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Olav Håkonsson
Oluf Haakonssøn
King of Denmark, Norway, the Vends and the Goths
Olav IV's seal
Reign 3 May 1376 – 23 August 1387 (Denmark)
29 July 1380 – 23 August 1387 (Norway)
Coronation None
Born 1370
Birthplace Akershus Castle, Oslo
Died 23 August 1387
Place of death Falsterbo castle
Buried Sorø
Predecessor Valdemar IV of Denmark (Denmark)
Haakon VI of Norway (Norway)
Successor Margaret
Consort None
Offspring None
Royal House Folkung
Father Haakon VI of Norway
Mother Margaret I of Denmark

Oluf IV Haakonsson (1370 – August 23, 1387) was king of Denmark as Oluf II (1376–1387) and king of Norway as Olav IV (1380–1387). Oluf was son of King Haakon VI of Norway and the grandson of Magnus II of Sweden. His mother was Queen Margaret of Denmark which made him the grandson of Valdemar IV of Denmark. In addition to his claim on the thrones of Norway and Denmark, he was in the direct succession line to the throne of Sweden (but for the interposition of Albert of Mecklenburg).

Oluf was proclaimed King of Denmark at age five by the National Council (Danish:rigsråd) in 1375 with Queen Margaret as regent. His proclamation included the title "true heir of Sweden" added at his mother's insistence since his grandfather had been king of Sweden until forced to abdicate. Oluf was hailed as king in Scania, including the towns controlled by the Hanseatic league since the Treaty of Stralsund in 1370. Queen Margaret signed a coronation charter (Danish: handfæstingen) on behalf of Olaf who was too young to rule until he came of age at fifteen. In the charter Oluf agreed to meet with the Danehof at least once a year and return properties his grandfather Valdemar IV had confiscated during his reign.[1]

Oluf became King of Norway on his father's death in 1380. Even when Oluf reached his majority in 1385, his mother ruled through him. Norway and Denmark were thus united in a personal union under Oluf. Denmark and Norway would have the same king, with the exception of short interregnums, until Norway's independence in 1814.

Despite all the hope Margaret and the peoples of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden had for Olaf's future, they were never realized. Olaf died unexpectedly in 1387 at age 17. He was buried in Sorø Abbey on Zealand. Rumors immediately arose that Oluf had been poisoned which gave rise many years later to the story of "false Oluf" (see below).

Following his death at Falsterbohus, Oluf's mother Queen Margaret of Norway was proclaimed "all powerful lady and mistress and the Kingdom of Denmark's Regent". Denmark had at the time no provision that enabled a woman to rule in her own right. The next year Norway proclaimed her Norway's "reigning queen". After the defeat and overthrow of King Albrecht in 1389 she was proclaimed "all powerful lady of Sweden". She was able to unite the three Scandinavian kingdoms in a personal union under one crown for her successor King Erik of Pommerania by the Kalmar Union 13 June 1397.[2]

After Oluf, no Norwegian king was to be born on Norwegian soil for more than 550 years, until prince Harald was born in 1937. Oluf's death was also the end of the male line of the Folkung dynasty in Sweden.

The false king Oluf

Prussian historian Johan von Posilge reported that in 1402 a "poor sick man came to the country and stayed near the village of Grudentz. A group of merchants from Denmark asked him if he was not well-known in Denmark since he looked very much like the late King Olaf. The merchants left to find another who had seen the king and returned with him. When the newcomer saw the one they took for Olaf, he cried out, "My lord king!" Many people especially in Norway didn't believe that Olaf had died. They thought Queen Margaret had poisoned young Olaf to get him out of the way, so she could rule. According to the rumors, young Olaf hid himself and escaped. The news reached a merchant, Tyme von der Nelow, who took the man to Gdansk. The high born of the town welcomed Olaf as the rightful King of Denmark and Norway and gave him fine clothes and presents. A seal was made for him, and he wrote to Queen Margaret informing her that he was her son and demanded the restoration of his lands and titles. Queen Margaret wrote back saying that if he could prove himself her son, she would gladly accept him. The Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights escorted the pretender to Kalmar to be interviewed by the Queen. As soon as the man arrived he was discovered to be an impostor. He could speak not a single word of Danish and on questioning admitted he was a Prussian, the son of a peasants, Adolph and Margaret from Eger. The false Olaf was taken to Lund in Scania. There he admitted to his breach against the monarchy and was condemned to be burned at the stake. The letters he wrote to Queen Margaret were hung around his neck and a mock crown placed on his head before he was lowered into the flames. His possessions were given to a monastery, and the queen had the false Olaf's seal destroyed. The Danish National Council released a detailed explanation of the real Olaf's death in 1387 to contradict the story that had spread around the Baltic.[3][4]



  1. ^ Danmarks Historie
  2. ^ Huitfeldt, Arild. Danmarks riges Krønike
  3. ^ Rosborn+ När hände vad i nordens historia 1996. p.69.ISBN 91-7643-350-1
  4. ^ Williams, Gareth.Sagas,Saints,and Settlements.
Olav IV/Olaf II
Born: 1370 Died: August 23 1387
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Valdemar Atterdag
King of Denmark
Succeeded by
Margaret I
Preceded by
Haakon VI Magnusson
King of Norway
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Albrekt of Mecklenburg
King of Sweden
Reason for succession failure:
Died while Albrekt of Mecklenburg
was still King of Sweden
Succeeded by
Margaret I

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