King Magnus VII Eriksson of Norway and Sweden
- Born: 1316, Norway
- Marriage: Blanca de Namur in 1335 in Tønsberg, Norway
- Died: 1 Dec 1374, Sweden at age 58
By 1335 Magnus VII ruled over Sweden, Finland, Blekinge and Norway, and later over Halland. MAGNUS II, called Magnus Eriksson (1316-73?), king of Sweden (1319-63) and, as Magnus VII Eriksson, king of Norway (1319-43). He succeeded his grandfather, Håkon V (1270-1319), as king of Norway and was elected king of Sweden by the Swedish nobles. His realms were administered by regents from 1319 to 1332, a period in which the nobles acquired great power.
In 1355 he handed Norway over to his son, Håkon VI (1339-80), for whom he had acted as regent since 1343. In Sweden another son deposed Magnus in 1356. Magnus, however, regained the crown in 1359, only to be deposed again in 1363 by the nobles after he had surrendered the southern section of Sweden to Denmark. Håkon VI waged war in support of his father, but Magnus did not again gain control of his realm. Magnus was imprisoned for some time but escaped in 1371 to Norway, where he lived until his death. King of Sweden and of Norway (as Magnus VII) who devoted himself to defending his Swedish sovereignty against rebellious nobles aided by various foreign leaders, most notably Valdemar IV Atterdag, king of Denmark. The son of Ingeborg, daughter of the Norwegian king Haakon V, and of Duke Erik, brother of the Swedish king Birger Magnusson, Magnus was accepted as ruler of both Norway and Sweden on Haakon V's death (1319). A regency controlled his two dominions until he came of age in 1332. Since Magnus spent nearly all his time in Sweden, the leading Norwegian nobles arranged in 1343 for his son Haakon to succeed him, becoming King Haakon VI when Magnus abdicated his Norwegian throne in 1355. Magnus soon aroused the opposition of many Swedish nobles when he imposed higher taxes to purchase the former Danish province of Skåne (in extreme southern modern Sweden).
After introducing a new national law code (1350), integrating the various provincial laws, he further irritated the magnates in 1352 by curbing the economic power of the church and the landed nobility. His son Erik emerged as the champion of his opponents, who were supported by King Valdemar IV of Denmark and, after 1356, by Pope Innocent VI as well. Magnus was forced to cede to Erik about half of his Swedish kingdom, and he began to make concessions to the nobility. He then made peace with Valdemar IV and arranged (1359) the marriage of his son Haakon VI to Valdemar's daughter Margaret, paving the way for the eventual union of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark in 1397, the Kalmar Union.
Magnus renewed his attempt to check the power of the leading Swedish nobles after reuniting with Valdemar IV, who had betrayed him in 1360 in retaking Skåne. The nobles responded by offering the Swedish throne to Albert of Mecklenburg and by launching a military offensive. Taken prisoner in the ensuing hostilities, Magnus was not released until 1371, when he left for Norway.
Kensington Runestone, Mark of the Earliest European Exploration: In the fall of 1898, a Swedish farmer, Olaf Ohman by name, living near Alexandria, Minn., found a large flat stone imbedded in the roots of an aspen tree. His little son, stooping to dust it off so that he might sit on it, noticed some queer carvings on the stone. The stone was taken to the Ohman home, where the stone was cleaned and the marks became more clear. To everyone's amazement, there was found a long inscription on the face of the stone and on the edge. The stone is a native rock, called graywacke, and measures 31 inches long, 16 inches wide and six inches thick. It weighs 202 pounds, so it must have been chiseled out on the spot. Now known as the "Kensington Runestone," the Smithsonian calls it, "Probably the most significant archeological find in America." Additional evidence suggests the Norsemen visited the area as early as 1008 A. D., nearly 400 years before Columbus set foot in the New World.
The stone at once aroused a great deal of controversy as to its authenticity. The inscription was not completely translated, however, until H.R. Holand, of Wisconsin, a well-known Norwegian scholar and historian, became interested in it. Holand secured po ssession of the stone from the finder, and began devoting his time to research as to its genuineness. His translation is now accepted both here and abroad, and reads as follows: "8 Goths and 22 Norwegians on exploration-journey from Vinland over the West We had camp by two skerries one day's journey north from this stone. We were and fished one day After we came home found 10 men red with blood and dead Ave Maria Save from evil." The following three lines appear on the edge of the stone: "Have 10 of our party by the sea to look after our ships 14 days-journey from this island Year 1362." A skerry is a rocky island. After considerable exploration, the lake with the skerries referred to on the stone was identified as Cormorant Lake in Becker County, Minn. At the place on Cormorant Lake where the camp must have been made and where the fisher man found their scalped companions ("red with blood and dead") are large boulders with triangular holes drilled in three of them. It is claimed that this was done for the purpose of mooring their boat in the same way as it was done along the coast of Norway in the 14th century. These rocks on Cormorant Lake have become known as the "Anchor Rocks" or "Mooring Rocks" and have attracte d a great deal of interest. Similar "mooring" rocks have been discovered by H.R. Holand near where the stone was found. The "sea" referred to on the stone as the place where the ships where left has been identified as Hudson Bay and, to reach Cormorant Lake, the party must have come down the Nelson River to Lake Winnipeg, then the Red River of the North and thence to Cormo rant Lake.
We now know that about the year 1355 Magnus Erickson, the King of Sweden and Norway, sent out an expedition under the command of Paul Knutson to go to Greenland to see to it that the Christian religion would not perish there. It is believed that the King had received word that the people of the Western Settlement of Greenland had emigrated to the mainland and lost their religion. It is probable that the King received this information from John Guthormson, a prominent politician of the time, who had come from Iceland on board a ship that had come from Markland. This ship arrived in Norway about 1348. In corroboration of the story told by the stone, various Scandinavian implements of the 14th century have been found in the vicinity of the route the party must have taken to reach the place where the stone was found. These implements are battle axes -- one of which is a "beard axe" -- a firesteel, and a spearhead. These articles are pictured and the stories of their finding and verification are given in Holand's book, "Exploration In America Before Columbus." The Kensington Runestone is on exhibit at the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minn. A replica is on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Magnus married Blanca de Namur in 1335 in Tønsberg, Norway. (Blanca de Namur was born about 1320 in Namur, Wallonia, Belgium and died in 1363 in Norway.)