Talk:History of the Norwegian monarchy

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I think an article that explains the twist and turns of how the throne to Norway was inherited is an interesting subject, but I think the title is misleading. This isn't about the kingdom of Norway, but rather the way the monarchy was inherited or in some cases hijacked, whatever your point of view is. Since we have articles on the monarchy of Norway, lists, etc., this article should rather discuss the transitions and peculiarities of the monarchy. I'll be editing on that basis, but we need to have a discussion on the title. --Leifern 13:55, May 8, 2005 (UTC)

Where is the article of "Monarchy of NOrway" (I haven't found such)??
Well, in my opinion, all possible othe titles for this sort of article are at least as bad as this, and probably worse. For example, "List of Monarchs" is even worse title for this content than the present. Does anyone have any GOOD suggestions for the title?
The idea seems to be the hereditary nature of the Norwegian throne throughout centuries. It is a thread that does not get its due as small sentences all around the "history of Norway", rather it is a good idea to make a specific article to explain the general outline of that particular phenomenon.
Norway was an oddity among its neighbors, all others were elective. Thus this spöecial feature deserves a concise presentation, with lots of examples.
One possibility is to have an article about Monarchy of Norway, which should give the background (I think this aryticle is quite a good for that background) as well as monarchy today, its today trappings, finances, constitutional and emotional position, royal pictures, wedding and birth hypes, etc, whatever. But is there readiness to produce such contents of today? And, if such is made, then, does these two things: history and today, confuse if they are put into one article? And, will it be too long? 19:16, 9 May 2005 (UTC)


I took the liberty of cleaning up this somewhat confusing article

--Sparviere 18:02, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Norway was not hereditary after 1450[edit]

There is much clean-up work still needed in this article. First and foremost, the bombastic claim that Norway was always a hereditary kingdom is not in accordance with the mainstream historical view. Neither Eric of Pomerania nor Christofer of Bavaria were first in the line of succession when they were kings, and when Christian I became king in 1450, the union treaty drawn up between Norway and Denmark the same year explicitly stated that Norway was a "free" i.e. elected, kingdom. The king was to be chosen among the legitimate sons of the previous king if such existed, otherwise could be elected among anyone, in an election made jointly with Denmark.

Also, the degree to which Norway was a hereditary kingdom in the early middle ages is a much debated question among historians. There was always an element of choice in the acceptance of a new king.--Barend 16:51, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Didn't some of the Oldenburger "crown princes" use the title "Heir to Norway"? The Holstein-Gottorps definitivly did so and they branched off before 1660 Fornadan (t) 19:11, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
They did, but, for instance in the case of Hans, this must be seen as a political claim - not an expression of realities. When Christian I died, it took nearly two years before Hans actually became king of Norway, in the meantime, the Norwegian Council ruled. When that is said: I know more about the conditions in medieval times than later, and of course, at some point both Denmark and Norway became hereditary again - like they are now. I'm not quite sure when that happened.--Barend 15:24, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

The claims put forward in the paragraph "Denmark-Norway" are unsourced, and, as far as I can see, entirely false. I am unsure whether a re-write or a total deletion is in order - it would be interesting if those who wrote the paragraph would like to say what their sources were. --Barend 15:33, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

