The Phillips, Weber, Kirk, & Staggs families of the Pacific Northwest

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  • ID: I07811
  • Name: Harald II Klak Halfdansson King of DENMARK 1 2
  • Sex: M
  • ALIA: Harald /Halfdansson/, King of Haithabu & Jutland
  • Name: Harold Halfdansson King of Haithabu & JUTLAND 3
  • Name: Harald KLAK
  • Birth: ABT 795 in Haithabu, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
  • Death: 844 in Walcheran Island, Netherlands 4
  • Death: ABT 845 2
  • Death: BEF 852 1
  • Event: Ruled 812-813 1
  • Note:
    Harald Klak. [Royal Families of Medieval Scandinavia]

    Like that of Norway and Sweden, Denmark's early history is marked by internal wars between various ruling houses. At times, more than one man claimed the kingship. In the early 1820s, both Horik the son of Godfred and Harald Klak (a nephew of the former king Harald and brother of the deceased Anulo and Reginfred) were calling themselves kings.

    Horik Godfredsson had no wish to share the throne of Denmark, so he forced Harald Klak to flee for his life. Harald found refuge with Louis the Pious in France. There, about 826, Harald heard the Christian message and was converted. He was baptized with much pomp in the royal palace at Ingelheim, near Mainz, with Louis the Pious serving as his godfather. At the same time his wife, his son, and 400 of his men were baptized.

    After his baptism Harald prepared to return to Denmark to regain the throne. In response to Harald's plea for missionaries, Louis the Pious sent a missionary named Ansgar with Harald. It was a dangerous and heroic mission. The Danes were not anxious to leave off their pagan practices. . . . After two years, the school folded and Harald Klak, hated by his people because he had become a Christian, once again lost his throne. Horik Godfredsson, a king completely opposed to Christianity, took his place.

    The exiled Harald Klak, now a friend of the Franks, was given a fief in Frisia by Louis the Pious with the understanding that -- as a loyal vassal of the empire -- he would defend the Frisian coast against attacks from the North. Here Harald lived out the rest of his life, and there is evidence that he led attacks against the very Franks who had evangelized and befriended him.

    When he died about 845, various relatives of his were given high positions in that part of the empire.

    . . . In 834 the Danes stormed the Frisian trading center of Dorestad, looting and plundering to their hearts' content while the defenseless inhabitants watched in horror. From Dorestad, they followed the Rhine southward and raided other towns.

    . . . Lothar, the rebellious son of Louis the Pious, may have actually cooperated in the Danish raids in the late 830s, along with Louis' vassal and godson Harald Klak.

    In 840 Louis the Pious died and his kingdom was fractured by the inevitable fratricidal wars that accompanied the Frankish inheritance system. The idea of primogeniture was unknown to the Franks, and so a monarch's heirs routinely fought each other for their father's lands and titles.

    Eventually Lothar obtained the title of emperor and a 200-mile strip of land between the kingdoms of his brothers Charles the Bald and Louis the German. (In time this middle kingdom disappeared although the modern name "Lorraine" survives as a contraction of "Lotharingia.")

    Lothar decided to reward his ally Harald Klak. The Annals of St. Bertin for the year 841 state that Lothar gave the island of Walcheren (now in the Netherlands) in fief to his ally Harald Klak, who had aided Lothar in doing "so much damage to Frisia and other coastal countries of the Christian world in order to harm his father." The Annals then express the view that the giving of this island to Harald was "a deed which certainly deserves every abhorrence."

    [Royal Families of Medieval Scandinavia, pp. 80-82]


    The following is excerpted from a post by Stewart Baldwin, 18 Nov 1996:

    From: Stewart Baldwin (sbald AT
    Subject: Danish kings, 8th & 9th centuries
    Newsgroups: soc.genealogy.medieval
    Date: 1996/11/18

    HARALD ii (d. 852?) and REGINFRID (d. 814), joint kings of Denmark, 812-813. HARALD ii was also joint king with the sons of Godefrid 819-27, and count of Rustringen in Frisia, 826-. Brothers of Anulo, and "nepotes" of Harald i.

    Harald ii and Reginfrid became joint kings in 812, following the civil war, and requested that Charlemagne send them their brother Hemming, who was then a hostage [ARF]. In 813, peace was sworn again, and Hemming was returned to Denmark, but the Harald and Reginfrid were with an army in Westarfolda [i.e., Vestfold] in the extreme northwest of their kingdom, where the people had refused to submit to them. When they returned "after conquering the Britons" [That's what the translation of the chronicle says, but I assume it is a slip of the pen for Westarfolda, as Britain had been mentioned in the previous sentence that described the location of Westarfolda.], the sons of Godefrid gathered an army, and drove Harald and Reginfrid out of Denmark, assisted by Danish nobles who had been in exile with the Swedes. [This very tantalizing chronicle entry, the earliest contemporary reference to Vestfold, has been the basis of numerous theories. Since Harald and Reginfrid appear as enemies of the men of Vestfold and as enemies of the sons of Godefrid, it has been assumed by some that the sons of Godefrid were based in Vestfold, which has in turn led to the suggested identification of Godefrid and the Yngling king Gudrod, despite the apparent chronological difficulties.] In 814, Reginfrid was killed when he and Harald attempted to regain the kingdom, and Harald sought the help of the new emperor Louis I. In 819, Harald allied himself with two of the sons of Godefrid to drive out the other two, and entered into a joint ruling arrangement which lasted until 827, when the sons of Godefrid drove him out. In 826, he had been baptized at St. Albans in Mainz, and was given the county of Rustringen in Frisia. In 841, Harald was granted Walcheran by the emperor Lothar [AB]. His death is mentioned in the Annals of Fulda under the year 852, but in wording which does not make it clear whether his death was in that year or at some time previous.

    Father: Halfdan Haraldsson King of HAITHABU b: ABT 767 in Haithabu, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

    Marriage 1 Sigrid HELGISDOTTIR b: ABT 812 in Ringerike, Akershus, Norway
      1. Has Children Godefrid King of Haithabu & RUSTRINGEN b: ABT 840 in Haithabu, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

      1. Title: Newsgroup: soc.genealogy.medieval, at groups -
        Page: Stewart Baldwin, 18 Nov 1996
      2. Title: Royal Families of Medieval Scandinavia, Flanders, and Kiev, by Rupert Alen & Anna Dahlquist, 1997, King's River Publ.
        Page: 80-82
      3. Title: Newsgroup: soc.genealogy.medieval, at groups -
        Page: Alan B. Wilson, 30 Dec 1998
        Text: Harold "Klak" King of Haithabu, son of Halfdan
      4. Title: Newsgroup: soc.genealogy.medieval, at groups -
        Page: Alan B. Wilson, 30 Dec 1998
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