Sture stüˈrə [key], noble family that played a leading role in Sweden in the 15th and 16th cent. Sten Sture, the elder, c.1440–1503, was chosen regent in 1470. In the battle of Brunkeberg (1471) he defeated a Danish force sent by King Christian I. The victory gave hope for permanent Swedish independence, but in 1497 Sture was forced to resign, and union with Denmark was recognized (see Kalmar Union). In 1501 he again became regent. He took an active part in founding (1477) the Univ. of Uppsala. A member of a Danish Sture family, Svante Sture, d. 1512, succeeded him as regent. His rule was a period of continual warfare. His son and successor as regent was Sten Sture, the younger, c.1492–1520. He vigorously asserted the principle of the superiority of the state over the church, notably by securing (1517) from the Riksdag the deposition of Archbishop Gustaf Trolle, a member of a rival family. He refused to recognize Christian II of Denmark as king of Sweden. Christian sent a force to relieve the archbishop, who was besieged in his castle, but Sture defeated the Danish army and imprisoned Trolle. Warfare continued, and Sture was killed in battle shortly before Stockholm fell to Christian. As regents, the Stures paved the way for Swedish independence, attained under Gustavus I.

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