The Battle of Stiklestad

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Did you know about? The Battle of Stiklestad 8/31/1030 Almost 1000 years ago Today(or yesterday)! During the 8th century, Norway was controlled by several local strong kings having control over their regions. At the end of the century, King Harald Fairhair (ON Haraldr Hárfagri) managed, in no little part due to the military superiority gained by his alliance with Sigurd Ladejarl of Nidaros, to subjugate these mini–kingdoms, and created the first unified Norwegian state. This alliance folded after Harald's death, together with the infant state. The jarls of Lade and various descendants of Harald Fairhair would spend the next century interlocked in feuds over power. As well as power politics, religion also played a part in these conflicts, as two of the descendents of Harald Fairhair, Håkon the Good and Olav Tryggvason attempted to convert the then heathen Norwegians to Christianity. In the year 1000, Svein (ON Sveinn) and Erik (ON Eiríkr) of Lade took control over Norway, being supported by the Danish king Svein. In the year 1015, Olav Haraldsson, representing the descendants of Harald Fairhair, returned from one of his Viking trips and was immediately elected as King of Norway. In June 1016 he won the battle at Nesjar against the Lades. The major reason behind Olav Haraldsson's success in becoming King of Norway was the fact that Denmark was busy trying to conquer England. In the year 1028 however, the Danish King Canute the Great made an alliance with the Lades, and Olav had to go into exile in Garðaríki (Russia). In the year of 1029 the last Lade, Håkon Jarl, drowned, and Olav decided to return to Norway with his army to regain his throne and the Kingdom of Norway. According to saga sources, he traveled with his 3,600 man army through Sweden and crossed the mountains into the valley of Verdal (ON Veradalr), 80 km north of the city of Trondheim. Olav and his men arrived at Stiklestad a farm in the lower part of the valley. This was where the Battle of Stiklestad took place, as described by Snorre (Snorri Sturluson) in his famous book Heimskringla 200 years later. At Stiklestad, Olav met an army led by Hårek from Tjøtta (ON Hárekr ór Þjóttu), Tore Hund (ON Þórir Hundr) from Bjarkøy and Kalf Arnason (ON Kálfr Árnason), a man who previously served Olav. The peasant army consisted of more than 7,000 men according to Snorre. The battle took place on July 29, 1030 and at the end of the day, Olav's army had lost. During the battle, Olav received three severe wounds and died leaning against a large stone. His body was carried away and buried in secrecy in Trondheim. The year after the battle his coffin was moved to St. Klement's Church in Trondheim. According to Snorre, his hair had grown since he was buried. Olav was sanctified and given the name Olav den Hellige (Saint Olaf). Stiklestad Church was erected on top of the stone against which he died. The stone is supposedly still inside the altar of the church. 100 years later, Nidaros Cathedral was built in Trondheim, and Olav's coffin was moved to this church. In the 16th Century, during the Protestant Reformation period, Olav's coffin was moved and his remains were reburied somewhere in Nidaros Cathedral — exactly where is still today an unsolved mystery. ______________________________________________________________________________ Stay tuned for future installments. This publication is part of the History is Neat project and can be found on the An Tir Culture wiki. Information in this tract was gathered directly from Wikipedia, please make corrections on An Tir Culture wiki if necessary. Brought to you because History is neat

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