Christian III 1536-1559

Christian III


 The history of  
Christian IIIís 


Coins from  
Christian III 

Before he died, Frederik I managed to persuade the Danish and Norwegian National Councils to accept his son Christian III as heir to the throne. Nevertheless, when Frederick died the Danish National Council refused to appoint Christian as king since he was a staunch Lutheran. However, the Council yielded when the Danish citizenry together with the Hanseatic merchants of Lübeck, appointed Christopher of Oldenburg as army general in an attempt to reinstate Christian III as king. This conflict, which was called the «feud of the count» in reference to Count Christopher of Oldenburg, ended when Christian III succeeded in taking control of Copenhagen in 1536. Christian promised the Danish National Council that if he should take possession of Norway, it would no longer be a separate kingdom, but part of the state of Denmark forever after. 

In Norway, some parts of the Norwegian National Council, led by Archbishop Olav Engelbrektsson, supported those opposing Christian III. Olav hoped to promote a rebellion among the common people of Norway against having Christian as king. He did not succeed in so doing. Nor did he get any support from Sweden since Gustav Vasa was a Lutheran and sided with Christian III. Christian sent a few hundred soldiers to Norway in September 1536 and all of Norway yielded to him without offering much resistance. The remaining Roman Catholic bishops were deposed and imprisoned. With the Catholic bishops gone, the Norwegian National Council was a powerless and redundant institution. The Council was abolished and the Reformation introduced in Norway. 

Christian IIIís reign was one of harmony and co-operation. The rule of law was strengthened and the economic power of the Hanseatic League was broken. Christian entered an alliance with Sweden and during his reign managed to turn a 500 000 taler deficit into a 100 000 taler reserve. On the whole, Christianís rule can be described as moderate and very successful. At his death in 1559 he left his son, Frederik II, a country which had become the most powerful state on the Baltic Sea. 

Monetary units: 
Silver gulden (taler), mark, eight-skilling, skilling
Mint sites: 
Bergen, Gimsøy, Oslo