Everyone’s heard of bluetooth – it’s that invisible connection when your mobile phone talks to your car or your laptop. Well it was invented in 1994 by Ericsson, the Swedish telecommunications company. And the bluetooth technology is named after Harald Bluetooth – Scandinavian king and my 30th great-grandfather.
There are a few images of Harald Bluetooth knocking around the place but I chose to use this gold relief of Harald being baptised by Poppo the monk – it seemed appropriate given Harald was the one to introduce Christianity into Denmark. The gold image also worked beautifully with blue, and I needed to have blue paper somewhere in my layout!
Sometimes when I research my ancestors, there is very little information. Sometimes there’s a lot. With Harald, there was a lot of info but much of it was ambiguous and there are many contradicting stories. I made the decision to keep only a few facts as at the end of the day, Harald Bluetooth is only one small part of my family history and his story could easily have grown into many pages with explanations on different battles, why they occurred, who the main players were, etc.
This is what the text says:
When Harald became King of Denmark in 958, the country was at peace so Harald turned his attentions to the surrounding Scandinavian countries. When King Harald Greycloak of Norway was assassinated, Harald Bluetooth managed to force the people of Norway into temporary subjugation to himself. After a battle with the Germans in 974, Harald lost control of Norway. There were ongoing hostilities with the Swedish prince, Styrbjorn the Strong, and Harald was forced to submit to him twice. The first time he offered his daughter, Thyra, as a peace offering. The second time he gave himself up as a hostage, along with a fleet of 200 ships. The Swedish prince’s plan was to use the fleet to overthrow the current Swedish king, Eric the Victorious, but Harald and his Danish fleet managed to flee before the Battle of Fyrisvellir broke out.
Harald was married to Gynrithe, a Swedish princess, and they had four children together, although Harald fathered at least 12 illegitimate children. In 986, Harald died after fighting off a rebellion led by one of his own sons, most likely Sweyn Forkbeard, who became King of Denmark after Harald died. Harald’s lasting legacy is the introduction of Christianity into pagan Denmark.