Sweyn II Estridsson Ulfsson, King of Denmark

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    Sweyn II Estridsson Ulfsson,  King of Denmark   28th great grand uncle
    b. circa 1020, d. 28 April 1074, #30276
    Pop-up Pedigree

Father   **Ulf Thorgilsson1 b. circa 980, d. circa 1027
Mother   **Estrid1 b. circa 1000

Name Variation Sweyn II Estridsson Ulfsson King of Denmark was also found as Svend II Estridsen This is unusually to be named in history this way. Of course, his mother was from an important family and his father was of somewhat less importance.1,2

Name Variation Sweyn II Estridsson Ulfsson King of Denmark was also found as Swend II King of Denmark.1

Birth circa 1020 Sweyn II was born circa 1020. Maybe as early as 1019 per Wikipedia.1

1042 Because of his relationship to Canute the Great he was a pretender to the throne from his early years. When King Harthacanute died in 1042, he claimed the Danish throne, but lost to Norway's King Magnus, who made Svend a jarl (earl or viceroy) instead.

He soon rebelled against Magnus and had the Danish nobles crown him king, but was defeated by Magnus and fled to Sweden. The war between Magnus and Sweyn lasted until 1045, when Harald Hardråde returned to Norway from exile. Harald and Sweyn joined forces and forced Magnus to share the throne with Harald.3

Sweyn's second marriage was to Gunhild Sveinsdotter, who was a stepmother of his former wife whose name is unknown. The pope ordered that he dissolve the union, which he did, only to take one mistress after another during the rest of his life. Sweyn fathered at least 19 children, probably more, none of them were born in wedlock, nor are any of their mothers now known.


In 1047 Magnus died, having stated on his deathbed that his kingdom would be divided up: Harald would get the throne of Norway, while Svend would be king of Denmark.

Upon hearing of Magnus' death Sweyn said, "Now so help me God, I shall never yield Denmark."

Harald, unwilling to relinquish Denmark, attacked Sweyn and fought a long war. Hedeby was sacked in 1050. That same year Sweyn almost captured Harald of Norway when he attacked the coast of Jutland and loaded his ships with goods and captives. Sweyn's fleet caught up with the Norwegians and Harald ordered his men to throw out the captured goods thinking the Danes would stop to get the goods. Sweyn ordered his men to leave the goods and go after Harald. Harald then ordered his men to throw the captives overboard. For them Sweyn was willing to let Harald slip away.3

After Harald was defeated and killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in England and William the Conqueror in turn defeated Harold Godwinson, Sweyn turned his attention to England, once ruled by his uncle Canute the Great. He joined forces with Edgar Atheling, the last remaining heir of the Anglo-Saxon royal house, and sent a force to attack King William in 1069. However, after capturing York, Sweyn, accepted a payment from William to desert Edgar, who then returned into exile in Scotland.

1070 Sweyn is often considered to be Denmark's last Viking king as well as the first medieval one. His skeleton shows him to have been a tall, powerfully built man who walked with a limp.

Sweyn built a strong foundation for royal power through cooperation with the church. He completed the final partition of Denmark into dioceses by corresponding directly with the pope bypassing the Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen. During his reign hundreds of small churches were built throughout the kingdom. Many of them still standing, although with later additions and changes in style. Adam of Bremen was astounded that there were 300 churches in Skåne alone, more than all the other countries of the north put together.

Sweyn seems to have been able to read and write, and he is the source of much of our current knowledge about Denmark and Sweden in the 9th and 10th centuries, having told the story of his ancestry to historian Adam of Bremen around 1070.

Death 28 April 1074 Sweyn II died on 28 April 1074 or 1076. King Sweyn died at his farm, Søderup, near Urnehoved Tingsted, near the town of Åbenrå. The king's body was carried to Roskilde where he was interred in a pillar of the choir next to the remains of Bishop Vilhelm.

He was called after his death the "father of kings" because of his fifteen sons, five would become kings of Denmark. One of the legacies of King Sweyn was a fundamental change in Danish society which had been based on whether a person was free or a bondsman. A strengthened church in connection with the land-owning noble families begin to pit their power against the royal family. The peasants were left to fend for themselves.1,3 

  1. [S9180] "Email, no hard copy" , Helmer Christiansen <e-mail address>.
  2. [S9180] "Email, no hard copy" , P MONIZ <e-mail address> soc.culture.nordic. .
  3. [S1308] Download, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweyn_II_of_Denmark.

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