Swedish Nobleman, Rebel and King. He was the son of the Councilor of the Realm Eric Johnson of a powerful noble family soon to be known as Vasa. Though it was a surname which this first monarch of the dynasty never used, it has become an inalienable part of his royal name. He liberated Sweden from the Kalmar Union with Denmark and Norway, and became king in 1523 on June 6, which is Sweden's Flag Day and more recently has become its legal national holiday. He inaugurated a new list of monarchs in 1544, allowing 'historians' such as John Manson to glorify Sweden's past and add a number of fictitious rulers such as Carls III-VIII. From Gustav I to this day, the throne of Sweden is still in his family, albeit that roadmap includes several female lines in the genealogy. He also initiated the Reformation and made the Church of Sweden Lutheran in 1527. He lived an adventurous life, prior to his rule. When his father had been executed by King Christian II in the Bloodbath of Stockholm, he fled towards Norway and traveled Dalecarlia on skis rousing revolutionaries. Annually since 1922, to commemorate these events, the Vasa Race Vasaloppet is still held in that province, the largest cross-country ski race in the world, with more than ten thousand participants often including current royalty. Gustav was increasingly a huge landowner and by necessity a harsh and determined ruler whose published letters to his subjects all over Sweden, high and low, reveal his strong temperamental character and strict requirements of obedience and loyalty. Left free to do so by all the Bloodbath's executions of potential rivals, he reorganized Sweden in ways that no one ever had succeeded in doing before, later being called the first king of modern Sweden as well at the true Father of His Country. Some 20th century ideologists have even wanted to pass him off as Sweden's very first king, an idea requiring the denial of much of the kingdom's earlier history and her people of its roots, and considered bizarre by reputable historians of today. Gustav was also very involved in the affairs and welfare of his large family of ten children, three successive queens and a multitude of cousins and in-laws. His temper worsened due to toothache and other ailments as he grew older, and not long before his death he officially said good-bye to his people with a stirring speech in the throne room of his Three Crowns Castle of Stockholm. The Vasa Dynasty proper reigned over Sweden for 131 years and in Poland-Lithuania-Ukraine from 1587 to 1668, expiring four years thereafter with the death of Ex-King John II Casimir. Numerous memorials in honor of King Gustav I include his monumetal statue in front of the House of Nobles in Stockholm, a huge wooden statue in the Nordic Museum there and his monumetal bust at Upsala Castle.
Bio by: Peter Robsahm