Magnus III of Sweden
Magnus III Ladulås of Sweden, Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

: Magnus Birgersson or Magnus Ladulås (1240 – December 18, 1290) was King
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 of Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 from 1275 until his death in 1290.

He was the first Magnus
Magnus, meaning "Great" in Latin, was sometimes used as a first name among Romans but was not particularly common among them. The best-known Roman bearing the name was the third-century usurper. The name gained wider popularity in the Middle Ages, various European peoples, and their royal houses,...

to rule Sweden for any length of time, not generally regarded as a usurper or a pretender (but third Magnus to have been proclaimed Sweden's king and ruled there). Later historians ascribe his epithet "Ladulås" to a decree of 1279 or 1280 freeing the yeomanry from the duty to provide sustenance for travelling nobles and bishops ("Peasants! Lock your barns!"); another theory is that it's simply a corruption of Ladislaus, which could possibly have been his second name, considering his Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...


Referring to Magnus Ladulås as Magnus I is an invention not recognized by any Swedish historians today. The Swedish kings Eric XIV (1560–68) and Carl IX
Charles IX of Sweden
Charles IX of Sweden also Carl, was King of Sweden from 1604 until his death. He was the youngest son of King Gustav I of Sweden and his second wife, Margaret Leijonhufvud, brother of Eric XIV and John III of Sweden, and uncle of Sigismund III Vasa king of both Sweden and Poland...

 (1604–1611) took their numbers after studying a partially fictitious History of Sweden designed as propaganda during their father's reign, but that has no bearing on the enumeration of Magnus III.

The Alsnö stadga (Ordinance of Alsnö) from 1279 or 1280 also gave anyone who undertook to provide the Crown with a mounted warrior (knight) and a warhorse, the freedom from certain taxes (such a liberty was called frälse in Swedish). This is often said to be the foundation of the Swedish nobility
Swedish nobility
The Swedish nobility were historically a legally and/or socially privileged class in Sweden, part of the so-called frälse . Today, the nobility is still very much a part of Swedish society but they do not maintain many of their former privileges...

, although the gradual development of this privileged group into a hereditary class would take centuries and not become formalized until long into the 16th century.

Magnus, whose birth year has never been confirmed in modern times, was probably the second son of Birger jarl
Birger jarl
, or Birger Magnusson, was a Swedish statesman, Jarl of Sweden and a member of the House of Bjelbo, who played a pivotal role in the consolidation of Sweden. Birger also led the Second Swedish Crusade, which established Swedish rule in Finland. Additionally, he is traditionally attributed to have...

 (Birger Magnuson, 1200–66) and Princess Ingiburga
Ingeborg Eriksdotter of Sweden
Ingeborg Eriksdotter , was a Swedish Princess and Duchess, daughter of king Eric X of Sweden, eldest sibling of king Eric XI of Sweden, wife of Birger Jarl and mother of king Valdemar I of Sweden.- Biography :...

, herself the sister of the childless king Eric Ericson of Sweden
Eric XI of Sweden
Eric "XI" of Sweden, or Eric the Lisp and Lame Swedish: Erik Eriksson läspe och halte; Old Norse: Eiríkr Eiríksson was king of Sweden in 1222–1229 and 1234–1250.-Background:...

, thus a daughter of king Eric the Survivor
Eric X of Sweden
Eric "X" of Sweden, Swedish: Erik Knutsson; Old Norse: Eiríkr Knútsson was the King of Sweden between 1208 and 1216. Also known as Eric the Survivor when he became King, he was the only remaining son of King Canute I of Sweden and his queen of an undetermined name, who probably was Cecilia...

 and Queen Richeza (a Princess of Denmark). His father designated Magnus as his successor in powers of the Jarl
Jarl in Sweden
In Sweden, members of medieval royal families, such as the House of Stenkil and House of Bjelbo, held the title of jarl before their accession to the throne. Since the early 12th century, there usually was only one holder of the title at a time, second only to the King of Sweden.For special...

, henceforward titled Duke of Sweden. The (probably) elder brother, Waldemar
Valdemar I of Sweden
Valdemar, English also Waldemar; , was King of Sweden 1250–1275.-Biography:Valdemar was the son of princess Ingeborg Eriksdotter of Sweden and Birger jarl, from the House of Bjelbo. During the first sixteen years of his reign, it was Birger Jarl who was the real ruler...

 had become King succeeding their maternal uncle in 1250.

