RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <set eval="<date part=second>" variable="start_s">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <set eval="<date part=minute>" variable="start_m">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <set eval="<date part=hour>" variable="start_t">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <set eval="<countdown seconds since iso=1997-12-01>" variable="surfer_time">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="accept_index is 0">
 | <if variable="accept_index is 0">
Sønderjylland - The Duchy of Slesvig (the s.c.nordic FAQ)
nordic flags
The home pages for the Usenet newsgroup soc.culture.nordic
RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">

<< -

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">
- >>

Sønderjylland - The Duchy of Slesvig

 



Subject: 3.3.4 

Sønderjylland through the times


RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="tables is 0">
 | <if variable="tables is 0">
map of Slesvig
Division of the
Duchy of Slesvig
after 1920
The medieval history of Southern Jutland (Danish: Sønder Jylland) is complicated, and the Nationalistic fuss of the 19th century produced some extra confusion. Both pro-Germans and pro-Danes used the history to prove that the Duchy of Slesvig rightfully ought to be a part of Germany - or Denmark - respectively.

Jutland is a long peninsula. From the old Sagas we get the impression that Jutland "always" has been divided in a northern and a southern part at the Kongeå River.

However, if archeology and Roman sources are balanced, one can assume that the Jutish people inhabited both the Kongeå region and the more northern part of the peninsula, while the Anglians lived approximately where the towns Haithabu and Schleswig later would emerge. The pattern of populated and unpopulated areas was relatively constant through Bronze Age and Iron Age.

After a lot of Anglians had emigrated to the British Islands in the 5th century, the land of the Anglians came in closer contact with the Danish islands - plausibly by immigration/occupation by the Danes. Later also the contacts increased between the Danes and the people on the northern half of the Jutish peninsula.

As Charlemagne extended his realm in the late 8th century, he met a united Danish army which successfully defended Danevirke. A border was established at the River Eider A.D. 811.

Danevirke was erected immediately south for the road where boats or goods had to be hauled for approximately 5 kilometers between a bay of the Baltic Sea and a small river (Rheider Au / Reider Å) connected to the North Sea. There, on the narrowest part of southern Jutland, an important transit market (Haithabu /Hedeby close to the later town Slesvig) was established, and protected by the fortification Danevirke.

During the 9th century the border was adjusted to the south, and during a period Hamburg was occupied by Danes.

This strength was enabled by three factors:

The wealth of southern Jutland and the taxes from the Haithabu market was, of course, enticing. A separate kingdom of Haithabu /Hedeby was established around year 900 A.D. by the Viking chieftain Olaf from Svealand. Olaf's son and successor Gnupa was however killed in battle agains the Danish king, and his kingdom vanished.

The southern border was then adjusted back and forth a few times. For instance the German Emperor Otto II did occupy land north of the River Eider in the years 974-983, stimulating German colonialization.

Later Haithabu /Hedeby was burned by Swedes, and first under the reign of King Svend Forkbeard (986-1014) the situation was stabilized, although raids against Haithabu would be repeated. Again in 1066 Haithabu was destroyed by fire.

Knud Lavard (killed 1131) was called Duke of Jutland, and during the rule of his dynasty Southern Jutland functioned as the Duchy which provided for the expences of Royal Princes, which led to longlasting feuds between the Dukes and the Kings 1253-1325.

Knud Lavard had inherited also parts of Holstein, and thereby come in conflict with Count Adolf in the German part of Holstein, as they both were very keen on expanding their influence and pacifying the Wagrian tribe. Count Adolf succeeded and established the County of Holstein (1143) with about the borders it has had since then. Holstein was Christianized, lots of the Wagrians were killed and the land was inhabited by settlers from Westphalia, Friesland and Holland. Soon the towns of Holstein, as Lübeck and Hamburg, became serious trade competitors on the Baltic Sea. Denmark tried her best to expand her influence to Holstein too, and during 1203-1227 the Count of Holstein acknoledged the King of Denmark as feudal lord.

The wars between the kings of Denmark and the dukes of Slesvig were expensive, and Denmark had to finance them through extensive loans. The Dukes were usually allied with the Counts of Holstein, who happened to be the main creditors of the Danish Crown, too. In 1326, after a war between Denmark and Holstein, the underage Duke of Jutland was made king of Denmark, and his guardian Count Gerhard of Holstein was entfeofed with the Duchy as an inheritable fief.

This was the time when almost all of Denmark came under the supremacy of the Counts of Holstein, who possessed different parts of Denmark as pawns for their credits. King Valdemar VI (Atterdag) started to regain the kingdom part by part. King Valdemar's son Henrik was in 1364 nominally entfeofed with the Duchy, although he never reached to regain more than the northernmost parts as he couldn't raise the neccessary founds to repay the loans.

