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burg, Lübeck and other powerful Hanseatic enborg-Rendsborg became extinct, and the cities, supporting Holstein with their fleets, | duchy of Schleswig of course escheated to desolated the coasts of Denmark, and ru the crown of Denmark, which the king ined her commerce. The greatest dissat- ought immediately to have taken possession isfaction with the incapacity of the king of. The county of Holstein, on the conprevailed throughout the kingdoms of the trary, being a German fief, apparently Calmarian union. Erik was deposed, and devolved on the nearest agnate heirs of the first act of his successor, Christopher the lateral line of Schauenborg-Pinneberg, the Bavarian, was the recognition of the who already, in the year 1396, by a treaty, hereditary rights of the house of Schauen- had secured its succession. The princes borg to the duchy of Schleswig. At the of the family of Oldenborg, however, Danish diet in Colding, in 1439, the Duke were more nearly related to the defunct Adolph, kneeling down before his liege Count of Holstein than the house of Schaulord, on his throne, surrounded by the enborg-Pinneberg, but only as coynates. court and nobility, took the oath of alle- Some historians, in defence of such direct giance, and received from the hand of the rights of King Christian to the succession king the banner of investiture.
of Holstein, mention that several instances The Calmarian union still existed, but it were on record in the German states of had become a mere phantom ; the arro- that time, where the merely cognate heirs gance of the prelates and nobles, the sub- inherited. Thus a contemporary chronijection of the people, and the total want of cler of Lubec, who continues the chronicle political liberty and public opinion in that of Detmar from 1401 to 1472, and whose age of ignorance and oppression, did not work, even by the historians of Holstein permit the development of a confederacy themselves, is pronounced to be of the among the Scandinavian nations, which highest authority, says, “ that the nobles otherwise would have promoted their civ- of Holstein rejected altogether this plea ilization, happiness, and power. Denmark of a family compact between the two lines had not gained by her doubtful union with of the house of Schauenborg, as the counSweden; she felt the more deeply her re cil of the land had never sanctioned or cent loss, and all her efforts tended towards confirmed it; and with regard to the inthe recovery of her alienated possessions heritance of the Holstein fief, they recogon the main land. The Danish nobility, in nized that King Christian and his brothers compliance with this feeling, after the were nearer in respect to the succession, sudden death of King Christopher the Ba- than the more distant Westphalian branch varian, in 1448, sent a deputation to Duke of the house of Schauenborg-Pinneberg, Adolph of Schleswig-Holstein, to offer as they were sister's children of Count him the crown of Denmark. The Duke Adolph, and in their land, the female line was at the time only forty-five years of (Spindle-side) might inherit as well as age; but being without children, and pre- the male line (Sword-side).”. A distincferring the quiet retirement of his present tion seems thus to have existed in the sucposition, to the cares and vicissitudes cession between the great or banner-fiefs, awaiting him on the throne of the warring feuda vexilli, Fanelehn,) and the minor kingdoms, he declined the proffered honor, tiefs of the German Empire ; inasmuch but directed the attention of the Danes to as in the former the inheritance was limithis young
sister's son, Count Christian of ed to male keirs, while in the latter the feOldenborg, whom he himself had educated male line partook of the same right. Holand tenderly loved. Count Christian ac- stein, being originally a dependent fief of cepted the crown, and became the founder the duchy of Saxony, and not a feudum of the present dynasty of Denmark, in the vexilli of the Empire, the direct right of year 1448.
King Christian to the succession of this Eleven years after this event, 1459, duchy might have been justly insisted Adolph of Schleswig-Holstein died. His upon at the time; which goes directly elder brother, Henry, had lived unmarried, against the late assertion of Prussia with and perished in his thirtieth year; the regard to both duchies, “ that only the younger, Gerhard, died suddenly on the agnates were admitted to the inheritance.” Rhine, in 1433, without legitimate issue. The great question, however, as to wheThus the house of the Counts of Schau-ther Schleswig, an ancient and important
province of Denmark, should be at last in- | the votes. In this manner King Christian corporated with the kingdom and separated gained his object, but not without great from Holstein, or again become united with sacrifices, which through his whole reign the latter, by a new investiture of the king, pressed hard on the kingdom of Denmark. was now to be determined.
