Birger Jarl

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Birger Jarl

 

(also Birger of Bjälbo). Died Oct. 21, 1266. Swedish statesman, earl (jarl) of the state from 1248, during the reign of King Eric Ericsson, and from 1250, during the reign of his own son Valdemar I.

Birger Jarl relied on the support of the Catholic Church, ruthlessly suppressed opposing factions among the nobility, and pursued a policy of consolidating the power of the monarchy. He led the campaign of the Swedish feudal nobles against Novgorod and was defeated at the battle of the Neva in 1240. In 1249 he led a crusade against the Finnish Häme (Tavastian) tribe, which he subdued. He is traditionally regarded as the founder of Stockholm (1252), which was thoroughly fortified in his time.