Frederick III of Denmark

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Frederick III (Danish: Frederik III; March 18, 1609 – February 9, 1670[1]) was king of Denmark and Norway from 1648 until his death, and instituted Denmark as an absolute monarchy in 1660. He was born as the second-eldest son of Christian IV of Denmark and Anne Catherine of Brandenburg. Frederick was only considered an heir to the throne after the death of his older brother Prince Christian in 1647. At the death of Christian IV, Frederick conceded significant influence to the nobility, in order to be elected king. As king, he fought two wars against Sweden. He was defeated in the 1657–1658 Dano-Swedish War, but attained great popularity when he weathered the 1659 Assault on Copenhagen and won the 1658–1660 Dano-Swedish War. Later that year, Frederick used his popularity to disband the elective monarchy in favour of absolute monarchy, which lasted until 1848. He married Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg, with whom he had the son Christian, who succeeded him to the throne as Christian V of Denmark.


Early life

Frederick was born at Haderslev in Slesvig, the son of Christian IV of Denmark and Anne Catherine of Brandenburg. In his youth and early manhood, there was no prospect of his ascending the Danish throne, as his older brother Prince Christian was elected heir apparent in 1608. Frederick was educated at Sorø Academy and studied in the Netherlands and France, and had an interest in theology, natural sciences, and Scandinavian history.[2] He was a reserved and enigmatic prince, who seldom laughed, spoke little, and wrote less; a striking contrast to Christian IV. But if he lacked the impulsive and jovial qualities of his father, Frederick possessed the compensating virtues of moderation and self-control. On October 1, 1643 Frederick wed Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg, the daughter of George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who had an energetic, passionate, and ambitious character.[3] He was an enthusiastic collector of books and his collection became the foundation for the Copenhagen Royal Library.[2]

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