Sweyn I of Denmark

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Sweyn Forkbeard
Missing image
Sweyn.jpg
Image:Sweyn.jpg

Rank: 16th
Ruled England: December 25, 1013-February 2, 1014
Ruled Denmark: 985-February 2, 1014
Predecessor: Ethelred II,
Harald Bluetooth, and Harald II
Date of Birth: 960
Place of Birth: Denmark
Wife: Gunhilda
Buried: Roskilde Cathedral
Date of Death: February 2, 1014
Parents: Harald Bluetooth and Gunhild

Sweyn I "Forkbeard" (Svein Otto Haraldsson; Danish: Svend Tveskg, originally Tjugeskg or Tyvskg, Norwegian: Svein Tjugeskjegg) (c. 960February 3, 1014). Sveyn I succeeded his father Harold I as king of Denmark, probably in late 986 or early 987.

He was soon chased away by the Swedish king Eric the Victorious who proclaimed himself king of Denmark and ruled it until his death ca 994 [1] (http://runeberg.org/nfbg/0412.html). The rule of Norway was in practice by Hkon Jarl up to 995.

After Eric's death, Sweyn returned to Denmark. Following the battle of Swold in the year 1000, and the death of Norway's king Olaf I, Sweyn established Danish control over a part of Norway, with Eirik Hkonsson Earl as his vassal. The year of his birth is unknown, but he had almost certainly been born when his father accepted Christianity, probably around 960, and he (Sweyn) was given the Christian name Otto after the German emperor. After participating in a Norwegian-led raid against England in 994-995, Sweyn embarked on a series of full-scale invasions (1003-1005, 1006-1007, 1009-1012 and 1013) following the St. Brice's Day massacre of England's Danish inhabitants (November 1002). In 1013 the king himself led the Danish fleet in a full-scale invasion, and the Danes landed at Sandwich and turned towards London. But the Londoners are said to have destroyed the bridges that spanned the river Thames ("London Bridge is falling down"), and Sweyn suffered heavy losses and had to withdraw. He then led his army far into the old Danelaw territory north of Humber and the inhabitants hailed him as their king with barely a drop of blood spilled along the way. One by one, the northern kingdoms fell to Sweyn Forkbeard, and then the southern kingdoms followed suit, until London was alone, isolated within a country which had completely surrendered. Sweyn Forkbeard was finally accepted as the King of England following the flight to Normandy of king Ethelred the Unready in late 1013.

Sweyn died at Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, having ruled England unopposed for only five weeks, and his body was returned to Denmark. He was succeeded as King of Denmark by his elder son, Harold II; the Danish fleet proclaimed his younger son Canute the Great as King of England, but they and he returned to Denmark, with Ethelred being restored. Later, Canute ruled in Denmark, England, Norway and some parts of northern Germany.

Sweyn Forkbeard's nickname, which was probably used during his lifetime, refers to a long, pitchfork-like moustache, a "tjuge" in Old Norse, not to a full beard. Such a moustache was fashionable at the time, particularly in England.


Template:Succession box one to two
Preceded by:
Olaf Trygvasson
King of Norway
Second Reign

1000–1014
Succeeded by:
Olaf the Stout
Preceded by:
Ethelred II
King of England
1013–1014
Succeeded by:
Ethelred II

Template:End boxda:Svend 1. Tveskg de:Sven Gabelbart fr:Svein Ier du Danemark ja:スヴェン1世 (デンマーク王) nl:Sven I van Denemarken pl:Swen Widłobrody pt:Sweyn I da Dinamarca sv:Sven Tveskgg

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