1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sture

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[ 1051 ]

STURE, an ancient patrician family of Sweden, the most notable members of which were the following:

1. Sten Gustafsson, commonly called Sten Sture the Elder (1440-1503). In 1464 he came prominently forward in support of Bishop Kettil Karlsson Vasa in his struggle against Christian I. of Denmark, and showed great ability in winning over the peasants and making soldiers of them. In 1470 we find him in the forefront of the Swedish national leaders and victorious over both Erik Karlsson Vasa and King Christian himself. After the death of Karl Knutsson, commonly called Charles VIII., Sture was elected regent of Sweden, and from 1470 to 1497 displayed some [ 1052 ] of the highest qualities of a statesman. In 1471 he again defeated Christian I. at the great battle of Brunkebjārg which materially strengthened his position in Sweden. In 1483 he was obliged to acknowledge Hans of Denmark and Norway as king; but the strife of factions enabled him to hold his own till the arrival of Hans in Sweden in 1497. His position had in the meantime been weakened by a ruinous war with Russia. He succeeded, however, in annexing Öland to Sweden. After the terrible defeat of Hans by the Dithmarschers in 1500 Sture was a second time elected regent, holding that office till his death.

2. Svante Sture (d. 1512) is mentioned as a senator in 1482. He was one of the magnates who facilitated King Hans's conquest of Sweden by his opposition to Sten Sture the Elder. Subsequently, however, he was reconciled to the latter and succeeded him as regent. He was by no means so imposing a figure as his predecessor, though, like him, Svante in his later years patriotically resisted the Danish claim of sovereignty. He died suddenly at Vesterås Castle.

3. Sten Sture, commonly called Sten Sture the Younger (1492-1520), the son of Svante. After his father's death he was elected regent by the majority of the lesser gentry to the exclusion of the candidate of the high aristocratic faction, Erik Trolle, whence the inextinguishable hatred of the two families. In 1513 the aged archbishop of Upsala, Jakob Ulfsson, resigned in favour of Gustaf Trolle, son of Erik Trolle, who was elected by the cathedral chapter and recommended to the pope by the regent on condition that the new archbishop should do him homage. Unfortunately these two masterful young men (Trolle was twenty-seven, Sture barely twenty-three), who represented respectively the highest ecclesiastical and the highest civil authority in Sweden, were only too prone to carry on the family feud. On the return of Trolle from Rome he refused to do homage to the regent till all his enemies had been punished, and allied himself with Christian II. of Denmark, who hastened to the archbishop's assistance when Sture besieged Trolle in his stronghold at Stäke (1516). Nevertheless Sture not only defeated Christian II. at Vedla, but took and razed Stäke to the ground, and shut up the archbishop in a monastery at Vesterås. A riksmöte, or national assembly, held at Stockholm in 1517, declared unanimously that Sweden would never recognize Trolle as archbishop because he had defied the regent and brought the enemy into the land. The war with Denmark was then vigorously resumed. On Midsummer Day 1518 Christian II. appeared before Stockholm with his fleet and landed an army, but was again defeated by Sten Sture at Bränkyrka. An attempt of the papal legate Arcimboldus to mediate between the two countries at Arboga (Dec. 1518) failed. In 1520 Christian, with a regular army, and armed with a papal bull excommunicating Sture, again invaded Sweden. The armies clashed near Börgerund on Lake Aarunden (Jan. 19). At the very beginning Sture was hit by a bullet and his peasant levies fled to the wild mountainous regions of Tiveden where they made a last desperate but unsuccessful stand. The mortally-wounded regent took to his sledge and posted towards Stockholm, but expired on the ice of Lake Mälar two days later, in his 27th year.

See Sveriges historia, vol. i. (Stockholm, 1877-1878); K. O. Arnoldson, Nordens Enhet och Kristian II. (Stockholm, 1899). (R. N. B.)