Torkel Knutsson

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Torkel (Tyrgils or Torgils) Knutsson, known well as Marshal Torkel, (?–1306) of Aranäs, was constable and virtual ruler of Sweden during the early reign of King Birger Magnusson (1280-1321).

Torkel hailed from an old noble family of West Geat ancestry and was related to the Folkungs, the royal family, and like them, he had a lion in his coat of arms. He was first mentioned in 1282, and in documents from 1288, he is mentioned as a knight and a member of the privy council .

When king Magnus Ladulås died, Torkel became regent for the underage king Birger, being the highest state official and because Magnus' foreign-born widow, Hedwig of Holstein, was not trusted to such powerful position yet.

When Tavastland had been attacked by the Republic of Novgorod, in 1292, marshal Torkel led the third Swedish crusade against Novgorod, in 1293 and conquered parts of Karelia, where he founded the stronghold of Viborg. In 1299-1300, he led an attack against the Novgorodians, and on the Neva River, he founded the fortress of Landskrona

He showed the same concerns about Swedish interior politics. During his regency, the law of Uppland was established. He acted as Birger Jarl had done in the conflict against the church, in order to abolish the clergy's tax exemption. The clergy's discontent became apparent in 1303.

The old trade treaties with Lübeck were re-established, on condition that the town did not provide Novgorod with weapons or provisions.

In the struggles between king Birger Magnusson...
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