Olaf II
Olaf II
King of Viken
Reign 995 - 1000
Predecessor Sweyn I Forkbeard
Successor Sweyn I Forkbeard
Born c. 963
Died 1000
Svolder, Baltic Sea (perhaps near Rugia)
Spouse Geira of Wendland

Gyda of Dublin
Gudrun Skeggesdatter
Tyra of Denmark

Full name
Olaf Tryggvasson
House Fairhair
Father Tryggve Olafsson
Mother Astrid Eiriksdatter

The only son of King Tryggve, Olaf II would recapture his birthright, Viken, after several 25 years of Danish rule, however his reign was short.

Born in the early 960s the sagas are unclear as to whether he was already born when his father was killed in 963 at the Battle of Túnsberg or afterwards. Harald II Greycloak had claimed the whole of Norway following the battle and Tryggve's line of the Fairhair dynasty was either wiped out, or fled into exile. Some suggest Olaf was born in Orkney where his mother first fled to. Either way they soon made their way to Kiev where his uncle Sigurd was in the service of King Vladimir I.

By the 980s he was active in Wendland. Married to a Wendish princess he campaigned to increase her lands and soon turned his attentions to raiding Scania, Gotland and England. After his first wife's death he took a new wife in Ireland and rumours of his presence came to the attention of Norse trading out of Dublin. He repeatedly challenged Harald I Bluetooth for the Vikene throne however it would only be in 995 that he succeeded in throwing the Danes out of Viken.

Despite his slightly truncated reign Olaf was instrumental in bringing Christianity to Viken. Previously the Norwegian and Danish rulers had been steadfast pagans however Olaf's childhood in Kiev alongside long periods in Ireland, had made him a committed Christian. He ripped down temples, painfully executed those who refused conversion and built Viken's first church.

His relationship with Sweyn I is hard to read. On the one hand he made no apologies for kicking Sweyn and his Danish lords out of Viken, though some historians maintain he acted far more like a regent (much like in Hordaland) than a fully independent king. He would quarrel severely with Sweyn however, especially after he married Sweyn's sister Tyra. The marriage to Tyra was problematic as she had fled from her Wendish husband, King Burislav. The Wends were broadly allied to Denmark and Gothenland, and Sweyn had sent her to Burislav specifically to cement the alliance. Olaf's forces were crushed in a naval battle at Svolder in 1000 as he returned home from an attempt to wrest Tyra's lands from her ex-husband. Olaf was assumed dead but his body was never found.

As part of the victory Sweyn I retook Viken, cementing Danish control of the region.

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