On This Day

Christian III

King of Denmark and Norway Christian III

Profession: King of Denmark and Norway

Nationality:
Denmark
Danish
Norway
Norwegian

Why Famous: During Christian's reign as King of Denmark (1534–1559) and King of Norway (1537–1559), he is remembered for having bound church and crown; in particular, establishing Lutheranism as the religion of his realms—thus firmly picking the side of the Protestant Reformation over the Catholic Church.

That Christian placed himself on the side of the Reformation ought be no surprise, given his earliest influences, Wolfgang von Utenhof and Johann Rantzau, were both reformers. After hearing Martin Luther speak at the Diet of Worms, Christian turned to his side entirely and made his views known. While this caused trouble, both with Roman Catholics and those inclined to caution, nevertheless he led the Reformation in his realms.

His outspoken views led to discontent when his father died, and the Roman Catholic bishops and nobles sought to refuse him the crown; suggesting in his stead Count Christopher of Oldenburg.

Christian's victory in the civil war that followed subdued the Roman Catholic powers, yet all was not at ease between the king and those that had risen against him. Despite these difficulties, Christian managed his state with finesse and navigated the dangers of kingship until his death in 1559.

Born: August 12, 1503
Birthplace: Gottorf Castle, Schleswig, Denmark
Star Sign: Leo

Died: January 1, 1559 (aged 55)

Historical Events

  • 1523-05-01 Danish King Christian III arrives in Veere
  • 1534-07-04 Christian III is elected King of Denmark and Norway in the town of Rye
  • 1536-10-20 King Christian III of Denmark & Norway leads reform in Catholic possessions
  • 1537-09-02 King Christian III publishes "Ordinance on the Danish Church"
  • 1538-04-09 Danish king Christian III enters Schmalkaldische Union
  • 1544-05-23 Holy Roman Emperor Charles V recognizes King Christian III of Denmark

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