History - OnthisDay - 12 May 1496 - Gustav I of Sweden: A struggle for indepence

On 12 May 1496, Gustav I of Sweden was born in probably Rydboholm Castle
in the northeast of Stockholm in Sweden. This was the mayor house of Eric Vasa.


Gustav I of Sweden was a son of Eric Johansson Vasa and Cecilia Mansdotter

Gustav I of Sweden was thus a grandchild of Johan Kristersson and Brigitta
Gustafdotter of the dynasties Vasa and Sture. Both dynasties were of high

Brigitta Gustafdotter was the sister of Sten Sture the Elder, regent of Sweden.

Love and Marriage

Gustav I of Sweden married three times:

1/ Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg

2/ Margaret Leijonhufvud

3/ Catherine Stenbock.

He had lots of children inter alia:

- King Eric XIV of Sweden

- King John III of Sweden

- King Charles IX of Sweden


Since the end of the 14th century, Sweden had been a part of the Kalmar Union
with Denmark and Norway. The Danish dominance in this union sometimes led
to uprisings in Sweden.

During Gustav's childhood, parts of the Swedish nobility tried to make Sweden
independent. Gustaf and his father supported the party of Sten Sture the Younger,
who was Regent of Sweden from 1512, during his struggle against the Danish
king Christian II.

Gustav Eriksson escaped in 1519, he fled to the Hanseatic city of Lübeck where
he arrived on 30 September.

In 1520, the forces of King Christian were dominant. Sten Sture died in March,
but some strongholds, including the Swedish capital Stockholm, were still able
to withstand the Danish forces.

On 31 May 1520, Gustav Eriksson arrived back in Sweden. There he received
an invitation though he declined this. He thought this was a trap and this was

The supporters of Sten Sture were locked in the castle and imprisoned.
Many people were executed, among them the father of Gustav I of Sweden.

Gustav Eriksson led the growing rebel force. In February 1520 it only consisted
of 400 men.

The leading noblemen of Götaland joined Gustav Erikssons's forces and in
Vadstena in August they declared Gustav regent of Sweden.

Many other Swedish nobles also switched side. In 1522, Lübeck, the Hanseatic
City, joined the Swedish war against Denmark.

During this winter Christian II of Denmark was overthrown and replaced by
Frederick I. The new King also claimed the Swedish throne. However the
council appointed Gustav Eriksson as King. This took place in June 1523.

On 24 August 1524 Gustav arrived in Malmö in order to reach a settlement
with Denmark and its King Frederick. This became known as the Treaty of

In the 1520's the Petri brothers led a campaign for the introduction of
Lutheranism. The decade saw many events which can be seen as gradual
introduction of Protestantism. A translation of the New Testament was
published in 1523. The full-translation was called the Gustav Vasa Bible.

In 1531 there was a dispute between the Pope and Gustav Vasa about
the appointment of a new archbishop. Gustav Vasa did appoint his new
bishop and the Pope lost any influence over the Swedish Church. This
was very simultaneous with Henry VIII. He did the same in England.


In the late 1550's Gustav's health declined. He died on 29 September 1560.
He was buried with three of his wives in the Cathedral of Uppsala.

Source pictures: Wikipedia

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