Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson

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Late 19th century model for a statue of Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson to be placed in Orebro Modell till statyn over Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson i Orebro (ur Svenska Familj-Journalen).png
Late 19th century model for a statue of Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson to be placed in Örebro

Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson (1390s – 4 May 1436) was a Swedish nationalist rebel leader and statesman. He was the leader of the Engelbrekt rebellion in 1434 against Eric of Pomerania, king of the Kalmar Union. [1]



Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson was a mine owner and a nobleman from the Bergslag of Norberg in the historic Swedish province of Dalarna. His family originally came from Germany, having migrated to Sweden in the 1360s. [2] The family coat of arms shows three half-lilies formed into a triangle.

Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson was dissatisfied by the numerous offenses of the Danish local bailiffs and heavy taxation. In 1434 he started a rebellion with the support of mine workers and peasants from his home area. Engelbrekt set against the king's bailiff in Västerås, Jösse Eriksson, who was blamed for the distress that mining men suffered under his rule. The rebellion grew into a massive force sweeping the country.

In 1435 Engelbrekt was appointed Rikshövitsman, Commander in chief, at a Riksdag in Arboga that is often considered the first Riksdag in Sweden. However, he was not able to withstand the Swedish nobility, who wanted to exploit the rebellion. He was somewhat forced into the background. The nobility and clergy decided to support Karl Knutsson Bonde, who in 1436 supplanted Engelbrekt as Rikshövitsman. [3]

On 4 May 1436 Engelbrekt was assassinated at Engelbrektsholmen, an islet in Lake Hjälmaren, by the aristocrat Måns Bengtsson, who lived in the nearby Göksholm Castle. Engelbrekt was buried in Örebro church. Måns Bengtsson was a Swedish knight and chief judge in the traditional Swedish province of Närke. He was a member of the family Natt och Dag, a family from Östergötland which belongs to the Swedish noble class. [4] [5]


Family coat of arms from Nordisk familjebok Engelbrekt Engelbrektssons vapen (Tre halva liljor, ur Nordisk familjebok).png
Family coat of arms from Nordisk familjebok

Over the next few decades Engelbrekt became a national hero, depicted as a public protector and an opponent of the Kalmar Union. His rebellion came to be seen as the start of the Swedish national awakening, which would triumph in the following century with the victory of King Gustav Vasa (reigned 1523–1560). Engelbrekt himself had no such ideas, which must have been anachronistic at the time; however his rebellion gave peasants a voice in Swedish politics which they never lost afterwards. The Engelbrekt rebellion caused the unity of the Kalmar Union to erode, leading to the expulsion of Danish forces from Sweden. Although later Danish kings regained influence over Sweden, the rebellion had set a precedent for Swedish claims to sovereignty.

A bronze statue representing Engelbrekt by Swedish sculptor Carl Gustaf Qvarnström (1810–1867) was unveiled in Örebro in 1865. Statues of Engelbrekt are also found in Stockholm, Arboga and Falun. There is no known contemporary image of Engelbrekt.

Engelbrekt became the subject of Engelbrekt (1928), an opera by the Swedish composer Natanael Berg (1879–1957). [6] Engelbrekts församling (parish) and church in the Church of Sweden Diocese of Stockholm take their name from the hero.

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