Battle of Örsled 1542

Battle of Örsled

During a few dramatic summer days in July 1542, the first major military showdown of the Dacke Rebellion took place here.

On July 22, 1542, after Nils Dacke's successes around Kalmar, in Blekinge and Konga Härad, and the burning of noble estates such as Osaby and Billa, the "moment of truth" had arrived. Lars-Olof Larsson writes in Dackeland (p 136):

"would the common people in the districts where the rebellion had already taken root throw all caution aside and openly take a stand with arms in hand against the crown and its people? Would they say yes to Dacke and his core band of outlaws? Gustav Olsson's retinue of servants provoked the answer, and when Dacke's messengers on the night of 22 July called the people "man out of house", large parts of south-eastern Småland were transformed into a Dackeland in arms."

The peasant movement had its sights set on Bergkvara Castle, now a ruin, where the lieutenant and King Gustav Vasa's throne Ture Trolle was housed with 400 soldiers for his defence.

It was rumoured that Nils Dacke was approaching with 10,000 men, but according to Lars-Olof Larsson the more realistic figure is just over 2,000 men from Konga, Uppvidinge and parts of Kinnevald and Södra Möre.

Örsled's old bridge
The old bridge of Örsled. Photo: Ulf Nilsson

The peasants clashed with the king's men around the bridge at the Örsled mill. The battle was short and fierce. Dacke's men are said to have suffered the heaviest losses, but on the other hand the situation did not look good for the king's commanders. As Lars-Olof Larsson notes, if the peasant resistance spread to the western parts of Värend, Ture Trolle would quickly be surrounded and the trap would be sprung.

The dispute ended in negotiations mediated by a priest in Bergunda. During the negotiations, the king's people demanded that Dacke be handed over, but the commoners rejected the demand on the grounds that "Dacken was a good man, who always wanted ... the commoners' best interests". The negotiations ended with a Dagtingan, a form of truce, concluded on 24 July 1542. The truce between the warring parties was to last until 1 November, but was later broken by Gustav Vasa.

Getting there

Coordinates: Latitude 56.86817061105147 | Longitude 14.733631610870361

Discover more interesting places to visit at History map.

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