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Örjan Martinsson

Swedish Dukes

The title duke appeared in Sweden for the first time in the 13th century as an effect of the German influence on the Swedish language. The German word "herzog" (duke) became the Swedish word "hertig" and replaced the old Scandinavian title "jarl" (which have the same origin as the English word "earl"). The first Swedish duke was Magnus Ladulås who got the same position as his father Birger had had as "Jarl", i.e. the second highest office in Sweden next to the king. But the tradition to only have one duke/jarl was broken 1284 when a second ducal title was created (duke of Finland). The ducal titles were also  accompanied with non-hereditary duchies, usually Södermanland respectively Finland Proper. However, the dukes Erik and Valdemar succeeded during their conflict against king Birger to get their duchies greatly expanded and made hereditary. But it was a short-lived success because they were captured and killed by the king 1317. Valdemar's widow Ingeborg styled herself  "duchess of Öland", wich was the province she got 1318 as apanage and ruled until her death 1356. Apart from Bengt Algotsson who 1353-56 was duke of Finland and Halland would there be no more appointments of dukes in Sweden for the remainder of the Middle age. There were however also Danish dukes and counts over the now Swedish but then Danish provinces of Halland and Blekinge in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The ducal title was restored when king Gustav Vasa granted hereditary duchies to his sons in 16th century. These were in practise states within the state and posed a serious threat to Sweden's central power. Also Johan III and Karl IX granted duchies, but because of the dukes rebellions, insanity and difficulties to have sons were the duchies one by one returned to the crown, the last one 1622. A new duchy was created 1651 when Johann Kasimir (father to Karl X Gustav) was granted Stegeborg's län as compensation for an unpaid dowry. This duchy was returned to the crown 1689 when his son Adolf Johan died.

The ducal title made a new comeback after Gustav III's coup d'etat 1772. But this time only as a title and not with a duchy. Since then has it been a tradition to give a ducal title to every newborn prince. From 1980 are the princesses also given a ducal title..

Below are all Swedish dukes listed in order of the duchy's creation. The Latin numerals are the ones the dukes had as king of Sweden. The names in the right column are the father of the duke if he was a royalty. Ducal titles that were used only by one person are listed on the bottom of this page.

c. 1266-1275
1275
1284-1317

Duke of Sweden

Magnus Ladulås
Erik
Erik

Birger Jarl
Birger Jarl
Magnus Ladulås
1284-1291
1302-1317
1353-1356
1556-1563
1590-1604
1802-1805


Finland

Bengt
Valdemar
Bengt Algotsson
Johan (III)
Johan
Karl Gustav (grand prince)

Birger Jarl
Magnus Ladulås

Gustav Vasa
Johan III
Gustav IV Adolf

1353-1356
1912-1997


Halland

Bengt Algotsson
Bertil


Gustav VI Adolf
1557-1560
1782-1783
1909-1932


Småland

Erik (XIV)
Karl Gustav
Lennart  (died 2004)

Gustav Vasa
Gustav III
Prince Vilhelm
1560-1604
1609-1622
1772-1809
1810-1844
1852-1854
1884-1965

Södermanland

Karl (IX)
Karl Filip
Karl (XIII)
Oscar (I)
Karl Oscar
Vilhelm

Gustav Vasa
Karl IX
Adolf Fredrik
Karl XIV Johan
Karl XV
Gustav V

1560-1569
1604-1618
1772-1803
1829-1872
1911-1937
2012-

Östergötland

Magnus (died 1595)
Johan
Fredrik Adolf
Oscar (II)
Karl (died 2003)
Estelle

Gustav Vasa
Johan III
Adolf Fredrik
Oscar I
Prince Karl
Princess Victoria

1609-1611
1889-1918

Västmanland

Gustav (II) Adolf
Erik

Karl IX
Gustav V

1651-1652
1652-1654
1654-1689


Stegeborg's län

Johann Kasimir
Karl (X) Gustav
Adolf Johan


Johann Kasimir
Johann Kasimir
1798
1858-1907
1979-


Värmland

Karl Adolf
Gustav (V)
Carl Philip

Karl XIII
Oscar II
Carl XVI Gustaf
1826-1859
1882-1950

Skåne (Scania)

Karl (XV)
Gustav (VI) Adolf

Oscar I
Gustav V

1827-1852
1907-1934

Uppland

Gustav
Sigvard (died 2002)

Oscar I
Gustav VI Adolf

1831-1873
1916-1946

Dalarna

August
Carl Johan (died 2012)

Oscar I
Gustav VI Adolf

1861-1951
1980-


Västergötland

Karl
Victoria

Oscar II
Carl XVI Gustaf

Others

Öland 1318-1356 Ingeborg Eirik Præsthatare
Gotland 1859-1888 Oscar (died 1953) Oscar II
Närke 1865-1947 Eugén Oscar II
Västerbotten 1906-1947 Gustav Adolf Gustav VI Adolf
Jämtland 1946-1973 Carl (XVI) Gustaf Prince Gustav Adolf
Hälsingland and Gästrikland 1982- Madeleine Carl XVI Gustaf