Eric IV
Eric IV
King of Denmark
Reign 15th February, 1291 - 9th July, 1323
Predecessor Eric III
Successor Cnut VII
Born 16th December, 1257
Roskilde, Denmark
Died 9th July, 1323
Halmstad, Denmark
Spouse Anastasia of Kiel

Anna of Austria

Issue Elizabeth

Eric of Holstein

Full name
Erik Eriksen
House Estridsson
Father Eric III
Mother Elizabeth of Holstein

Eric IV reigned over a largely peaceful Denmark, a welcome change from the violent clashes between crown and church that characterised Eric III's reign. However this period was also marked by the slow eclipse of Denmark by its northern neighbour Viken.

Not willing to confront Viken directly (and largely unable to thanks to the intransigence of the nobility) Eric set about building a secure network of foreign alliances. His hands largely tied by a håndfæstning oath meaning he was unable to raise tax at home in Denmark Eric leaned more and more on Lade and Estonia which he held personally. And the receipts from this tax often disappeared into the coffers of foreign lords. His favoured venture was a yearly campaign in Pomerania to which he could call upon the rulers of Viken and Gothenland to join. Since William of Holland's seizure of Pomerania both Denmark and Viken's old Pomeranian lands had been under the rule of the Dukes of Mecklenberg. The continued and uninterrupted appearance of his allies on the battlefield was of crucial importance and this drove relations with his neighbours. Wizlaw was preferred over his elder and more troublesome brother Sambor for the Vikene crown in 1302, and Sophia and John III's joint-rule in Gothenland was supported in 1318.

The Great Famine of 1315-22 (on top of a famine in 1312) severely disrupted Eric's ability to tax and pay for grand coalitions against the Empire. The Danish position in Pomerania collapsed in the disastrous campaign of 1320 though the Danes and their allies clung on to Stralsund and Lubeck. Meanwhile the peasantry rebelled on several occasions protesting what little taxation was levied on their ruined harvests. Denmark was essentially bankrupt and kept afloat only by loans from Italian bankers (which inevitably were not repaid). Eventually to stop the wholesale ruin of the kingdom he asked for the Papacy to accept Denmark as a Papal fief. This at least united him with his nobles who were equally hard-pressed by the crisis.

He also arranged the marriage of his half-brother Otto to the Vinlandic queen Kristjana IV, the first marriage alliance between a European and Leifian royal family. Even though their marriage did not produce a surviving heir the strength of bond felt between the two states left Vinland supportive of Denmark even when Viken-Svealand began to outshine and out-muscle Denmark.

His own marriages produced only a single male heir, Eric of Holstein. Prince Eric would die in 1309 aged 29 suppressing yet another of the interminable peasant revolts in Southern Jutland. It would be Eric's brother Cnut who would succeed him on his death in 1323.


Married Anastasia of Kiel in 1271 and had the following children:

  • Elizabeth (d.1276)
  • Richeza (1274-1336), married John I of Scotland in 1288 and had three children.
  • Eric of Holstein (1280-1309)
  • Matilda (1282-1341), married Count of Lauenberg and had no issue
  • Beatrix (1283-1339), married Count of Fryslan and had four children
  • Kunegonde (1286-1288)

Married of Anna of Austria in 1304 and had the following children:

  • Catherine (1306)
  • Anna (1309-1370), Prince-Abbess of the Imperial Abbey of Elten


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