The portrait is from 1420 and possibly potray him as he was.
Erik af Pommeren byggede eller udbyggede i årene 1414 -1415, da han blev konge en serie af borge langs hertugdømmet Slesvigs sydgrænse. Det var et led i kampen om Hertugdømmet . Flere af dem har vel allerede eksisteret før hans tid, og har fungeret, som en forlængelse af Dannevirke. Königsburg er en af dem. Hans krig med de Holstenske grever er beskrevet i en artikel i Krigshistorisk Tidsskrift.
Det var dronning Margrethe I, som adopterede Erik kort efter hendes egen søn Olufs død. Droningen havde i 1389 erobret Sverige og taget Sveriges konge Albrecht og hans søn til fange i slaget ved Åsle (klik her). I 1395 lykkedes det for Margrethe, at få kong Albrecht afsat. I de følgende år lykkedes det hende at få Erik valgt til konge også i Danmark og Sverige, idet han allerede var valgt til konge i Norge i 1389. Det danske kongevalg fandt sted i Viborg i januar 1396 og bekræftet med en traktat (Viborg Recessen). Det svenske kongevalg fandt sted ved Mora uden for Uppsala i sommeren 1396, og blev bekræftet i traktaten i Nykøbing i Sverige i sommeren 1396 (den såkaldte Nykøbing Recess). Endelig blev Erik så kronet til konge i Kalmar i 1397 for alle tre lande.
When I wrote my two books ”The First Schleswig Holstein Wars, 1848 - 50” and ”Generals of the Danish army in the First and Second Schleswig Holstein wars1848-50 and 1864”,I had only briefly considered the longer term effects of the borderland history between Denmark and Germany. Of course, wars do not originate out of nothing, and instead have long histories of conflicts between peoples often at geological boundaries, in this case, the river Trene where the old border rampart, Dannevirke in Schleswig is situated. The wars I described in the two books mentioned, had two forerunners during medieval time. These two wars took place during the period 1410 to 1432 and essentially paved the ground for the conflicts in Schleswig Holstein of 1848-50 and 1864. This understanding led me along the path of Danish Medieval history, focusing particularly on the Danish King Erik VII of Pomerania (1382 -1459). He ruled over a vast area, the Kalmar Union, which included the kingdom Denmark, the kingdom of Sweden and Finland, the kingdom of Norway, and finally Iceland and Greenland. Although the Kalmar Union was large, the population was small, compared to the Central European kingdoms. In many aspects, his destiny ends unhappy as the Danish nobilities in 1439 expelled him from Denmark and replaced him by King Christopher III of Bavaria. This led me to prepare a new book “Medieval wars in the Duchy of Schleswig 1410 to 1432 and the quest for the Nordic Countries”. The book is for the readers interested in medieval history and the conflicts of that time. Literature about the contemporary European rivalries is extensive but when it comes to the conflicts of the Scandinavian countries, books in English are more limited. I hope that this book will remedy some of this shortage.
The picture (Fig 1) is taken at the inner part of Copenhagen harbor with the view towards the Danish parliament, Christiansborg. To the left the old stock exchange, Børsen, and to the right of Christiansborg the Danish navy’s church, Holmens kirke. All these buildings are later than 1600. It is difficult to envisage that at this place a major naval battle took place in June 1428.
In 1428, Lübeck and other Hansa cities equipped a fleet with a crew of 6,800 men, of which alone 2,000 were from Lübeck. The ships were equipped with guns and equipment for use in a possible siege of Copenhagen. In addition, Count Gerhard from Holstein came with his troops, and he commanded the entire navy. In total, there were 240 vessels with a crew of 12,000 men. The equipping of the fleet was completed on April 5 and it departed that day from Wismar to Øresund, where it arrived the following day. The plan was to be at Copenhagen and lay siege before the Danish King Erik of Pomerania could assemble his fleet from the other Nordic countries. A siege would have been long-lasting and demanded provision for the troops, which the ships did not bring. Instead, it was decided to concentrate on blocking the marine entrances to the town with recessed ships. The northern entrance at the Revshale Deep (Map 1) was blocked by 10 old vessels, but the barrier was not good enough, as there was a gap next to the ships where the Danes could still get out. The southern entrance to Copenhagen harbor at Kallebod was already partially blocked by a wreck. At this place, there was a fight between the Danish and Hanseatic ships. The Danes managed to move 16 vessels in front of the wreck. The Hanseatic ships tried to send a burning ship towards the Danes in order to ignite them, but the attempt failed. Then they sent a barge with a cannon forward, but also this attempt was thwarted by the Danes. In early May, the Hanseatic fleet went back to Wismar in order to resupply, and to get more old vessels that could be used to block the entrance to Copenhagen. On June 8, the Hanseatic fleet was back at Copenhagen. In the meantime, the Copenhageners had prepared themselves and built stockades on the island Amager and a similar one at Kallebod at the south entrance to the harbor both armed with guns. The Hanseatic crew again constructed a barge with cannons that was sailed towards the Danes. Then the first major artillery battle in the Nordic region took place. The Danish cannons on their vessels, the castle (Fig 2) and the city wall fired continuously on the Hanseatic ones, which answered the gun fire. Meanwhile, the Hanseatic crew managed to sink 24 larger and smaller old vessels in the inlet. After that, they believed they had done their job at Copenhagen and left. Before leaving they attacked Landskrona on the other side of Øresund and subsequently Bornholm, where half of the island was looted and burned, while the other half managed to pay a ransom. Then a strong storm scattered the navy and in August, the Hanseatic fleet went back to their respective ports. In Copenhagen, King Erik's people succeeded in getting their biggest ships out through the barrier, and in August, the long-awaited Swedish navy arrived. King Erik now had full control over Øresund, and when a group of Vitalian pirate ships tried to sail through the Øresund on their way to Norway, the king's fleet attacked and captured a large proportion of them.
Literature: Medieval wars in the Duchy of Schleswig 1410 to 1432 and the quest for the Nordic Countries. Author Nick B. Svendsen ISBN 9788743001850
Queen Philippa (1394 - 1429)
(Sculpture by H. W. Bissen 1850)
The order of the knight founded by Erik of Pommerania
Contemporary sources mentions the existence of King Erik's Order of the Knight, which he had founded in 1409. May be he was inspired by his wife's fathers order, the Order of the Garder. The members of the order was for selected aristocrats, which when knighted was in a trusted relationship with the king. See Hans Neerbeks paper in Danish about the order.
Canon dredged from a ship wreck near the island Anholt in Kattegat. The wood of the gun is dated as 1516, but the guns are old types. It is this type of canon that was used at the sea battle outside Copenhagen in 1428. These guns consist of smaller tubes which are forged together. They are breech loading with a smaller barrel in the end for the powder. After the gun barrel was loaded with the canon ball, the powder barrel was inserted and squeezed in position in order to obtain gas tightness. Then the powder was ignited. If several powder barrels were loaded and ready, the shooting frequency could be relatively high. The canon is about 4 m long. Exhibited in Tøjhusmuseet Copenhagen.