Christian IV 1588-1648

Christian IV


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Christian IV 


Christian IV Christian IV was the son of Frederik II and Sofie of Mecklenburg. Since he was only 11 years old when his father died the country was ruled by a regency during the first years of his reign. Christian was declared to have come of age in 1596 and was crowned as king later the same year. Christian had been given a thorough education; he mastered several languages and had some understanding of mathematics, history and music. 

Christian took over the rule of a state that was indisputably the strongest among the Nordic countries, a state that practically encircled Sweden and controlled the Baltic Sea. From the very beginning of his reign, Christian took an active interest in many different areas. His vigour was particularly visible in relation to Norway. Christian considered Norway a country rich with opportunities and visited it 30 times, more than the combined number of visits of all the other Danish-Norwegian kings. He founded eight cities, four of them in Norway: Kongsberg, Røros, Christiania (Oslo) and Kristiansand. The king had great hopes for the mining industry in Norway and put a great deal of work into its promotion. 

However, his participation in the 30-Years War from 1625 to 1629 and his role as arbitrator for German relations after 1631 created considerable confusion in the state finances. In addition, there was a war with Sweden (1643-45) that ended with Norway losing Jämtland and Herjedalen. All these factors conspired to advance Sweden as the leading nation among the Nordic countries. 

Despite the exceptional vitality and drive that characterised Christian IV's rule, he left behind a state that had lost territory, that had been weakened politically and militarily and had an economy that was destroyed by occupation, production crises and market crises. Christian IV died in Copenhagen in 1648 and was succeeded by his son, Frederik III. 

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