John III
John III
King of Svealand
Reign 8th March, 1267 - 25th November, 1282
Predecessor Eric VII
Successor Magnus III
Born 1239
Ockelbo, Svealand
Died 25th November, 1282
Ulleråker, Svealand
Spouse Elizabeth of Lippe
Issue Elizabeth

Magnus III
Karin of Finland

House Eric
Father Magnus of Gästrikland
Mother Ingeborg Benedictsdotter

John III, King of Svealand between 1267 and 1282, would spend his entire reign in the saddle fighting the extended Svealandic Civil War between various claimants for the throne†.

As Earl of Gästrikland John was one of Svealand's greatest magnates and his royal pedigree seems to have led many Svealandic nobles to patronise his court. Yet the ailing Cnut II chose to put the reins of government in the hands of Eric rather than John, and it would be Eric who would be elected king on Cnut's death in 1262.

Almost from the very beginning of his cousin's reign John and the nobles close to him began to plot. John was the eldest of the surviving descendants of Karin and evidently considered Eric's seizure of the throne to be grossly unfair. By 1264 he was in open rebellion. Despite his earldom's position in the north of what was Svealand then, most of his support lay in the west and south. This meant he could surround Eric's Uppland base and slowly more and more lords came over to his side as castles and victories fell to his armies. In 1267 Eric was forced out of Svealand itself and fled to Finland where he would establish a rival Finnish kingdom.

John may have seized the throne but he had not eradicated those opposed to his rule and as Svealand refused to settle into peace he was forced to regularly put down revolts, including a serious challenge from another cousin, Birger of Nyköping, who declared himself king in 1271. The exiled Eric meanwhile had allied with Saaremaa and Novgorod and the three proved persistent in raiding the Svealandic coast as well as defeating the few expeditions John put into Finland. The sheer cost of keeping an army in the field to defeat revolt and dissuade raiding led to extra taxes and more revolt.

John would outlive his great nemesis Eric but would not get to enjoy it dying only three months later in November 1282. He would be succeeded by his son Magnus while his illegitimate daughter Karin of Finland would marry the future Cnut VII of Denmark.

†Descended from Karin's three daughters; Catherine, Rikessa and Ingeborg, technically they were distaff branches of the House of Eric but emphasised their connections, as opposed to any potential Vikene claimants.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.