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Haraldr blátönn, called Harald Bluetooth, was born around 935, the son of Gorm the Old and Thyre Danebod, daughter of Harald Klak, Jarl of Jutland. He died in 986 having rules as King of Denmark from 958 and having made the King of Norway his vassal in 970.


During his reign, Harald oversaw the reconstruction not only of the Jelling runic stones but of other projects as well. Some believe that these projects were a way for him to preserve the economic and military control of his country. During that time, ring forts were built in five strategic locations: Trelleborg on Sjælland, Nonnebakken on Fyn, Fyrkat in central Jylland, Aggersborg near Limfjord, and Trelleborg near the city of Trelleborg in Scania in Sweden. All five fortresses had similar designs: "perfectly circular with gates opening to the four corners of the earth, and a courtyard divided into four areas which held large houses set in a square pattern." A sixth Trelleborg is located in Borgeby, in Scania in Sweden, built around 1000. He also constructed the Ravninge Bridge in Ravninge meadows.

He came frequently to the aid of Richard the Fearless of Normandy between 945 and 963, while his son conquered Samland and, after the assassination of King Harald Greycloak of Norway, he also managed to force the people of that country into vassalage to himself.

In 974 Harald rebelled against emperor Otto II and the emperor took Schleswig. In 983 Harald supported a Slav uprising.

He was forced twice to submit to the renegade Swedish prince Styrbjörn the Strong of the Jomsvikings - first by giving Styrbjörn a fleet and his daughter Tyra, the second time by giving up himself as hostage and an additional fleet. Styrbjörn brought this fleet to Uppsala in Sweden in order to claim the throne of Sweden. However, this time Harald broke his oath and fled with his Danes in order to avoid facing the Swedish army at the Battle of the Fýrisvellir.


As a consequence of Harald's army having lost to the Germans in the shadow of Danevirke in 974, he no longer had control of Norway and the Germans settled into the border area between Scandinavia and Germany. The German settlers were driven out of Denmark in 983 by an alliance consisting of Obodrite soldiers and troops loyal to Harald. Soon after, Harald was killed fighting off a rebellion led by his son on November 1, [[Sveinn Forkbeard|Sveinn} in 986. His remains were buried in the cathedral at Roskilde, where his bones are still preserved, walled up in one of the pillars of the choir.

Marriages and Issue[]

Harald wed twice: first, to Gyrid Olafsdottir in 950. They had three children: Thyra Haraldsdotter, who married Styrbjörn Starke; Haakon, born in 961, and a daughter, Gunnhild, who married Pallig, a Jarl and ealdorman in Devon, both of whom died in the St. Brice's Day Massacre in 1002.

Harald next wed Thora, daughter of Mistivir, who raised the raised the Sønder Vissing Runestone to honor her mother, in 970. They would have no issue.

Harald also had a bastard, Sveinn by a woman named Gyrid.

See Also[]