Who Was Viking-Christian King Harald Bluetooth?

King Harald Bluetooth was killed by his son

Debates are all around whenever it comes to why the Vikings chose to convert themselves into Christian. Many factors contributed to this event such as economics or politics. Seemingly, the kings and people from royalty were the first to get baptized. One of the famous names includes King Harald Bluetooth. The life of Harald Bluetooth was full of achievement: uniting the Danes, converting the Danes into Christians, building many Viking trelleborgs, etc. Successful as his life might be, he met his death under the sword of his own son.

Family Background

King Harald Bluetooth was the son of King Gorm the Old and Queen Thyra. The pair was a perfect match as they collaborated very well in all arenas. Harald Bluetooth had a big brother whose name was Knud.

From the beginning, Gorm the Old preferred his older son, Knud, who was tall, handsome, and talented. Harald, on the other hand, was short and slender. Many people complimented on Knud for his generosity and politeness. Yet, the fate didn’t smile on Knud as sources mentioned his mysterious death came very quickly.

The only son who could be crowned as a king was Harald Bluetooth after the death of Knud. And there, the second son finally rose to his power.

Harald Gormsson and his journey to King Harald Bluetooth

It was not an easy journey to get recognized by the people. But with all the talent and tactics, Harald Bluetooth finally managed to win and influence them.

The Danes at this time were not an united kingdom. Rather, there were many split clans. When King Gorm passed away in 958, Harald became the King. He turned out to be an ambitious man in his 30s. The only thing that King Gorm was yet to finish in life was to unite the Danes. When the father died, the son carried on the father’s legacy.

Once everything internal was settled, he started to care about the external matters.

Many great constructions under his reign

Indeed, under the reign of King Harald Bluetooth, many constructions were built.

The Jelling Mound that honored the achievement of King Harald Bluetooth

The archaeologists believed that the Jelling burial mounds in Denmark were erected during the reign of King Gorm and King Harald Bluetooth. In between the two mounds were a rune stones that read:

King Harald bade this monument be made in memory of Gorm his father and Thyra his mother, that Harald who won for himself all Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christians

For all the words, we understand what the achievement of Harald was.

Other constructions under Harald’s reign were many of the defensive forts. The Viking name for these forts were the Trelleborg. By far, there have been seven Viking trelleborgs detected. The archaeologists believed that most of the trelleborgs were built under the order of King Harald Bluetooth.

Aggersborg seen from above. This was a ring-shaped fort with two roads inside. The gates were at the four cardinal positions.

Although the Vikings must have learnt this type of fort from other tribes, they did it excellently. The scholars believed that the forts nearly reached the perfect round shape that no ancient sites could.

Final Days of King Harald Bluetooth

As he ran his kingdom so well, he must have made a lot of enemies. And hardly could anyone predict that Sweyn Forkbeard a son of Harald Bluetooth was the one that waged war against the father.

The all cause of this started when King Harald Bluetooth got baptized. Many might see this was a wise step for it could ensure the peace for his kingdom as the Christians never attacked their fellows. Yet, to some, this was a deed of oath breaking and they should punish the oath-breaker for the good of their clan before the wrath of gods befell. Hatred started to harbor inside Palnatoke, a chieftain during the time of Harald Bluetooth.

Somehow Palnatoke was responsible for raising Sweyn Forkbeard. As Sweyn finally reached his prime of youth and everything was ready, the uprising was visible.

Sources told different stories how King Harald Bluetooth died. Some told he was killed by his own son, some said he had to live in exile until his death. Everything about his death remains a mystery. The only thing we know is that King Harald Bluetooth was overthrown by his own son.

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