Sverker I
Sverker I
King of Gothenland
Reign 1128 - 1156
Predecessor Halsten
Successor Karl I
King of Svealand
Reign 1130 - 1156
Predecessor Magnus I
Successor Eric VI
Born c. 1100
Died 1156
Alvastra, Gothenland
Spouse Ulvhild


Issue John Sverkersson

Karl Sverkersson
Ingegerd Sverkersdotter
Helena Sverkersdotter
Boleslaw Sverkersson

House Sverker
Father Cornube or Kol

Emerging victorious out of a decade of chaos in Gothenland, Sverker I would go on to rule Svealand as well as founding successful dynasties in each realm, while another branch would eventually rule Hordaland.

The exact circumstances of his rise are obscure as are most events in the near absence of sources during Gothenland's mini-'Dark Age'. It is known he was a prominent landowner in the Östergötland on the vague borders between Gothenland proper and Svealand. As revolts hit Hakan's rule in the 1110s his nobles began to squabble amongst themselves for power. Hakan's son Halsten may have been crowned in 1115 but anarchy was already overtaking the kingdom and Halsten was either deposed or killed. Various nobles fought it out for the crown. Sverker appears to have secured the friendship of the Svealandic king Inge II and with this royal assent slowly eliminated his rivals until he could secure his coronation in 1128.

Meanwhile Inge II had died and Svealand had passed to Magnus I Nielsson, however he was a Vikene Estridssen and his rule was soon in trouble. Deposed in 1130 the Svealandic nobles proclaimed Sverker King of Svealand, but he was bound by oaths not to rule 'the two as one' and so the two kingdoms were kept separate. This did not stop all unrest in Svealand and several nobles were intransigent to the point of rebellion. To make matters more complicated Magnus' step-mother Ulvhild ran away from Niels I of Viken to become Sverker's wife.

Once Magnus inherited Viken from his father in 1137 he began to plot his revenge. However, the two kings would be reconciled when Sverker's daughter Helena married Magnus's son Cnut. Sverker would later marry Magnus' widow Richeza to secure an alliance with Poland.

He was an avid builder of monasteries, perhaps to smooth over his reputation as a warrior. However, once the threat of attack from Viken had passed he ploughed his two kingdom's energies into military ventures in the east. He would break the ceasefire with Novgorod on papal urging in 1142. This act began a near-800 year permanent state of war between Svealand and Novgorod.

Sverker was murdered at Alvastra in 1156 and Svealand would pass to his great rival Eric, Lord of Uppland, founding the determined and fractious House of Eric. The suspected instigator of the murder, Magnus II Henriksson, would briefly rule Svealand from 1161-62. However after his death in battle, Svealand was inherited by Sverker's grandson Burislev. In Gothenland Sverker's son Karl I directly succeeded him.

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