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Birger Jarl

Birger Jarl

Birger Jarl or Earl Birger, (1210-1266), Swedish statesman, full name Birger Magnusson of Bjälbo, son of Magnus Minnesköld[?] of Bjälbo[?] and Ingrid Ylva[?], nephew to the Earl Birger Brosa[?], and the most famous member of the ancient noble family of the Folkung[?] or Folkungaätten, which had so much to say for itself in early Swedish history. Birger was created Earl by King Erik Eriksson[?] in 1248 and had earlier married the king’s sister Ingeborg Eriksdotter[?].

On Erik’s death in 1250 Birger’s son Valdemar[?] was elected king while his father acted as regent. During the sixteen years of his sway Sweden advanced greatly in fame and prosperity. In 1249 he led an expedition to Finland, built the fortress of Tavastehus, and thus laid the foundations of Sweden’s oversea empire. He also built Stockholm, and enriched it by making it the chief mart for the trade of Lübeck, with which city he concluded a commercial treaty. As a lawgiver Birger laboured strenuously in the interests of civilization.

Ingeborg died in 1250 and in 1261 he married the daughter of King Abel of Denmark[?], the queen dowager Mechtild of Holstein[?]. There is a fine statue of the great earl in the Riddarholm church[?] at Stockholm, erected by Fogelberg at the expense of the Stockholm magistracy in 1884. He is also the central figure of Fr. Hedberg’s drama Bröllopet på Ulfåsa (1865).

Table of contents


Mother unknown

  1. Greger Birgersson[?]

With Ingeborg Eriksdotter

  1. Rikissa Birgersdotter, born 1238
  2. Magnus Birgersson, born 1240, king of Sweden 1275.
  3. Valdemar Birgersson[?], born 1243, king of Sweden 1250 - 1275.
  4. Catherine Birgersdotter, born 1245
  5. Ingeborg Birgersdotter, born ca. 1245, died 1302
  6. Eric Birgersson, born 1250

With Mechtild

  1. Bengt Birgersson, born 1254
  2. Christine Birgersdotter

See also: List of Swedish politicians

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