As both Duke Henrik and King Valdemar died (1374 & 1375) the Duchy was the only important part of Denmark which still was controlled by the Counts of Holstein, who now declared the Duchy to be independent of the Danish Crown.

Queen Margrete managed however in 1386 to reach an agreement with the creditors, who acknowledged the Danish Queen as feudal lord. The Duchy of Slesvig was thereby again a part of the Danish realm - nominally - but it took another 54 years of feuds until the Duchy in practice contributed with troops or taxes.

In 1448 the Duke of Slesvig was influential enough to get his nephew Count Christiern elected King of Denmark, and when the Duke had died King Christiern was appointed Duke of Slesvig and Count of Holstein in 1460. It followed a period of a hundred years when the Duchy many times was devided between inheritors.

From the end of the 16th century the Duchy was split in only two parts: one held by the King of Denmark, and the other held by the Duke of Slesvig.

During the 30-years War the relations between the Duke and the King worsened. Finally in 1658, after the Danes had invaded Swedish territories south of Hamburg, the Duke cooperated with the Swedes in their counter-attack which almost eradicated the Danish Kingdom. The peace treaty stipulated that the Duke no longer was a vassal of the Danish Crown.

As Sweden in 1721 had lost its strength, Denmark could again incorporate the Duchy in the Danish realm, and the prior royal and ducal regions of the Duchy were united. The prior Duke remained Duke of Holstein under the German Emperor until 1773 when (almost) all of Holstein was gained by the King of Denmark (in his role as German Duke of Holstein).

German had been the governmental language during the times of more or less independent Dukes, and remained so. Since the Reformation, German had also been dominating in Church and schools, while Danish was the dominating language among the peasantry.

After the Napoleonic wars most of Europe experienced a national awakening. Not the least in the German speaking parts of Europe, as for instance in Slesvig and Holstein. 1806-1815 the government of Denmark had claimed Slesvig and Holstein to be parts of Denmark, which wasn't popular among the Germans. The revolutions 1848 all over Europe led in Slesvig and Holstein to a failed separatist rebellion, and Nationalists in Denmark advocated danification of Slesvig (but not Holstein). In 1864 the Danish government saw a historical opportunity to achieve this, but instead Prussia and Austria attacked. After a short war Slesvig and Holstein was ceded - and from 1866 incorporated with Prussia.

After Germany had lost the first World War it was possible for Denmark to support the Danish speaking peasantry in Slesvig in their national strive. A referendum was held, and Slesvig was split between Germany and Denmark along a line immediately north for the town Flensburg.

500-800 Southern Jutland probably inhabited by Danes
800-900   Southern Jutland held by Danes
900-936 Southern Jutland a kingdom of its own.
The king was from Sweden.
936-974   Southern Jutland held by Danes
974-983 The German Emperor established a small colony on southernmost Jutland
986-~1140   Danish Earls ("Jarl") defend the border.
~1140-1325 Royal Princes are supported by revenues from a Duchy comprising rather limited parts of Southern Jutland. The dukes strive for independence from the Danish Crown.
1326-1375 Southern Jutland ruled by the creditors, the Conts of Holstein
1376-1386 The Duchy of Slesvig is claimed independent.
1386-1440 The Duchy is in theory a part of the Danish realm, however mostly in war with the King of Denmark.
1440-1460   The Dynasty to which the Duke of Slesvig belongs increases their influence in the Danish realm. The Duchy is in practice a part of the Danish realm.
1460-~1658 Holstein and Slesvig twin-duchies with peculiar rules for succession. All, or parts, of the Duchies held by the King of Denmark. Other parts by brothers and cousins. The dukes strive for independence from the Danish Crown.
1658-1721 Half of the Duchies Slesvig and Holstein ruled by a sovereign Duke, the other half ruled by the King of Denmark.
1721-1773   All of the Duchy of Slesvig and the half of Holstein ruled by the King of Denmark.
1773-1864   All of the Duchy of Slesvig and all of Holstein ruled by the King of Denmark.
1864-1920 All of the Duchy of Slesvig and all of Holstein incorporated in the German Imperium.
1920-- The northernmost part of the Duchy of Slesvig (Sønderjylland) is re-united with Denmark



RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if variable="print is 1">
- Is the text above really reliable?
- See the discussion in section 1.2.2!
<< -
RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">
 | <else>
Denmark - >>

© Copyright 1996-2001 by Johan Olofsson.
You are free to quote this page as long as you mention the URL.
The line of flags is modified after a picture at det Åländska skoldatanätet.
This page was last updated June the 29th in the year of 1998.

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">
RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <insert variable="start_t">
&scn_m0=
RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <insert variable="start_m">
&scn_s0=
RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <insert variable="start_s">
&scn_y=2021&scn_m=10&scn_d=25&scn_f=/nordic/scn/faq334.html&scn_r=">