The Stockholm Bloodbath: Betrayal & History

Eoin Purcell

With thanks of Wikipedia
With thanks to Wikipedia

This is a nasty one
History is full of rich incidents like the Stockholm Bloodbath, be it a massacre, the destruction of a city. In fact it is as full of these ridiculously violent events as it is full of events that offer hope, the promise of change and prosperity like this week’s election of Barack Obama.

A quick glance at the history of scandanavia offers some fascinating stories, everything from the Kalmar Union, the sinking of the Vasa and the older history of exploration, colonisation and Vikings. What stands out for me in this particular story is the betrayal.

History sparkles with stories of betrayal and turncoats. The Stockholm Bloodbath is only one such event. The nobility of Sweden were betrayed by the King of Denmark after they had sworn fealty to him. Having foolishly trusted his word, they were corralled in his presence and then executed over a number of days.

It sounds like fiction, a dastardly king betrays the rebels after they had a deal but it happened and it will continue to happen perhaps not as dramatically as in Stockholm. After all, promises are made everywhere, by everyone, sometimes we belive them, sometimes we view them skeptically, and sometimes we take them so to heart that we lose the natural skepticism that keeps us safe.

The nobility of Sweden probably somewhere in the back of their thought processes distrusted Christian II (they had fought a protracted campaign with him after all) so why did they put themselves in his power? I don’t know the answer to that question, but they did and events took their course.

I came across a nice passage while searching Google books:

Memoirs of the Courts of Sweden and Denmark During the Reigns of Christian VII. of Denmark and Gustavus III. and IV. of Sweden By John Brown

It would seem the King was not a man who wore loyalty too heavily!

As an aside
And on a better note Ireland this day, 18 years ago, had it’s own moment of Change & Hope when we elected the first female president of Ireland Mary Robinson. Not only was she the first female president, she was also the first candidate to defeat a candidate of Fianna Fáil in a presidential election.