Haakon IV

Haakon IV (Haakon Haakonsson), 1204–63, king of Norway (1217–63), illegitimate son of Haakon III and grandson of Sverre. Secretly reared by the Birkebeiner faction (see Sverre), he was chosen king (1217) on the death of Haakon III's successor, King Inge. Haakon Haakonsson overcame the rival claims of Earle Skule (Inge's brother), and in 1223 a great council at Bergen reaffirmed his kingship. Skule, after a renewed attempt at rebellion, was slain by the Birkebeiners in 1240. Haakon, then recognized by Pope Innocent IV, was solemnly crowned in 1247 at Bergen by a papal legate. Under Haakon IV medieval Norway reached its zenith. Iceland and Greenland were acquired, and important legal reforms were carried out. Haakon's court was splendid, and Old Norse literature flowered during his reign. Snorri Sturluson lived for some time at the court. Haakon died at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands when campaigning against Scotland. He was succeeded by his son, Magnus VI.

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