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Olav Ugjæva (Olav the Unlucky, old Norse Ólafr úgæfa) (died 1169) was a Norwegian pretender to the throne during the civil war era in Norway. He was proclaimed king in 1166, but was in 1168 forced into exile in Denmark, where he died.

Olav was the son of Gudbrand Skavhoggsson (Guðbrandr Skafhǫggsson) and Maria Øysteinsdotter (María Eysteinsdóttir), the daughter of king Øystein Magnusson. He was fostered by Sigurd Agnhatt (Sigurðr agnhǫttr) in the Oppland region of eastern Norway. In the late 1160s, Norway was ruled by earl Erling Skakke, during his son, king Magnus Erlingsson's minority. Erling had succeeded in placing his son on the throne after lengthy fighting against several rivals to the throne since the mid 1150s. In 1166, Sigurd Agnhatt and his fosterson Olav raised a force in Oppland, and had Olav proclaimed king, while earl Erling was away in Denmark. After Erling returned to Norway to fight this rising, Olav and his men attacked Erling in an ambush at Rydjokul in Sørum. Erling was wounded, and barely escaped. According to the sagas, it was said that Olav was unlucky not to have defeated Erling in this fight, and from that he got his nickname, Olav the Unlucky. In 1168 Olav and his men ventured south to the Oslofjord area, but were there defeated in battle at Stanger, in Våler. Sigurd was killed in the battle, but Olav escaped and went to Denmark. The next year, he fell ill and died there. According to the sagas, the Danes considered him to be a saint.

The story of Olav and his rising is mentioned in the kings' sagas Heimskringla and Fagrskinna. These two sagas disagree on whether he died in Århus or Ålborg.

Ancestry

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