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Haakon III of Norway

Death 1 Jan 1204
Burial Bergen, Bergen kommune, Hordaland fylke, Norway
Memorial ID 81650345 · View Source
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Norwegian Monarch. He reigned as king from 1202 to 1204. He was an illegitimate son of the Norwegian King Sverre Sigurdsson and one of his concubines, Astrid Roesdotter. His exact date of birth is unknown but it most likely occurred sometime in the 1170s. He grew up during a tumultuous time in Norway when it was subjected to internal civil wars due primarily to social conditions, struggles between various aristocratic parties, and differences between the Church and the monarchy. There were two primary parties at that time which continually vied for power, the Bagler and Birkebeiner. Haakon and Sverre were established leaders of the Birkebeiner party which prevailed under Sverre's reign. In 1202 when Sverre was dying, he declared that he had no other son than Haakon and wrote a letter to him, advising him to settle the longstanding dispute with the Church Sverre died on 9 March 1202, and he was crowned king as Haakon III. It is said that he was on friendly terms with the farmers and common people which resulted in the opposing Bagler party losing much of its support. During his short reign, he took his father's advice and did reach out to the exiled Norwegian bishops who had supported the opposing Bagler party, making peace with them and they returned to back to Norway. There is considerable speculation that he did not get along very well with his stepmother and father's wife, Queen Margaret Eriksdotter of Sweden. However, she did eventually settle at his court when it became apparent that he would not allow her to return to her native Sweden. During Christmas, 1203, he became ill and after a bloodletting he died. His stepmother was suspected of poisoning him and she had one of her men subjected to a trial by ordeal on her behalf to prove her innocence but the man was badly burned, which was interpreted as proof of her guilt and she fled to Sweden. He was unmarried at the time of his death and no male heirs were known and his 4-year old nephew, Guttorm Sigurdsson, became the successor to the throne. However a woman, Inga of Vartig, with whom he had taken as a concubine for a time in 1203 came forward to court, claiming that her infant son was fathered by Haakon. The boy, who was born after Haakon's death was also named Haakon and in 1217, he was chosen by the Birkebeiner party as king over a list of other potential candidates and was crowned Haakon IV. In 1218, Inga underwent a successful trial by ordeal (bore iron) in Bergen, Norway, to demonstrate that she was telling the truth about the paternity of her son.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: William Bjornstad
  • Added: 7 Dec 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 81650345
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Haakon III of Norway (unknown–1 Jan 1204), Find A Grave Memorial no. 81650345, citing Christ Church (Defunct), Bergen, Bergen kommune, Hordaland fylke, Norway ; Maintained by Find A Grave .