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This was a century of turmoil and destruction for Ireland as the Irish lost their liberty to England as well as suffering repeated famines. The Anglo-Norman sections prospered while the remainder of the country despaired and the cleavage between the two peoples became very marked, a situation which remains in this 20th century. (Ref. 119 , 222 )


It was a time of tribal union and bardic poetry in Wales. A national revival was led by Llewelyn, Prince of north Wales, against the English Henry III but there was no great bloodshed until the latter was succeeded by Edward I. He waged war against the Welsh, using the long bow, which the English had available after A.D. 1200. Cavalry was useless in Wales but archers could score with the long shots, loosing five to six arrows in the time required for only one cross-bow shot. After many battles, Wales was finally subdued and made a part of England, in 1281, which is not to say that real peace was obtained. Coal mining records in Wales go back to this 13th century. Additional Notes



Haakon the Old (1217-1263) ruled ably and generously and brought Iceland, Greenland and the Faeroes temporarily under Norwegian power. This was the era of Snorre Sturlason, who wrote Heimskringla, a history of Norwegian kings which was to become the chief source of early Norwegian history and the prose Edda, about Norse mythology. Haakon V (1299-1319) was the last male of the line of Fairhair. (Ref. 34 , 222 )


The Swedish throne was on an elective basis. Earl Birger, a prime minister while his weak brother was actually king, abolished serfdom, established a reign of law, founded Stockholm and started the Folkung Dynasty by putting his son Waldemar on the throne in 1250 and then acting as his regent. He attempted to set up a European type of feudalism, establishing his other sons in quasi-independent duchies. One of these sons, Magnus Ladulos, overthrew Waldemar but continued his father's feudal innovations although family feuding continued. Meanwhile the merchants of Sweden became rich through mining and trade.

Until the middle of the 13th century Sweden had supplied 1/2 of Europe with herring, but then the cities of the Hanseatic League (chiefly German) took over this industry. Fish was always a more important food than meat for millions of people. Cod, haddock, pottock and ling all were preserved primarily by drying, but herring could not be handled this way because it was too oily. It had to be salted. In Scandinavia, such meat as was available was beaten and then exposed to a clear, cool wind, for preservation. (Ref. 122 , 211 )


Denmark had the largest population of the Scandinavian countries at this time and claimed a part of what is now the Scania province in southern Sweden. The Danes burst into activity at the beginning of this century, winning a brief supremacy in the Baltic trade. Waldemar II the Victorious temporarily conquered northeast Germany and waged three crusades for the church against the heathen Baltic states of Livonia and Estonia, penetrating the Gulf of Finland and making the southern Baltic a Danish "lake". Waldemar is remembered by many because of his marriage to an exiled Bohemian princess, Dagmar, famous in Danish folklore. But the Danes suffered a crippling defeat in the 1220s and the German Baltic towns (later to be called the "Hanse") took over the Baltic and even the North Sea, also shutting out the Flemish by 1275. At a meeting of nobles in 1282 King Eric V was made to sign Denmark's first Royal Charter - the Magna Charta of Den- mark - and the Danehof was established as a national parliament. Eric had to promise to call a national assembly once a year and to cooperate with the nobles. (Ref. 117 )

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Source:  OpenStax, A comprehensive outline of world history. OpenStax CNX. Nov 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10595/1.3
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