The slaughter of the almages on Helgeandsholmen 1463

Kristian I and Queen Dorotea
Kristian I and Queen Dorotea

On August 21, 1463, the Danish Union King Kristian I had a peasant uprising quelled by the peasants of Uppland on Helgeandsholmen in Stockholm, where more than sixty peasants were allegedly killed, while 21 were captured, nine of whom were executed.

The peasant uprising took off after Christian I had deposed Archbishop Jöns Bengtsson as the king's deputy on 14 August, after the archbishop refused to impose an extra tax on the commoners.

The background was that in December 1459, after the death of Count Adolf of Holstein, the Danish King of the Union, Kristian, was appointed Count of Holstein and Duke of Schleswig. But it was not free. The fine titles cost 123,000 guilders, the equivalent of 30,750 marks of silver or 6 tons of silver, and this was to be paid for by the entire Union commonwealth. All peasants and countrymen in Sweden would have to pay 1 mark each (Larsson, 1997).

In 1463, an extra tax of 12 öre for each tax farmer and 6 öre for all country people was introduced. When the peasants of Uppland protested violently, Archbishop Jöns Bengtsson declared the tax abolished. When King Kristian returned to Stockholm, the archbishop was imprisoned and taken to Denmark. The peasants of Uppland were outraged by the treatment of the bishop who had taken their side and marched to Stockholm and camped on Norrmalm. On 21 August, under the leadership of the Maréchal Ture Turesson (Bielke), the peasants were attacked by experienced troops at the Battle of Helgeandsholmen (Larsson, 1997).

The Battle of Helgeandsholmen

In the Swedish Biographical Dictionary (SBL) you can read about the marsh Ture Turesson that "The peasants were overcome, and, after fighting, were for the most part ruthlessly slaughtered; even those who had taken refuge in the church of Helgeand, after giving up their weapons in reliance on a promised pardon, were cut down in the temple itself. Ture is said on this occasion to have been the most merciless of all, and his dishonourable conduct is characterized by Sture Chronicle with the words:"

Mr. Ture Turesson, a knight long, is then called the allmogsens meatånger.

Helgeandsholmen 1535
Helgeandsholmen 1535, detail from The Weather Satellite.

Print sources

Larsson, Lars-Olof (1997). Kalmarunionens tid. pp. 292-294. Stockholm: Prisma. ISBN 91-518-4217-3

Getting there

Coordinates: Latitude 59.32777829999998 | Longitude 18.06860370000004

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