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Sverker I of Sweden

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Title: Sverker I of Sweden  
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Subject: List of Swedish monarchs, 1150s, Christian II of Denmark, Magnus III of Sweden, 1156
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Sverker I of Sweden

Traditional image of King Sweartgar

Sverker I or Sverker the Elder (Old Swedish: Swærkir konongær gambli), murdered 25 December 1156, was King of Sweden from about 1130 till his death.


Sverker was a large landowner from Östergötland. According to Westrogothic law (1240), his father's name was Cornube, but according to Skáldatal, his father's name was Kol. He was acknowledged as king at the beginning of the 1130s and conquered Västergötland and its ruler Magnus the Strong. Sverker ruled for about 26 years, but not much is known about him. The convents and monasteries of Alvastra, Nydala and Varnhem were founded.

According to a Russian chronicle, the newly founded Republic of Novgorod had its first confrontation with Sweden during Sverker's reign in 1142, breaking a century-long peace that had been guaranteed by marriages between the ruling families.

Sverker was murdered in his own coach at the Alebäck bridge near Alvastra priory, going to the early religious service on Christmas Day, 1156. This was considered a shocking crime, even by medieval standards. The pretender Magnus Henriksson was suspected of the crime.

Skáldatal reports the names of two of Sverker's skalds: Einarr Skúlason and Halldórr skvaldri.


By first wife Queen Ulvhild, widow of Inge the Younger, and who escaped from her second husband, King Niels of Denmark:

  • Son John (Jon jarl), slain by enraged peasants during a meeting of the Thing in the early 1150s, possibly father of Cecilia
  • Son Charles
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