Nils Stensson Sture

Nils Stensson Sture (1512 – before 1527 or in 1528) may have been Daljunkern, the central figure of the second of the Dalecarlian Rebellions in Sweden.[1]

Nils was born in 1512 as eldest son of the new ruler of Sweden, Sten Sture the Younger, Lord of Ekesiö, the country's Regent from January 1512 to his death on 3 February 1520; and his wife Dame Kristina Nilsdotter, a great-granddaughter of the late king Charles VIII of Sweden.

The boy received his name Nils in honor of both his late maternal grandfather Nils Gyllenstierna and his late paternal great-grandfather Nils Bosson Sture.

In early 1520, the Danish attacked Sweden, and Nils's father the regent Sten Sture died from battle wounds. The boy Nils was sent to safety in Danzig, under guardianship of Chancellor Peder Sunnanväder. Later they returned, but King Christian II arrested them and the boy was kept in custody in Denmark. In 1524 he was released by Frederick I, the new Danish king. Nils got to Kalmar Castle, which was held by sir Berend van Melen, a supporter of the Stures, who then rebelled against the Stures' kinsman Gustav, the new king of Sweden. Kalmar capitulated after king's troops isolated it, and young Nils was taken to Gustav's royal court. As pageboy, he is mentioned having shown difficult behavior.

The question whether Nils Sture died at the age of 14 years or younger, before the revolt; or was Daljunkern ("The young lord from Dalarna"), the symbolical head of the 1527 revolt against king Gustav I of Sweden and claimant of the throne, has not been settled.

The rebel leader signed his letters "Nils Sture", but the traditional view, based on king Gustav's later propaganda, has been that Daljunkern was an impostor, a common farmhand named Jöns Hansson. However, critical research has questioned that, and indications have been found to support that actually Daljunkern was Nils Sture and not an impostor. Actually, in his contemporaneous letters, Gustav I himself did not refute the revolt leader's identity as Nils Sture. The historian and author Lars-Olof Larsson has been the leading proponent for Daljunkern having been the genuine Nils Sture.

If Nils Sture survived one or a few years longer than official propaganda says and actually was Daljunkern, then his biography goes on with the young man who attempted in 1527 to start revolt with Dalarna as base, to depose Gustav I from the throne.

Among the reasons for popular rural dissatisfaction was that Gustav I started to deprive the church of its worldly possessions, such as farmland.

The 1527 events started in February when bishop Peder Sunnanväder and archdean Canute Micaeli of Västerås, opponents of Gustav's measures, were tried and executed. Soon after this Daljunkern surfaced in Dalarna.

In June 1527 king Gustav had the Riksdag of the Estates pass laws transferring ecclesiastical property and taxes to the king.

The revolt began in conservative Dalarna and spread to some other places. Daljunkern led the revolt as pretender to the regency, claiming to be the lawful heir of Sten Sture.

In January 1528 he published a letter of three pages, proclaiming his position, and his promises to his supporters, including freedom from taxes for ten years. Gustav I began to prepare an army to subjugate Dalarna.

Daljunkern fled to Norway, where he was treated as son and heir of Sten Sture the Regent, for example by Olavus, archbishop of Nidaros, by Dr Vincent Lunge, the governor of Bergen Castle and leading member of the Norwegian High Council, and the latter's mother-in-law the lady Inger of Austraat.

In February 1528, a rebel campaign was launched from Norway to Sweden. The campaign, led by Peder Gröm, was an utter failure. Later the same month, at Stora Tuna, under orders from king Gustav, leaders of the revolt were punished, including priest Jon of Sverdsjoe parish.

Daljunkern then fled from Norway to Germany, but was apprehended at Rostock, and later in 1528 executed after pressure from King Gustav.


  1. ^ Harrison, Dick; Eriksson, Bo (2010). Sveriges historia: 1350-1600. Stockholm: Norstedt. Libris länk. ISBN 978-91-1-302439-4