I have decided to be bold, and deleted a large section of the history of Norway from about 1450 to 1660. This may be controversial, but: The information in this section, about how Norway was allegedly a hereditary kingdom throughout this period, and that this was a tool of the Danish kings, is in direct contradiction to the information in all textbooks I have read about this period. Books like "Kulturhistorisk leksikon for nordisk middelalder" state quite clearly that Norway became an elected kingdom from 1450. While the Danish kings may occasionally have tried to claim a hereditary right to Norway, this was not an expression of realities - the kings were elected in Norway as much as in Denmark, and made common håndfæstnings for Denmark and Norway. If someone want to reinstate parts of what I have deleted, please give sources and discuss them here first.--Barend 21:30, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Norway was, according to its own laws, hereditary also after 1450. One of attestations to that effect is: when Icelanders were called to ratify the new, hereditary kingship just legislated into force in Denmark, during the term of Iceland's overlord Henrik Bjelke the admiral, the judges and meeting of Icelanders responded that they continue to follow the hereditary succession laid down in medieval Norwegian law which had been already hitherto been obeyed (and that they see with satisfaction that also Denmark has now adopted similar hereditary system). Suedois 11:12, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Of course, power-hungry Norwegian lords may have desired to have the opportunities of election at least once a generation, but where is proof that they actually changed the law? Plenty of royal letters and treaties and håndfaestnings include errors of facts and outright lies. As it is well attested that successors claimed hereditary right, the neutral conclusion should be that there existed two understandings of the situation, each of them utilized in rivalry by those to whom one was advantageous. An allegation "Norway was not hereditary after 1450" is not a neutral truth, it is just opinion of one of those camps. Suedois 11:12, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Laws are not a static thing. Laws change often over the centuries. King Håkon Håkonsson changed the succession laws in the 1260s. King Håkon V changed them in the 1300s to ensure inheritance through his daughter. The laws changed all the time. You cannot overlook royal letters and treaties and Håndfæstnings when you're writing history - then you will be left with nothing. Where is the proof that they actually changed the law? In the preserved documents of the time - for instance this one. And in the fact that whenever a new king came on the throne after 1449, it did not happen as an orderly inherited succession. It happened after an election by the Norwegian council of the realm, and a håndfæstning.
But more important than what you and I think is the scholarly consensus. That is what wikipedia is supposed to follow, and it is quite clear. So, citations: From Kulturhistorisk leksikon for nordisk middelalder, bind XVIII (1974), p. 691: "Som nevnt fikk riksrådet gjennom den sedvanerettslige utvikling faktisk kongevalgrett. Denne valgretten ble lovfestet i unionsavtalen mellom No. og Da. i Bergen i 1450. Dermed var det skapt suksesjonsrettslig enhet i Nord." - "As mentioned, the Council of the realm, through the development of legal practice, received, de facto, the right to elect the king. This right became law in the union treaty between Norway and Denmark in Bergen in 1450. Thus unity was established in the laws of succession in the North". --Barend 11:24, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
From "Danmark-Norge 1380-1814, bind I" by Esben Albrectsen (Copenhagen, 1997): "I kraft af disse håndfæstninger sattes tronfølgeloven med dens bestemmelse om det automatiske arvekongedømme på retsgyldig måde ud af kraft, og den norske forfatning fik principielt samme indhold som den svenske og danske (...) Reelt havde forskellen dog længe ikke været så stor. Det automatiske arvekongedømme havde i perioden 1319-1450 kun fungeret én gang, nemlig da Olav 4. i 1380 blev konge." My translation: "By these "håndfæstnings" (of 1449-50), the law of succession with its stipulation of an automatically hereditary kingdom, was legally abolished, and the Norwegian constitution, in principle, now had the same content as the Swedish and Danish one (...) In reality, the difference had been small for a long time. The automatically inherited kingdom had in the period 1319-1450 only functioned once, when Olav 4. became king in 1380."--Barend 11:54, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
From "Kalmarunionens tid" by Lars-Olof Larsson (Stockholm, 1997): "Kristian utfärdade en handfästning, den första i norsk historia (...) Samtidigt markerades att Norge numera var ett valrike" My translation: "Kristian gave out a "håndfæstning", the first in Norwegian history (...) At the same time it was made clear that Norway was now an elected kingdom".
From "Norsk historie frå omlag år 1400" by Lars Hamre (Oslo, 1968): "Når kongen døydde, skulle riksråda i båe rika koma saman i Halmstad, og der skal dei saman velja ein ny konge. Hadde kongen late etter seg ektefødde søner, skal dei velja den av desse som dei synest vera best tilfallen. (...) Er der ingen ektefødd kongsson, skal dei velja den som dei synest høver best for båe rika." About the union treaty between Norway and Denmark from 1450. My translation: "When the king died, the councils of the realm of both kingdoms were to gather in Halmstad, and there elect a new king together. If the king had left behind legitimate sons, they should elect the one of these that they found most suitable. (...) If there is no legitimate son of the late king, they should elect he who they find most suitable for both kingdoms."--Barend 12:15, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Norwegian inheritance law[edit]

Norway had its own inheritance law, quite established for inheritance of "udal"; I found a citation from its contents, in Norwegian: "I den norske arvelova var det i 6. arv fylgjande grupper(m.a.) i prioritetsrekkjefylgje:

  • Ektefødde søner av samfedra sysken
  • Ektefødde døtre av samfedra sysken
  • Ektefødde søner av samfedra systrar
  • Ektefødde døtre av samfedra systrar..."

Which "priorities" also agree with usual understanding. That a cousin, how male the one be, is after one's sister's son, being a more distant relation. After all, Scandinavian inheritance laws follow rather well the intuitive undertanding of how closely heirs are related to the one to be inherited.

