As the struggles for the throne continued, the importance of another dignity grew, that of the jarl. Originally the jarl was the commander of the fleet, but his importance grew more and more and already in the second half of the century. XII he seems to have occupied a position next to, and not below, the king. In fact, he was the head of the Swedish government. The holders of that office belonged for the most part since about 1175 to an aristocratic family, which traditionally, but not exactly, is called the Folkungar. This dynasty ascended to the throne in 1250 with Valdemar (1250-76), son of the then Swedish jarl, Birger jarl; but Birger held the government until his death in 1266; in the disputes, which broke out shortly afterwards between the king and his brother Magnus Ladulås, Valdemaro lost the kingdom and Magnus Ladulås became king (1275-1290).
The old obligation of peasants to serve in the army was then replaced with fixed taxes. Those who engaged in military service on horseback were exempt from taxes. This was especially important for the Swedish aristocracy, whose members were bound to the king by a special oath of allegiance, and among which the cavalry, as in Europe, had already penetrated since the middle of the century. XIII. During the reign of King Magnus, the council of the kingdom also appears as a well-organized body; it included the leading members of the secular and ecclesiastical aristocracy and was subsequently of great and twofold importance, on the one hand as a representative of the aristocracy, and on the other as a cooperator of the king in government. For matters of greater importance, the king advised himself with numerous assemblies of the herredag (stately days). Another novelty of the century. XIII was the flourishing of municipal organizations – Stockholm, p. eg, it has been known since around 1250 – of trade and the mining industry.
According to PROZIPCODES.COM, the period following the death of King Magnus Ladulås is characterized by the reaction against his system of government. One of the greats of the kingdom, Torgils Knutsson, during the minority of King Birger (1290-1319), ruled the government with a decidedly aristocratic and anticlerical tendency. Swedish foreign policy, directed towards the East and always favored particularly by the Swedish aristocracy, was carried out with energy; new regions of Finland were added to those conquered earlier, in an unknown epoch. When Birger came of age, Torgils Knutsson tried to continue ruling; but in 1305 the king’s brothers, the dukes Erik and Valdemaro, managed to overthrow Torgils, after which, in a short time, a civil war broke out, connected with the contemporary wars between the Nordic kingdoms. After the dukes, among whom Erik held the command, they had, by means of deception, taken prisoner Birger in 1306, in 1310 they proceeded to the dismemberment of Sweden; Erik touched the western provinces. He might have been expected to have a bright future when he married the Crown Princess of Norway. In 1317 Birger deceived his brothers prisoner; they died in prison. The partisans of the dukes – mostly belonging to the aristocracy – rebelled against Birger and he had to flee to Denmark, from which he had always had help. From representatives of the whole kingdom, the minor son of Duke Erik, Magnus Eriksson (1319-63), was elected king, who simultaneously inherited the Norwegian crown. And when a complete upheaval of the whole situation occurred in Denmark, the parts of the kingdom located at
During the king’s minority he had ruled the Swedish aristocracy; he instead made a decidedly anti-aristocratic policy. A conspicuous fruit of his government was a new code, valid for the whole kingdom. Even the life of the city was uniformly regulated for the whole kingdom by a municipal law which had general value; characteristic for the great importance of the Germans in the Swedish cities is the provision that the city councils should consist of half Germans.
As for the rest, Magnus Eriksson’s government was not happy. The difficulties he had to contend with were beyond his strength; the state of the public finances worsened terribly; the plague terrified the country. And the aristocratic opposition against the king – who had an excellent representative in Santa Brigitta – grew. The opposition succeeded in instigating the king’s son, Erik Magnusson (1357-59), into a rebellion; the consequence was a dismemberment of the kingdom between father and son. The young king’s premature death did not improve King Magnus’s situation. Valdemar of Denmark conquered the ancient Danish provinces east of Oresund in 1360; the aristocracy induced the youngest son of King Håkan (1362-71), who had already been recognized as the first king of Norway, to rebellion. After ch ‘ he was reconciled with his father, the opposition called a relative of the king, Albert of Mecklenburg (1363-89) to Sweden, paying him homage as king. In 1365 Magnus was taken prisoner; when he was released in 1371, Albert was definitively recognized as king by all of Sweden; Håkan remained king of Norway. Albert’s rule signifies the pinnacle of power of the Swedish aristocracy, among whose members one, Bo Jonsson Grip, alone owned, as a fief, ⅔ of the country. When he died in 1386, the king tried to take possession of his possessions; the aristocracy rebelled and summoned King Håkan’s widow, Margaret (1389-1412), who already ruled Denmark and Norway, to the country. With the victory of 1389 over Albert at Falköping, she became the lady of Sweden. With this the whole north was united in onekalmar), which was extended with the further election of Henry of Pomerania (1396-1439) as king of the three kingdoms. What the aristocracy had denied to Alberto had to concede to Queen Margherita: the possessions of the deceased Bo Jonsson Grip were handed over to her, a reduction of the assets was proceeded with the utmost rigor, of which the aristocracy and the church had taken possession of since 1363. The power of the Swedish aristocracy was also reduced (under various other ratios): among other things, the fiefs were largely handed over to Germans trusted by the queen. This situation continued even after Margherita’s death (1412) and after Enrico had taken over the government alone. In Sweden there was a great deal of discontent with the system of government of the king of the union; and between 1420-30 a rebellion finally broke out in the province of Dalarna under the command of Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, belonging to the small nobility. Both the nobility and the clergy, citizens and peasants took part. King Erik regained the government only momentarily. In 1439 he was formally dethroned in Sweden, as well as in Denmark and Norway. When Christopher of Bavaria (1440-48) was elected king in all three countries, the general Nordic union was again re-established; but after his death (1448) the villages proceeded in different ways. The great Swede Carlo Knutsson Bonde (1448-57, 1464-65, 1467-70) became king of Sweden, briefly also of Norway, while in Denmark, and shortly after also in Norway, Christian I was elected king.