90 Miles From Tyranny : Bluetooth: Why Modern Tech is Named After Powerful King of Denmark and Norway

Monday, December 23, 2019

Bluetooth: Why Modern Tech is Named After Powerful King of Denmark and Norway

Harald “Blåtand” Gormsson was a King of Denmark and Norway who lived during the 10th century AD. He was responsible for the unification of Denmark. Following this feat, Harald set his sights beyond the borders of his own kingdom, and conquered Norway. Whilst the majority of his subjects were followers of paganism, Harald was favorably inclined towards Christianity. He did what he could to promote this foreign faith within his kingdom. Today, Harald Blåtand (‘Bluetooth’) is a household name thanks to the wireless technology standard named after him.

Harald's initials in runes and his Bluetooth nickname. ( haraldgormssonbluetooth)
Unifying Denmark

The exact year of Harald’s birth is unknown, though it is traditionally taken to have been in 910/911 AD. Harald was the son of King Gorm the Old and Queen Thyra. Gorm the Old was the first king in a new line of Danish kings, i.e. House of Knýtlinga (‘Cnut’s Descendants’), or the House of Gorm, and had commenced the unification of Denmark during his reign. As his power base was established in Jelling, in northern Jutland, this royal family is sometimes known also as the Jelling Dynasty. Harald’s mother was Thyra, the daughter of a nobleman from Sunderjylland (Schleswig in modern day Germany). Whilst Gorm was a devout follower of the Norse gods, Thyra was inclined towards Christianity, and it has been speculated that this contributed to the future king’s favorable view of this foreign religion.

King Gorm the Old receives the news of the death of his son Canute.

When Gorm died, probably in 935 AD, Harald became the new king. He began his reign by continuing with the effort to unify Denmark, which was left unfinished by his father. He succeeded in doing so, and proceeded to build up the defenses of his kingdom by strengthening the existing fortifications and building new ones. In addition, Harald instituted a policy of tolerance towards Christians, and even allowed the Christian faith to be spread amongst his subjects.

Advancing Christianity

Having attained peace within his realm, Harald could now focus on issues outside his kingdom. In 954 AD, Erik Bloodaxe, the (former) King of Norway, was killed in battle during a campaign in Northumberland, England. His wife, Gunnhild, who was also...

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