Gustav Vasa, King of Sweden

King Gustav Vasa

Gustav Vasa was the son of state councillor Erik Johansson Vasa and Cecilia Månsdotter. He was married three times. His first marriage (1531–35) was to Katarina of Saxony-Lauenburg. They had one son, Erik (XIV). In 1536, he married Margareta Leijonhufvud. Together they had ten children, including Johan (III) and Karl (IX). In 1552, he married Katarina Stenbock. They did not have any children.

Gustav Vasa came to power after having taken Stockholm with support from Dalarna and Lübeck. On 6 June 1523, he was named king of Sweden and rode into Stockholm on Midsummer Day that year.

Four years later, in 1527, the king initiated the Reformation, whereby Sweden converted from being a Catholic country, with the Pope as the highest representative of the church, to become a Protestant nation, with the king as head of the church instead.

When the king died, he left behind a firmly established kingdom under strong central power.

Gustav Vasa portrayed in 1667 by David Frumerie. Frumerie based his portrait on an original by the German artist Jacob Binck, who had painted by the king in 1542. The portrait hangs in the Hall of State at Gripsholm Castle, and is part of the Swedish State Portrait Collection. Photo: Nationalmuseum

Gustav Vasa (Gustav I)

Born 12 May 1496, died 29 September 1560
Reign 1521–1560, Protector of the Realm 1521–1523

Royal Motto

All power is of God


1528 Uppsala Cathedral


1560 Uppsala Cathedral


Erik XIV


Katarina av Sachsen-Lauenburg
Margareta Leijonhufvud
Katarina Stenbock


Erik XIV (1533–1577), King of Sweden 1560–1568
Johan III (1537–1592), King of Sweden 1568–1592
Katarina (1539–1610)
Cecilia (1540–1627)
Magnus (1542–1595)
Karl (1544–1544)
Anna (1545–1610)
Sten (1546–1549)
Sofia (1547–1611)
Elisabet (1549–1597)
Karl IX (1550–1611), Protector of the Realm 1599–1604 and King of Sweden 1604–161

The Vasa dynasty