The Count’s Feud

Theme

A civil war for God, class and country

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The Count's Feud is one of the most important events in Danish history. Years of tension between the Hanseatic League and Denmark came to a head when Lübeck sent troops to Denmark, ostensibly to free King Christian II. Meanwhile, Protestants began their onslaught against the established Catholic Church. Not strange, then, that the Feud has been interpreted in as a national, religious and class struggle.

The long battle for power in Sweden (1448-1523) was costly for Denmark. And when even the Stockholm Bloodbath in 1520 proved counterproductive, King Christian II was forced by the allied forces of the nobility and Duke Frederik I to flee Denmark in 1523.

Unrest spreads

Duke Frederik was made king, and he rewarded the nobility by giving them the power of life and death over the peasants. Residents of cities and towns who had seen laws favourable to them passed by Christian II suddenly saw those laws revoked. At the same time, the Reformation movement spread to the cities, where iconoclast Beeldenstormers smashed churches and violated monasteries.

The count

In 1529, Protestants came to power in Lübeck, and appointed Jørgen Wullenwever to be mayor. He sought to stop the Hanseatic League's falling trade and declining power in Scandinavia. And when King Frederik I in 1532 made the shocking decision to break his…

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