Olaf Tryggvason: From a Child Slave to the First Viking Christian King

Posted by Ms Elly on

Olaf Tryggvason: From a Child Slave to the First Viking Christian King

Olaf Tryggvason was among the most famous Viking kings for what he had done during his reign, both positive and negative. Regardless of the negative and complicated viewpoints about Olaf Tryggvason, we are certain that Olaf was a daring, ambitious, and talented Viking king. 

Olaf Tryggvason was born around 960s during which time the Vikings were at war all the time. According to the saga, Olaf was the great-grandson of Harald Fairhair However, whether this was a correct claim or not remains to be seen. Since he was a boy, his life was full of turbulence. He fled Norway with his mother and no identity of his father was revealed. On their voyage to the new land, his foster-father was murdered before his eyes and Olaf was sold and became a slave. An uncle of his then rescued him.

Olaf Tryggvason Viking Christian King of Norway

Olaf Tryggvason Viking Christian King of Norway. 

Olaf then settled into life in Kiev from where he grew up to be a warrior that was not only talented but also thirsty for power. He left Kiev and followed the ancestral step - raiding. In Wendland, he married princess Geira who died soon afterwards. The grief was so much that Olaf left Wendland. 

And he came to Britain where he met a hermit who made the prophecy of his kingship. At this point, Olaf a Viking warrior decided to convert himself into Christianity. After the baptism, Olaf sailed to Ireland where he met Gyda and married this princess of Dublin as his second wife. 

According to the saga, Olaf Tryggvason teamed up with Sweyn Forkbeard who was the son of Harald Bluetooth to wage war. Although many attacks failed, Olaf remained a danger to many people around England. 

The saga claimed that Olaf travelled around to make people abandon their lifestyles to follow Christianity. 

By 997, Olaf moved to Trondheim where he founded a small merchant town and turned it into his royal residence. He gave out a few coins which the archaeologists have found. Those coins were carved with his name dating back to 990s. 

Olaf Tryggvason's coin dating back to the reign of Olaf I King of Norway

After cementing his crown and starting to convert his people into Christianity, Olaf showed his ambition to strengthen his position within Scandinavian regions. But mostly the relationship that Olaf built with other king was money-orientated. 

Once Olaf tried to win the Swedish queen, Sigrid the Haughty, as his wife in order to build up his alliance with Sweden. However, Sigrid refused the proposal of Olaf because of her pagan belief. Sweyn Forkbeard then grabbed the opportunity and married Sigrid. 

But Olaf didn't abandon his hope that political marriage could empower him. Olaf then came into a very risky decision - to marry Thyre, Sweyn's sister who fled from her husband. With all the alliance that Sweyn fostered, they dealt a blow to Olaf in the Battle of the Svold. When Olaf was nowhere to be found in the vast ocean, Sweyn turned back to control Norway and established Jarl Erik as a puppet ruler. 

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