Christian IV of Denmark-Norway (1577-1648)

King Christian made too much of an impression to be known by his numeral alone. Among Swedes, he is called Christian Firtal, among Danes and Norwegians, Christian Quart. He was a visionary and loved by his people, despite decreasing Denmark's political power rather than strengthening it.

Christian lived between two Frederiks, as was the case with a lot of Danish kings at that time. Frederik II died in 1588, but a Regency ruled until Christian was 15 years old. In the meanwhile he had education suitable for a king: He studied Latin, French, Italian and German, also mathematics, navigation and military command. He learned how to draw and fence, and fortunately for a jolly man like him, also how to dance. Christian became an adventurous and ambitious king who changed the country in many ways. He strengthened navy, trade and industry, built cities, and lost wars.

The king conducted several wars. The first of them was victorious: The Kalmar war against Swedish expansion in the North ended with Sweden losing, albeit for the last time. His participation in the Thirty Years' War lead to spectacular defeat by the Germans, who invaded the province of Schleswig-Holstein and Jutland and stayed there for a few years. More was lost in the Torstensson Feud against the Swedish, who took all his Baltic provinces, Scania which now belongs to southern Sweden, and Jämtland and Härjedalen along the border with Norway.

The king made a great impact on the shape and landscape of his kingdom, but not all of it was bad. In Copenhagen, he built the stock exchange (Børsen), the palace of Rosenborg, and the Round tower (Rundetårn). Several towns were named after him, especially ports. In Denmark he created Christianshavn. In Norway, he founded and planned the town of Kristiansand, founded the mining community of Kongsberg, and rebuilt Norway's capital Oslo after a fire, at the same time renaming it Christiania. In what is now Sweden, he built Kristianstad and Kristianopel, and in Holstein he built Glückstadt.

Christian was married to Anna Catherine of Brandenburg who bore Frederik III, his successor. After she died, he married Kirsten Munk, who gave him 12 children before she was banished from court for adultery.

The king had enjoyed great power during the first years of his rule, but after his many military defeats, had to let the nobles assume more power. He died a bitter 52 year old, but his name remained in the mind of the people. Annually, a music festival is held in his name in Kristiansand - the Quart Festival.

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