Also, Norway had at least since the 13th century received feudal traditions, while "chivalric" customs and organization had been to some extent adopted in Norway. Feudal law was quite clear about that a territory shall not be inherited by such collateral relative who does not descend from those ancestors from whom the previous holder had inherited it. And feudal law (for example, customary law in England and particularly in Scotland) accepted sister's son's hereditary rights.

History knows very well that Eric did not have any children as heirs. He had one sibling who survived to adulthood: his sister Catherine. Catherine descended, as much as eric himself, from precisely same ancstors, and thus, through theur MOTHER, was descendant of Eufemia Eriksdotter, Ingeborg Haakonsdotter and Haakon V (from whom the inheritance, Norway, had come). Catherine, in turn, had one child who survived to adulthood:her son Christopher, who was Eric's nephew.

Whereas it is well known that the mentioned Bogislas was Eric's (and Catherine's) cousin through father, and thus Bogislas was not a descendant of Eric's mother, nor her near pedigree, i.e he mentioned Eufemia, Ingeborg and Haakon.

Therefore I must wonder what are sources which claim that king Eric's Pomeranian cousin, Bogislas, was his legal heir in Norway and even in priority before Eric's full-sister's son Christopher.

As far as I have read, Bogislas is mentioned as heir intended (appointed, designated) by Eric. But such does not make him the LEGAL heir.

After Eric was deposed, Christopher was accepted as his heir, obviously, as historical record affirms that he really succeeded. No doubt if such had contravened the relevant inheritance laws (and not only the designation made by deposed Eric), at least some of Norwegian magnates and judges would have protested. Suedois 10:54, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

I only have one of my books with me at the moment, I'm sure I can find more citations later, but for now: From "Danmark-Norge 1380-1814 bind 1: Fællesskabet bliver til" by Esben Albrectsen (p.171): "Efter den norske tronfølgeordning fra 1388 tilkom kongearven i tilfælde af kongens barnløshed hans nærmeste slægtning i det pommerske hertughus. Det var hans fætter Bugislav der var født o. 1407, og ham ønskede kongen at sikre unionskongedømmet..." which translates as "According to the Norwegian settlement of the succession from 1388, in case of the king dying without issue, the hereditary kingdom would fall to his nearest relative in the pomeranian ducal house. That was his cousin Bugislav, who was born around 1407, and the king wanted to secure the united kingdom for him..." My translation may be a bit clumsy, but the meaning comes across.--Barend 20:40, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
As for Albrecht of Mecklenburg, from the same book(p. 85): "I Norge var den svenske kong Albrecht nærmeste arving, fordi hans mor var søster til Magnus Eriksson..." - "In Norway, the Swedish King Albrecht was the nearest heir, because his mother was the sister of Magnus Eriksson..."--Barend 21:37, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Another reference about Eric of Pomerania's heir: From "Norsk historie frå omlag år 1400" by Lars Hamre (Oslo, 1968): "Etter norsk lov og valbrevet var farbror til kong Erik, hertug Bugislav, hans næraste arving. Men han var så gamal at det var audsynt at han ikkje ville leva etter kongen. Erik rekna difor son hans, som òg heitte bugislav, for den rette tronfylgjaren..." My translation: "According to Norwegian law, King Erik's uncle, Duke Bugislav, was his nearest heir. But he was so old that it was likely that he would not survive the king. Erik therefore saw his son, also called Bugislav, as the rightful heir to the throne."--Barend 12:18, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
And finally, from "Norges historie, tredje binds anden del" by Absalon Taranger (Kristiania, 1917): "Sikkert er, at efter valgbrevet til kong Erik af 1389 skulde tronfølgen i fremtiden regnes fra ham, og efter "6. arv" i Landslovens tronfølge var Eriks fætter, hertug Bugislav, nærmeste tronarving; men næst efter ham var Eriks søstersøn Kristoffer nu nærmeste arving (9. arv)" My translation: "What is certain is, that according to the letter of election of King Erik from 1389, the line of inheritance would in future be decided from him, and in the "sixth degree of inheritance" of the Norwegian law, Erik's cousin, Duke Bugislav, was the nearest heir to the throne; but after him, Erik's nephew Kristoffer was the nearest heir (9th degree)".--Barend 09:45, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

A strange flag[edit]

The flag illustration is with a lion in the style of a decorative illustration by Karl Georg Jensen for Salmonsen's Encyclopedia, Copenhagen 1924. That style has never been used by any Norwegian royal families or public authorities. In the Middle Ages we have the seal of duchess Ingebjørg with an armorial banner and in the years since 1905 we have the King's flag at the Royal Palace in Oslo. Their lions are stylized in quite another manner. So why use the Danish model of 1924? Hans Cappelen (talk) 18:03, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

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