Waldemar I


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Waldemar I

(Waldemar the Great) (wäl`dəmär), 1131–82, king of Denmark (1157–82). In 1147, Waldemar, Sweyn III, and Canute (son of Magnus the Strong and grandson of King Niels) each claimed the Danish throne. After a war Waldemar received Jutland as his share of Danish territory. When Canute was assassinated (probably on Sweyn's orders), Waldemar conducted a campaign against King Sweyn, whom he defeated (1157) in a great battle near Viborg. Although now supreme in Denmark, Waldemar found his country overrun by the WendsWends
or Sorbs,
Slavic people (numbering about 60,000) of Brandenburg and Saxony, E Germany, in Lusatia. They speak Lusatian (also known as Sorbic or Wendish), a West Slavic language with two main dialects: Upper Lusatian, nearer to Czech, and Lower Lusatian, nearer to
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. With Henry the Lion of Saxony and Albert the Bear of Brandenburg he subjugated the Wends and forced them to accept Christianity. He became the vassal of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I in order to gain German support, but was later powerful enough to free himself from that control. Waldemar codified the laws and gained Norwegian territory. The marriages of his daughters to the sons of Frederick I, Eric X of Sweden, and Philip II of France increased his prestige. Archbishop AbsalonAbsalon
or Axel
, c.1128–1201, Danish churchman, archbishop of Lund (1178–1201). He had great influence on political affairs under Waldemar I and Canute VI, warred against the pagan Wends, and in 1184 won a naval victory over Bogislav, duke of Pomerania.
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 was his adviser in ecclesiastical, political, and military affairs. Waldemar was succeeded by his son, Canute VI (reigned 1182–1202).

Waldemar I

, Valdemar I
known as Waldemar the Great. 1131--82, king of Denmark (1157--82). He conquered the Wends (1169), increased the territory of Denmark, and established the hereditary rule of his line