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Robert Douglas

Robert Douglas (17 March 1611, Standingstone, Haddingtonshire, Scotland[1] – 28 May 1662, Stockholm, Sweden[1]), Count of Skenninge,[2] Baron of Skalby,[2] was a Scottish-born Field Marshal (1657-1662) in the Swedish army,[3][4] and a commander in later stages of Thirty Years' War.[2] His father, Patrick Douglas, was the second son of William Douglas of Whittinghame.[2]

In 1646 Robert Douglas married Hedvig Mörner,[5] who bore him six sons and a daughter. Two of the sons died in their infancy, and three became officers, and died without issue. The daughter married an Oxenstierna. The remaining son, Gustaf Douglas, first of the Swedish noble line of Douglas, became a Colonel, and Governor of Västerbotten. The Swedish noble family of Douglas descends from him.

His grandson, Gustav Otto Douglas, was captured by Russians during the Battle of Poltava, entered Russian service and in 1717 was made Peter the Great’s Governor General over Finland. In the 1890’s the then head of the family, Count Ludvig Douglas, was a distinguished Swedish Foreign Minister, and High Marshal of Sweden. The latter’s son, general Archibald Douglas-Stjernorp was Commander in Chief of the Swedish Army during World War II.

Robert Douglas was a Scottish-born Field Marshal in the Swedish service, during the Thirty Years' War and the Swedish-Polish wars.

Scotland in early 1600s was perceived as poverty-stricken. However its numerous noble families held tradition, training and capability to be mounted warriors. This led to general situation where sons of noble Scots families -particularly younger sons who had no big expectations of adequate inheritances- emigrated to serve armies of other monarchs abroad. young Robert Douglas was one such cadet nobleman of a younger branch. In 1627 he was received as page in the swedish service, under John Casimir, castellan of Stegeborg, brother-in-law of king Gustav II. In 1630 when Sweden joined the Thirty Years' War, he joined the king and started service in German battlefields. He rose in officer ranks, and in later stages of Thirty Years' War he served as commander: 1635 colonel, 1643 major-general, etc. His most memorable battles of that war were Leipzig 1642 and Jankowitz 1645. Queen Christina created him baron in 1651, and on 28 May 1654 Count. In 1652, the queen made him as the Lord Master of Horse of the kingdom.

In king Charles X Gustav's Polish war, he was with in the battle of Warsaw in 1656. On 13 May 1657, king Charles X Gustav promoted him to Field Marshal.

He served between 1658-1661 as military over-governor of Estonia and Livonia. During that term, in 1660 he and the Swedes took Duke Jacob of Courland as their prisoner. He also led the conquests of Valmiera and Mitava, the latter being the ducal capital of Courland and Semgallia.

Robert Douglas is renowned as a particularly brave warrior. With streak for heroism. However, he is also reputed as skillful as commander.

In 1646 Robert Douglas married Hedvig Mörner, who bore him six sons and a daughter. Two of the sons died in their infancy, and three became officers, and died without issue. He founded the yet-surviving Noble House of Douglas in Sweden.

Robert Douglas was rewarded with many properties and fiefs in Sweden, such as Skänninge, Skälby, Zewen and Sannegården near Göteborg.

Robert Douglas is buried in the Douglas chapel in the church of Vreta convent.


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