Christian III, 1503–59, king of Denmark and Norway (1534–59). At the death of his father, Frederick I, his election was delayed because he was a Lutheran. The German city of Lübeck invaded Denmark to reinstate the deposed Christian II, and the minor nobility then forced the election of Christian III in 1534 to preserve Danish autonomy. Christian III allied with Gustavus I of Sweden to defeat Lübeck in 1536. That victory broke the power of the Hanseatic League and made the Danish fleet supreme in northern waters. Christian established (1536) Lutheranism in Denmark and imposed it on Norway. Never elected king by the Norwegians, he declared Norway a dependency of Denmark. His son Frederick II succeeded him.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.