Erik XIV, the oldest son of Swedish king Gustav Vasa, might be Sweden’s most misunderstood monarch. Today we remember him as the king who went mad, married a common woman, disowned his brothers and died of poisoning. But, there was much more to King Erik XIV of Sweden.
Erik was a renaissance king, talented, educated and multilingual. He was a skilled composer and artist, and he had grand, but realistic, plans on how to modernize and empower Sweden. Erik was the first Swedish king who sought out to create an army free of mercenaries, and he tried to form a European trader’s alliance to control trading with Russia. It was also his idea to construct the Göta Canal, even though it wasn’t done in his lifetime. Erik was a lover of life, and before he married his beloved Karin a womanizer, but he also suffered spells of depression and paranoia.
During one of his bouts of depressions he managed to alienate his whole family and the Swedish nobility, which later led to his downfall.
Herman Lindqvist’s biography follows Erik XIV from his birth and childhood, until the tragic ending of his life, when he was murdered, poisoned, by his own family.