against the English. While he favored this proposition, his men opposed it and eventually he and his fleet retreated to the Orkney Islands for the winter. While residing at Bishop's Palace in Kirkwall, he became ill and died. He was temporarily interred at the St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall and the following spring, his body was exhumed and returned to Norway and interred at the Old Cathedral in Bergen. He was succeeded to the throne by his son, Magnus VI, also known as Magnus Lagabote (the lawmender). In 1932, an annual long distance cross-country ski marathon was started to commemorate the trip made by the Birkebeiner warriors to save the infant Haakon IV from potential harm. It is Norway's race in the Worldloppet Ski Federation, which begins at Rena and terminates at Lillehammer, a distance of 54 kilometers. Contestants are required to carry a backpack weighing at least 3.5 kilograms, which symbolizes the weight of the then-one-year-old king.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: William Bjornstad
  • Added: 22 Nov 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 80827144
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Haakon of Norway Haakonsson, IV (1204–16 Dec 1263), Find A Grave Memorial no. 80827144, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Non-Cemetery Burial, who reports a Old Bergen Cathedral. It was demolished in 1531 and the site is marked by a memorial..