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Haakon IV Haakonsson

Born: 1204
Died: 15-Dec-1263
Location of death: Orkney Islands
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Royalty

Nationality: Norway
Executive summary: King of Norway, 1217-63

Haakon IV, surnamed "the Old", was declared to be the son of Haakon III, who died shortly before the former's birth in 1204. A year later the child was placed under the protection of King Inge, after whose death in 1217 he was chosen king; though until 1223 the church refused to recognize him, on the ground of illegitimacy, and the Pope's dispensation for his coronation was not gained until much later. In the earlier part of his reign much of the royal power was in the hands of Earl Skule, who intrigued against the king until 1239, when he proceeded to open hostility and was put to death. From this time onward Haakon's reign was marked by more peace and prosperity than Norway had known for many years, until in 1263 a dispute with the Scottish king concerning the Hebrides, a Norwegian possession, induced Haakon to undertake an expedition to Scotland. A division of his army seems to have repulsed a large Scottish force at Largs (although later Scottish accounts claim this battle as a victory), and, having won back the Norwegian possessions in Scotland, Haakon was wintering in the Orkneys when he was taken ill and died on the 15th of December 1263. A great part of his fleet had been scattered and destroyed by storms. The important event in his reign was the voluntary submission of the Icelandic commonwealth. Worn out by internal strife fostered by Haakon's emissaries, the Icelandic chiefs acknowledged the Norwegian king as overlord in 1262. Their example was followed by the colony of Greenland.

Father: Haakon III (King of Norway)

    King of Norway 1217 to 15-Dec-1263

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