Olav IV of Norway

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Oluf II Haakonsson (1370 – 23 August 1387) was king of Denmark as Oluf II (1376–1387) and king of Norway as Olav IV (1380–1387). Oluf was son of King Haakon VI of Norway and the grandson of King Magnus IV of Sweden. His mother was Queen Margaret I of Denmark which made him the grandson of King Valdemar IV of Denmark. In addition to his claim on the thrones of Denmark and later Norway, he was in the direct succession line to the throne of Sweden (but for the interposition of Albert of Mecklenburg).[1]

He became king of Denmark only five years old and when he later also succeeded his father as king of Norway. For the next more than 500 years Norway would be ruled from Denmark, until its independence in 1814.



When his grandfather Valdemar IV of Denmark died, Oluf was just five years old. He was proclaimed King of Denmark by a Danehof in Slagelse the following year. His mother, Queen Margaret, was to serve as regent due to his young age. His proclamation included the title "true heir of Sweden" added at his mother's insistence since his grandfather had been king of Sweden until forced to abdicate. Oluf was hailed as king in Scania, including the towns controlled by the Hanseatic league since the Treaty of Stralsund in 1370. Queen Margaret signed a coronation charter on behalf of Oluf who was too young to rule until he came of age at fifteen. In the charter Oluf agreed to meet with the Danehof at least once a year and return properties his grandfather Valdemar IV had confiscated during his reign.[2]

Oluf became King of Norway on his father's death in 1380. Even when Oluf reached his majority in 1385, his mother ruled through him. With his ascent to the Norwegian throne, Denmark and Norway were thus united in a personal union ruled from Denmark. Denmark and Norway would have the same king, with the exception of short interregnums, until Norway's independence in 1814.

Despite all the hope Margaret and the peoples of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden had for Oluf's future, they were never realized. He died unexpectedly in 1387 at age 17. He was buried at Sorø Abbey on the Danish island of Zealand where also his grandfather and, later, mother was buried.. Rumors immediately arose that Oluf had been poisoned which gave rise to many years later to the story of "false Oluf" (see below).

Following his death at Falsterbohus, Oluf's mother was proclaimed "all powerful lady and mistress and the Kingdom of Denmark's Regent". Denmark had at the time no provision that enabled a woman to rule in her own right. The next year Norway proclaimed her Norway's "reigning queen". After the defeat and overthrow of King Albert in 1389 she was proclaimed "all powerful lady of Sweden". On 13 June 1397, she was able to unite the three Scandinavian kingdoms in a personal union under one crown for her successor Eric of Pomerania by the Kalmar Union.[3]

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