But a new He settled his patrimonial counties of Oldifficulty had unexpectedly been created denborg and Delmenhorst on his younger by the fact that the Duke Adolph, brother, with forty thousand florins. The moved perhaps by his old rancor towards Counts of Schauenborg received an indemDenmark, against whom he had spent his nification of four hundred and thirty thouyouth in hard fighting, and still more by sand florins, the county of Pinneberg, his natural desire to preserve the close and several other possessions. The preunion of his two beautiful states, had per- lates and nobles secured their most extensuaded his young nephew, Christian of sive privileges, throwing all the burdens of Oldenborg, when the crown of Denmark the commonwealth on the more numerous was offered to him in 1448, to renounce his and industrious classes of the citizens and right to Schleswig, and to promise that, peasants. On his actual election to the according to the constitutio Valdemariana, duchies he declared by a charter of rights the duchy of Schleswig and the kingdom of (Haandfæstning) dated the 5th of March, Denmark never should be united again under 1460, which the Holstein historians conthe same sceptre, and that the duchy of sider as a renewal of the Valdemarian ConSchleswig-Holstein should remain forever stitution, that the estates of Schleswig and and ever undivided-ewich losammend Holstein were to remain inseparable ; that ungedelt.
they had of their own free will, without This curious Low German document of any regard to his being King of Denmark, Count Christian of Oldenborg is dated 28th chosen him for their Duke and Count, that of June, 1448, more than a year before his they likewise after his death were entitled coronation at Copenhagen as King of Den- | to elect his successor from among his chilmark on the 28th October, 1449. It had no dren, or in case of his having no issue, from validity, because Count Christian could not among his lawful heirs, and that if he should give away any territory or riglıts of the leave but one son to succeed him on the kingdom of Denmark, the crown of which throne of Denmark, the estates should have be did not wear; nay, he could not even do the right to choose some other chief, proso after he had been crowned king, except vided only he were of the kin and lineage with the consent of the states in a general of the deceased. dannehof or diet. This renunciation and The future position of Schleswig for promise of the
therefore several centuries was now decided. A few be considered null and void.
years later, in 1474, Holstein was erected We said that Christian, as a cognate into a duchy, and though Schleswig remainheir, had no right to the succession in Hol- ed a Danish fief, which did not belong to the stein in 1459. His ambition however in- empire, it now entered by its relation to Holcited him to go any length in order to stein into a more intimate intercourse with acquire both the estates, Holstein as well Germany. The mass of the people still as Schleswig, and to unite both with the spoke Danish, as they do to this day, but the kingdom in spite of his own renunciation all-powerful nobility, by intermarriages in of 1448. Instead, therefore, of drawing the sister duchy, and the clergy, by the in the escheated fief of Schleswig, and in- great spiritual movement in the south, becorporating it with Denmark, he did not came more and more Germanized. Within enforce that right, but simply offered him- half a century, the diet in Schleswig began self as a candidate for the free election of to be held in the Low-German dialect. In the Schleswig and Holstein nobility. Thus the times of the Reformation, the Lutheran he placed himself on a level with the indi- translation of the Bible in the High-Gergent counts of Schauenborg-Pinneberg, well man language was still nearly unintelligiknowing that the large sums he had by ble to the great majority of the common underhand means distributed among the people, both in Holstein and Schleswig, avaricious prelates and nobles, and the yet by the mighty influence of the Gerpowerful influence of the family of Rant man civilization from the south, and the zau, would procure him the majority of | indifference of the Oldenborg kings, who
themselves spoke the German at the court dynasty, quite contrary to the spirit of the of Copenhagen, the Danish lost ground, principle of unity expressed in the act of and the High-German at last gaining the 1460, which in this manner was abolished victory, became the language of the pul- de facto by the Schleswig and Holstein pit, of the bar, and of the national assem states themselves. blies. The university of Kiel was erected in Christian I. died in 1441, and left two 1665, and the young Schleswigers as well sons by his Queen Dorothea—Hans, who as the Holsteiners, having received their ed was elected King of Denmark, and Freducation at that institution, extended their erik, at that time only ten years of
