Olof, Skotkonung

Olof, Skotkonung (Tribute-king), the first Christian king of Sweden, reigned from 995. until his death, 1022. He was the son of Erik Segersaill and Sigrid the Proud. From his father he inherited Denmark, but in 999 he gave it, with his mother's approval, to Svend Forkbeard. He fought at the battle of Swolder, where the Norse king Olaf Tryggveson fell. For several years after that battle (1000) Norway had to pay a yearly tax to king Olof, and hence his name Skotkonung. He and his courtiers are believed to have been baptized about the year 1001. He had been instructed in Christianity by Siegfried, an Englishman, who, next after St. Ansgarius. is the most famous apostle of the North. This good man devoted a long life to the work of converting the pagan Swedes, and died at a great age among the people of Smaland, with whom he had begun his labors. But although Olof became a Christian, and provided for the preaching of the Gospel among his subjects, still the Asa-faith continued to flourish among the Swedes, and they cannot be said to have become completely Christianized before 1150. Olof established a bishopric at Skara, the mother see of the North. He died in 1022, leaving the kingdom to his son and joint ruler Anund. See Peetersen, Norges Sverigesog Danmarks Historie; Munchs, Det Norske Folks Historie; Otte, Scandinavian History. (R. B. A.)

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