In 1275, Duke Magnus started a rebellion against his brother with Danish help, and ousted him from the throne. Magnus was elected King at the Stones of Mora
Stones of Mora
Stones of Mora was the place where the Swedish kings were elected. The origin of the tradition is unknown.-Mora Meadow:In Lagga parish about 10 km south-east of Uppsala, but in neighbouring Knivsta Municipality, is Mora äng...

. In 1276, Magnus Barnlock allegedly married a second wife Haelwig, daughter of Gerard I of Holstein (through her mother Elisabeth of Mecklenburg, she was a descendant of Christina, the putative daughter of Sweartgar II of Sweden and Queen Wolfhilda, she a descendant of Aestrith Olofsdotter, Queen of Norway and daughter of Olaf Scotking of Sweden). A papal annulment of Magnus' alleged first marriage and a dispensation for the second (necessary because of consanguinuity) were issued ten years later, in 1286. Haelwig later acted as Queen Regent, probably 1290–1302 and 1320–1327.

The deposed king Waldemar managed, with Danish help in turn, to regain provinces in Gothenland, the southern part of the kingdom, and Magnus had to recognize that in 1277. However, Magnus regained them about 1278 and assumed the additional title rex Gothorum, King of the Goths
King of the Goths
The title of King of the Goths was for many centuries borne by both the Kings of Sweden and the Kings of Denmark, denoting sovereignty or claimed sovereignty over the antique people of the Goths....

, starting the tradition of "King of the Swedes and the Goths".

King Magnus' youngest brother Benedict
Benedict, Duke of Finland
Bishop Benedict, Duke of Finland was a Swedish prelate and a royal duke.His father was Birger jarl, the real ruler of Sweden 1250-66 and Benedict was from legitimate marriage...

, then archdeacon, acted as his Lord High Chancellor of Sweden
Lord High Chancellor of Sweden
The Lord High Chancellor was a prominent and influential office in Sweden, from 1561 until 1680, excluding periods when the office was out of use. The office holder was a member of the Privy Council of Sweden...

, and in 1284 Magnus rewarded him with the Duchy of Finland.

He died when his sons were yet underage. Magnus ordered his kinsman Thurchetel, the Lord High Constable of Sweden
Lord High Constable of Sweden
The Lord High Constable was a prominent and influential office in Sweden, from the 13th century until 1676, excluding periods when the office was out of use. The office holder was a member of the Swedish Privy Council and, from 1630 and on, the head of the Swedish Council of War...

 as the guardian of his heir, the future king Birger of Sweden, who was about ten years old at father's death.


From his alleged first (annulled) marriage to an unknown woman:
  1. Eric Magnusson, born (c. 1275 – c. 1277)

From his second marriage with Queen Haelwig:
  1. Ingiburga
    Ingeborg Magnusdotter of Sweden
    Princess Ingeborg Magnusdotter of Sweden, , was a Danish queen consort, daughter of king Magnus III of Sweden and wife of king Eric VI of Denmark.-Biography:...

    , (born c. 1279). Married King Eric VI of Denmark
    Eric VI of Denmark
    Eric VI Menved was King of Denmark and a son of Eric V and Agnes of Brandenburg.He became king in 1286 at age 12, when his father was murdered 20 November by unknown assailants...

    , Erik Meanwith.
  2. Birger, born c. 1280, King of Sweden.
  3. Eric Magnuson, Duke of Sudermania in 1302 and Halland etc c 1305, born c. 1282. Died of starvation 1318 at Nyköpingshus Castle while imprisoned by his brother King Birger.
  4. Waldemar Magnuson
    Valdemar, Duke of Finland
    Valdemar Magnusson was a Swedish prince, heir to the throne of Sweden and Duke of Finland.-Background:Valdemar was the third son of King Magnus III of Sweden and his queen Helvig of Holstein. At the coronation of his older brother King Birger of Sweden, Valdemar became the duke of Finland...

    , Duke of Finland
    Duke of Finland
    Duke of Finland was an occasional medieval title granted as a tertiogeniture to the relatives of the King of Sweden between the 13th and 16th centuries. It included a duchy along with the feudal customs, and often meant a veritably independent principality...

     in 1302 and Öland 1310. Died of starvation 1318 at Nyköpingshus Castle while imprisoned by his brother King Birger.
  5. Richeza, abbess of the convent of St. Clare's Priory, Stockholm
    St. Clare's Priory, Stockholm
    St. Clare's Priory, Stockholm, was a Roman Catholic nunnery of the order of Saint Clare in Stockholm in Sweden, active 1289 until the reformation in 1527.- History :...

    . Died after 1347.


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