age. travels to Germany, in order to finish their The ambitious queen dowager, desiring studies and bring German literature and her younger son, Prince Frederik, to be science back to their native countries. elected in the duchies, succeeded by her Nor were the commercial relations with intrigues in delaying the final decision of the Hanseatic confederation less influential the states for nine years, when at last, in in alienating the Schleswigers from their 1490, both the royal brothers were electDanish brethren. The naval established, and a very remarkable division of the ments (Styrishavne) of the victorious Val- two provinces took place. Instead of dedemars, who with their Danish fleets claring King Hans of Denmark Duke of subjected all the southern coasts of the Schleswig, and his brother Frederik Duke Baltic, and extended their feudal dominion of Holstein and vassal of the Germanic over Esthonia, Pomerania and Rügen, had Empire, the states now divided both duchgone to ruin during the civil wars of the ies between both the princes. King Hans fourteenth century. The eighty-five cities obtained the northern district of Hadersof the rich and powerful Hansa had for leben, the city of Flensborg, the island of nearly two centuries possessed the entire Als, as belonging to Schleswig, and the commerce of the Baltic and northern seas, western and southern parts of Holstein, and by their exclusive rights and privile- with Rendsborg, Glückstad, Itzehoe, Segeges, kept the Scandinavian kings in the most berg, Oldesloe and the promontory of abject bondage to a commercial aristoc- Heiligenhafen,—which all formed the posracy. No wonder, then, that Hamburg, sessions of the Royal or Segeberg line of Lübeck, and Bremen had become the succession. His younger brother Frederik schools and places of general resort of the united the Schleswig districts of Gottorp, active mariners of Schleswig and Holstein. Tondern and Apenrade, with Kiel, the
King Christian I. of Oldenborg, having eastern parts of Holstein and the island of thus, in 1460, been elected Duke of Schles- Femern, and thus established the Ducal wig and Holstein, it might have been sup- or Gottorp line. In this manner the Segeposed that the great question about the berg line possessed six different districts duchies had at last been solved; but most of both duchies inclosed or intermingled unhappily for the tranquillity and welfare with the four portions belonging to that of the Danish monarchy, new divisions of Gottorp! This most untoward subfollowed thirty years later (1490) which division of the two Danish and German at different periods, for nearly two cen fiefs, afterwards gave rise to the fatal deturies and a half, were the causes of dy- nomination of “a duchy of Schleswignastic dissensions, foreign invasions, and Holstein," which, although a political nulincalculable distress and misery in the lily, has nevertheless been the cause of whole monarchy. Although the crown interminable complications and dissensions, of Denmark continued elective for two and mainly contributed to the present hundred years (1460—1660) after the unjust and iniquitous invasion of Denmark accession of Christian I., it descended by the Germanic confederation. Disputes nevertheless as regularly from father to soon arose between the brothers; the son, as if it had been hereditary. But in ambitious Frederik laid claims to the inthe duchies, where the nobility (Ritler- vestiture of fiefs in Denmark and Norway, schaft) alone formed the states, this oli- which were refused by the diet, who degarchy simultaneously elected different clared that Denmark was a free and indidescendants of the house of Oldenborg, visible elective kingdom. Such a refusal and the lands thus became divisible and exasperated the duke in the highest desubdivisible among distinct lines of the gree. He united with the Hanseatic cities
against his brother, and taking advantage | promised the king that he would take Ditof the unruly spirit of the Swedes, he even marsk even if it was chained to heaven itself. attempted by flattery and promises to be Thus the best appointed army Denmark elected their king. A civil war would no had ever sent forth, consisting of thirty doubt have broken out with King Hans, if thousand combatants, advanced through a feud against the Ditmarskers in Holstein the low marshes against the six thousand had not caused the brothers to unite their armed herdsmen, who in vain had deforces against the common enemy.
