|Olof I Skotkonung|
|Olof I Skotkonung|
|King of Svealand|
|Reign||c. 995 - 1022|
|Spouse||Estrid and Edla|
|Issue|| Anund Kolbranna|
Olof I Skotkonung was the first Christian king of Svealand and the first to really rule over the Svear tribe as a whole, extending the kingdom to the west and south. Whether his rule extended over much of the Geatish sub-kings of what would become Gothenland is debatable.
Born in around 980 to Eric V of Svealand and the semi-fictional Sigríð Storråda (probably a Polish princess), Olof succeeded his father in 995. His early reign is said to have been marred by a conflict with Denmark but this subsided after Sweyn Forkbeard married Olof's mother. Olof would subsequently become a firm ally of Denmark, and presumably, the elder half-brother ofCnut I.
Olof seems to have been militarily active, leading expeditions to Wendland and received not one but two marriages in peace offerings (probably on the same expedition though). Estrid of the Obotrites; his Christian wife and queen, came with a considerable dowry which underpinned a small cultural boom in Olof's small kingdom though, like many of his contemporary Scandianvian kings, kept his pagan wife Edla of Wendland too.
He supported Sweyn I's war against Olaf II of Viken and helped defeat him at Svolder in 1000. As a reward for his involvement he was given extensive lands in Hordaland (which had been a Danish subject since 970) and began to scheme to take the entire kingdom to offset Sweyn's seizure of Viken. He propped up Sveinn I Haakonarsson's regency until civil war in 1010s caused Sveinn's reign to collapse and Svealandic authority there effectively ended. Olof would later come to an arrangement with the civil war's victor, Olaf I Haraldson and gave him his daughter Astrid in marriage.
Olof's scheming in Hordaland had proved decisive in forging opinion in the Geatish lands to the south whose sub-kings and jarls now rejected whatever influence Olof had over them, especially as they now harboured many exiles from Viken and Hordaland. His activities in Hordland proved divisive to his own lords too and in 1018 he was forced to make his son Anund Kolbranna a co-king.
Olof was baptized in 1008 though as most of Svealand was firmly pagan he limited his overt Christian activities to the southern border regions. He would die in 1022, possibly by a pagan crowd angry at his refusal to sacrifice to the old gods, and was succeeded fully by Anund.