manded the aid of the cities on the Elbe. The Ditmarskers, a people of Saxon de-On the 13th of February, the Danes occuscent inhabiting a small fertile district pied the open town of Meldorf, which had between the Elbe and the Eyder, in that been abandoned, and only the aged and the part of Holstein which faces the Western defenceless fell victims to the wild soldiery ocean, had during several centuries lived of the time. But their cruelty and prein perfect independence. They formed a sumption met with the justest chastisement. commonwealth, which was governed by Animated by despair, and resolved to perish bailiffs and aldermen, and united by the in the cause of their liberty, this handful love of freedom, they had maintained of people, led on by the heroic Wolf Isethemselves in this situation against all brand, occupied a small fort situated on aggression. At the conquest of Holstein an eminence between Meldorf and Hemby King Valdemar the Victorious, they ingsted. The royal army had to pass on followed the Danish banner ; but during a narrow and swampy road, hemmed in the bloody battle of Bornhöved in 1227, on both sides by ditches and marshes. they, by treacherously attacking the Danes While the Saxon infantry advanced, they in their rear, caused their total overthrow. were received by a destructive fire from the This treachery was rewarded by the counts batteries on the hill. They lost their comof Holstein with perfect independence, and mander, and falling back in disorder upon although Count Gerhard afterwards at the Danish chivalry, they were furiously tempted to subdue them, they defeated | attacked on all sides by the light-armed and slew him, foiled all subsequent in- Ditmarskers, who, on their long spears, vasions, and obtained from the German with dexterity jumped over the ditches Emperor the privilege of being placed be- and began an indiscriminate slaughter on neath the protection of the archiepiscopal the defenceless flanks of the crowded colsee of Bremen. Nor would those poor umn. Three hundred and sixty nobles of and brave herdsmen and fishermen have the most distinguished families in Denbeen disturbed in their tranquillity, if they mark and the duchies, and more than had not, like the Swiss on the Alps, rely- fifteen thousand troops, perished on the ing on their victories, become troublesome battle-field. The king himself escaped aggressors on their neighbors. King Chris- with difficulty. The old Dannebrog, the tian I. had already resolved their reduction, Danish banner from the times of the Valdeand having represented them to the Em- mars, was lost together with all the cannon, peror Friederich III. as a set of lawless arms, and an immense baggage. The Ditand unruly rovers, he received permission marskers, pursuing the retreating army, to make the conquest of their territory. made devastating incursions into Holstein, But he died, and his sons would perhaps which forced the king, by the mediation of have left the Ditmarskers to themselves, if the Hanseatic cities, to recognize their in. they had not taken an active part in the dependence. dispute between Duke Frederik and the King Hans died in 1513, and was sucHanseatic cities of Lübeck and Hamburg, ceeded by his spirited, but violent and and destroyed the ducal dépots and cus cruel son, Christian II., who immediately tom-houses on the island of Helgoland. on his accession called together the states The king and the duke now resolved the of Schleswig and Holstein to a general war. The brilliant feudal array of Den- diet in Flensborg, in order to be elected mark and the duchies assembled in Hol- duke of the royal share in the duchies. stein during the winter of 1500, and was The states assembled ; but before they strengthened by six thousand mercenary swore allegiance to the king, they demand. Saxon lance-knechts, commanded by the ed the confirmation of all their privileges haughty condottiere Junker Slents, who I and rights, and certain restitutions to Duke
Frederik, which King Hans, in 1503, had | disastrous division. The king, and his engaged to make to his brother. The i brothers Hans and Adolph, received difyoung king, nourishing a deep-rooted ferent districts both of Schleswig and Holhatred against the powerful nobility, stein, with their castles, convents and whom he, as a crown prince, had already towns, which were denominated after the with the axe and the sword almost annihi- principal residences. The king's share lated in Norway, and whose exorbitant was called that of Sonderborg. Duke privileges he intended to circumscribe in Hans obtained Hadersleben, and Adolph, Denmark, refused the demands of the Gottorp. The younger brother Frederik states. Serious discussions now arose; became bishop of Hildersheim in 1551. and both prelates and nobles declared that The ducal claims to the possession of if the king did not confirm all their rights Hamburg and the territory of the Ditand claims, they would immediately electmarskers, and many privileges and taxes, his uncle Frederik as their only sovereign remained in common; for every one of duke. Christian II., knowing the ambition the dukes possessed the full sovereignty of that prince, and fearing the general dis in his own principality, though he recogsatisfaction in Sweden, yielded at the time; nized the emperor as his liege-lord for he deferred his intended reforms, acknow-Holstein. Yet the royal brothers, on their ledged the rights of the oligarchy, and presenting their homage to the king, rereceived their homage as Duke of Schles- fused to perform the usual military service wig and Holstein. Yet the enmity be- for Schleswig as a Danish banner-fief; acttween the two princes continued, and was ing upon the illegal pretension of the old fomented by the disloyal and treacherous dukes of South Jutland, that the duchy conduct of Christian towards his uncle. was a frank-fee exempted from every feo
The horrible slaughter of the Swedish dary duty. Years passed on in violent nobility in Stockholm on the 8th of No- disputes, and at last, when the ceremony vember, 1520, and the subsequent rebel- of investiture was to take place at the lion of the Danish nobles in 1523, decided general assembly at Colding, in 1547, in the fate of Christian the Tyrant. He fled the presence of the king, the dukes on a to Germany, and Frederik, being called to sudden refused; a tumult arose, the cerethe Danish throne, immediately took pos- mony was suspended, and the princes, session of all the royal castles in the duch- mounting their horses, hurried off in disies, which thus were united a second time. gust. But King Christian did not yield, They remained undivided till the year and though he lived nearly in the same 1544 ; during which period King Chris- dissensions with his brothers as the untian III., the son of Frederik I., had gov- happy Erik Plough-penning had done, erned them in the name of his younger three hundred years before, he still vindibrothers, Hans, Adolph, and Frederik. cated the right of the Danish crown. Another favorable opportunity had thus Adolph of Holstein-Gottorp, a prince of presented itself to the Danish Council for a hot and impetuous temper, again turned reclaiming the ancient Danish province of his arms against the courageous DitmarskSouth Jutland, and by uniting it with ers, who, ever since the terrible defeat of Denmark, to establish anew the old Scan- King Hans, had enjoyed uninterrupted dinavian frontier of the Eyder-or at least, possession of their independence. Chrisby adopting the advice of the distinguished tian III., however, who wished to rule in general
, John de Rantzau, at once to de- tranquillity over his dominions, succeeded clare the right of primogeniture in the in preserving peace till his death in 1559. duchies. This principle had at that time But his son and successor, Frederik II., already been introduced with success into was more willing to enter into the designs Bavaria and Mark-Brandenburg. But the of his uncle, being afraid of his conquering Danish oligarchs, says a native historian, the whole territory and keeping it to himwere more intent upon fortifying their self. The king, with his Danish army, castles and extending their farms, on buy- therefore joined the duke's, and better ing and selling their poor serfs, who were care was now taken to insure success. no better than slaves, than on securing the The conflict was long and bloody; but the welfare of their king and country. The intrepidity of the Ditmarskers could not Council consented to another still more prevail against the military knowledge and